Tagged: Indie Games

Say hola to ADIOS on PlayStation 4 this Autumn

Can’t wait for No Man’s Sky? How about 2D No Man’s Sky? I don’t even mind putting that reductive of a label on ADIOS because the developers themselves are pretty cheeky with how they define it. Their site calls Amazing Discoveries in Outer Space the world’s first “2D-space-simulator-platformer-rougelike-explore-em-up-hybrid-genre-did-we-mention-space-game (2DSSPREEUHGDWMSG)”. But it also, more succinctly, defines it as “a 2D space exploration game with a rich simulation grounded in astrophysics”. Ok, that’s a pitch I can get behind!

I first saw ADIOS in this year’s IGF entries back in January but it was a tiny demo of some physics and it didn’t grab me. Almost half a year later it now looks dead-on like something I could get into. The lighting and atmosphere look splendid and it’s got realistic newtonian physics that govern over celestial bodies, your spacecraft and the stuff you drag around with its tow cable. Best of all, no weapons or combat! Yes, that’s a big plus in my book these days. The peril comes in keeping your ship fueled as you hop from planet to planet, searching for a way to get back home.

And unlike most other indie games coming to consoles, ADIOS hasn’t been kicking around on PC for years. It may not be an exclusive forever but it will launch first on PlayStation 4 this autumn. Check out the first gameplay footage above if words and mental imagery aren’t exciting enough for you.

Check out 31 mostly new Indie games coming to Xbox One

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If you’re tired of all this virtual reality news coming out of GDC and just want to check out some new games, the Xbox YouTube channel has posted 31 new trailers of upcoming indie titles. These games are all part of Microsoft’s indie publishing program, ID@Xbox, which has some booth space at GDC to show off the games.

Many of these are games I looked at in the IGF this year and it’s good to see them updated and getting console releases (Submerged, The Sun and the Moon, ClusterPuck 99). There are also a lot of titles I hadn’t heard of making their “console debut” on Xbox One. Of particular note is The Flame in the Flood which looks like a fantastically artsy rogue-lite set amongst a flood in a “forgotten post-societal America”. You can check out most of the games on the Xbox channel but I’ve included their bullet point listing after the break if you want to read some more.

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We almost know more about SteamWorld Heist

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After SteamWorld Dig’s surprising debut on the 3DS in 2013 (and its subsequent hop to every other digital platform) fans have been eager to find out what would come next. SteamWorld Heist was first announced last September and since there’s been a terribly slim amount of news to go on.

It’s not a sequel. It’s set far into SteamWorld Dig’s future. Robots have set out into space in search of precious water. Something-something turn-based. Outer space exploration and survival. With music by Steam Powered Giraffe.

Almost another year later the steam powered news cycle is finally about to kick off. Members of Image & Form Games will be demoing SteamWorld Heist for the press and public throughout March. First at the Game Developers Conference (March 2-4), then at PAX East (March 6-8), then at EGX Rezzed in London (March 12-14). Finally they’ll take the game to New Jersey for the not-game-specific Steampunk World’s Fair on May 14-15.

So, come mid-March we should finally know a lot more about what SteamWorld Heist is and hopefully when to expect it on which platforms.

My Top 20 from the Independent Games Festival 2015 (Part 2)

Here we are again. It’s early in another new year and I’ve gone through all of the entrants in the Independent Games Festival. There were 639 games entered for 2015 and I wound up with a “short” list of 93. From there I hemmed and hawed for a while and ultimately decided on just 20 that I think are the specialest. Today is Part 2, the final ten of twenty (in alphabetical order). Check out yesterday’s post if you’re a fan of indie games that start with the letters A through H!

Megaton Rainfall by Alfonso del Cerro Aguilar
“Don’t you think that superhero games [should] transmit the sense of power and freedom of movement, that these characters apparently have in other media?” This is the premise for the most impressive first-person gameplay I’ve seen in years. It’s still very early but the scale of environments it’s able to push around is astounding and the movement already seems so smooth. I hope this makes it out as a finished product!

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Nubarron: The Adventure of an Unlucky Gnome by Nastycloud
Another one with ‘gameplay mechanics that help as well as hurt’, Nubarron is a hatless gnome, constantly followed by a vicious storm cloud. Stop for too long and you’re toast, but you also need to use that lightning to defeat enemies and solve puzzles. It’s a clever and wicked spin on 2D platforming and the art style is lush. Unfortunately, it didn’t hit its Kickstarter goal and the team is working on a smaller project to help fund Nubarron. It’ll be a ways off but I’d love to see more.

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Painters Guild by Lucas Molina
I wasn’t sure how to handle this game when I first played the alpha. I was gingerly moving Leonardo Da Vinci from tiny, simple paintings to studying… and then I got overwhelmed by angry customers and a pope died in there somewhere and then I lost. There’s much more to be added in the final version but I think it’s succinct to say this feels like Diner Dash with art, and it’s great. I can’t wait to see and play more of it. Also, here’s Katy and I playing the demo.

Poncho by Delve Interactive
May I introduce you to ‘The Next Fez’? Ok, maybe it’s more Mutant Mudds than Fez but you can’t deny Poncho has a gob-smackingly gorgeous 2D aesthetic of its own, especially when you see it in motion. It also rings just a little of the mystery of Fez but that might be because the trailer is so vague. Either way it gets my vote for the love of parallax.

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Road Redemption by DarkSea Interactive
Look, I know the IGF is the place for innovation, invention and even enlightenment. But I also know that I love Road Rash and Road Redemption is the closest thing to it we’ve had in nearly 20 years. It looks like the biggest, dumbest mess of physics and motorcycles and flying bodies and somehow roguelikes. It’s just too bad it’s still Early Access.

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Small Radios Big Televisions by FIRE FACE
Absolutely stunning to look at even in the early demo version! It’s simple and gorgeous and mysterious without being pretentious or talky. In fact, it may be the silence and lack of characters I love the most. You can watch me play through the demo for more ineloquent ramblings about how I love it.

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Submerged by Uppercut Games
I was already intrigued by the characters floating ominously in a boat. When I realized it was the rooftops of a flooded modern metropolis they wash up to, I was instantly sold. It feels every bit like a Team ICO game but with zero combat and an open world to explore. It is, in concept, my dream game. We’ll see how much is there in the final product but I couldn’t not include it here.

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Sumoman by Tequillabyte Studios
There’s something oddly pleasing about the way Sumoman balances, jiggles and moves that makes me want to play this game. Basically it’s another physics-based, side-scrolling puzzle/platformer but it’s got a spirit I really appreciate. Plus if Sumoman topples over you die and that’s hilarious.

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THUMPER by Drool
As I said in my follow up post last week: Is it an endless runner? Is it sort of like Rock Band but without the emphasis on instruments? I don’t know but it looks splendid and incredible and I will hold on as long as needed in order to play a release version.

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White Night by Osome Studios
White Night is absolutely THE most visually stunning game that I’ll probably never play. I appreciate the admitted inspirations of the original Alone in the Dark and I love the gameplay of keeping the lights on. But when you add things that chase me into the darkness, I cash out. Still, it is so unbelievably gorgeous. The thinnest edges on the things just barely in sight; the perfect whites and blacks in starkest of contrast to one another. The gritty 1930’s setting with matchbooks and gas lamps. I want to see more and hopefully give it a shot myself but I’m probably going to run away.

My Top 20 from the Independent Games Festival 2015 (Part 1)

Here we are again. It’s early in another new year and I’ve gone through all of the entrants in the Independent Games Festival. There were 639 games entered for 2015 and I wound up with a “short” list of 93. From there I hemmed and hawed for a while and ultimately decided on just 20 that I think are the specialest. Today I’ll post the first ten (in alphabetical order) and finish it up with another post tomorrow.

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Against the Wall by Michael Consoli
It may not have been on my Top Twenty list last year but I am all about it in 2015. I played the alpha version again, climbed as high as I wanted to and said “enough, enough now”. I need to know that whatever happens next is final release before I go any higher.

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C-Wars by Onipunks
What looked so fascinating in Crystalides has been refined and distilled into C-Wars and… I’m not sure I’ll love it. The demo build is very rough but it holds the same pixelart cyberpunk vibe I’ve been into since 2012. It’s now equipped with an FTL vibe where you choose to confront or avoid conflict, a leveling systems and a peculiar real time strategy combat mechanic. It’s still promising but far removed from what I was originally so in love with.

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Captain Forever Remix by Dean Tate and Brian Chan
I first discovered Captain Forever in 2012 and obsessively played the web demo version but never bought into the expansion. This has been corrected now that I’ve pre-ordered the reimagining that is Remix. Crazy new art accompanies what will be a deep, terrifying hole of frantic ship building and salvaging. Everything I loved about the original with a hopeful glut of new stuff on top.

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Chained by DigiPen Team Those Guys
I’ve found my mini trend of the year and it’s ‘gameplay mechanics that help as well as hurt’. In the case of Chained it’s a ball and chain attached to your character that you use to demolish your way through an already distraught dreamscape. The modeling and animation are fantastic while the platforming sections are augmented just enough by the ball and chain physics to be interesting.

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Cosmonautica by Chasing Carrots
When they say a “fresh, funky and funny blend of space trading and life simulation” they look to deliver. It’s The Sims in managing your crew’s needs and making sure your ship has all the rooms they need. It’s also got a Spreadsheets in Space economy and FTL’s real time terror combat that I love to hate. Soon as it’s out of Early Access, I’m all in.

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The Curious Expedition by Maschinen-Mensch
I told myself I wasn’t going to get into more procedurally generated, roguelike adventures but The Curious Expedition has super sweet pixelart. Thankfully, it’s top-down, hex-based perspective and party management are equally enticing. Like Gods will be Watching you have to manage your crew’s emotions as well as the external forces threatening to end your expedition with each move. It also looks like you can discover dinosaurs!

Donut County by Ben Esposito
I do-nut what to say about this one. You control a hole that gets bigger as it swallows up colorful scenery and ridiculously cute critters. Very much what I’d call Noby Noby Boy meets Katamari. It looks perfectly, magically insane.

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Fort Meow by Rhys Davies
It’s like Angry Birds in reverse. You’re the one building forts out of furniture to provide solace for a young girl from needy, clingy cats.  Between waves you can scavenge the house for new items — some provide unique bonuses, some are just hefty — to fend off an increasingly persistent array of felines. It’s a downright pleasant experience from the art to the adorable cat animations to the endless purrs you hear on the game over screen.

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Hero Generations by Heart Shaped Games
I came across the beta of this game years ago on Facebook and played a ton of it. Not long after the beta was taken down and promises were made that Hero Generations would reemerge. I’m still waiting (but it’s finally very close).

The concept is simple and grand: each square you move on the map is a year in your life. Youth, middle age and elderly phases have their own benefits and drawbacks. You’re out to maximize your time adventuring (and pillaging and fighting) while also winning over a quality mate. Because when you die you take over as your child with inherited strengths, weaknesses and inheritance. It’s roguelike, terrifying and awesome. I can’t wait to play it again!

Hex Heroes by Prismatic Games
Much like the FPS/RTS mashup, Savage, Hex Heroes aims to do some unique stuff with co-op. Potentially a Wii U game I’d buy a Wii U for, the player with the GamePad is given a top down view of a strategy game style map. They command up to four other players on the TV who have their own roles to play; be it combat, resource gathering or dispelling the fog of war over the map. I doubt I’d ever get together with enough people to make it work but it’s a fantastic idea and I’d love to see it happen.