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

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‘Cardinal Quest 2′ On Indiegogo, Offers Free Demo

Cardinal Quest was an awesome streamlined arcade-style dungeon-crawler that takes RPG fans back to their retro roots. It employed ideas inspired by classics from the 1980′s such as Gauntlet and Red-Box D&D, giving something nostalgic to adventure fans everywhere looking to slay its Minotaur boss. It is available on damn near every platform/outlet: iOS, Google Play, the Amazon App Store, BMTMicro, and Gameolith. At its heart, it was a familiar yet well-executed concept it could however have been a lot more. The game only provided you three classes to play, and though riddled with powers, items, enemies, and the like, it begged to be taken to the next level.

Fortunately developer Ido Yehiedi greenlit Ruari O’Sullivan’s efforts (AKA “randomnine“) for Cardinal Quest 2, the definitive sequel that aims to expand on everything presented by the first. Using the video on the game’s indiegogo crowd-funding site, it seems that much of Cardinal Quest 2 will retain its original rogue-like appeal, but it also promises “more control over how you make your character” as well as “more varied” procedurally-generated environments and challenges. Set at a goal of $19,500, it’s a more than reasonable asking price to complete Cardinal Quest 2 and add some much-needed polishing to the game.

If you’re not sure whether you want to back the game, that’s fine: I’m not sure myself. However given that you can play a free demo (yup) by downloading it from here, if you enjoy it then you can put your money where the fun is and back this little indie effort on Indiegogo. The project is also on Steam Greenlight, so perhaps you can give it a looksee on there as well?

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Cardinal Quest 2′ On Indiegogo, Offers Free Demo


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‘Gratuitous Space Battles’ Free Update Adds Mid-Battle Control

No matter how gratuitous Positech’s Gratuitous Space Battles may be, there are some out there who would appreciate a method of controlling the madness. So this may be a turn off for those who are adept at the game and big fans of its current state, the addition of new options in-game is never really a bad thing. In its new free update, Gratuit0us Space Battles offers gamers more of a sense of stability via mid-battle control.

Given that by its very nature, the strategy title employs a turn-based system, this may annoy those who expertly destroy their opponents online. Not to worry, though, as the update only comes in handy for single-player offline play. Specifically, “the player can select ships and issue movement and fire orders mid battle, and even edit the ‘standing’ orders for ships in the middle of an engagement.” The developers stress that it’s only an “optional” update and that it will be available from patch 1.60 onward. Those with Steam copies should be able to download the update shortly.

Though the game is three years old, it still has an active fan base and — thanks to recent involvement in bundles — its community has only grown as more and more gamers have come to try the space battle strategy title. It is of course still available for purchase on the developer’s website (or Steam or Impulse or GamersGate), but players old and new who want to get a sense of the update can check out the video below.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Gratuitous Space Battles’ Free Update Adds Mid-Battle Control


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Xenolith: The User-Friendly Indie Game Mod Community [Interview]

For those of you who enjoy modding, you know how much effort it takes to go through the variety of websites and forums scouring for a specific mod or update. If you have ever wanted to simplify that process, this is your chance to do so — at least, when it comes to indie games. Axel Rothe had similar desires and ideas when it came to modding for indie games, but he actually managed to put his ideas to the test and develop a modhosting community, hoping that modders and non-modders alike will enjoy using a more streamlined method of downloading and updating mods.

This idea seems really exciting to us at IGM and so we decided to do an interview with Rothe about Xenolith: The Foundry, the aforementioned community, in order to gain some insight and distinguish what makes it so different from other communities. We hope this helps everyone establish an idea of what to expect:

Indie Game Mag: I’m sorry, but I have to admit: Axel Rothe is suspiciously similar to Axl Rose, what’s going on here?

Axel Rothe: Oh, no they are on to me! Actually you aren’t the first to make this association, but I must disappoint you that I am in fact not the lead singer of Guns and Roses, as much as I would like to be.

Xenolith: The Foundry sounds like an intense RPG, but apparently you guys are a modding
community for indie games. What can you tell me about Xenolith?

Xenolith is a project that I developed after noticing the lack of a good modhosting site in the indie scene.

The site acts as a database for modifications of indie games uploaded by the creators themselves.

Modders can add descriptions, pictures and of course files to their mods page. Above that they can
also add source code for others to use.

Feedback is very important for modders. Users can show their appreciation by liking a mod or by
giving direct text feedback. And most importantly users can subscribe to their favorite mods.

Subscribing is free and ensures that whenever an author updates their game the subscribers will be
notified about the newest version.

What sets Xenolith apart from the Desura and ModDB communities? What makes you
different from other modding communitites?

Desura is more of a competitor to Steam than Xenolith. Like Steam, Desura allows modders to
upload their mods, but only if they are cool with it. This is usually means that only really big mods get
uploaded and smaller but maybe better mods never get on Desura or Steam.

We allow any size of mod on the site should it be as simple as an ini settings file or a full blown
overhaul.

ModDB is well, cluttered to say the least. I think ModDB is a good site, but it has such an incredible
amount of dead projects and games that were abandoned on the site that finding anything turns into a
fox hunt.

We try to keep the site clean of dead projects and all pages as simple as possible. So instead of each
mod having 25 different pages and a bunch of extra stuff, we have everything on one page.

Are you trying to go for a more social approach?

I think it’s quite important to communicate with your players. This is what made indie big. For the first
time developers were asking their players for input and it was all about making the game better and
not thinking about how to leech the players dry like certain larger companies like to do.

Modders are like mini developers and they to need to communicate and receive feedback.

But in contrast to developers modders aren’t out for the money and therefor the sharing aspect is very
important. That’s why we added the possibility to share source code directly on the site with full mark-
up.

Thus far, how much success have you had with developers? What about with the public?

Some like the KSP developers are a little more conserved and aren’t too cool with advertisement of
external sites.

However developers like Chris Simpson from Project Zomboid and Chris England from Xenonauts
have been very forthcoming and even encouraged their users to use Xenolith.

The Data Realm developers were also very happy to finally find a decent modding database that’s not
a wordpress blog run by a 12 year old. There are actually tons of sites like these and when Xenolith
was new many thought that Xenolith was just another blog. Seems we proved them wrong.

With over 580 users and almost 100’000 views I can safely say that we must have some kind of
appeal to the average gamer. Our reddit posts also received almost 100% positive feedback.

What is the hardest thing in trying to have people using your modding database?

Definitely getting people to leave the “uncomfortable” comfort of the forums. While forums are messy
and unsuitable for modding directories, many have accustomed themselves to the thread-system.
They don’t want to try something new, even if it is easier.

The ones that do give Xenolith a try usually don’t leave anymore.

How welcoming and friendly is the community to new modders and users? Are there
tutorials and the like?

Yes, we have several writers who compose modding tutorials and game guides. Anyone can use the
site. There is no such thing as a bad mod, if you like what you made there are at least hundreds that
would like it as well.

Why develop a new modding community?

As it stands there aren’t any modding platforms for smaller indie games and smaller modders.
Whenever I was looking for a specific mod for example Minecraft, I had to scour a messy forum. Often
I had to abandon the search because I just couldn’t find the mod.

Another thing was that mods were updated frequently, but I’d never be informed about it. So I took it to
myself to create something that covered all indie games and would make it convenient for both players
and modders to use.

The current systems just didn’t do it. I mean Nexus-Mods charges money to be able to subscribe to
updates. That’s not really an option in my opinion.

Do you think there is a fair bit of interest in modding indie games? It seems to serve a niche audience, but could it also have casual appeal? How?

Looking at the Minecraft I think this is a rather large niche. Indie games aren’t small time things
anymore and now thanks to Kickstarter I know we will be seeing more indie games popping up.

Modding has always been something that casual gamers have had some trouble getting into.

I am currently developing a mod manager that will help installing mods from our site directly into your
game. It will hopefully not just serve to be a great tool in general, but also a great way for casuals to
appreciate mods. I can’t give an ETA at the moment, because I’m still in a very early phase and can
only work on it in my free time.

What games would you like to see on the platform that have yet to make the leap?

We’ve covered most of the officially mod supporting indie games out there, so instead of getting more
games on the site we need more modders of the currently supported games to join us.

It would be great if we could get the same response from the other communities like we are getting
from the Project Zomboid and Cortex Command crew.

What would you like to tell the indie (and gaming) community as a whole?

Indie is about sharing your ideas and creations and using the right platform is important.

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And with that, we want to thank Axel for answering our questions and giving us a much better idea of just what the hell Xenolith: The Foundry is about. For those of you interested in checking it out, whether it be for downloading mods or making your own, check them out on their official site.

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Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Xenolith: The User-Friendly Indie Game Mod Community [Interview]


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‘Two Brothers’ Emulates GBC Glory Days, Needs Help on Kickstarter

Honestly, my jaw dropped when I first caught sight of the Two Brothers trailer. It really does look like a game that has traveled through time or perhaps even been released over a decade late! In any case, though, Ackk Studios’ dream of creating a Game Boy Color-like action-RPG for PC, 360, and OSx is not all that far-fetched — provided they get the backing on Kickstarter that they very much need and deserve. As the Kickstarter explains, you play as Roy Guarder: “a young inventor who begins to obsess with the idea of finding a new color on earth after a near death experience shows him an after life filled with color. Your brother, Bivare, who is also an inventor and explorer, soon takes on your obsession and you begin a quest.”

It sounds like a fantastic story, albeit utilizing a few familiar gaming tropes, but it looks so damn good that you really want to believe this project must come to fruition. According to Ackk, the game is 70% complete but in order to put the final finishing touches — side quests, support on different platforms, polishing — the developers need to raise their goal of $6,000. Comparatively, other indie game Kickstarters ask for far more. At any rate, you can pretty much place a pre-order of the game for $10. There’s little doubt in my mind that the game will receive the attention it requires to reach its goal, but I wanted desperately to share this promising prospect with you.

Check out the Kickstarter here or the trailer below if you want to see something awesome before making a donation!

Closure

Eyebrow Interactive’s Closure has won a lot of awards — and they’re well deserved too! Back when I wrote for DIYGamer, I did an article on Closure which, at the time, was a web-based entity having been submitted to the Independent Games Festival… and look where it is now! Closure has been heralded as a superb side-scrolling platformer by IndieCade, IGF, Indie Game Challenge, and just about anybody who has ever tried the game. Be that as it may, it had only been available on the PlayStation Network, but that’s about to change on September 7th.

Closure is coming to PC and Mac via Steam, and it will be available for $10. The platformer features a variety of levels in which the player must traverse the darkness and utilize light to their advantage, in the meantime solving puzzles and revealing the world as they go through it. It is a game that challenges your conception of what is there and forces you to think about what is not. As Eyebrow Interactive put it: “Only what you see exists.” That means if you jump into the darkness without light then you’re dead! When I initially tried Closure, I had no clue it would be this incredible award-winning effort it is today but I definitely knew it was special on account of its impeccable mechanics and inspiring art design.

On a side note, Closure will also be around at PAX at the Indie Megabooth for those of you attending the event. You can check the game out on its official website. Here’s the Steam release trailer:

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Closure’ Coming to Steam in September


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‘Luftrausers’ Flying High in New Teaser

Airplane combat games have grown their own niche in the indie community, with efforts such as Mini Squadron and Altitude gathering special praise and even lucrative attention. Created by Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman (better known at the time, I suppose, as Not Vlambeer) with the help of Paul Veer and KOZILEK, Luftrauser was an addictive airplane web-based airplane combat game available on a number of Flash/web-friendly sites like Newgrounds and Silver Games. Its sequel, Luftrausers, takes the sepia-monochrome enjoyment of the original and propels it to a higher level. Vlambeer seems proud of what the upcoming Luftrausers will play like — and it looks damn good, too.

They’ve enlisted the help of Devolver Digital this time around, who actually released the teaser you’re about to see. In this trailer, we are re-introduced to the game’s incredible (and familiar) art design as well as its gameplay. Coming to both PC and Mac, it seems the newest iteration of the game is suggested to be played with a gamepad — which sounds like it could make for an awesome experience. After all, Vlambeer have yet to let us down: Super Crate BoxThe Random EncounterRadical Fishing… that’s a stacked repertoire. It seems, then, pretty conducive to add Luftrausers to that list, especially after the development blog Rami put up at the beginning of August.

So here you go, check it out and see if you enjoy it. And if you do, just try the original Flash game until the full effort is out later this year.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Luftrausers’ Flying High in New Teaser


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IndieCade 2012 Nominees Announced

Every year, those in the indie community convene for a celebration of indie gaming known as IndieCade. Thus far, the convention’s home is in the artsy LA neighborhood of Culver City. Games and events are set up in different halls, lodges, theatres, and even a fire department station, with keynote speeches and panel discussions sprinkled about the area. Indie developers, keen on showing off whatever project they have been pouring their hearts into, come together to discuss methods, mechanics, and marketing. All of this leads up to the award ceremony, which showcases 36 innovative finalists and potential gaming gems. Oh and on that note, this year it will be hosted by Felicia Day!

For 2012, there are a variety of interesting nominees: board games, “big” games, Flash games, card games, etc. Some of them are playable now, but others require specific materials. In any case, they are games we want to play and games you (probably) want to play. So, without dragging this out any longer, here are the finalists for IndieCade 2012:

A Closed World – MIT GAMBIT Game Lab

Analogue: A Hate Story – Christine Love

Armada d6 - Eric Zimmerman and John Sharp

Beat Sneak Bandit - Simogo

BlindSide – Blacktorch Games

Bloop – Rusty Moyher

Botanicula – Amanita Designs

Cart Life – Richard Hofmeier

Chroma Shuffle – Sifteo

Contre Jour – Maksym Hryniv

Dreams of Your Life – Hide & Seek

Dyad – RSBLSB

Find Me a Good One – Andy Wallace

FTL: Faster Than Light - Subset Games

Gorogoa – Jason Roberts

Guacamelee! – DrinkBox Studios

Hidden in Plain Sight – Adam Spragg

Hit Me! – Kaho Abe

Hokra – Ramiro Corbetta

INTERFERENCE - Eric Zimmerman & Nathalie Pozzi

International Racing Squirrels – Playniac

Open Source – Super Soul

POP: Methodology Experiment One – Rob Lach

Prom Week - Expressive Intelligence Studio at UC Santa Cruz

Qasir al-Wasat: A Night in-Between – Aduge

Reality Ends Here – Jeff Watson, Simon Wiscombe, & Tracy Fullerton

Renga – wallFour

Splice – Cipher Prime

Staccato – NYU Game Center

Super Space – Alexander Baard & David Scamehorn

Tengami – Nyamyam

The Stanley Parable – Davey Wreden

Unmanned – molleindustria

Vornheim – Zak S.

Wooden Sen’SeY – Upper Byte

Yamove – NYU-Poly/NYU

For all the info on these games, including screens and previews, check out the official IndieCade Nominees page.

Perhaps some of you remember the announcement of Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe back in December of 2011 or maybe you have forgotten about it by now. Either way, this is good news — and some good indie game eye candy — as Andrew Morrish has published some awesome new screenshots for the upcoming PC release and they look mighty fine. What exactly is Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe? Well, it’s a game that seemingly combines several things we love: platforming, shooting, and Tetris-like match-3 gameplay mechanics.

Its first iteration, entitled Super Puzzle Platformer, is Flash-based and playable for free in your web browser (CAUTION: It might take you a few minutes or hours, because it can get uncomfortably addicting). I recommend that before you try it, you finish doing whatever else it is you have to do. That’s what I’m doing now: Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe is a bigger, badder, and more wholesome version of the original Flash-based concoction, adding things such as multiplayer, new levels, obstacles, characters, guns, and more. Its pixelated and colorful art design bears resemblance to Super Crate Box, but that’s not to take away from its very own unique twist in the match-3 department.

Slated for a PC release, one must wonder where else the game will end up, because it deserves to be iOS and Steam-bound, at the very least. Its multiplayer components (and hopefully achievements and leaderboard support) should fit right at home with Steam and Game Center, but thus far Morrish has only confirmed the game for PC. Stay tuned on this one, it’s going to be a whole lot of fun. Here’s proof:

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – New Screens for ‘Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe’


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F2P Game Show FPS ‘Bullet Run’ Now Live

It’s obviously difficult to call Bullet Run indie, seeing as how its developers, Acony Games, are being backed by both Hi-Rez Studios and Sony Online Entertainment. But when I spoke to Acony’s Iain Compton at E3 a couple months ago, he remained adamant that the development studio — filled with designers and programmers from previous free-to-play shooters such as APB and BattleForge — was still very much independent and that it had only been picked up for distribution by Sony late into the game’s development. Regardless, the fact that Bullet Run is a good-looking, frantically fun, and free first-person-shooter should be some indication that it’s a game worth checking out.

Officially, Bullet Run was released today and is available for download. It is set in a near-future reality TV and game show, where contestants murder each other and gain fame and fortune based on their performance in-game. It it multiplayer and online only, allowing for player progression by obtaining better equipment, weapons, and skins. Obviously enough, it utilizes in-game purchases as its main source of income, but nearly everything in the game is unlockable should you not want to spend any money on it. I had a blast with it at E3 and jumped into several games during the beta — it’s very fun.

So if you’ve got some time and are ready for a cool new free-to-play first-person-shooter, head on over to Acony’s official site for the game and get that client! Or you can also find it on Steam.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – F2P Game Show FPS ‘Bullet Run’ Now Live


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‘Pid’ Kid Meets His Enemy, The Crook, in This Trailer

Pid

In a trailer for what we can only assume is one of many bosses in Might & Delight‘s creative upcoming XBLA platformer, Pid, a young boy named Kurt meets The Crook. Kurt, the main character of the game, seems to be strolling about when a fearful personified balloon shoots at him and launches what appears to be a boss stage of some sort. The trailer is pleasantly creative and showcases that perhaps there’s much more to Pid than just some tired old formula of the indie platformer.

Pid has been confirmed for initial launch on the Xbox Live Arcade, but information at E3 seemed to indicate that the game would also see the light of day on the PlayStation Network and PC. It promises a campaign stacked with many puzzles and twists, and its perhaps one of the most exciting games to look forward to in terms of aesthetics. We’ll keep you posted on developments for Pid. In the meantime, though, enjoy this superb trailer:

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Pid’ Kid Meets His Enemy, The Crook, in This Trailer