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

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Retro City Rampage Releases a 10 Minute Soundtrack Trailer

Retro City RampageTen full songs and ten full minutes of footage have just popped up from Brian Provinciano’s Retro City Rampage. The game is looking like it will release early next year now as the developer is in negotiations with different platforms about where it’s going to drop first.

You’ll see more references than your mind can handle and be overjoyed at the great gameplay popping up throughout.

Be prepared.

You can catch the full video right here:

And if you want to download the soundtrack, please head to the official site to read more about it and get the main files.

You can follow the game on Facebook and Twitter as well as more information is released.


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LA-MULANA for WiiWare is Complete

La-MulanaOn Saturday, the developers of the WiiWare version of LA-MULANA announced that the game is officially complete. They’re now in the process of submitting it to Nintendo and anticipate a release on the download service before the end of the year.

While we wait to get some further information and discover whether or not it will successfully pass review with Nintendo, here’s the last gameplay video they released several months ago:


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Indie Links Round-Up: House of Horrors

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Seriously, substitute one indie link per piece of candy today and you’ll thank me tomorrow morning. More brain, less pain.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Hands-On With the Minecraft Halloween Update (Mike Rose/IndieGames)
“The biggest Minecraft update in a long while goes live on October 31st. It’s a Halloween themed update, with carveable pumpkins, new baddies and torches that eventually go out. By far the greatest new addition, however, is the new Hell world, or ‘The Slip’ as it’s known.”

From the Creator of Gratuitous Space Battles – Kudos 2 Discount Code 75% Off Until Nov 5th (IndieGameReviewer)
“Kudos 2 is a uni-platform release, made, designed, built, tested, tweaked and lovingly crafted purely for the PC by UK Indie game developer Cliff Harris – the one-man team best known for the political strategy game ‘Democracy’ and ‘Gratuitous Space Battles: Collector’s Edition’ that we reviewed in August 2010. From now until the 5th November, you can get Kudos 2 for under $4…”

Retro/Grade Dev’s Indie Game, Marriage Proposal (Eric Caoili/GameSetWatch)
“Matt Gilgenbach of 24 Caret Games, developer of Independent Games Festival 2009 finalist and PSN’s upcoming time-manipulating shmup/rhythm game Retro/Grade, submitted another project for the IGF competition this year: A Mobius Proposal.”

Interview: Hothead Games’ CEO talks to us about the PC port of DeathSpank (John Callaham/BigDownload)
“Big Download got a chance to ask some questions to the CEO of Hothead Games, Vlad Ceraldi, about the PC port of DeathSpank, including how the game was adapted to work on the PC, the influence of the game’s originator Ron Gilbert and more.”

This Week In Video Game Criticism: Horror, Casuality, Casualties (Ben Abraham/GameSetWatch)
“This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Ben Abraham stretching from pieces on Dead Space 2 through casual trawls through games, to the industry’s problems encapsulated.”

2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Nuovo Award Jury (IGF)
“Organizers of the 2011 Independent Games Festival are announcing the distinguished jury panel that will determine the eight finalists and overall winner of its Nuovo Award.”

Reminder: Student IGF Submissions End November 1st (Brandon Boyer/Gamasutra)
“If you’ve been planning to enter, the time is now! Submissions for the Student Showcase portion of the 13th annual Independent Games Festival are due in just a few short days, at 11:59 PM PDT on Monday, November 1st.”

A Hefty Slice Of Indie Heaven (Sanctuary4gamers)
“This past week or so has probably been the single greatest week for indie gamers EVER. With indie games getting oodles of attentions and bags of love, while returning the sentiments with some finely polished grade A titles, with something for everybody! As a self professed indie game fanboy, I have kicked down the gates to Indie Heaven and been supping on that sweet, sweet, indie ambrosia. And I want to share it with all of you.”


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Indie Links Round-Up: Regulating the Pulse

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A fresh dose of ILR-U, where this week we find ourselves in the hypothetical and theoretical as much as we do in the readily tangible. See what’s out there but don’t stay away too long, ya hear?

Super VVVVVVboy (Alec Meer/Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“The following, a conceptual reworking of Terry Cavanagh’s splendid/monstrous hyperdeath platformer VVVVVV is not a real game. By criminy, you’re going to wish it was.”

Interview: We chat with Klei Entertainment’s CEO on the PC port of Shank (John Callaham/BigDownload)
“It’s a game that has an ultra-violent main character, has a cool comic book art style and is just plain fun to play. It’s Shank, the newest game from developer Klei Entertainment. Released via download for consoles earlier this year from publisher Electronic Arts, Shank is now available to purchase and download via Steam.”

Game Developer Reveals Its ’20 Companies To Watch’ For 2010-2011 (Simon Carless/GameSetWatch)
“GSW sister publication Game Developer magazine has announced twenty ‘companies to watch’ for 2010-2011 in its recently debuted October 2010 issue, and we’re reprinting them here with highlights from each profile.”

Interview: Big Sandwich Games Goes Looking For PSN Gold (Simon Parkin/Gamasutra)
“After four of years work-for-hire development, boutique art outsourcing and consulting, Vancouver-based Big Sandwich Games is set to release its first in-house developed IP, action-strategy game coming to PlayStation Network on November 2.”

Co-op Space Sim ‘Artemis’ Recreates Star Trek Bridge Experience (Alice O’Connor/Shacknews)
“A co-operative video game where players each with control a single station on the bridge of a starship is surely the dream of many a Star Trek fan. While indie developer Thom Robertson’s newly-released Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator might not have the license, for now it’s perhaps the closest you’ll get to living out fantasies of boldly going.”

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Beat Hazard (Justin McElroy/Joystiq)
“This week we talk with Steve Hunt, half of the team behind the music-fueled dual stick shooter action of Beat Hazard.”

Desktop Dungeons – A Cautionary Review of a Free Micro Rogue-Like Puzzle Game More Addictive than Crack (Indie Game Reviewer)
“From developers QCF in Capetown South Africa, Desktop Dungeons is an official entrant to IGF’s 2011 Festival that pays tribute to the early dungeon crawler Rogue which used randomly generated dungeons and has since become its own genre. QCF adds a twist by giving the player a finite amount of choices with which to solve the micro maps.”

Interviews: Hitbox Studios, Cipher Prime, David Sushil (Tim W/IndieGames)
“Here’s a collection of interviews recently uploaded by the indiePub team, featuring conversations with several of the indiePub Independent Developer Contest winners: Hitbox Studios (creators of Dustforce!), Cipher Prime (Auditorium), and David Sushil (Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix and Her Nightmare).”


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Enjoy This Wonderful Cave Story DSiWare Trailer

CaveStoryDSi001Cave Story is a great adventure platformer. I don’t think there’s a single person who can argue that point. It has an interesting plot line, interesting characters, and very solid platforming elements. For so many years it was hampered by being available strictly on the PC which, let’s be honest, isn’t exactly the best platform for a side scrolling platformer. Luckily for us there was a little-known developer called Nicalis that had grander plans for the game.

While Nicalis wasn’t the original creator of Cave Story, they were able to get permission to make both a WiiWare version (read our review) and now a DSiWare version. Portable Cave Story is a dangerous thing and it might be the first truly “must have” DSiWare game to get released.

A release date has not been set yet, but the game looks to be fairly far along which is encouraging. My guess is that it’s up to Nintendo to figure out when to release it.

Also, and this is a note to Nicalis, where’s the PSN version? I’d love to be able to play this game on my PSP, especially since I don’t have a DSi.

Trailer


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Chick Chick Boom European/Australian Release Date and Price Set… North Americans Weep

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Great news for disenfranchised fans of Nintendo’s own WiiWare digital distribution channel as it looks like a solid indie game is landing on the service within the next couple weeks… so long as your from Europe or Australia.

Chick Chick Boom developers, Tons of Bits, emailed me this morning to let me know that their upcoming adorable versus game is landing on WiiWare on October 29th for 800 Wii points. This is great news for Wii-owners as this game is really looking like one of the most solid WiiWare releases within the last few months.

If you happen to live in North America, like me, then you’re out of luck. While the title is still slated for a North American release the developer still can’t get any sort of confirmation of price or release from, presumably, Nintendo of America.

For those of you who missed all of our previous coverage on the game, enjoy the trailer below.

We’ll update just as soon as we get word of a North American release.

[Chick Chick Boom]

Trailer


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Indie Links Round-Up: Jumping the Fence

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Indie Links is (predictably) all over the place this time around. New avenues revealed, debates started and chances taken all fill out the list. Tread heavily upon it.

PSA: Sign the ECA’s Petition to ‘Protect Video Games Under the First Amendment’ (Xav de Matos/Shacknews)
“On November 2, the State of California is taking the fight against the video game industry to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite being struck down at district court. With only a few short weeks separating that fateful day from now, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) is reminding U.S. citizens to sign its petition, arguing that video games be protected under the First Amendment.”

COLUMN: The Gaming Doctrine: Gaming and Confronting Our Humanity (Richard Clark/GameSetWatch)
“The Gaming Doctrine is a monthly GameSetWatch column by Richard Clark about the intersection of gaming, religion, spirituality, and morality. This month – how games can make us acutely aware of our own humanity.”

Indie gaming, meet Kindle… (Blitz1UP)
“Triple Town by Spry Fox is an match 3 puzzle game in which you are trying to grow a city. The larger the city you build, the more points you score…All pretty standard stuff. But what’s really interesting is that this is the first independently published game for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader and it’s one of only a handful of games available on the platform. This is virgin territory, especially when compared to the 300,000+ apps now available on iTunes!”

Are simpler video games better? (Scott Steinberg/CNN)
“The holiday season is always a win for video gamers, as software makers jockey to one-up each other with slicker graphics, deeper play and more expansive 3-D worlds. But the larger and more complex modern-day epics like “Fable III” and “Fallout: New Vegas” become, the more it often pays to keep things simple.”

Blockman Dash mod mixes Mega Man Legends and Minecraft (David Hinkle/Joystiq)
“In Minecraft, you can pretty much build anything, so some fans set out to ease the tension of waiting for Mega Man Legends 3 Project by creating a Mega Man Legends-based mod called Blockman Dash.”

GDC China Adds Angry Birds, Monaco Creators To Summits (Gamasutra)
“This December’s Game Developers Conference China is debuting a host of new Chinese and Western speakers for its December 5th-7th Shanghai event, with all talks simultaneously translated between English and Chinese languages, and multiple new Summit speakers now confirmed.”

Interview: Supergiant’s Kasavin On How Lifelong Game Love Led To Bastion (Simon Carless/GameSetWatch)
“GameSpot veteran Greg Kasavin describes how a lifelong love of games and dreams of making them brought him from writing through development — now going indie with Supergiant Games, creator of the intriguing Bastion.”

Wot I Think – Winter Voices: Avalanche (Quintin Smith/Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“The prologue to episodic indie RPG Winter Voices, Avalanche, was released over the weekend, available for the pocket-sized price of €4.49. Even for an indie game Winter Voices has a standout concept- you’re a girl simply trying to overcome the death of her father.”

Indie Games Arcade: Skulls of the Shogun (Mike Rose/IndieGames)
“When I first posted the above trailer last month, we didn’t really know much about Skulls of the Shogun other than it was a very pretty-looking Advance Wars style strategy game. I got the chance to play it at the Indie Games Arcade recently, and oh wow… now I must talk about it more. I really must.”

The amazing and humble success story behind iPhone game Trainyard (Ben Gilbert/Joystiq)
“Going from the barebones outline seen above to the top of the iTunes App Store in approximately 16 months, Matt Rix’s Trainyard is a runaway success. Rix details the game’s development — and astronomical sales — on his blog, showing its humble beginnings scribbled in a notepad, development delays due to his other job (he developed Trainyard at home in his personal time), and how the birth of his son allowed him to finish the game last May.”


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The Backbone of the Indie Industry: 2D Boy/Indie Fund’s Ron Carmel [Interview]

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["The Backbone of the Indie Industry" is a feature series where we talk about, discuss and interview the general support structure/people covering the indie developers.]

Typically, you wouldn’t expect a developer interview to fall under our Backbone series, but Ron Carmel isn’t just making games these days. Since March, he–along with six other notable devs–have been busy setting up and carrying out their Indie Fund business/investment, hoping to support up-and-coming indie developers who have the idea and the drive, but lack the finances.

Ron was at IndieCade earlier this month as a panel speaker and after all the hustle and bustle of the event was nice enough to answer my questions on the fund, as well as provide some other musings on different indie happenings and items.

Though the mic was on the fritz during the Indie Funding Models panel you took part in, I believe during your update on the business that you mentioned there are currently three games receiving funding. Is that correct?

Ron Carmel: Yes, we are currently funding three games.

During the discussion, you mentioned that the fund is entirely experimental, and you wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if it didn’t work out down the road. Have you been encouraged by the submissions? If things go as hoped, could we see a methodical indie factory of sorts? And is that ultimately the best case scenario in the long term?

Wow, did I say that? I actually would be a bit surprised if it didn’t work out. I think our investment strategy is sound. We pick small games with small teams that can live cheaply and in return we give the developer much better terms than they could get from a publisher. We can offer these terms because for lower cost games our break even risk is much reduced.

Ultimately, our goal is to help developers get and stay independent. In the short terms that means actually funding them with our own money, but longer term it means sharing our process, legal documents, financial data, and experience with the rest of the game development community as a way to encourage others to start their own Indie Funds. It would be nice if one day all promising indie games could get funding on friendly terms from other indies, instead of going to publishers.

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Should we expect an accepted submission announcement anytime soon from the Indie Fund team?

That’s up to the developers. We’re ready to announce whenever they are and we leave it up to them to figure out the proper timing. It’s my guess that there will be an announcement by the time GDC rolls around, but don’t hold me to that, it’s just a guess.

Some indie devs/teams are more open with the development of their game than others. Do you see the updates you receive on the selected developer teams and games’ progress as something that should be shared with everyone? And could there potentially be public alpha/beta builds for selected games that make sense for that development route?

That’s really up to the developers, and I think whether it’s a good idea or not depends a lot on the nature of the game itself. With a game like Crayon Physics, for example, releasing early didn’t turn out so well because it’s a game that’s easy to clone, and many people cloned it. For a game like Overgrowth, where the success of the game is about good execution rather than a good idea, I think releasing early and often is a great way to build up a fan base.

Taking the focus off of Indie Fund a bit…Lately it’s been a very loud discussion on the net, games like LIMBO and Minecraft exploding in sales, a much heavier interest in less expensive (not $50-$60) titles from smaller teams. What’s your take on the supposed “indie boom” we currently find ourselves in?

I personally have a hard time getting into AAA games. Red Dead, Arkham Asylum, and other critically acclaimed games are very impressive, but they don’t hold my attention. Indie games tend to have much greater diversity and the larger range of experiences I have playing them is very compelling to me. I care about the quality of the experience and whether a game is worth my time. I don’t care if it costs the equivalent of $2 an hour or $5 an hour.

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You were one of, if not the first developers to stick your neck out and try the pay-what-you-want sale for World of Goo. The trend has caught on and continued steadily over the past year, with several devs offering up there games for the buyer’s choosing and seeing good to phenomenal results. Based on your experiences with the model, is it something you’d encourage others to try? And is there a line with the model and when in the game’s lifespan would you draw it at?

Pay what you want is just one kind of flexible pricing model. I think it’s as far from being an ideal pricing model as the dominant fixed price model. I think better questions to ask would be “what kind of flexible pricing model makes sense at this point in the game’s life cycle?” and “What kind of flexible pricing model would work well with this game?”. There is so much room for experimentation in this area and I really want to see where it goes. Pay what you want was successful for us because it was novel and got a lot of press. As a pricing strategy, assuming everyone were using it, i doubt it would be more effective than the fixed price model. We need something a little more subtle and sophisticated.

You’ve been a solid indie representative for years, you seem to have tons on your plate with the process of the IndieFund, have you found the amount of time you’d like for developing your next project(s)? And is there anything you can share with us about the unannounced project 2D Boy is working on or any other endeavours you may be pursuing yourself?

Indie Fund took a few months of full time work to get going, but at this point it only takes up about a day a week, maybe less, so yes, it’s easy to find the time to invest in other projects. Kyle and I are working on separate projects right now. He’s teamed up with two friends and developing Little Inferno as part of Tomorrow Corporation, and I’m in the prototyping stage of an entirely different game that I’m not ready to talk about yet because it’s too early to tell if it will turn into an actual game or if it will end up in the pile of dead prototypes in my back yard.

Thanks to Ron for taking the time to share. Looking forward to both what he and Indie Fund produce over the coming months and beyond.


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BIT.TRIP FATE to be Released on October 25th in North America Featuring Meat Boy and Mr. Robotube

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Good news for those BIT.TRIP fans out there as it looks like the next WiiWare iteration of the series is due to be released onto Nintendo’s own digital distribution channel one week from today on October 25th.

If you’ve yet to play the original WiiWare title BIT.TRIP RUNNER then you can check that one out in the run up to the sequel. Our own manager Peter Eykemans reviewed i a while back and found it to be one of the best WiiWare games available at the time.

BIT.TRIP FATE continues the same on-rails side scrolling concept as the original game but with a few changes like the fact that BIT.TRIP’s usual bright and colorful world has now been corrupted into an “ugly technological nightmare.”

Additionally the game is promising special guest appearances by indie darlings Super Meat Boy (from Super Meat Boy) and Mr. Robotube (Robotube Games). No telling what that means exactly, but it’s always fun to see other indie characters make special visits to different indie games.

Once again, look for BIT.TRIP FATE to land on the WiiWare channel next Monday, presumably for the same price as other BIT.TRIP games.

[Gaijin Games]

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Indie Links Round-Up: Multiple Choice

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Indie Links are back, but not with a vengeance. For better or worse, that emotion is strictly reserved for humans. At least the plotting kind…now if you’ll excuse me I have some unfinished business with the guy who got his grimy hands all over my laundry. Don’t touch the threads dude.

Tim Schafer on Indie Trailblazing, Costume Quest, and Double Fine’s ‘Creative Campus’ (Jeff Mattas/Shacknews)
“Last Friday evening at the IndieCade 2010 awards, eleven independent games received awards for excellence in a variety of categories. Along with the crop of stellar games honored, Double Fine Entertainment’s founder, and beloved game developer, Tim Schafer, received the festival’s very first “IndieCade Honorary Trailblazer award for Lifetime Achievement.” I caught up with Tim after the ceremony to congratulate him on the award, and he was kind enough to spend a few minutes chatting a bit.”

Left 4 Minecraft: Blocky Modding (John Walker/Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“You may have seen some sites reporting yesterday that Michael Louisseize, operator of World Of Minecraft, is creating a Left 4 Dead mod that merges Valve’s four-player shooter with Notch’s world-taking-over craft-em-up. We have a few more details about it below.”

From Flash To Minis: Mediatonic On Creating Tiny Wonders (Simon Parkin/Gamasutra)
“Our own Simon Parkin catches up with London-based studio Mediatonic, home of quirky, acclaimed Flash games (Amateur Surgeon) and PSP Mini/XBLIG titles (Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess)”

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: DETOUR (Justin McElroy/Joystiq)
“This week we talk with Geoff Keene, CEO of Sandswept Studios, about his upcoming XBLIG release, DETOUR.”

All about the Journey (Michael Abbott/The Brainy Gamer)
“At IndieCade on Saturday, Jenova Chen and Robin Hunicke discussed their work on Journey, the follow-up (due in 2011) to thatgamecompany’s superlative Flower. If you’re a regular visitor here, you already know about my unbounded affection for that game. Needless to say, I was especially keen to hear Chen (Creative Director) and Hunicke (Producer) present a work-in-progress report on their newest creation.”

COLUMN: @Play: Sprinting Rapidly Through The Dungeon (John Harris/GameSetWatch)
“‘@ Play’ is a monthly column by John Harris which discusses the history, present and future of the Roguelike dungeon exploring genre. This time, he reveals exciting new Dungeon Crawl variant Dungeon Sprint.”

Indie Games Arcade: Hohokum (Mike Rose/IndieGames)
“I really enjoyed Honeyslug’s last game Poto & Cabenga, and therefore was looking forward to giving its latest work Hohokum a go at the Indie Games Arcade.”

Interview: Gregory Weir – creator of hit Flash game The Majesty of Colors (CasualGirlGamer/Alex Kearns)
“To say that Gregory Weir thinks outside the box with his game designs is something of an understatement. He was never in the box in the first place. This is a man who draws the inspiration for his games not from what others in the gaming industry are doing but from his own dreams and hyperactive imagination. As a result, Gregory’s games are like nothing else you will have seen, and they are all the better for it.”