Snow is falling, and so indie games are rising
After being satisfiend with an excellent collection of indie games in the Stuffing Bundle, Indie Royale offers some more seasonal greetings by introducing its Winter Bundle.
This time, old-shool genres meet new and interesting ways of presentation: industrial revolution in a turn-based strategy game, Shakespeare’s most famous Danish king goes comic-adventure, running and jumping fused with rhythm-action, anger management in a score-attack shooter and the sad tale of a frog trying to survive underwater are titles to keep the audience surprised and engaged throughout the cold winter days.
(Sweden 2011, developer/publisher: The Working Parts, platforms: PC, Xbox 360)
Drawn into the deep abyss of the sea, a lonely frog swims for his small life.
If you think Frogger, you’re pretty wrong. Its survival underwater approach is all about evading enemies, pushing them away and eating some air bubbles. At some points it even becomes a sort of bullethell-shooter, only with fewer bullets and the character not having any bullets. It’s an interesting concept, and together with the creepy music there is something quite depressing to see this small animal struggling against all odds. Unfortunately it’s also a bit repetitive and unfair, but maybe that’s exactly what the player should feel, the deeper the frog has to go?
(Developer/publisher: Hermit Games, platforms: PC, Xbox 360)
Shoot to the rhythm of the music and manage your anger with blue orbs.
One of the shortest shooter I ever played, with less than 5 minutes to see the credits. But then again it’s a score-attack mechanic with quite some amazing visuals and gameplay. Reminiscent of Rez, it feels more like a rhythm-action shooter, but offering more tactics with the ability to shooting split the shots so that targets can be hit in a 360 degree radius.
It’s also interesting to note that by collecting blue orbs enemies leave behind, the anger of the player/ship is fuelled and the game becomes more difficult. As there are no lives or a health bar, it’s all about the risk/reward system and losing oneself in a synesthesia state of mind, fusing music and visuals to create a unique shooter experience, even if enemies and the boss fight can’t compete with other genre titles.
(USA 2010, developer: Gaijin Games, publisher: Aksys Games, platforms: Wii, 3DS, PC)
Run, jump and kick with the music, Canabalt style, only with better music and some retro aesthetics.
I had the pleasure of playing it on the big screen at this year’s Next Level Conference, as I’ve heard quite a lot of good things about this series. It’s definitely not for the casual gamer, because the difficulty is rather high, and after a lot of frustrating screams, it becomes second nature how some actions are performed. Not only fast reflexes are required, but also memorizing the patterns and level structure are essential to progress. And with any good game, one-more-go addiction soon settles in.
Special credit has to go to the superb soundtrack which was done by the same musicians who did the excellent score for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, another love letter to old-school pixel graphics and gameplay.
Hamlet, or The Last Game Without MMORPG Features, shaders and Product Placement)
(Russia 2010, developer: mif2000, publisher: Alawar Entertainmentplatforms: PC, iOS, Android)
Save the princess or rather Ophelia and beat the bad guys from Shakespeare’s play.
I played this a long time ago and wrote an article on Adventure-Treff, so even if I didn’t have Steam code, this all comes from my memory…
Like the Samorost games, an inventory is non-existent and clicking on environment objects and persons is the way to progress and succeed. So it’s more trial and error as puzzles aren’t always that logical and some actions require fast reflexes. Boss battles are also there which have to be overcome with more brain than brawn.
The art style which is reminiscent of puppet theatre is something quite unique, but the implementation of the Shakespeare tropes is disappointing. Could have been a much better parody. Still a nice little adventure game and quite an impressive feat by just one person who developed it. Another interesting title from mif2000 is already in the pipeline: the Franz Kafka VIDEOGAME, so this could be a game to look out for in the future.
Two more to play…
There were two more games in the collection, but unfortunately a bug prevented me to get a steam code (just like Hamlet) for Greed Corp from Vanguard Games and a missing activation key for Conquest of Elysium 3 made it impossible to try that one out. Hopefully these problems will be solved soon and I could (if time allows) give some opinion about those games. So here are just the trailers to give you an impression what they look like and how they play:
Conquest of Elysium 3 gameplay movie – Indie Royale
Despite the technical difficulties with Steam and activation codes, Indie Royale offers another cool collection of inspiring and fun indie titles. So with a minimum payment entry of around 4 Euros, go grab it while the offer lasts on their website