There seems to be an endless stream of indie bundles lately, and of course Indie Royale‘s newest Hammerhead Bundle offers more slices of indie gaming goodness, not with sharks or other stuff in the deep blue sea, but with some small and big fish, i.e. games in big and small file sizes.
Adventure gamers will be happy to check out the two point-and-click titles Primordia and Richard & Alice, while arcade-racer fans will love Pressure and Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage, not to forget Forge for multiplayer RPG-action lovers and the retro experimental platformer Potatoman Seeks The Troof.
Even if Primordia already got the review treatment here, there’s lots more to play and write with time being of the essence. So check out these short snippets of information I could gather while giving each individual title a go.
(USA 2012, developer: Wormwood Studios, publisher: Wadjet Eye Games, platform: PC)
A steampunk point-and-click adventure game which offers some great voice acting, atmospheric music together with a strong script which combines the serious with the comic in a believable world inhabited by robots. Graphics are pixelated, but they offer some beautifully drawn backgrounds.
Puzzles are much more difficult than in other Wadjet Eye Games titles and they sometimes rely a bit too much on finding the correct combination of codes, but there are still a lot of ways to tackle different problems at the same time, harking back to the LucasArts era with its puzzle chains or more recently Deponia and Chaos on Deponia. For more info, check out the in-depth review.
A comic arcade racer with shooting mechanics which sets itself apart from the competition by introducing the concept of the titular pressure. Only by destroying enemy vehicles and passing checkpoints is it possible to fill a bar which depletes over time before the player’s car stops out of steam.
It’s not only fun to play (even if it gets a bit unfair with so many enemies on screen), but it also looks its part with crisp comic visuals and a cheerful soundtrack. Add in some well-executed cutscenes and you’ve got a great alternative to all the Mario Kart imitators out there.
(USA 2012, developer/publisher: Dark Vale Games, platform: PC)
After not having played a lot of FPS multiplayer games since the old Doom, Unreal Tournament or Counterstrike and not getting into the whole MMORPG genre like World of Warcraft, this is a surprisingly accessible and fun fantasy game which mixes the old Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag (in this case Relic) and King of the Hill modes with RPG elements. Different classes with their unique attributes provide as much variety as their levelling up.
What’s even more pleasing than the nice-looking graphics and good (even if a bit stereotypical) orchestral soundtrack is a tutorial which introduces beginners to the controls, the general gameplay and skill system of each character. All in all a nice alternative to the mainstream games.
Richard & Alice
(UK 2013, developer/publisher: Owl Cave, platform: PC)
After The Cat Lady showed how mature topics like depression, loneliness and suicide among others can find their way into contemporary point-and-click adventures without getting completely rid of puzzles like in The Walking Dead, this game set in a dystopian future takes another step forward for accessibility.
Puzzle solving is quite easy, as there aren’t a lot of locations to visit at one time and the number of items in the inventory is far from overwhelming while their solutions are obvious as well. They’re not imaginative in any way, but this leaves more room for the story and characters to develop without the player getting stuck.
The graphics can’t compete with most other indie or mainstream adventure titles, as character animations, portraits as well as the background are minimalistic. There’s also no voice acting which makes reading drawn-out dialogue sequences a labor of patience. But together with its atmospheric soundtrack and effects, it doesn’t matter after a while, because the story with its different endings more than makes up for it. Another mature indie point-and-click adventure game most publishers would shy away from releasing in today’s rather play-it-safe market.
Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage
(Hungary 2012, developer/publisher: Pandora Studio, platform: PC)
Not being a big fan of race simulations, it’s always great to see some arcade-style shooting mechanics with power-ups in the same-old finish the lap game. This title plays out very much like the Death Race movies, although without the blood and gore.
Graphics are pretty good, so good actually that my PC had some problems running the game with full details at a high resolution. It’s also a bit disappointing that it takes up over 7 GB of hard disk, but maybe that’s the price one has to pay when expecting some more refined visuals, although I still prefer Pressure‘s comic look over this one. Still another nice entry in the genre of shooter-racers.
Potato Man Seeks The Troof
(USA 2013, developer/publisher: pixeljam, platform: PC)
Very simple game mechanics with just left, right and jump keys and the premise of going from left to right while avoiding all sorts of incoming animals, cars, boulders etc., the game shows much more of an experimental nature, as it constantly plays with one’s expectations, ridiculing the protagonist’s actions with rather nonsensical comments by his enemies that he’ll never be able to find the truth (or troof).
Graphics and sounds are extremely old-school with their 8-bit aesthetics, but this doesn’t mean that the visuals don’t offer some surprising, weird, crazy or simply psychedelic effects. Not an easy game to play due to its high difficulty, but with checkpoints, it’s still possible to progress step by step without losing too much of one’s sanity.
Under the sea with some bonus content
Just like past bundles, there aren’t really a lot of extras unlocked after purchasing this one. Actually there’s only the soundtrack of Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage which at least has some nice rock tunes. Other than that, there’s the Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army eBook which can be downloaded for free by anyone, something which coincides with the release of the shooter. Of course by paying a little bit more, the chiptune album It’s Not Great by MY OK BBS can be unlocked.
Overall, Indie Royale provides another nice selection of different genres, and for an adventure game fan like me, it’s even better. The other games are fun as well, even if they require quite a bit of bandwidth for downloading. So if your internet connection is up to it and you like the genres or simply want to support the website and the individual developers, pay what you want before the offer expires in less than two days.
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