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

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Maze Mover: iPad/PlayBook Treat from AlmostLogical Software

We don’t get to hear about PlayBook games often enough. Fortunately, I am 1 for 1 when it comes to stumbling across indie PlayBook games that deviate positively from the norm. AlmostLogical Software has released today a puzzle within a puzzle game called Maze Mover for both the PlayBook and the iPad.

For $1.99, players are treated to over 60 puzzles with challenges beyond solving the puzzle; there are rewards for both the fastest time and the fewest moves. Maze Mover has some interesting twists to help it stand out among other puzzle games: the puzzle itself can be manipulated by both the player and the environment.

As seen in the trailer, players can move the puzzle pieces to help the ball escape, or they can use markers on the environment such as the arrows to spin the pieces around. I wished the trailer showed a little more so I could tell people more about it, but at $2, the mechanics look fun enough for me!

Maze Mover was created by a team of three: the game by Devin Reimer, graphics by Calin Reimer, and music by Liam Berry. Devin seems rather pleased with using Adobe’s AIR to develop the game, and hopefully he will exapnd on his experience with that in the future.

Buy Maze Mover for $1.99 on BlackBerry’s PlayBook or Apple’s iPad today.


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IndieCade 2011 Finalists Revealed!

IndieCade is a fantastic event. I wish I could attend this year but the 1000-ish mile trip is just not in the ol’ budget right now (I blame the airline industry). But that doesn’t mean we won’t be talking about the event because, well, it’s pretty damn amazing! There’s not another single event that is this dedicated to indie games and developers.

Anyway, enough gushing about the event (you should go if you’re in LA by the way!) I’m sure you just want to see some games.

So here they are! IndieCade 2011’s chosen finalists:

Antichamber
(Demruth)

Antichamber is a surreal, exploration puzzle game, set within a non-Euclidean labyrinth of manipulable geometry. Explore a vibrant and deceptive world, where space can change, nothing is as it seems, and the puzzles abound with non-traditional mechanics. Antichamber, designed by Alexander Bruce, is packed to the brim with intelligent and unique puzzle designs that provide a metaphor for how we live our lives. An earlier version of the game, previously entitled Hazard: The Journey of Life, was presented at the IndieCade E3 Indie Games Showcase in 2010.

At a Distance
(Terry Cavanagh)

“At a distance” is a cooperative two player asymmetric puzzle game designed by Terry Cavanagh about solitude in shared experiences. One player is an explorer, the other a storyteller. “At a distance” was designed to be played with people coming and going throughout the game, and is a strong example of design focused on evoking emotion in interactive experience. Terry’s prior work, VVVVVV, was a finalist at IndieCade 2010.

BasketBelle
(Michael Mollinari)

BasketBelle is an adventure game that uses a basketball mechanic to interact with its narratives. Through flashbacks and memories of his life, the main character learns tricks from his all-star father (and recalls other significant events that help him deal with the challenges in his life. BasketBelle merges expressive, hand-drawn visuals and audio together to help tell story, to provide smooth and responsive controls during play, and to create a bond between player-character that’s just as meaningful as that found between the family members in the game. A work in progress, BaketBelle was chosen for the festival for its beautiful visual and auditory design elements and unique story-based gameplay.

Bistro Boulevard
(Fugazo Inc.)

In Bistro Boulevard, from Fugazo Inc., you will hire staff, pick the menu, and decorate your restaurant to turn one modest diner into a promenade of five-star restaurants. Inspired by the rising popularity of food-oriented games and television shows, Bistro Boulevard is a simple sim game that places the player in the role of general manager of a series of restaurants. Bistro Boulevard’s creative reworking of common cultural and game elements makes a compelling experience for a wide audience.

BIT.TRIP FLUX
(Gaijin Games)

The BIT.TRIP series, by Gaijin Games, comes full-circle with BIT.TRIP FLUX. Ride along with CommanderVideo for classic paddle-based gameplay as as he completes his mission and returns… home. BIT.TRIP FLUX explores what it means to return to “the source” after death, and integrates retro aesthetics with modern sensibilities to create compelling gameplay. Available on WiiWare. Some suggested text for this: BIT.TRIP FLUX brings the beloved BIT.TRIP series full circle (both literally and figuratively) to creative a sophisticated evolution of classic gaming. Imagine Pong evolving from a single-celled animal into a complex organism, in which the elegantly simple paddle mechanics yields a seemingly infinite array of emergennt gameplay in a beautifully abstract pixelated world. An indie success story, BIT.TRIP FLUX is now available on WiiWare.

Black Bottom Parade
(SCAD)

Black Bottom Parade, played on an interactive table, was created by a group of students from Hong Kong and Atlanta, at Savannah College of Art and Design. Building on the New Orleans tradition of the jazz funeral, players control a band of three musician grim reapers leading a group of deceased revellers across a 1920s New Orleans take on the River Styx. The revelers, unaware of their absinthe-soaked demise, continue to dance and party as the band accompanies them on trip through purgatory on a high flying unstable platform. Black Bottom Parade effectively leverages of the aesthetics of Mardi Gras to heighten the emotion and complexity of the interactive experience.

Deepak Fights Robots
(Tom Sennet)

Deepak Fights Robots is Bubble Bobble cross-bred with Pac-Man, art directed by Keith Haring, conducted by The Incredible Hulk, and performed by the P-Funk All Stars. Players take the role of Deepak, a regular guy thrown into a vividly colored and wildly imaginative puzzle platformer world to earn superhero powers and defeat robotic villains. Deepak Fights Robots is an adventure platformer that highlights the creativity of independent designers, with a beautiful and unique audio-visual style.

Desktop Dungeons
(QCF Designs)

Desktop Dungeons by QCF Designs is a quick-play puzzle roguelike that tasks players with completing a randomly generated, single screen dungeon as part of a larger unlock-heavy metagame. Uniquely, the game treats exploration as a resource: Revealing new areas of the dungeon regenerates health and manna, forcing players to consider their next moves carefully. Desktop Dungeons ingeniously leverages a niche, hard-core game style into an accessible casual game, earning it a devoted following of indie game fans.

FEZ
(Polytron Corp.)

Created by Phil Fish, FEZ started out as a simple gameplay mechanic: explore 3D worlds from 2D perspectives. From there, its development has changed several times, moving into cycles about the artistic and presentational style and forward into development focused on mood and emotion. The game plays as a traditional 2D platformer where you can freely rotate the world in 90 degree increments to explore and navigate 3D structures from 4 distinct 2D points of views. FEZ creates a calm, contemplative, lonely exploration/puzzle game. there are no enemies, no lives, no health, no penalty for death. FEZ is notabe for its interesting and resonant core mechanic, and its ‘microcosm of modern indie games’ development history.

Gamestar Mechanic
(E-Line Media)

Gamestar Mechanic, from E-Line Media, is a an adventure game in which you fix and make your own games to progress. Gamestar Mechanic began with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to the University of Wisconsin Madison to research whether systems thinking could be taught *through* a game rather than “on top of” a game–a game where the core mechanic was game design itself. Independent designer Katie Salen helped develop the game, which is now part of the game-based curriculum of New York’s experimental Quest to Learn School, which Salen directs. Gamestar Mechanic engages players in the process of computer programming while joyously reflecting on modern game design.

Geobook
(levitylab)

Geobook, from Experimental Gameplay Workshop veteran Chaim Gingold, is a playful, child-like, beautifully designed reenvisioning of the book that introduces basic concepts of geology through text and interactive illustrations. What if your geology book’s illustrations were alive, and you could touch them? What if epic time and scale of geologic processes we reduced to a sandbox that a child could reach into and play with? Geobook’s non-traditional approaches to interactivity create engaging and open ended learning environments that as fun as they are educational.

Halcyon
(stfj)

Halcyon, a unique action puzzle game for iPad designed by Zach Gage, is named for the mythological bird of ancient Greece, said to charm the winds and seas into a calm during the Winter Solstice. Colored currents travel inexorably toward each other. Strum the strings to match the currents, creating both phonic and visual harmony. Part musical instrument, part toy, halcyon is a minimalistic artistic puzzle and a tool for creation through play that redefines the term “game.”

Hero Generations
(Heart Shaped Games)

With its goal of creating meaningful games, Heart Shaped Games’ Hero Generations is a unique strategy/artgame offspring of beloved games like Civilization, Passage, and The Legend of Zelda. Your goal is to build a multi-generation legacy one hero at a time. Gameplay revolves around a single question: given a limited lifespan, how should you spend your time? Hero Generations synthesizes multiple complimentary game mechanics to create a lightweight, simple experience that imbues the essence of the mood of those games with new insight and relevance.

Hohokum
(Honeyslug and Richard Hogg)

In the enchanting world of Hohokum, players control a colourful space worm, winding through a city under attack to rescue its innocent citizens on its back. This elegant mechanic yields rich emergent outcomes as you explore its affordances within a variety of simple yet deftly designed environments. A collaboration between indie developer Honeyslug and artist Richard Hogg, Hohokum tightly integrates gameplay and art style, allowing the game and puzzle designs to grow directly from the work between the artist and designers.

Improviso
(GAMBIT)


Improviso, a collaboration between GAMBIT and the MIT Media Lab, is a game about ACTING! Players are paired online as the Lead Actor and Director of a low-budget science fiction movie. Improviso explores how the user interface and framing of a game can lead ordinary players to engage in dramatic improv, even if they have no prior experience acting or storytelling. Improviso was chosen to highlight the inventive and exciting choice to create a multiplayer game that grows from rules and systems of improv, and encourages cooperative play in a totally different frame than a typical video game.

Johann Sebastian Joust
(Douglas Wilson and Friends)

Johann Sebastian Joust is a music-based physical jousting game by Douglas Wilson, designed for two to six players with motion controllers and smart phones. The goal is to jostle your opponents’ controllers while keeping your accelerometer sufficiently still. Inspired by playground and folk games, J.S. Joust is a performative game that encourages a range of expressive gameplay in a curated and designed space, within a set of minimal and elegantly designed rules.

Kiss Controller
(Georgia Tech)

Kiss Controller, designed by Georgia Tech Ph.D. student and media artist Hye Yoon Nam, is an experimental art project in which users control a bowling game by moving their tongues while kissing. Kiss Controller explores the notion of the “intimate interfaces” that engages users in the emotional experience of a kinetic act through intimate interaction. Inspired by technology developed for disabled computer-users, Kiss Controller contrasts with typical embodied game systems, such as the Wii and Kinect, by leveraging a novel interface to create a unique and subtle experience distinct from typical video gameplay.

Loop Raccord
(Nicolai Troshinsky)

Loop Raccord, designed by Nicolai Troshinsky, is a video editing game about synchronising a chain of video clips in order to create an illusion of continuous movement between them. Inspired by the work of Peter Greenaway and exploring traditional video editing techniques, “Loop Raccord” uses cinematographic language as gameplay. Players get into a flow as they gain mastery at this a simple, abstract task that is transformed into a compelling interactive experience. Loop Raccord harkens back to the era of “interactive cinema” while at the same time introducing a unique and original way to interact with the film medium.

Ordnungswissenschaftr
(Till Wittwer, Marek Plichta, Jakob Penca)

“Ordnungswissenschaft” is a physical game in which four players rearrange stacked boxes according to rigid instructions. The players are part of a narrow procedural system and thus become machine-like. “Ordnungswissenschaft” was developed by Till Wittwer, Marek Plichta and Jakob Penca during the Play 10 festival. The interactions of the central procedural machine (the players), become a reflexive and insightful look at interactions between human beings.

Papa Sangre
(Somethin’ Else)

Papa Sangre, from Somethin’ Else, is a video game with no graphics. Your own footsteps echo eerily in Papa Sangre’s palace: a Day of the Dead-themed hell-hole immersed in darkness. Using only sound to navigate, avoid the bad things, find the good things, rescue the soul of someone you love, do the right thing, escape. The first ever on-the-fly binaural audio game on a handheld device, Papa Sangre uses audio to create environments and challenges, leveraging the player’s imagination to evoke emotional responses.

Application Crunch (Pathfinder)
(Collegology Games, Game Innovation Lab)

Application Crunch, developed by Collegology Games at USC’s Game Innovation Lab working with CHEPA, is a card game about high school students aspiring to apply, get into, pay for, and do well in college. Manage your time in order to build competitive applications and submit them to colleges and scholarships before their deadlines pass. Pathfinder captures the spirit of applying to college, and rather than ‘gamifying’ it, finds the natural games students are playing, and uses its mechanics to make that system more understandable to the player.

PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew
(Incredible Ape)

PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew, from Incredible Ape, is a game where two people use microphones to cooperatively control a single space man and fight an onslaught of geometric shapes. PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew is a humor game, but not a traditional humor game – it leverages a unique control scheme to turn a simple multiplayer mechanic an incredibly entertaining party game.

Kaleidoplay (Play Kalei)
(loadcomplete)

Kaleidoplay, from loadcomplete, offers up a uniquely fun and relaxing puzzle experience on your iPad. Building on the classic analogue experience of viewing the world through a kaleidoscope, the objective is simple yet absorbing: find the point on the photograph that matches the variegated kaleidoscope image. Kaleidoplay exploits a simple interaction based on a familiar folk toy to create a highly engaging interactive experience.

Proteus
(Ed Key)

Proteus, developed by Ed Key, depicts a musical wilderness environment in four seasons. It uses a bold visual style of shifting solid colors to paint mesmerizing scenes and dizzying altered states, and a reactive music system which allows the player to explore the environment as a piece of music. Proteus creates a true exploration space for the player, using basic audiovisual interactivity to create beautiful rewards driven by the player’s attention in the game.

Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure
(Untold Entertainment)

Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure was created by Cassie Creighton, age 5, with her father Ryan, age 33. Cassie illustrated and voiced the short but (incredibly) sweet point-and-click adventure game. Sissy loves ponycorns–pony/unicorn hybrids–and endeavours to collect them in a series of jars given to her by a mysterious benefactor named OrangeBoy. Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure exemplifies the collaborative nature of game design, and the imaginative opportunities to stretch the boundaries of games and interactivity.

Skulls of the Shogun
(Haunted Temple Studios)

A favorite of indie game fans everywhere, Skulls of the Shogun, from Haunted Temple studios, combines deep strategy with arcade speed, letting players take turns controlling their armies of phantom samurai in the lush & eerie samurai afterlife. Skulls of the Shogun streamlines its gameplay to increase accessibility and make for a fast paced, intensely fun, multiplayer experience.

Solar 2
(Murudai)

In some games you see stars in the background, you shoot asteroids or you live on planets. But in Solar 2 you ARE these objects! Solar 2, designed by Murudai, is an open-world, sandbox game set in an infinite abstract universe. You can play constructively and grow your system naturally, or destructively, crashing into other objects and causing chaos. Solar 2 literally and uniquely makes a game out of the physical laws of the universe.

StarDrone
(Beatshapers, Tastyplay)

StarDrone, from Beatshapers, is a high-speed action thriller with a mix of arcade action, pinball, breakout, physics and a collect-the-objects mechanic that is intelligently utilizes the Playstation Move controller. Cause your attackers to crash with rapid speed while collecting gems and power-up enhancements. StarDrone’s high-energy, classic, arcade gameplay integrates modern exploration sensibilities and gestural control schemes.

superHYPERCUBE
(Kokoromi)

superHYPERCUBE, from Kokoromi, is a game about holes, and the cubes that love them. It explores the vast, mostly unexplored TRON-like tundra of stereoscopy and head tracking in games. Originally produced for GAMMA 3D in Montreal, superHYPERCUBE is a public installation that literally takes the classic game Tetris into the third dimension as you try to rotate increasingly complex cube constellations to fit into a series of rectilinear holes. Presented as an art game, SuperHYPERCUBE’s well-designed 3D mechanics are leveraged to create unique and inventive puzzles on par with mainstream games in the genre..

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
(Superbrothers, Capybara Games, Jim Guthrie)

Described by its creators as a “psycho-social audio visual experiment, a meandering mytho-poetic adventure…”, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is an exploratory action adventure with an emphasis on audiovisual style. Traverse a mythic realm, use a sword to do battle and evoke sworcery to solve mystical musical mysteries. S:S&S EP is also an inhabitable music album designed for a broad, literate audience. The game’s beautiful aesthetic visual and audio design support one another and reinforce the mood and aesthetic of the gameplay.

The Bridge
(Case Western)

The Bridge is a 2.5-D puzzle platformer that forces players to reevaluate their preconceptions of physics and perspective. Manipulate gravity to redefine the ceiling as the floor, and venture through impossible architecture in this original approach to the puzzle platformer genre, a beautifully illustrated adventure hand-drawn and set in the style of a black-and-white lithograph. The Bridge’s individual puzzles are also meticulously crafted beautiful art objects in their own right.

The Depths to Which I Sink
(Bigpants)

Descend into tubes, pass through hoops, avoid moving walls and smash windows into pieces. In the Depths to Which I Sink, created by Bigpants, stereoscopic 3D is an integral part of the gameplay – not just graphics. It’s impossible to play without 3D glasses. Your screen becomes a cube, and you will feel like you’re floating inside of it. The goals and objectives force the player to think in Z – not just X and Y. The Depths to Which I Sink uses 3D to enrich gameplay and the player’s experience.

The Dream Machine
(Cockroach Ink.)

The Dream Machine, developed by Cockroach Ink, is a point & click adventure game in a world made of clay and cardboard. You play as Victor and Alicia, a couple who’ve just moved into a new apartment. While trying to get settled in, they soon discover that all is not as it seems in the quiet, unassuming apartment building. The Dream Machine aims return us to the sensibilities of childhood, a time when you did things purely for the joy of the doing. Its hand-crafted aesthetics support and enrich this very well-executed adventure game.

The Swapper
(Facepalm Games)

The Swapper is a space-themed ambient sidescrolling puzzle platformer set in a semi-open world. Created by Facepalm Games, the game’s main mechanics are set around creating clones and swapping consciousnesses using a special device. One of the original inspirations for The Swapper was P.C. Jersild’s novel “A Living Soul”, a story told from the perspective of a brain separated from a body, living in a aquarium in a research facility. The Swapper inventively leverages its central mechanic to both create puzzles but also to allow story to emerge.

The Witch
(Elizabeth Swensen)

The Witch, by Elizabeth Swensen, is a single-player narrative game for the iPad. The player takes the role of a young girl masquerading as a witch in order to navigate the physical and social space of her paper storybook. The girl can alter her disguise for different situations by playing into or against the rumors that other characters spread about her. These words change how she is seen and they change the way the story is told. In this way, the words themselves are witchcraft. The Witch’s inventive linguistic interaction leverages the social power of language to invest the game with meaning.

Way
(CoCo & Co)

WAY, an exploratory puzzle game designed by CoCo & Co, invites strangers around the world to collaborate in creating a shared gestural language online. By puppeteering their avatars (freely controlling limbs to wave, point, nod and more), two anonymous players must communicate nonverbally to solve puzzles. Way’s inventive multiplayer puzzles provoke players to cooperate and communicate in novel ways using the affordances of the virtual space.

Whew! That’s quite the list! Some of them are a bit odd, like the Kiss Controller and Application Crunch and a few are already pretty well known (Desktop Dungeons, FEZ, Solar 2, etc.) but overall I’d say it’s a great list. I can’t wait to play a bunch of these games.

Do you have a favorite? Is there a particular game here you’d love to play? Let us know in the comments!

Those of you interested in attending IndieCade can sign up via their website below. The annual conference is taking place from October 8th-9th this year.

(All descriptions are from IndieCade.com)

[IndieCade]


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Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack Launches for Kamikaze Enthusiasts on iOS/Android

Those Serious Sam games are fun right? Seriously! Running around with all manner of batsh*t insane weaponry blowing everybody and everything up that you can. Try as some might, there’s just not another game out there that supplies the kind of rampant violence and destruction on the most ridiculous levels that Serious Sam does. But really… Sam is kind of a dick to those poor Kamikazes.

Now, if you ever wanted a chance to take on the role of the infamous Serious Sam baddie, here you go. newly released this morning Croteam and Devolver Digital, with indie studio Be-Rad Entertainment, have released a brand new iOS/Android game called Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack and you play as the Kamikaze trying to blow up Sam.

It looks to essentially be a running platformer, like Canabalt or any of the other thousand games like it out there. Only with this game you actually have a goal: catch and kill Sam. Not that he’ll be making it easy on you what with his wide array of weapons. Still, with a little finesse and grace you can possibly, maybe, kamikaze bomb him. Both of you will die, of course, but you’ll still win! And that’s the important part.

That game comes with 40 levels and currently costs $0.99 on the Android marketplace and iOS app store. Apparently this is just the launch price so if you wait too long you could see that price increase. Download via the links below.

[Android, iOS]

Trailer


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A Realtime Multiplayer Tower Offense Game: Age of Defenders

Tower “offense” game? I bet you’re wondering right if that was a mistake on my part, or if I’m somehow confused on what the genre ‘tower defense game’ is exactly. Nope, I’m well aware of each in fact! It just so happens that Age of Defenders is much more offensive than it’s genre-like cousins. Something that’s very cool, in my opinion.

Let’s be honest, at this point there’s very little to do with the tower defense genre that hasn’t already been done. Sure some people are making 3D TD games, but that’s really more of just a perspective change than any sort of revolutionary or evolutionary gameplay change. All in all, I’m quite bored of the genre as a whole… which is why I’m actually fairly impressed with what Age of Defenders offers: a multiplayer offensive/defensive tower game.

Essentially what Age of Defenders does is create a battle scenario similar to many TD games. You have your base which you must protect from a wave of incoming enemies by placing towers. What makes it different is that you’re playing against another human opponent and your goal isn’t just to survive but to also attack the opposing players base. To do this you’ll need, as you can probably imagine, offensive units. Hence the genre: tower offense.

The game looks really cool and can be played for free right now in your browser. There are also versions coming out for iOS, Android, Blackberry Tablet OS, Windows, Linux, OSX and Facebook. The cool part about it is that the plan is to allow for cross-platform play across this very wide spectrum of platforms. So, for example, an iOS player would be able to play against an Android player (let the real smartphones wars begin!).

So go check out the browser version. The game is pretty slick and looks like a lot of fun. If you don’t have time for that, give the trailer below a watch. Again, it’s very impressive…

[Age of Defenders]

Trailer


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Kairosoft Scores Another One… Pocket League Story [Review]

Just about this time last year, our old friend Michael Rose (who currently does great things at IndieGames.com) wrote a review about the then little known game development management simulation game Game Dev Story. Soon after the game became one of the most popular smart phone games amongst gamers due to its subject matter and genuine fun. Seriously, it was a great game, proven by just how much Michael enjoyed it.

Since then, Japanese indie developers Kairosoft have gone on to release other simulation titles in the same style like Hot Springs Story (where you manage a popular Hot Springs inn), Grand Prix Story (where you manage a racing team) and, as of this week, Pocket League Story, a game which strives to bring soccer club management to smart phones.

So I’m not going to beat around the bush and go on and on about this or that. I mean, I will if you keep reading, but let me cut to the chase really quick: if you enjoyed any of Kairosoft’s other sim games, you will enjoy Pocket League Story. It’s as simple as that. The mechanics are the essentially the same.

Now that that’s out of the way I’ll resume with the traditional review…

Essentially what Pocket League Story is about is managing a soccer (football) club. Those of you, like myself, who are very passionate about the world’s game will find that many of the basic aspects of the sport are kept true in the game, something that’s very reassuring. For example, a win gets you three points, a draw 1 point and a loss no points. Sometimes games like this can tweak the original sport to make it better for casual gamers or non-sports fans. Luckily, Kairosoft did not. You are running a soccer club and you’re building your team to play honest, legitimate soccer.

What Kairosoft has done here is created one of the most perfect soccer management simulation games possible on a screen with very limited real estate on a platform that’s not really designed to hold your attention for a few hours worth of gameplay, as is the case with the PC’s fantastic Football Manager series (which has destroyed more hours of my life than I’d prefer to admit).

In the game you’ll be able to hire/negotiate with players, build new facilities, send out players on fan services (to create more fans) and, as you’d expect, play matches. It’s a remarkably simple system that is both easy to learn and understand, but also deep enough so that you feel like you have full control of managing a team. You can even fire and hire new coaches if you want.

Of course, the ultimate goal of the game is to win matches. Doing so requires training and leveling up your players with new skills. This is automatically done when players are simply milling about your training field, but you can also increase individual stats by giving them specialty training. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to give players key advantages in certain areas of the soccer field.

And then we have the coup de grace… once you’ve trained your players up you’ll naturally want to have them play a match. When this happens, you actually get to see your little players passing, crossing, and shooting for goals. It’s quite fun to watch and, at times, can almost feel just as nail biting as a real soccer match, especially if you have a lot on the line.

There’s a lot more to Pocket League Story than I could ever get into in a single review, but suffice it to say, it’s a great smart phone simulation game. If you enjoy those types of games, or even enjoy games like Football Manager, then you should probably check this one out. It’s been more than worth my investment.

Pocket League Story is available on Android right now for $4.99. It’s not yet available on iOS, but I would assume it’ll be there soon.

[Pocket League Story]


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Hands-On: Word Fighter [PAX Prime 2011]

[DIYGamer correspondent Ken Ellis made the rounds all over the main hall and up through Indie Alley at PAX Prime this past weekend; attending several appointments with developers and demo sessions for dozens of games in the process. Over the next week he'll be passing on his thoughts and impressions on as many as his brain and notepad can recall. Next up, his hands-on time with Feel Every Yummy's Word Fighter.]

PAX Prime offered up a plethora of unique Indie games this past weekend. One of my stand out games by far during the expo was PAX 10 finalist Word Fighters.

Word Fighters is a game from Feel Every Yummy that, at first glance, may remind you of Puzzle Fighter but what Tetris was to Puzzle Fighter, Scrabble is to Word Fighter. Expressly a multiplayer game, the title pits a selection of six fighters against each other in a boggle/scrabble style battle royal. Each player must choose one of six embodiment’s of famous authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, Agatha Cristie, and H.P. Lovecraft and use a tile set of random letters to write out words to attack your enemy with.

The letters work on Boggle rules in which the word that is written must be made of letter tiles that are touching each other and if a word is used twice it does much less damage. Along with this, the game touches on Scrabble rules where each letter has a certain number value associated with it. More commonly used letters get a point value of 1, and less common letters such as Q and Z get points of 10. The higher the point value of a letter, the stronger the attack of the word. To spice things up even more, each character has three powers that they can use to buff up their own attacks or screw with the other player. Some of these powers include adding triple power to their words, hiding letters from the opponent, stealing the other players powers, and forcing the other player to spell everything backwards.

As of right now there is no single player mode planned with the release, but a brief demo of one was available at PAX. Instead of it being a player vs. computer fight, the single player mode would be the player being attacked by a hoard of monsters while having to use their words to stave off the mob of creatures. It is possible that some monsters would be immune to certain types of words such as nouns and verbs, but nothing is finalized. It was actually very fun, but will only be created if their is a big enough call for it from the fans of the game. So really its up to the players if they want it or not.

Word Fighter is releasing later this fall and only on the Iphone, Ipad, and Android devices due to its touch screen format of play. Any word-o-phile or boggle fanatic should check this gem out.

[Feel Every Yummy]


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A Fun, Free Roguelike for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android: Legends of Yore

Roguelikes are all the rage right now in the indie gaming community. largely because they follow a fairly simple game design which promises fun for the already established user base which loves said game. It seems like every other day we’re being contacted about this roguelike or that roguelike. Unfortunately, there’s just no way for us to cover them all.

Today’s roguelike, Legend of Yore, stands apart from most others in the genre in that it’s charming, fun and, most importantly, free. Not to mention, of course, that developer Kevin Glass also took the effort to make sure it played on damn near every single operating system worth mentioning: Windows, OSX, Linux, iOS and Android are all supported.

Aside from that there’s really nothing that makes Legends of Yore all that different. Which isn’t a bad thing! Some times you just want to hop into a roguelike and mess around for 20 or 30 minutes. This game is perfect for that!

Check out the trailer below and, should you find it worthy, hit up the link below to download.

[Legends of Yore]

Trailer


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A Trio of IndieCade Game Jam Video Interviews

[Earlier in the month we were able to stop by IndieCade's mobile game jam, hang out, and chat with various developers (and other people of interest) about what they're working on and the event as a whole. During our rounds we were able to get the camera rolling a few times and churned out a few video interviews to share. We'll be diving into the event's outcome more when we get back from PAX Prime, but for now enjoy another helping of our video content and an exclusive look at the jam.]

Interview with Developers David Leonard and Michael Lewis

Interview with Akira Thompson and Chris Bell of IndieCade

Interview with Andy Doe of LG Electronics — Sponsor of Event


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The IndieCade Mobile 3D Game Jam in Pictures

Had a chance to stop by USC’s campus this past weekend to chat with those participating in the IndieCade Mobile 3D Game Jam, a two-day event sponsored by IndieCade partner LG Electronics. We popped in for a couple hours during the morning of Day 2, a little after everyone had gotten underway as they made their second-half push toward completing a game in an insanely short amount of time.

Throughout the rest of the week, we’ll be posting articles and video interviews coming from different participants in the jam. While we’re editing/transcribing away to get those ready, I’ve posted photos we were able to grab while on the scene. Kevin Harland, a friend and default camera man for DIYGamer, took the time to snap some excellent shots of everyone in action (click to supa-size):


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Calling All Ravers and House Music Junkies… ReRave [Review]

If you’re looking to relive the intensity of the Electric Daisy Carnival, this probably won’t do it. I mean, chances are you were impaired in some way, sweating to the bone, and surrounded by tens of thousands of other house music and electro fans — that can get a person going. Instead, ReRave from Step Evolution aims to get you into a groove and doin’ some good-old reaction-based rhythm gaming. If it’s not your cup of tea, especially with the kind of music provided — which tends to be electro, house, euro dance, and so on — then you’re probably not going to enjoy the experience unless you absolutely love rhythm games and must own every single one.

But we all know that’s not how music games and its fans go. More likely than not, you had some reason to keep playing Guitar Hero, all 426941 of them; you either liked the music a lot, or you had a newfound love for rock-n’-roll, or whatever. If you dig electronic music, you’re probably going to like ReRave. It is indeed a challenging and worthwhile new venture into rhythm gaming on mobile and tablet platforms, and it looks pretty too.

So let me explain how this one works. The game uses a power button as your symbol for a note. The power button spins counter-clockwise and as it hits the 12 o’clock mark you must tap it. There are 4 kinds of notes that you’re going to have to track: Tap Notes, Omni Taps, Holds, and Follows. Tap notes are self explanatory… Omni taps are when you have to tap multiple notes at the same time … Holds require you to hold the power button to complete a full rotation… and follows simply have you follow along the power button tapping notes as it moves around the screen. I might just be terrible at explaining this, or maybe you understood what I said; either way, it’s going to take one or two songs to get used to, and it’s a good idea to take a look at the tutorial beforehand.

Once that’s over with, you can get to playing and it’s pretty much like any other rhythm game, but ReRave tries to integrate some social components. I don’t mean Facebook and Twitter, I mean you can create an account and thereby track your progress seeing how you stack up against friends and strangers. There’s leveling and a total of 118 awards — achievements, really — to unlock, so that’ll keep you going for a bit. Step Evolution has three songs you can start with and many more available to download in-app. There are 2 free song packs, but 9 others you’ll have to pay for ranging from $0.99 to $2.99 (usually 2 to 5 or 6 tracks). This is probably where most gamers will find they have a problem with ReRave. Again, though, you’re paying an initial $1.99 to download the app and it comes with 3 songs plus 2 free packs totaling 10 songs altogether. That’s not so bad and — assuming you like electronic music — you may even want to purchase some of the other packs.

I’ll outright say that I’m really not a fan of the music in this game. I do enjoy some electronica and house, but I did feel that some tunes were cheesy and even uninspired at times. Fortunately for house fans, I shouldn’t be the one judging this genre, so it is your opinion that counts here and your willingness to play ReRave to see whether it’s a good enough go-to rhythm game for electro fans. Step Evolution latched onto something smart: the popularity of this genre seems to be rising, but does this really mean ravers are also ReRavers? We’ll see!

[ReRave, Step Evolution]

[DIYGamer obtained a free copy of the game for review purposes. This in no way affected the outcome of the review. ReRave was reviewed on iPad, but is also available on Android.]