Christmas time is long over, but snow is falling now. A weird world we live in, but at least there’s always enough time to play some indie games, as Indie Royale‘s latest offering The Snowstorm Bundle so ably shows.
Again 6 games of (often not so) different genres are on display: classic point-and-click adventure Resonance, RPG-strategy title Hinterland, action-puzzler RoboBlitz, frenetic puzzle-skill game StarDrone, futuristic RTS title Project Aftermath and puzzle-platformer RobotRiot.
Same procedure as last time/year: Some quick round-up of what to expect from these games, only this time a few words less about Resonance and RobotRiot which were already covered in former articles.
A mostly engaging classic adventure game with some awkward controls and a good concept not being used to its full potential. The game has already been reviewed here, if you want some more info.
Just briefly: It’s old-school through and through with its graphics and offers quite a lot of playtime for even the most seasoned adventure gamer, something only Wadjet Eye Games’ latest title Primordia offered.
(USA 2012, developer/publisher: Tilted Mill Entertainment, platform: PC)
A mixture of hack’n’slash elements from Diablo with the same isometric viewpoint and upgrading a town with its buildings may not be the most original idea, but it nevertheless adds some variety to the rather old-fashioned proceedings. Graphics are nice to look at, even if they can’t compete with the loot’n’drop master or mainstream RTS games. Still the orchestral soundtrack and ambient sound effects are more than enough for immersion in this fantasy world.
It’s only disappointing that no tutorial is provided, so either reading the manual or finding out for oneself is the only way to get into the individual gameplay components and how they’re connected. A.I. could also be improved. It’s nice to have the character attack enemies without constantly clicking on them, but when they’re only a few paces away, hitting him with him just standing there, it’s a bit annoying.
The strategy elements aren’t perfect as well, as a building menu can only be used when the main character is in the vicinity of the town, so exploration of the surroundings has to be interrupted after collecting enough gold coins for upgrades. Still the idea of having visitors in town, rather than having buildings producing units on the spot, is interesting and engages the player more than the typical hack’n’slash game would offer, even if a story to follow and characters to talk to would have been nice as well.
(USA 2006, developer/publisher: Naked Sky Entertainment, platforms: PC, Xbox 360)
An action-adventure with an emphasis on physics-based puzzle solving, the most striking thing are the graphics which just look gorgeous, despite the corridor environments. This of course means that the hardware requirements are quite high, as the game is based on the Unreal Engine 3. But it’s also available on XBLA, so if the gameplay is to your liking, why not head over there and get this version as well?
Not only are the graphics pretty, but the soundtrack is great as well, with some nice ambient tunes to listen to, making it feel more epic than the tone of the game is. It’s quite humorous to see the voiceless Wall E-alike robot get instructions by his robot friend/employer who can’t do anything himself, as he’s wired to the ceiling. It’s the little nuances in the text messages which make the game a joy to play.
I haven’t played a lot of it yet, only some action sequences and a jump’n’run section which are a bit hectic and not that easy, which is mainly due to the oversensitive controls. Can’t say much about the puzzles though, but there’s already quite a lot of freedom at the beginning which parts of the space station the player can go to and which problems he wants to tackle first, so there’s definitely a lot of content and variety on offer.
(USA 2011, developer/publisher: Orb Games Limited, platforms: PC, PS3, PS Vita, iOS)
A surprisingly fun little puzzle game which requires as much thinking as fast reflexes. It can get rather hectic with a pinball-like velocity the little ship acquires (as it can’t be controlled directly, but is dependent on a spinning-around-a-center-device) and not everything can be foreseen, but with some skill and learning, it’s quite a unique experience.
It might look a bit like an Asteroid clone, but it definitely has enough originality and charme to convince even the most cynic of critics. Only the techno music is a bit annoying and doesn’t really help for the patience needed to overcome the labyrinthine level structure.
(UK 2006, developer/publisher: Games Faction, platform: PC)
An RTS game which simply relies on combat and has no building mechanics, the game might seem rudimentary at first (and the graphics certainly don’t win a price for the best in the genre, as they are quite outdated and lack a lot of details or high-res textures), but with armour only being pierced by a specific weapon there’s a high level of strategy involved.
I’ve only played the tutorial, but it gives quite a good introduction to a deep battle system in which each unit isn’t just cannon fodder, but essential to be kept alive in order for the player to progress. Voice acting is surprisingly well-done as well, even if the script isn’t the strongest. It only remains to be seen how the story in the campaign develops and if it creates memorable setpieces and characters to relate to.
All in all, it’s surely a nice little indie game for those RTS fans who like to think before they throw their units into battle, knowing there aren’t enough left and each decision is important.
(USA/Germany 2011, developer/publisher: Retromite, platforms: PC, iOS)
Another indie game I already played and reviewed when covering the Bundle In A Box Deep Space collection. This is a fun little platformer with puzzle and shooting mechanics, which is only let down a bit by its oversensitive controls. Something for the more hardcore fans of the genre, but still charming enough (with a great soundtrack) to win over others as well.
Just a quick note: There’s going to be a Hyper Edition available for people purchasing this bundle. I haven’t played it yet, as it wasn’t unlocked at the time of writing, but it mostly increases the speed of the game and has a few upgrades. Probably for even more hardcore gaming moments, but definitely an incentive to get this bundle if you’re wondering what’s new in this special version, as it’s another bonus.
Sounds all just nice and quiet for a cold winter’s eve
Despite its lack of snow in the games themselves, Indie Royale’s latest bundle offers as much variety as the form of snowflakes. The titles might not reinvent the genres they borrow from, but there’s enough content and fun to last even a longer winter.
And it’s also nice to have soundtracks for almost every game (except Project Aftermath). Add the ambient album Planetari by Pixeljam if you pay more than 8 Dollars (around 4 minimum for the bundle at the time of writing), and you have yourself quite a quality package (especially considering that Resonance has only been released recently and costs more on its own).
So don’t wait until thaw’s coming and the offer is going out or expiring, and just head over to Indie Royale’s Website and get the good new indie games.
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