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

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Mental Swedish game Pollo heads to Indiegogo

Pollo_1

Those crazy Swedes are at it again. When they’re not inflicting misery on the world by selling flat-packed furniture with screws missing (something which, at this stage, I’m sure is some sort of deliberate prank on an unsuspecting public) they’re making bizarre computer games, like Pollo.  In development by a new 3-man Swedish team, Pollo has just taken to Indiegogo in a bid to secure funding so that they can finish the title and distribute it on iOS, Mac and PC.

The game concept is wonderfully bonkers – A giant hen called Pollo and her chicks have been abducted, transformed into squares and placed in the stomach of a giant alien life-form orbiting the Earth. Due to having a few more right angles than before, Pollo is now thoroughly depressed and sets out to rescue her chicks and regain her roundness. Honestly, I’m not making this up.

That said, the game does look quite interesting, though the video accompanying the campaign doesn’t do a great deal to explain the mechanics, which can perhaps be explained by the fact that English clearly isn’t their first language. Hopefully if they’re successful they’ll be able to stretch to a good translator.

Gameplay takes place in a side-scrolling 2D world made up almost entirely of squares. Blocks will need to be moved, transformed, destroyed and all manner of other things – often involving lasers – so that Pollo can reach the chicks scattered throughout each level. After reaching each chick they need to be escorted to the level exit, where they will promptly become round again before being launched back to Earth.

Again: I’m not making this up.

Billed as a “puzzler, platformer / maze, shoot-em-up and sci-fi adventure”, there seems to be a veritable smörgåsbord of game mechanics to contend with. We hope the final game doesn’t end up feeling overwhelming as it actually does show some promise, with a clean and attractive visual style, catchy chiptune music courtesy of Goto80 and, of course, that mad concept.

€20,000 is being sought (which works out at around $27,500 or just under £17,000). So far they’ve only reached €14 towards that target, but they have 42 days left to go so there’s still plenty of time.

Take a look at their campaign over on Indiegogo, or have a watch of the trailer below.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Mental Swedish game Pollo heads to Indiegogo


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‘Toy Mania’ Beta Launches, Tablet Version on Display at PAX Australia

Toy Mania

The Voxel Agents, the Aussie-based developer responsible for the popular Train Conductor mobile titles, has released a beta build of its upcoming puzzle game Toy Mania – available to play now for free on Facebook.

Dubbed a ‘match many’ title, Toy Mania takes major inspiration from the Rubik’s Cube and has you frantically collecting toys in single-minute sessions. Connect matching colors by sliding rows and columns to help expand, speed up and otherwise improve your baubles. The game doesn’t have a trailer out yet, but since we love including video content in our posts: Here’s a quick profile piece on the team.


The Agents of Voxel are currently exhibiting at PAX Australia with a touch screen version of the game in tow. If you happen to be attending the event in Melbourne this weekend, track these incredibly friendly fellows down and give Toy Mania a spin – Master Chief already has.

[The Voxel Agents]

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Toy Mania’ Beta Launches, Tablet Version on Display at PAX Australia


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Ambitious Hack-and-Slash ‘Chrono Blade’ Announced, Trailer Released

Chrono Blade

Yesterday, nWay proudly revealed the first trailer for their upcoming hack-and-slash game, Chrono Blade. Featuring RPG elements combined with a classic arcade smash-em-up gameplay style, Chrono Blade could easily gain popularity from its clean visuals and addicting gameplay alone. But nWay has bigger plans for their debut title.

Chrono Blade is set in a parallel reality where Earth is under siege by an alien race capable of breaking through the boundaries of reality and invading other worlds. Players create a hero and fight back against these reality-bending aliens. Each hero has over 30 attacks which can be combined in various ways to form chain-attacks. Attacks can also be dodged, blocked, and countered, so skill and timing are integral.


Because the aliens can warp reality and travel through parallel universes, every zone has a unique theme to it and offers players new types of enemies to dispatch. As with most RPGs, players will unlock abilities through leveling up their character and utilizing progression points to fill up various skill trees.

nWay is launching Chrono Blade on Facebook first, but they plan to branch out to other platforms (Mobile/Open Web) down the line. The game will be easily accessible, as it requires no payments, and no large files to download. Players will be able to hop in and start playing instantly for both solo gameplay and co-op or player-verses-player action. Microtransactions will fund the game, but nWay promises that all purchasable items are either cosmetic or temporary boosts. Chrono Blade will not be pay-to-win.

nWay is being pretty ambitious with Chrono Blade, but if the game catches on, it has all the probability of becoming the next big thing.

Follow the developers on Twitter: @nWayGames and sign up for the beta testing on the official Chrono Blade website: chronoblade.com

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Ambitious Hack-and-Slash ‘Chrono Blade’ Announced, Trailer Released


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My Indie Dev Story – The Ball Guy And ‘Unstoppable’

Unstoppaball DX was my first major game. It’s interesting to look back at how I made it, and how it looked during the stages of development.

Unstoppaball

The final game looks like this:
But a long time ago before reaching that point, it was this:
I created this in a Unity-course at game-design-school. I have just learned the basics of the tool and was given the task to create a Pacman-clone in 3rd-person, within 1.5 days.
I experimented for half a day before coming to the conclusion that Pacman, without seeing the entire playing-field, would be no fun. So I “inverted” the level, turning corridors into catwalks and replacing my player-character with a physics-controlled ball. “Incrediball”, how I called it, was a blast. After a while people competed against each others to see who could get the better score, which was an amazing feeling.
Note how the very core of the game – moving a ball around a maze in isometric view – was already “finished”, and would remain the core of the game for the rest of the development.
Later I was given the assignment to create a full game in 4 months, and I chose to extend the prototype into a full game. Sadly the name “Incrediball” was already taken, so I fell back on “Unstoppaball“. I have an entire list of ball-puns.
Working in parallel to classes the game ended up looking like this after 2 months. The objects have been cleaned up and placeholders been replaced. The textures are still temporary.The original plan was to create 4 chapters á 10-15 level leach, with each chapter representing a dfferent art- and playstyle. I settled on “aqueduct”, “cyberspace”, “modern snowscape” and “crystal forest”, which all struck me as more interesting than “lava-world”. I shelved the latter two due to time-constraints and polished the first 2 chapters as much as possible for the last month, getting dozens of people to playtest it.
I also experimented with different gameplay-elements, such as jumppads, accelerators, wind-zones, crate-puzzles, enemies, shover-enemies, and several level-design-objects.
This is the release-version of Unstoppaball. Everything has been finalized and polished to a mirror shine. The 6+ weeks of playtesting have resulted in 30 unique, well-paced levels, which I have already culled from my initial 45. The game is fun, people laugh when playing it, and I am ecstatic.
After 4 months I handed in Unstoppaballand release it to the public. It got a grade of 100%, was the best game in class, and is still (one of) the biggest games created at the Design-Schule-Schwerin.I call that a whopping success!

Spin-Off: Metal Sphere Solid

For Ludum Dare 21 I created a small spin-off titled Metal Sphere Solid. It was a large level set in what was supposed to be the “modern snowscape”-setting, resulting in what is the best-designed level so far.

In addition to puzzles it also features characters, a story that weaves itself naturally into the gameplay and doesn’t interfere with it, stealth-based gameplay and battling enemies.

From the 599 games entered into the contest it ranked 42nd overall.

Unstoppaball DX

For my next step in my Indie-career I wanted to create a mobile-game. As luck would have it, I had one lying around, ready to being ported :)

In Unstoppaball DX (DX, because the HD-suffix is boring) you control the ball not by button or joystick, but by tilting the iDevice. This was massively fun, and improved the game a lot.
The new interface I created from scratch, making it more mobile-friendly. The soundtrack was extended to 8 songs in total. I threw out the mini-pickups, as they were rather boring. I also added a customization-feature (which I would later re-use in Badass Locomotive), with which you could customize the appearance of your ball, being able to chose between 6 cores and colors, ultimately resulting in 36 unique spheres.
I also had to adjust performance-wise. I removed a lot of polygons and changed all the materials to more efficient mobile-versions. I was forced to change the look of the second chapter, as the background-pillars were too cpu-intensive. I replaced it with an animated flat plane, which was much more efficient and visually interesting, and conveyed “cyberspace” a lot better.

Unstoppaball DX
has now been on the iOS AppStore for some time, where it fared quite well.

Features:

  • Made with no monetary budget (save for iOS-licenses)
  • 30 levels, all unique
  • 2 distinct art-styles
  • The largest ball-game made with Unity
  • 2-3 hours play-time
  • Soundtrack featuring 8 classical music-pieces
  • Ball-customization, with 36 unique combinations

 Achievements:

  • 25000+ downloads on iOS
  • 37th spot in the Kongregate/Unity-contest of February 2011, of ~600 entries
  • Still high ranking Unity-game on Kongregate
  • Nominated for an Unity-Award 2011 (student-game)
  • Presented at the Unite11 in San Francisco
  • Shown on the Unity-website as “good example of a Unity-game”, next to AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the AwesomeRochard,Jetpack Brontosaurus and others
  • Appeared on Rock Paper Shotgun, Joystiq, IndieGameMag

Conclusion

For something that began as a simple prototype I have gotten an incredible mileage out of this. It was my first game, and I have learned a lot during it development, not only game-design but also business-wise. It has been the foundation of my portfolio ever since, and lead to multiple instances of me being referred to as “The Ball-Guy”.

This article appeared originally on Matthew On Game Design
Written by Matthew
Do YOU have an Indie Dev story you’d like to tell? We’d love to hear it! Send it to us at editors@indiegamemag.com.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – My Indie Dev Story – The Ball Guy And ‘Unstoppable’


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Take Flight With Sweet ‘Little Dragon 3D’


Flyleap Studios, an Australian indie studio previously creating mods, announces the release of their first mobile game, Little Dragon 3D. The game is out on iOs and Android, so thanks to Flyleap for not making us wait several months for a Droid version!

Little Dragon 3D is described as a physics-based gliding game, but from the looks of the trailer, this is hardly a typical flinging-objects physics game. Instead, players learn to master the effects of wind resistance, lift, gravity and drift in the air as they learn and improve at dragon flight. Once the adorable little dragon is a competent flyer, players will have new flying challenges, with different maps and obstacles. Some are pre-existing levels, and some are randomly generated, but allare  composed of these eye-catching cell-shaded environments.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Take Flight With Sweet ‘Little Dragon 3D’


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Stuntman In Your Pocket: ‘Joe Danger’ Coming to iOS/Android

Having taken the console platforms by storm during the last couple of years, Hello Games’ acclaimed side-scrolling stuntbike hit Joe Danger is now making its way onto the mobile gaming scene.

With an iOS release now announced for the near future, and with an Android version also in the works, Hello Games’ co-founder, Sean Murray, has been quick to highlight the major differences between the smartphone ‘port’ and the versions you might have enjoyed on the Playstation Network or, more recently, the Xbox Live Arcade. In an interview with Gamasutra, Murray confirmed that a substantial array of touchscreen commands, including the ability to swipe the screen to initiate a wheelie and to nudge an airborne Joe in order to adjust his mid-air positioning, will be vital components of the new mobile edition of the game.

While Murray was also hesitant to quell rumours of a similar mobile conversion of the game’s upcoming sequel, Joe Danger: The Movie, he did mention that he was keen to explore the idea of being one of the first developers to offer a technically comparable mobile version alongside a major downloadable release, noting that Hello Games are still looking for feedback based on public response.

A solid release date for the mobile iteration of Joe Danger has yet to be announced, but the iOS version will be given its first public showing at PAX East this weekend.


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Mobile Mania and Beyond with Rocketcat Games [Interview]

From Hook Champ to Mage Gauntlet, RocketCat Games is one of the leading indie iOS developers. Thus far, every game they have made has garnered praise from gamers and gaming press alike, and there’s no surprises seeing as how they’ve all been fun. In this interview, RocketCat talks to DIYGamer about how it all started and where it’s headed, including a PC port of one of their games sometime this year.


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Global Game Jam Closes With 2295 Submissions

Game jams are probably my favorite place to find new games. I mean, how amazing is the environment of creation?  You’ve got talented, motivated designers get together and try to make a game in a short time span, coming up with ideas as quickly as possible and trying to implement them. I’m not that well-versed in the demands of game design, but I imagine one’s creative process would be chaotic in a situation like that.


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DLC Quest Sold Fairly Well And Other Going Loud Studio Stats

Ben Kane, from Going Loud Studios, has put up a bit of a “year in review” post-mortem piece on his blog that gives a pretty good indication of how things went. All in all, I would say not bad, but I still hope he can find success on other platforms, specifically for DLC Quest which, for those that didn’t know, was one of my favorite games of 2011. Also I reviewed it favorably.


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Z0MB1ES!!1 (on teh ph0ne) Landing on Windows Phone 7 January 4th

We don’t usually report on Windows Phone 7 games. Unfortunately, none of us editors have one. That said, when one of our very, very favorite indie developers and developer to one of our very favorite Xbox Live Indie Games releases a game onto WP7, we pay attention.