I am a sort of student of game design, which is to say I have someone teaching me and I am laughing hysterically at how little I know. That said, actual students of game design are..
Collectible card games – CCG’s – are a bit of a weird thing for me. I’ve always loved the core concepts of games such as Magic: The Gathering, but the actual gameplay never really grabbed me. However, instances where CCG elements have been transplanted into other genres such as Sony’s PoxNora, EA’s Battleforge, or even Mojang’s upcoming Scrolls, I find the whole experience more compelling. No longer are summoned creatures just illustrations on a piece of card, but units on the playfield with their own stats, abilities and movement ranges – a much more satisfying way to play, so I was intrigued when I was invited to a closed weekend play session of Abrakam’s upcoming browser-based CCG/Hex-based strategy game Faeria. Here’s how things went down:
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Last week had a somewhat heavy Ludum Dare focus (arguable like most weeks), so this week I will aim to avoid Ludum Dare, simply for a bit of verity. Today’s entry comes from the two man team at Toge Productions from Australia and is a very interesting zombie infection game.
Each level on Infectonator 2 you are given a scenario in one of the places around the world. In each of these scenarios you are given a variety of different goals for that scenario to complete. The goals range from the easy to the much more taxing and can take a significant time investment to complete them all, this is why the save feature does come in handy.
The infection mechanic is great and works well overall. There are upgrades that tie into the mechanics of the game which work well in adding additional levels of variety and customization.
The overall graphics styling has been very well put together in a great cartoon manner that adds a bit more of a light hearted take on this zombie epidemic. All the scenes have been lovingly created with a nice amount of variety, yet they all feel consistent within the theme the game portrays.
The audio has been put together well with a few interesting musical choices which vary enough to keep the music continually interesting. Although it has clearly been put a little bit on the back burner it ties into the game well and is something that cannot be complained about overall.
Average play time – less than an hour
Infectonator 2 is a fun little time waster which does feel repetitive after a short time, but it works perfectly as a minor distraction. It is well worth your time and has very well constructed gameplay mechanics that works well for its duration.
If you are a developer with A fun indie game that can be played over a coffee break, we want to hear from you! Private message us on twitter @IndieGameMag or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Indie Intermission” and you could be our indie intermission pick of the day!
On January 3rd, BeerDeer Games, a new (sort of) indie company located in the Czech Republic, announced their first game, Nyrthos. Nyrthos is a 2D action RPG that is fully playable within a browser along with both Android and iOS. The game consists of some beautiful 2d art styles and a fantastic storyline. In Nyrthos darkness is overtaking the land and consuming it and you’re there to stop it. A simple storyline really but at the same time I would say is pretty unique for a browser based 2d action RPG. With all of that said, BeerDeer Games has an update for us Nyrthos regarding release dates and pre-orders.
Pre-ordering Nyrthos will only cost $9.99 and will allow you to witness this game grow from the beginning. If you’ve pre-ordered the game already, BeerDeer Games expects players to come along with them for the development process starting on October 31st. All of that said BeerDeer Games has released an extremely epic trailer, in anticipation of the upcoming Alpha testing. Check it out below:
BeerDeer Games has worked on different projects in the past such as flash, web development and etc, so they aren’t very well known when it comes to making games. Thankfully, this particular game that they are creating looks like a lot of fun. Players have asked for some way to get into a pre-release for the game since the beginning and thankfully, BeerDeer Games have answered that call and are allowing that on the basis that you pre-order their game.
I’m really excited to give this title a try when it officially comes out. It reminds me of a few other indie titles that took on the style of Diablo. While this isn’t a Diablo styled game it does look really fun. Head on over the the Nyrthos website and give it a look!
I don’t think i need to tell anyone here what Newgrounds is, it has been one of the early driving forces in the indie games market being the defacto portal to visit for all your online gaming needs. Newgrounds has been running since the late nineties with its biggest boom in 2000 with its automated portal and has ever since its birth been an independently held company and remains to be so.
However of late as the competition from other web portals has starkly increased with the level of investment from outside sources vastly increasing Newgrounds has taken a hit in revenue. As the traffic has stayed consistent the ad revenue has steadily dropped, Newgrounds is now looking for the community to support them with their new subscription “supporters upgrade”. The subscription costs $25 for year which gives you many benefits from forum badges and labels to the removal of advertisements across the site which actually allows the site to load much quicker giving you a much better experience overall.
So why does Newgrounds factor into the indie community so largely? Newgrounds has been a long standing way for new developers to put up ideas for games and prototypes. It has showcased some fantastic titles from independents that have later gone on to be developed into full titles. I remember games such as Alien Hominid arriving on Newgrounds in 2002 and was later ported to console, along with developers like Edmund McMillan publishing many titles on Newgrounds it has really been at the heart of the indie community.
For the longest time Newgrounds has been the site for indies to get noticed and the recognition, along with the fan base they have needed in order to become established. It is now time for us to help out Newgrounds by showing our support. You can sign up to Newgrounds as a supporter here.
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:
I’ve been meaning to play Deepak Fights Robots for a while now, but whenever I took a glance at it, I was always either too busy, or my paypal account was running worringly dry. Neither of those is an issue anymore as of today, though! While the game itself is still available to buy as a full desktop release, there’s a new, ad-supported browser version for us all to play and hide away in a tab just in case we need to look like we’re working.
Deepak Fights Robots is another game by Tom Sennett, and if you’re familiar with his work at all (such as RunMan: Race Around The World) you know what to expect. Bright colours, MSPaint doodles, remarkably tight level design and a jazzy, easygoing edge to it all. In this case, we’ve got a Bubble Bobble-inspired platformer where family-man and office worker Deepak is transported to the MAGICAL CAVE OF ROBOTS by the mysterious RoboPimp – the funkiest of all the robots.
Funk is order of the day here. While the joyfully silly MSPaint art and cycling colour palette is good by itself, the music (by the fantastic Family FUNKtion and the Sitar Jams) elevates it to some seriously heady heights. A mix of acid jazz, rock and classical Indian elements all thrown in a blender and cranked up to high. This is a game all about simple, pure fun, and there’s a certain flavour here that you just don’t find anywhere else.
While the game is inspired heavily by Bubble Bobble, it’s by no means a clone. Your goal is still to clear a series of single-room levels of enemies, beating a big boss every ten or so (introduced by RoboPimp, who drops some funky beat poetry on you first), but the approach is very different. There’s no fire button here – nothing beyond moving left, right and jumping, and touching any enemy is instant death. Your goal is simply to pick up all the powerup items in the level. Once you’ve grabbed those, a final one appears, and picking it up turns you into SUPER-DEEPAK and lets you bounce wildly around the screen, punching robots asunder. And then you do it again.
So, without any means of attack until the level itself is cleared, it’s a game of avoidance. It’s also a puzzle game. Some levels you might be up against a robot clone of Deepak that copies your exact movements, but mirrored, and you need to exploit movement quirks and moving platforms in order to avoid bumping into it. The levels also wrap left-to-right and top-to-bottom, which makes for some clever movement puzzles, especially later on where some levels have no floor or ceiling at all. It could have been frustrating, but the game gives you infinite lives, and some of the robots even apologize when they kill you. It’s not their fault they want to murder you – they were just programmed that way.
So, why are you reading this? Or, worse yet, being productive? Play the damn thing. It’s bright and silly and funky and fun. The commercial version of the game has a bunch of extra features, such a level editor and survival mode. Reason enough to throw down $5 or so if you dig the browser version and want more.
Playing through the first dozen levels of block-pushing action-puzzler Think Tank, I had this nagging feeling at the back of my mind. That sneaking sensation that I’ve seen this style before, but not quite like this. After beating the first boss stage, I figured it out. Cactus really is inspiring more and more indie developers. There’s definitely an edge of his style mixed in here, although the game is by two Newgrounds regulars – Manly-Chicken & Pjorg.
It’s the aesthetic, really. First-gen Mac style graphics, perhaps. Monochrome with a shifting background colour, and halftone shading. That, and the strangely twisted sense of humour – as you navigate your blocky little robo-tank around the various levels, pushing crates, dodging bombs and dropping through exits, you’re guided by a rather disconcerting-looking scientist. For someone who claims to need your help, he’s rather dismissive of your abilities.
There’s a little story here – you’re the control program for a series of expendable robot tanks, trapped in a building with your creator (presumably) and a mad bomber who might not be quite so mad. The little snippets of story help keep things rolling, but the focus of the game is familiar enough material. You’ve got no guns, and no means to defend yourself (at least at first). You navigate mazes full of deep pits (which are all too easy to fall into) and stationary or floating mines, push crates onto buttons and progress, while occasionally bumping into a boss battle that requires you to really stretch your dodging and pushing skills.
As a piece of design it’s nothing too spectacular, but the aesthetics, the quirky writing and the droning-yet-intense soundtrack make it worth a look. Just don’t expect it to be easy – there’s an achievement for completing the game in under 150 deaths. A number which is very easy to reach. You can play Think Tank now on Newgrounds, and it should work on any Flash-friendly browser.
Now here’s a rousing testament to both the value of a dedicated and loving fanbase, and also proof positive that you don’t need high-poly graphics, professional sprite art or an orchestral soundtrack to raise some money in the indie sphere. We first reported on Tales of Fallen London: The Silver Tree a few days back, but the Kickstarter itself only went live today, only to shoot straight past the (admittedly small) $10,000 target within hours. With over a month remaining, it’ll be interesting to see just how much they can raise.
A turn-based, narrative (and mostly textual) RPG running on the same game engine behind Fallen London, The Silver Tree is the first in a planned series of standalone (although still browser-based) adventures set in the same universe as Fallen London, but expanding greatly on the lore and other locations that have been coyly hinted at throughout the various tangled plot-threads of the parent game, but never fully explored until now. Here’s the pitch video to lay out the concept for you:
You can put down a preorder on The Silver Tree via the Kickstarter page now, which will get you access to various additional story arcs – the core story itself is going to be completely free – and the higher donation levels bring various perks and rewards to active players of Failbetter Games’ original grand outing, Fallen London; the game formerly known as Echo Bazaar. It’s quite heartening to see so much interest in such an unconventional branch of gaming. Even within RPGs and interactive fiction, Fallen London is a unique and unusual piece of work. It’s good to know there’s a solid (and apparently growing) audience for it.
Oh dear. I apparently would make a terrible horse. Possibly an even worse unicorn – that horn is a worrying liability, and an effective pivot point if they ever end up face-down on the ground, which I seem to do most of the time here. Prolific freeware developer and casual sadist Bennet Foddy has released another game, and once again, it is both cruel and unusual. Follow-up to his celebration of olympian failure, QWOP, now you can pretend to be a cantering unicorn in CLOP.
There’s not really much to say here; you’re a graceful unicorn (who is categorically Not Good At Hills) who has been told that there’s a virgin maiden just over the steep hill before him. Naturally, it is your sworn duty as a horned horse to canter this way and yon and into her innocent heart! Unfortunately, your only control over the equine protagonist is four buttons, each one bound to independently control a separate limb. Prepare for embarrassment.
It’s easier than QWOP, but that’s not saying much. Those extra two legs afford you a lot more stability when you’re not moving, but you’ve got to cover a long stretch of complex terrain, and there’s every chance that you’re going to end up flipped over and mocked mercilessly by your ‘friend’ at the start. Have hope, though! I’m sure there’s some technique to it… especially as there seems to be golden target stars floating way above the level. How do you get to them? I don’t know yet. Time to try again (and again, and again) and find out.