Halloween 2012 Gaming Special Day 7: Indie Royale Halloween Bundle

Bury their corpses…of games, that is
It’s time to say goodbye to a week of stressful, even if fun gaming and writing about the titles. At long last it’s Halloween, and what better way to conclude our journey through terror and horror games than selecting not one, not two, but a whole BUNDLE of indie games? Sure, there are lots of those around, but none with the word Halloween in the titles, and where else do you get an evil hero, a sarcastic dog and violent bunny, a guy only equipped with a flashlight, a thief turning into a werewolf and a plague-ridden town whose inhabitants are even harder to understand than the gameplay?

I hope you had as much fun reading the articles as I had writing about and playing them. Now it’s finally time to watch some more horror movies. Oh wait, I think I already covered that somewhere else… with the other dead bodies in the yard.

Quite a selection of good indie
Indie games come and go, so do the respective pay-what-you-want bundles. Only it seems they stay. A business model which gives single or small-team developers the chance to present their titles to a wider audience which is generally sceptical about anything they don’t know, especially with so many games to choose from.

Indie Royale…without chees…y contributions
Indie Royale has been around since 2011 and successfully established an impressive back catalogue of titles so far, especially with adventure games (the Blackwell series among the early games) and sets itself apart from other sites by offering a quirky selection of titles from different genres with a specific topic to bind them together (like the Gone Fishin’ or Get Away bundles). There’s also a seasonal packaging of games like the upcoming Harvest Bundle or Winter Bundle. All in all it makes for lots of variety and good value for money.

Royalty pays
As with most pay-what-you-want bundles, there is a certain mininum price (at the time of writing around 4 Euros) which goes up the more people buy it. This sounds a bit contradictory to the general idea, but the price can also drop if one person pays more than the recommended price (with the current bundle 15 Euros). The incentive to pay more is either one’s own personal ethics to support the indie developers and also the blog writers who are from the website IndieGames and the download service Desura, or to receive one special collectable item which goes to the biggest contributor or bidder.

Priceless value
If one considers the prices one would have to pay for each individual game, Indie Royale is a great way to get them quite cheap and also learn about some games one would otherwise have missed. So whoever complains not to have enough games and that they are too expensive will have a ball when investing some time (and money) in their indie game bundles. The blog’s idea to offer four games every two weeks is quite impressive, and even if some titles could be found in former collections, this way of experiencing indie games and supporting its community is worth the small change or more one can spare.

Lack of time is of the essence
As it’s been quite a long week and I only recently started playing the games of the Halloween Bundle (only got around finishing one, and I knew two others before), the individual games will only be briefly discussed without ratings. There are sure going to be some lengthier reviews in the future with some (or maybe all) of these titles. But for deciding if this is the right bundle for you, I think it’s a rather good compromise.

Grab it while it’s still hot…or available
So without much further ado here are the games to play on Halloween or after. Just make sure to get involved before the current bundle runs out, which is in less than two days!

Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse (PC)
(USA 2010, developer/publisher: Telltale Games, formats: PC, Mac, iOS, Wii, Xbox 360)

Sarcastic detective dog Sam and megalomaniac partner bunny Max have to save the world from an invasion of apes…and some Cthulhu-related danger.

Season 3 of the successful comic adaption, it’s the best of the three. Nasty but brilliant humor, a very intriguing story this time with lots of twists and turns, the other selling point is its puzzle design which surprises with original ideas in each episode. Only a few locations are recycled (compared to the first game) and it’s full of memorable characters. Gameplay changes due to Max psychic powers to manipulate the environment as well.

Too bad Season 4 never happened as this is even better than the 90ies game from LucasArts.

Official Website
Wikipedia

Home (PC)
(USA 2012, developer/publisher: Benjamin Rivers, formats: PC, Mac)

Waking up in a strange house with memory loss, a lonely man makes his way through delapidated surroundings to discover how some gruesome murders happened.

A survival horror game without weapons and a point-and-click adventure without pointing and clicking? Not really, but it’s difficult to describe Rivers’ game. It shares the former genre’s foreboding atmosphere with a moody soundtrack and minimalistic sound effects, and the latter’s walking around (this time only with the directional keys), looking at things and picking them up (even if there is no inventory visible). A few puzzles here and there (usually only a door which has to be opened), it’s more than the sum of its parts.

It can be played through in less than an hour (it actually HAS to, because there is no save system), but it has replay value as each decision the player makes affects the outcome of the story which leaves a lot to his imagination or the community’s.

Official Website

Pathologic
(Russia 2005, developer: Ice-Pick Lodge, publisher: G2 Games)

A plague-riddled town is in the hands of three characters who have to survive in it, save it or go insane in the process of uncovering the mysteries behind the inhabitants’ power structures.

A game which definitely deserves more than a quick play. A strange mix of adventure, survival horror (this time REAL survival because the player has to think about everything he drinks and eats and where to get it) and life simulation, the game is not for the casual gamer. The graphics were already dated when it was released, the story is sometimes intelligible due to some translation problems, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is a game which rewards those who persevere with a unique gaming experience unlike any other.

Official Website

MacGuffin’s Curse (PC)
(Australia 2011, developer/publisher: Brawsome, platforms: PC, Mac, iOS)

An unlucky thief gets transformed into a werewolf when stealing a cursed artifact.

A mixt of humorous adventure games and Sokobanesque puzzles (read: move LOTS of boxes around and if you fail, reset the room), it’s unlike Brawsome’s first classic point-and-click adventure Jolly Rover quite an original game.

Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to play a lot of it, but the comic-book-cutscenes and overall presentation is quite nice. Even without voice acting, it seems to be a fun little comedy game which will get more difficult with each room and puzzle to solve. Quite intriguing to have an actual story in the Sokoban world and hopefully there are also more inventive puzzles.

Official Website

EvilQuest
(USA 2011, developer/publisher: Chaosoft Games, formats: PC, Xbox 360)

Play the evil guy this time and get revenge on those who betrayed you.

Harking back to the days of the Super Nintendo and old-school dungeon hack-and-slash games, one has to get used to its rather dated visuals (character design and cutscenes are a bit weak) and character movements which are a bit too fast, but when the first level is reached, equipment found, spells learned and the world map is reached, addictive fun takes over. With a catchy 90ies-chiptune-metal soundtrack and well-written dialogue scenes, it is a joy to take on the evil quest.

Official Website

Get all these games and much more by visiting
Indie Royale’s Website
Pay more than 8 Euros and get some awesome soundtrack as well!

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About nufafitc

Being an avid gamer, cinemaniac, and bookworm in addition to other things the internet and new media present, I'm also very much into DIY music, rock and pop in particular. Writing short or longer pieces about anything that interests me has always made me happy. As both an editor for German website "Adventure-Treff" and UK website "Future Sack", I like to write reviews and news about recent developments in the movies, games and book industry.
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