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

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‘StarLife’ Preview – A Promising Glimpse Of What’s To Come

StarLife is an upcoming 4X (a space empire type of game, standing for explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate), by Purple Orange Games.  We got our hands on the Alpha 0.4 version of this game, and it was pretty good.  The only dialogue in the game occurs between you and your computer / menu (who has a fairly good sense of humor), which you use in a DOS command prompt style to decide what to do.  There isn’t a ton to do at this point in the game, since it is only an early Alpha build, so you essentially just start your game and play through the two levels provided within StarLife.

The gameplay itself is a top-down, turn-based, hexagonal style of play, reminiscent of Warhammer (for those of you who have played the table top game 40K).  Currently the game isn’t great to play, but it has tons of room to pan out as its development continues.  You control your ship just as you might expect from a turn-based strategy game, first moving within your ship’s movement radius, then choosing an enemy within range to attack.  After completing all of your available moves, you then end your turn, and your enemies turn begins.  The graphics are solid (and in some cases, such as the main menu, exceptional), and the concept art that I’ve seen looks even better.

StarLife is definitely going to be a game to watch out for. While its current Alpha build may not be the greatest thing you’ve ever seen, if the game continues in the direction talked about in the dev blog and shown within the concept art, then prepare to lose hours of your life into its universe.  If you want to find out more about StarLife, make sure to check out their official website.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘StarLife’ Preview – A Promising Glimpse Of What’s To Come


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‘Alligators On A Bridge’ – There’s a Missing Tax Form

I think I speak for every American person, man, woman, or child, when I say groans are induced every year across the nation because of tax season. All those forms need filled out, and money is taken away from you by the “government.” It exists as a dreadful period in time to remind you that you must deal with bureaucracy. Some of you my enjoy tax season. To you, I apologize for my unfounded notions about the American people. But I do know someone who absolutely hates tax season. Tim.

Tim despises tax season. He has an especially disgruntled taste left in his mouth because of this tax season. Poor Tim is an IRS agent. He just finished up all of his assigned tax returns; however, one was missing. So Tim sets out into the famous Vermont Jungle to find the form. Unfortunately for our protagonist, Zombies, Starfish, and “self-aware Vermontese Alligators” await him at a log bridge. So Tim must be quick and resourceful to thwart his enemies. Thus is the premise of Alligators on a Bridge.

So you are now asking yourselves (I know because I too was) “What weapons does Tim have at his disposal?” Well he has nothing on his person. But luckily the jungle has supplied him with an ample dosage of rocks. Tim uses these rocks while racing laterally back and forth to knock down water-faring zombies and those darned alligators. Do not miss or else you will see this humiliating screen:

I think I am more petrified of the idea of self-aware zombies than I am of losing the game though. Poor Tim must be one ballsy IRS agent. With that ballsy IRS agent you can wrack up high scores and try to find that missing tax form. But beware, there is danger lurking in the jungle and they are hungry for an IRS agent.

If you like tax collector’s, or are fond of arcade style high score games, alligators, and zombies then you should check out Alligator’s on a Bridge. You can purchase it for the PC for $1 over at developer Snail Software’s official website or at the Alligators on a Bridge game site.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Alligators On A Bridge’ – There’s a Missing Tax Form


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‘The Football Playbook’ – Innovative Sports Based Puzzler

Football Playbook  Title Screen

Self described as a “digital collection of tactical puzzles”, The Football Playbook is a clever mix of a point and click puzzler, with the theme of, well, a football playbook (since we have a large American audience, let me make sure to point out that when we talk about football here, we mean soccer).  Each puzzle begins as a snapshot of a possible football scenario.  The main objective in the game is to get the football from the onscreen goal keeper to the striker (represented in the style of a true football playbook).  Essentially, you direct a team of players from a top down perspective, coordinating them in order to achieve the end goal.  Everything that you can do is based out of football, including the use of passing, timing, movement, and positioning.

The Football Playbook is also extremely similar to how actual soccer is played, making it a great game for players who might want to get some tactical practice (and coaches as well).  This game isn’t just for lovers of Football though, with intensely interesting puzzles and a great user interface, fans of puzzle games in general will find entertainment.

Football Playbook Screenshot

The game currently includes over 40 increasingly difficult puzzles for the user to play through, and is only available for the PC currently.  It became available on August 13th, 2012, and you can get it for £4.99 on The Football Playback website directly from the developers.  There is also a fully playable demo (although with limited puzzles) available from the same site.  If you like Football and puzzles, then definitely check this game out.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘The Football Playbook’ – Innovative Sports Based Puzzler


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‘Hotline Miami’ Hands-On Preview

Seldom has the term ‘Videogame violence’ been so appropriate. Hotline Miami is a game about the kind of stylized neon hyper-aggression that you can only get in videogames. A clean and orderly building becomes a canvas, and in a frenzied burst of activity, you paint it with redder-than-red blood and slightly-too-purple brains layered over turquoise shirts and sharp white suits, all while flashing score indicators leap out of the bodies of your fallen foes, and a score multiplier creeps higher and higher with each brutal, successive murder.

Hotline Miami is the first commercial outing by prolific punk game developer Cactus. Teamed up with graphic artist Dennis Wedin and published under the surprisingly indie banner of Devolver Digital, it’s probably safest to describe the game as a tactical shooter after an all-night cocaine binge. We won’t spoil anything about the rather mysterious storyline, but you can look forward to stepping into the shoes of a very dangerous man with a collection of rubber animal masks, who travels around Miami by night, massacring whole buildings full of heavily armed thugs.

The controls are tight – mouse to aim, WSAD to move and the space bar is all you need – and the gameplay is laser-focused. The current preview build only contains about half the levels and presumably not all of the gameplay elements that’ll feature in the full game, but it’s plenty to get a handle on how it works. Your goal is to kill absolutely everything and everyone that moves across a series of buildings – many with multiple floors – using whatever weapons you can scrounge up on the premises. The big twist is that unlike most action games, you’re just as fragile as the enemies. One good hit and you’re dead, and the enemies are just as fast and twitchy as you are, too.

Your only two advantages are that the enemies move in predictable fashion (each of the handfull of enemy types – white-suited grunts, attack dogs, heavier soldiers, etc – sharing the same AI), and that you’ve got an omniscient overhead view of the level. You’re unarmed, and you know that behind that next door is a medium-sized room with two enemies in. One has a baseball bat, standing in the center of the room, and the other guy is patrolling with a shotgun. If that gun goes off, everyone in the area will hear it and – as there’s three guys with rifles just across the hall – almost certainly kill you, so you time your attack just right.

You wait for the perfect moment and kick the door open, smacking the shotgunner full in the face as he passes by. He falls over and drops his gun, but he’ll be up in a moment. The guy with the baseball bat pauses for a fraction of a second as you charge in, long enough for you to get in a punch. He falls too. You grab the bat, straddle him and smash his skull open. The shotgunner has picked himself up, though, and grabbed his gun. Not having the time to cover the distance, you throw the bat, knocking the shotgunner down again, slumped against the wall. This time, you finish him with a boot to the face.

That’s three seconds of gameplay, spanning just one, simple room, and you’ve got another six ahead of you on this stage alone. Any pause, mistake or hesitation would have meant instant death, and put you back at the start of that floor. It’s hard to be frustrated even when you can die so easily, though – the game drops you back into the action as fast as Super Meat Boy or Trials – and there’s fun to be had in experimenting with different approaches, different playstyles and different routes through each area. There’s very rarely just one ‘correct’ solution.

There’s a complex scoring system, unlockable masks (each with a small but useful character perk attached) for hitting certain point quotas, and some clever variety in the levels themselves. The whole thing is incredibly tightly designed, and held together by an aesthetic that not only works in the games’ favour, but accentuates each kill and death by depicting it in the most garish, lurid palette possible. The music is rather brilliant too, as you can hear from the gameplay trailers.

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding Hotline Miami, with it already winning ‘best of show’ and ‘audience favourite’ awards at trade-shows. Now that I’ve had a chance to play it, I can see why people are so excited. Keep your eye on IGM for a full review once we get our hands on the final build.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Hotline Miami’ Hands-On Preview


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A Look at ‘Sang-Froid: Tale of Werewolves’

I’m a sucker for tower defence games that let me both place traps and then let me beat some beasties into pulp with my own hands. Getting to place my traps and then get up close and personal with a bunch of nasties is just so much fun when done right; it’s the reason I enjoy Orcs Must Die! and Dungeon Defenders so much. Now though, I think I’m going to have another game to add to that list.

Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves is a tower defence game set in 1858 Lower Canada being developed by Artifice Studio. The game features a pair of lumberjack brothers attempting to protect their sick sister from the monsters of the forest and the devil attempting to take her away. Sang-Froid takes a bit of inspiration from the recent MMO The Secret World. This version of Canada is one where the native legends of the area are true, making you face off against hordes of creatures from native stories to defend your sister.

So far the game looks great. While not quite as visually pleasing of an art style as the big names in the genre, Sang-Froid’s more open maps and setting set it apart from the rest. I particularly like the emphasis on planning out your traps in advance and using them in creative ways to offset your character’s squishy humanness. My one question though is will the game feature a co-op mode? One of the main selling points for Dungeon Defenders and Orcs Must Die! 2 that made them big hits was their co-op play; I feel Sang-Froid would benefit just as much from it when used in conjunction with their large maps as the big names did.

Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves will be going on the Steam Greenlight program on August 31st for voting. If they are approved by the community they will be one step closer to being available for download on Steam.

Interested in talking more about Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves? Join me in the IGM Forums and discuss it. Anything else on your mind? Let us know!

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – A Look at ‘Sang-Froid: Tale of Werewolves’


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‘Eternal Blast’- Space Revisited for the Retro Arcade Gamer

Conceptually, ‘Asteroids’ relies on a basic idea; blow up objects which have the possibility of striking you. Eternal Blast approaches the idea and expounds upon the foundation laid. Developed by Furious Ant, Eternal Blast operates through flash player and requires no more than a mouse (and a functioning computer) to enjoy.

As soon as the play button is pressed instructions are given to the player on what mission needs to be executed: Search and destroy. Steer with the mouse. Thrust by pushing the mouse away from the ship. Destroy all asteroids. Kill all enemies by blowing up their ships. Pick up upgrades, health, and shields. Do not get hit. These exist as your guidelines to success; live by them, or die thwarting them. Eternal Blast asks little of a player beyond a quick finger and a hatred of large meteorites.


Added incentive for playing Eternal Blast are achievements, high score rankings, and variance. Achievements range from game progression achievements to high score achievements such as obtaining a massive 1,000,000 points. High score rankings offer both score and country. So you not only take on the country you live in, but the world in its entirety. Finally, there are a breadth of 15 different ships and numerous upgrades to ready your ship for enemies and asteroids alike. Players will continue battling until they can no longer hold off the ship destroying menaces, so numerous levels are met and conquered.

Eternal Blast is a homage to a classic game. No, this version does not require a nifty joystick or entire Atari console to run, but it offers more of an experience than ‘Asteroids’ ever could. With upgrades, enemy variety, and internet score boards, ‘Asteroids’ has never been so fast and brutal.

You can try Eternal Blast here. Good luck, and make your old Atari buddies proud by trouncing some amateurs with a high score.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Eternal Blast’- Space Revisited for the Retro Arcade Gamer


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‘LogiGun’ Now Available Digitally

LogiGun is a highly addictive, 2D puzzle-platofrmer where you must use a wide array of guns to complete increasingly difficult, physics-based puzzles.  The game is now available on the digital game store, Desura, as well as the official LogiGun website.  If you can imagine Portal-esque graphics and settings, combined with the platforming difficulty of Super Meat Boy, then you have a good grasp on how fun (and in turn, infuriating) this game truly is.

You play as a girl named June who is climbing a tower, much to the dislike of an odd, female persona that provides dialogue to you between levels.  As you ascend this tower (which has 40 different levels), you continue to gather a variety of guns, each allowing you a new ability to help with your problem solving.  There isn’t just one or two guns though, there’s tons of them.  Each of them giving you a new way to bend physics or otherwise alter the environment around you.  Some of the guns I encountered included one that created small platforms, one that acted as a grappling hook (both pulling objects towards me, and pulling me towards objects), a flamethrower, and a few more.

Alfred Lam’s LogiGun is a fun, but remorseless, puzzle-platformer that you won’t want to put down (but might have to when your blood pressure skyrockets).  Its clean, futuristic graphics and easy to use controls make this game a must for indie puzzle game lovers.

LogiGun is now available through Desura or from its official website.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘LogiGun’ Now Available Digitally


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‘Chivalry’ Comes To Kickstarter

As much as some people would like to think otherwise, there is a certain finesse to chopping people’s limbs off. You need to get the look of fear down as the sword comes at them, the sound of metal on flesh, the gentle fall of the head as the body goes the other way, and of course the spray of blood. It’s really quite difficult but thankfully Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is happy to bring us all that and more in its competitive objective based medieval warfare game. Now I have been following Chivalry for quite some time now, I’ve even had the fun of talking with the lead designer before and they are dedicated to making sure the game is fun for gamers.

Last I heard from them, they were nearing the final stages of their development for the follow up to their popular Half-Life 2 mod, Age of Chivalry so when I saw them show up on kickstarter I was rather surprised. Instead of just sitting here and explaining why, I’m just going to let Steve show off his game.

 As you can easily tell, the game is incredibly well polished and nearing their completion stage. The artwork looks fantastic and the game runs beautifully but that’s to be expected of a game running on the unreal 3 engine. Combat is fun and frantic, balancing skill and tactics with fun gameplay in an impressive manner. The game has only gotten better since that video went up and you can get a look at the latest version of Chivalry on their kickstarter page.

A full pre-order of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare will set you back $25 and have a copy of the game on your hard drive by November. As always though with kickstarter projects there are incentives to back a little bit more for the project. Torn Banner Studio is asking for $50,000 to finish developing their game and get it into the hands of gamers, a really reasonable price for the quality you will get and with 10 per cent of their goal already reached I think they will do just fine.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Chivalry’ Comes To Kickstarter


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Remember The Good Ol’ Days In ‘Flibble’

A 2D retro style adventure game mixed with plenty of British charm and humor, color me interested. Add in a demo, an amusingly dry-humored narrative driven experience and a throwback to the Atari 2600 and you will find Flibble has me paying attention.

Zayne Black’s Flibble is an interesting title taking its inspiration from the classic Atari 2600 game, ‘Adventure’. In Flibble you will deal with increasingly complex mazes and a robust story with over 6,000 words of dialogue telling the story of Captain Dirk British and his A.I. companion Clive on an alien planet. As a captain of the International Space Corps, you will unravel the mystery of the planet’s inhabitants, the Flibbles, and hopefully find a way to repair his ship in the process.

To do so, Captain Dirk British will have to face off against perilous mazes and hostile creatures of this alien planet. Along the way you will have to rescue the captured Flibbles  in order to piece together the strange goings-on that led to your arrival on the planet as well as unlock the gateway to the next zone. The challenge is navigating the 10 mazes Flibble has in store for you and defeating the hostile creatures with a shortening supply of ammunition. If that’s not enough Flibble for you, there is also a Time Trial mode and a secret mode to unlock. What is in the secret mode you ask? I have no idea.

A certain degree of British humor is strewn throughout the story that gives a very light edge to it. Sometimes it’s as simple  as your Clive reminding you he cannot drink tea because he’s a computer or adding a dedicated explosion button for those with short attention spans goes a long way to giving Flibble its own charm. I’m actually kind of curious if that whole explosion idea works for getting people to pay attention.

Anything? Well I assume if you are still reading this it worked. Now that I have your attention again, Flibble is available for $4.69 at its website, pick up the demo for free and give it a shot.

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Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Remember The Good Ol’ Days In ‘Flibble’


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It’s Quirky, It’s Colorful, It’s ‘Cubistry’

A recent arrival to the indie gaming scene, The Hohng Company, recently released their newest game, Cubistry.  Cubistry is an addictive 3D puzzler, where you control a complicated cube in hopes of being able to match smaller cubes, and in turn, destroying the larger, encompassing cube.  The gameplay has you moving the cubes around and matching them in a way that I can only describe by relating it to a Rubik’s cube.  You don’t play Cubistry in the proper way of a Rubik’s cube though, you play it like when you used to dismantle a Rubik’s cube as a kid and put it back together in hopes of fooling your friends (you can’t deny it).  Moving the smaller cubes around is simple though, and can be done with either a mouse or a keyboard, making it scarily easy to get lost in the puzzle itself, not worrying about having to remember how to do each move.

The graphics of Cubistry are a little… odd.  Its unique look is reminiscent of a patchwork quilt, with a distinctly dissonant feel.  I think this look is great, but I’m sure there are plenty of gamers who might find it a bit nauseating.

Cubisty was released on August 15, 2012 and is free-to-play (albeit having a few ads on the “game over” screen) on Windows platforms.  The Hohng Company is also looking to release versions for both the Google Play Store, and Chrome’s App Store in the near future.

Fans of quirky, and addictive puzzlers with a unique graphical style can download Cubistry from their website and check it out.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – It’s Quirky, It’s Colorful, It’s ‘Cubistry’