Indie game news, reviews, previews and everything else concerning indie game development.

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The Mechanics and Philosophy of Life After Permadeath Platformer: Trail [Interview]

Matthew Hanlon and Kieran Nee of Bit by Bit Games have created Trail, a Windows-based life after permadeath platformer made using XNA. Trail is available for free download now and is waiting judgment as part of the IGF 2012 competition.

These two developers left Lionhead Studios to form their company and have made two games to date. Endless Lines was an iOS puzzle game, and now they have moved onto another staple genre: platforming. However, Matthew shares that the devs were not going to settle with a mere Mario clone. Trail not only has a message, but the entire game is the message. For Matthew that message has stuck for several years now, and only through indie development has he been able to bring it to life, and death, through the medium of video games.


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Harder to Judge Than IGF Pirate Kart? Vlambeer’s Unplayable GlitchHiker [Interview]


Vlambeer‘s Global Game Jam jury and audience awards winner GlitchHiker is now dead on arrival at the virtual footsteps of the IGF 2012 judges.The developers took the Jam’s theme of extinction literally and created a game that at once existed but had eventually become permanently wiped out.

GlitchHiker’s life hinged on the abilities of its audience; every time a player played GlitchHiker and died, a life was deducted from the system. For every hundred points a player scored in GlitchHiker, a life was added. But as most people do as newcomers, they sucked. Yes, they literally sucked the life out of GlitchHiker until it became unplayable… extinct.


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Capybara Games’ Super T.I.M.E. Force New Gameplay Teaser [IGF 2012]

Capybara Games has just released a trailer for Super T.I.M.E. Force with pastels so sweet and sugary, it makes my teeth hurt in the most pleasant way. Capy knows 2D gaming, with SuperBrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, and Critter Crunch all flourishing on their respective platforms.

The new title appears to be strictly a 2D sidescroller. However the scope and size of the gaming area seems to change to accommodate a lot of players, as they split up to cover the large terrain. This may end up being a local or online multiplayer action title, even. This is all purely speculation, as Capybara is being pretty tight lipped about its newest project.

I was concerned as to the extent of what boy bands would be hunted and “corrected” in T.I.M.E. Force, given yesterday’s Super announcement. Capy’s Nathan Vella assured me the following: “We will definitely not be targeting barber shop quartets. They are pretty rad.” I agree.

Check out the rad gameplay trailer below:

Having being born, lived through, and gamed during the years of 198X, I am super stoked about Super T.I.M.E. Force by the looks and gameplay suggestions alone. What are your thoughts of this first ever glimpse of Capybara Games’ next title in motion? Do you think it will make it to the IGF finals?


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From Ludum Dare to IGF and Beyond: Arvi “Hempuli” Teikari on Officer Alfred [Interview]

Arvi Teikari has taken Ludum Dare game Officer Alfred and made it to be an even greater experience. As an editor I can appreciate his attempts to iterate and refine the game experience, but knowing what and where to change can be a challenge to an already tight experience.

Officer Alfred’s puzzles and presentations were already impressive, but Hempuli sought to distill the experience for IGF judges. Upon observing the Ludum Dare playthrough and beating the IGF build, I decided to ask about the changes made and the reasoning behind them. Of the many highlights, Arvi shared the reason behind Officer Alfred being so blue and the difficulty of implementing the unfreezing tactic.


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Parallax Devs on the Importance of Rifts, Dimensions, and Toast [Interivew]

DIYGamer was very intrigued by the IGF 2012 entry, Parallax, from Toasty Games. Lewie brought you the first look of the beautiful monochromatic first-person puzzler this past weekend.

Since seeing the trailer, I was eager to speak with the developers at Toasty: Zi Ye and Jesse Burstyn, who are both students at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. I wanted to know what inspired them to create Parallax and (maybe more so) what inspired the Toasty name, especially since I love bread so much.


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Fingle Asks You to Get Freaky with Your Fingers on iPad [IGF 2012]


Fingle may make the perfect date game, if it’s a date you don’t want to end early (wink, wink). Fingle may also work with friends, as long as they are up to your hygiene standards.

Adriaan de Jongh and Bojan Endrovski are the developers of this IGF entry Fingle for iPad. They invite players who want to experience the thrills of touching eat other’s hands on a multitouch device in this party game where YOU must enforce the rules.


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Portal Inspired Playable IGF Entry: Hempuli’s Officer Alfred [Preview]

Yes, there’s a whole lotta blue to Arvi “Hempuli” Teikari’s Officer Alfred, but don’t let that get you down. Any game that allows you to seemingly ride on rockets is worth investigating, no? This was once a game made during a 48-hour Ludum Dare competition, and the developer decided to polish up his Portal-inspired puzzle platformer for the IGF 2012 competition.

Those who have played the Ludum Dare version are in luck; this is good deal more than a visual polish. While there was just a time freezing mechanic before, players can also unfreeze slices of time/space. Even more, players can refreeze time again when needed.

It all controls rather simply. Directional arrows move the player, S jumps, and D manipulates both time and boxes. I don’t want to spoil all the cool puzzles, but you will be freezing time to get on rockets as seen above and doing some walking on water that would make baby Jesus proud.

At a 14MB download (Windows only, sorry), and no install, you’ll be playing in no time. There are six harder challenges (out of reach suitcases) strewn across the game for those that want to stretch their brain and twitch skills even further. You will die often, but Hempuli graciously programmed frequent respawn spots.

For those who need to see the game’s trailer, here you go. I’ll warn one last time; this spoils some of the great moments in the game, but not how to get the harder suitcases:

An interview with the developer is coming soon about his design and art choices and what may lie ahead for Officer Alfred. For those of you really curious of Officer Alfred’s origins, check out this developer timelapse and full playthrough of the Ludum Dare version:

Want even more awesome Hempuli? Check out our previous coverage including Masjin and Addicsjon.


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Metroidvania Fans: Are You Hungry for Some Guacamelee?

Drinkbox Studios’ Guacamelee involves a Mexican wrestler that attempts to add the right amount of brawl to the tried and true Metroidvania formula. With such awesomesauce as seen in the above photo, I believe the team will have us gushing as much as we did in our About A Blob PSN review.

While Guacamelee’s artwork appears just as colorful as Drinkbox’s earlier game, it has a style definitely its own. The gameplay also aims to stand on its own: it will also add to the Metroidvania formula a new dimension switching mechanic and co-op same-screen multiplayer for the entire story. The team also wants to blur the boundaries between combat and platforming by making many of the moves performed useful for both of these.

These moves are evident in the following trailer, with accompanying audio that makes me want to grab some maracas.

No platforms have been announced, but given the team’s history and future developments with Sony hardware, I can imagine that Guacamelee will at least release via PSN. Fingers and churros crossed!

[Shack News]


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So Many Me Has So Many Magical Things [Preview]

Thailand-based Extend Interactive was kind enough to give me an early build of its colorful 2D puzzle platformer, So Many Me, aiming for IGF 2012 fame. The 2D puzzle platformer is a popular genre among indie devs, but from the 13 levels I played, I think Extend has innovated enough to warrant praise.

I played So Many Me with WASD controls on a laptop. It didn’t inherently hinder my experience, but I am a natural-born controller gamer. As the green hero, Dave, collects his identical twins, the first mechanic that became available took me the most time to adjust to: the Clone Stone.

The head of the Me pack is the one that transforms, and I found myself hitting the button to transform a little too early or late, such that the following Mes did not land on top of the stone. I don’t blame the game design for this; I actually credit them for making me stretch and recondition my platforming skills. Fortunately, Extend has built in several restart points, so players don’t have to needlessly repeat large areas.

In addition to transforming into many different helpful objects like a ball to bounce high on and a bright globe that clears poisonous fumes, the Mes can fuse together to solve other puzzles. Players must make the Mes highlight all the white outlines in the fusion areas rather quickly. I could pull off the dinosaur fusion rather quickly, but the tank/elephant fusion took several tries.

I won’t go over all of the great gameplay mechanics, yet: the portals, the doors, the switches, or all the other transformations. The duplicating machine, however, was a welcome but challenging addition, making me focus on two batches of Mes jumping in different areas simultaneously.

For a glimpse of all the other mechanics of So Many Me, check this video:

So Many Me’s music is very soothing thanks to the eclectic talent at HyperDuck Sound Works (more of their great music and interview are here). With music, graphics, and gameplay all seemingly nailed in the preview, hopefully the teams will fill the 37 other stages with just as much great content.  I have a feeling fans of the genre will be very pleased when So Many Me finally becomes playable around March 2012 on PC and Mac.

PS: I think the world will want some So Many Me plushes or toys, but I could be wrong. What do you all think?


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Transmit Light Through Space in Waveform [IGF 2012]

Eden Industries‘ Waveform looks to be a pretty awesome IGF/IGC contender, having players control wave of light transmitting through space.  Players manipulate the course of the waveform (looks like a sine to me, maybe others will pop up later) to match the arch of collectibles or to avoid dangers along its auto-scrolling path.

Along the path, the player can pick up bonus rings that act as score multipliers, use teleporters, build speed, and even freeze time to help align the perfect waveform. Towards the end of the video, we get a glimpse at what the wave of light is possibly trying to avoid. There appear to be no enemies or bosses otherwise, or ways to destroy that looming presence. Right now, I am guessing the goals are to achieve a high score and stay alive.

At this point, I’m likening the game to rComplex or Canabalt, but its mechanics really don’t compare well to those games, aside from the autoscrolling/avoiding something bad happening feature. Hopefully the fine Canadians at Eden Industries will come and tell us all the gritty details, such as its mechanics, controls, playable platforms, and more.