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

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Indie Intermission – ‘Beneath The Tunnels Deep’ A Fun Reference Filled Point And Click

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Today I look at Beneath The Tunnels Deep, a game created for Fuck This Jam a few months back by the highly creative Team Infinite Cats. Beneath The Tunnels Deep is a point and click misadventure game which brings in a great deal of pop culture references from the start.

Like any good adventure game you are placed in a situation from which you must escape and in doing so leads you on a journey of exploration and horror. Beneath The Tunnels Deep is full of humour and great little jabs at the genre throughout whether it be from picking up a coat or figuring out some puzzle with a coat hanger it works very well.

Along with the compelling gameplay the overall aesthetic choice is minimalistic but great. It really brings out the game and only adds to the many zany situations you come across.

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Average play time – 8 minutes

If you have ever played a point and click adventure game Beneath the Tunnels Deep is a great choice due to its satirisation of the genre. That said, it does still stand up very well on its own and the game can be enjoyed for its own merits also.

Beneath The Tunnels Deep can be played here.

If you are a developer with A fun indie game that can be played over a coffee break, we want to hear from you! Private message us on twitter @IndieGameMag or shoot us an email at editors@indiegamemag.com with the subject “Indie Intermission” and you could be our indie intermission pick of the day!

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Indie Intermission – ‘Beneath The Tunnels Deep’ A Fun Reference Filled Point And Click


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Shining A Light On ‘Bientôt l’été’

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Art appreciation is incredibly evident in Tale of Tales most recent title, an artistic and captivating journey, Bientôt l’été.

Bientôt l’été is a simulation game about two lovers, connected through an advanced virtual-reality system, who are separated within the program between vast oceans, deep space, and even, it seems, the expansiveness of the human imagination. The story is told with fragments and extracts from certain pieces of literature, which is all driven by the player.


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‘Trial By Magic’: An RPG Remade 18 Years On

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We’ve seen many remakes of retro titles in recent years, although rarely in the indie space. As such, it is interesting to hear of Black Lab Games’ current project — a remake of the 1993 computer RPG Trial By Magic. The original game was written for DOS, and was developed in 1993/1994 by Silver Lightning Software, a studio founded by Paul Turbett. Paul now develops games independently as Black Lab Games, and has decided to re-imagine his early project in Unity. With the benefit of modern tools, hopefully Trial By Magic can surpass the original version whilst maintaining its sensibilities of retro role-playing design. Below is a screenshot of the game in its original form.

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Trial by Magic is very different to the role-playing games of today. It has a distinctly old-school sense of pared down scale, and its concept is refreshingly minimal: a wizard known as ‘The Trialmaster’ presents a huge fortune as a prize for whoever can descend all 25 levels of his dungeon, surviving the monsters on each level. The game is set decades after the challenge was first laid down, and still nobody has returned alive. This is where your character comes in, the plucky adventurer who thinks he’s got what it takes to buck the trend. You choose from Warrior, Spellcaster, Ranger, and Thief classes, roll some stats and you’re good to go!

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This is the kind of no-nonsense approach that I appreciate in my games, and it is a truly stark contrast to the intimidating complexity of lore in some modern RPGs. There is something about the purity of old-school RPG design which is appealing, as the lack of focus on narrative depth and environmental frills means the gameplay takes center stage. The Trial by Magic remake is in the early stages of its development, so details are relatively scarce right now (remember to bear in mind that the screenshots featured here are of the 1995 original, not the remake). However, the limited information we have so far, along with the fact that Black Lab Games’ previous title was the excellent Star Hammer Tactics, has been enough to pique my excitement.

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You will hear more from us about Trial by Magic as development continues, as I definitely plan on continuing coverage of this title. Nonetheless, if you want the information straight from the horse’s mouth you should check out the Black Lab Games devlog here. You can also follow @blacklabgames for updates via Twitter. Oh, and you should totally buy Star Hammer Tactics too! It’s available for a pittance via Desura here.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Trial By Magic’: An RPG Remade 18 Years On


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‘Luna Shattered Hearts Episode 1′ A Novel New Take On Platformers

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Luna Shattered Hearts Episode 1 (Luna) is a brand new 2D action platformer from Daniel Gill (Gillisgames) and is focused around two main protagonists in a somewhat unique manner.

Luna gives you direct command over Lithien the main protagonist with Dez continually following him around on the adventure offering support. The story – although largely in development – sounds rather unconventional as these two characters have a past filled with terrible deeds. They are both self centred and arrogant people who try to distance themselves from the world at large.

Interestingly enough the story shows their character development from being these rather detached self centred characters into heroes that you genuinely grow attached to. The story and character development does seem to be at the heart of Luna giving this 2D platformer much more weight behind it then most.

Along with the compelling portrayal of the characters Daniel Gill implies a lot of novel and unique ideas into Luna to really make it a stand out platformer, and something just a little different. The first interesting concept in Luna is the ball of light that follows you around. This is the sole source of light for the level and requires you actively recharging it from time to time.

The light dynamic is an interesting one and will no doubt play a lot into the overall gameplay along with much of the aesthetics in Luna. It also ties nicely into the second really interesting mechanic, Dez. Dez is an NPC in which you meet very early in the game and although you have no direct control over her a lot of your actions will in fact impact upon her.

There is a meter which shows the relationship between the two characters, this will fill out as you keep Dez happy. This can be done in any number of ways throughout the game and as she grows more fond of you she will eventually get to a state of love for you. This is a very important mechanic within Luna as there is no way of acquiring extra lives, once you die you die and you may think that this is a bit harsh, but this is where Dez comes in.

Dez has the ability to bring you back to life once you have been killed, providing she is in this love state with you. It’s a nice addition and is aimed at creating a strong connection between the two characters, along with making a rather novel continue system.

Luna has been in development for over six years and Daniel Gill finally believes it is time to get it finished and launched, and from the looks of it I couldn’t agree more. Luna looks to be a very promising new action platformer that does things just a little bit differently to the conventional and for this reason it looks to be a stand-out title.

Daniel Gill however needs your help in getting Luna off the ground and is looking for a very modest sum of $8,000 via Kickstarter to finish the game. With only 11 days left to go and with just over $1,500 raised so far it is time to seriously consider backing the game.

If you are a fan of platformers and are interested in a story rich game that does things just a bit differently Luna is for you. If Luna sounds like a game you would buy consider helping out their Kickstarter.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Luna Shattered Hearts Episode 1′ A Novel New Take On Platformers


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‘Devil’s Cove’ Classic Adventure By Anarchy Enterprises

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Murderous plague doctors and twisted constables govern the dark shores of the godless cove in Anarchy Enterprises’ latest adventure game. This developer is known for games such as Zombie Apocalypse Survival KitREDRUMHide & Secret and Coffee Rush. Devil’s Cove, will be available for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.

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Devil’s Cove is set in a cursed harbor town, that shares the same name, during a series of violent acts against the inhabitants. The sinister sociopath known only as the “Plague Doctor” has the town in his hands as he commits the heinous acts, and time is slowly running out. The local authorities are standing by and silencing anyone who tries to stop the illusive doctor, and it’s up to the player to discover the hidden underbelly of Devil’s Cove and stop the evil once and for all.

Kickstarter backers are able to gain access to the beta version of Devil’s Cove depending on the amount they contribute. Other rewards are available that allow the consumer to give direct input into the final product they want.

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You can learn more about Anarchy Enterprises by visiting their official page or their Facebook page. In addition, you can take a look at all of the rewards they are offering and help make the game a reality on their Kickstarter page and also vote yes on the Devil’s Cove Steam Greenlight page.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Devil’s Cove’ Classic Adventure By Anarchy Enterprises


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‘The Adventures Of Shuggy’ Now 40% Larger, 0% More Expensive

Generously large DLC packs are always nice to see. Generously large and completely free DLC is almost unheard of, but that’s just what owners of Smudged Cat’s charming little puzzle-platformer The Adventures Of Shuggy are getting today with the release of Shuggy’s Teleporting Troubles. Another 40 puzzle-heavy singleplayer levels to play, which is an impressive amount when you consider that the original game was 100 stages long.

Perhaps in celebration of Smudged Cat’s newer release, Gateways, the core theme of the Teleporting Troubles expansion is warping space. In this case, by placing teleporter panels on surfaces, and warping to them later. If a block you’ve placed a teleporter on has rotated, then you’ll come out the other end oriented to gravity relative to the new facing of the block… It sounds complex, but makes sense after a few minutes. It also makes for some remarkably complex brainteasers.

Teleporting Troubles is effectively a miniature version of the original campaign. It’s split into 5 worlds, each with their own quirks and themes, and layers new puzzle elements on top of teleportation as you progress. Once you graduate past gravity-related antics, you’ve got elements such as versions of yourself displaced in time as well as space, just in case you haven’t had your recommended daily dose of head-explosion yet.

You can buy Shuggy direct from the developers site for a wallet-friendly $5. As it uses the Humble Store, this means that you get both the DRM-free version (added to your Humble Bundle page, if you have one) and a Steam key, and the developer gets a bigger cut of the profits, too. Everyone wins! Those with the game on Steam should find Teleporting Troubles added to the main menu, while DRM-free folks will have to update the game manually.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘The Adventures Of Shuggy’ Now 40% Larger, 0% More Expensive


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The EB Expo Wrap: Part Three – More Games

Alright, on to part three. Here’s another lot of great aussie games I had the luck to check out in person during my EB Expo adventure, starting with:

Giant Robot Destroy Everything (by Team Robot) - So instead of leading a giant robot into battle, why not try to defend the hero by drawing lines across the screen to deflect incoming fire from enemies? That’s what Giant Robot Destroy Everything (GRDE) is all about, and it’s easy to pick up and play so anyone should be able to get into it. GRDE is like an 80′s arcade game with a sprinkling of modern game play, or as the Team Robot guys like to call it, the elegance of Pong combined with the spectacle of the Power Rangers, which is actually rather spot on. It has to be said, deflecting enemy attacks in other enemies or using the barriers to block fast moving targets was rather satisfying. I had a lot of fun with this one, though I’ll need to work on my high score a bit!

Protocol E (by Silver Nova Software) - Being a Tron fan, Protocol E’s cyber inspired world caught my eye. It’s an RTS by nature, but in a very different style to the previously mentioned Frozen Hearth. Instead, you’re main hero craft will be surrounded by a number of minions, who you will lead into battle to take down the enemy as quickly as possible before they do the same to you. You’ll have different combat techniques, ranged minions and the ability to fully control were said minions go. There’s a few different game modes in the works too, though I think where this game will shine is in the competitive multiplayer scene. There’s plenty of potential there to build upon, why not try it and let me know what you think.

Bouncer (by Brennan Hatton) - Bouncer thankfully doesn’t have anything to do with that really bad Squaresoft game on the PS2. It’s a point and click puzzle game that you can download directly from the official site where you must correctly direct the bouncing ball towards the exit goal. Thankfully for me, failing a few times just gives you another ball to bounce and correct your mistake. While the existing bouncers stick around to remind you how bad your earlier attempts were. Not that I made that many mistakes. Honest. This is another one of those addictive puzzle games I just can’t seem to get away from, and that’s a good thing. It isn’t Brennan’s first game, but it’s arguably his most entertaining, so check it out!

Buzzy Republic (by Lime Rocket) - I briefly mentioned Buzzy Republic in part one, and it really is the kind of game you’ll have to pick up and play in order to understand the concept. What I did see though, was a team that’s really keen on building something beyond a standard MMO, where you can play anywhere at any time with anyone around the world. Like the above photo illustrates against a massive outdoor wall.

More specifically though, it’s about building a community around the concept of rebuilding a galaxy through multiple avenues. Say for example playing on a massive screen or said side of a building, while people wait at a bus stop or in between a time out at the basketball. While Buzzy Republic may act as a tech demo that other devs should be interested in getting to know more about the game itself looks the goods too! You can sign up for the game here.

BlastPoints (by Pub Games) - The action of BlastPoints is full on space combat. Built using the Unreal engine, what I saw looked very smooth and it’s great to see a combat game that makes use of the iPad’s grunt to create something visually powerful enough to pull off such a game style. The enemy A.I. seemed challenging, with a ton of them on screen at any one time without any sign of slowdown. Again, it’s the kind of game that’s perfectly suited to the multiplayer world, though there’s the promise of plenty of content and the ability to create your own ship from a plethora of part types and upgrades. If you’re a fan of Starfox 64 like I am, this one’s for you, so keep an eye out for it.

Vigilante: Speak for the Dead (by Divisive Media) - So imagine if you had your own clan and you wanted to put a hit out on another clan. You choose your target and set the price, then watch as every other clan around you reacts to your choice by either joining in or fighting against you. Vigilante gives you that choice among many others within its social building design, but like Buzzy Republic, it’s a little difficult to explain it all without getting in on the action. But you won’t have to wait long as it’s due very soon to coincide with the release of the Australian produced movie ‘John Doe’ (BSG alumni Jamie Bamber is in it!). As a social game, the concept is tremendous fun and apparently it’s already got some interesting feedback during beta testing, which came to a close just the other day.

Dream Chaser (by Evoke Method) - Last but certainly not least we have Dream Chaser, which is in early development but is already looking mighty promising. Like a cross between Temple Run with a deeper, more meaningful storyline. You’ll play a boy who runs through his own dreamscape jumping and dodging through very strange environments. I got some early hands on time with the dev build and though I’m not the best ‘runner’ in the business, I had fun with the concept and there’s certainly a market for games like it, especially something with solid controls. What’s also promising is the early character designs, the young boy in pyjamas not unlike the child from Where the Wild Things Are. You can check out the prototype and give the team some much needed feedback here.

Now I will have a lot more on all of these and the games I mentioned in my next part over the coming weeks, including some back story and behind the scenes exclusives. But in the meantime a big thank you to all of the studios who spent some time with me, the experience was one of a kind and I hope, for everyone involved, the feedback and support passed down by fans and devs alike was rewarding in itself.

Every game I played or checked continues to prove the consistent quality of production in the local Australian indie scene, which continually grows every day. As a fan and as a writer I’m proud and excited about what’s around the corner, and you should be too.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – The EB Expo Wrap: Part Three – More Games


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Indie Links Round-Up: Out The Window

MaK.  Prevail.  Party of Sin.  Edgar Rice Frotteur.  These are all very strange names for video games.  So obviously you want to read today’s Indie Links to find out just what these titles are.

Underrated Indie Games II: Under The Radar (TIGSource)
“After months of effort, Underrated Indie Games II was wrapped up a little while ago. It is part of moshboy’s endeavor to bring attention to overlooked indie games. The videos in this new addition to his series cover a 100 games of a wide variety to give you a glimpse of what you might have missed.”

Size Five On Stealth, Story & Swearing In The Swindle (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“A few days back, Time Gentlemen, Please and Privates dev, Dan Marshall of Size Five Games,revealed just why his ‘xciting upcoming cyberpunk crime caper The Swindle had gone eerily quiet for a few months. Fearful that the XNA language he’d been working with might not be supported by Windows 8, he started from scratch in Unity. In this second half of our chat, we cover the game itself – how important stealth and gags are to it, its ‘retrospective’ approach to storytelling and why it’s more Grim Fandango than Day of the Tentacle. Also Dishonored, because Dishonored. Also Hitler, because Hitler.”

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Party of Sin (Joystiq)
“Indie developers are the starving artists of the video-game world, often brilliant and innovative, but also misunderstood, underfunded and more prone to writing free-form poetry on their LiveJournals. We believe they deserve a wider audience with the Joystiq Indie Pitch: This week, Crankshaft Games’ Daniel Menard talks about his PC co-op puzzle-platformer about breaking out of Hell and storming Heaven, Party of Sin.”

Off The Vine: A Closer Look At Grinding Game Edgar Rice Frotteur (Venus Patrol)
“Swedish designer & developer Adam Henriksson — last seen providingvideo documentation of the debut of Mega-GIRP — has just uploaded a beautifully shot longer look at the 48-hour game he helped create at the 2012 Nordic Game Jam with Thomas PerlJohann Sebastian Joust creatorDoug Wilson, and Proteus musician David Kanaga.”

The Time You Killed Playing Super Hexagon Lives Again (Kotaku)
“This week I played Super Hexagon in the office of my insurance agent, financial advisor, and attorney, as I settled up matters relating to the sale of a house. That should establish the game’s cred as an outstanding time-killer.”

FTL: The Fatal Frontier, Sector 7 (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“And so my FTL campaign, the flight of the starship Moggy, limps to the game’s penultimate sector. It seems impossible that we’re still alive at this point – let alone that we now have seven crew, three guns and NO-ONE IS DEAD. The looming question is whether or not we’re anything like equipped for the final showdown in Sector 8 – but then again it’s foolish to go asking that before we’ve survived Sector 7.”

MaK (PixelProspector)
MaK is “a physics sandbox with tethers, rockets, explosives, teleportation, relative gravity and potentially unlimited room for creativity” that reminds of Super Mario Galaxy. RPs wrote a bit about the game and the developers explain the game in more detail in this 5 minute gameplay video.”

Petit Planets: Johnny Two Shoes Shows Off Their iPhone Adventure, Prevail (Venus Patrol)
“I spy a little bit of Glitch‘s free-wandering & subdued landscape, a little bit of GodFinger‘s deformable terrain, a healthy dose of predecessorPlunderland‘s highly physics-based platforming, and maybe just a touch ofSpore‘s explorable ecologies in this new gameplay video of Prevail, the latest from UK indies Johnny Two Shoes.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Indie Links Round-Up: Out The Window


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Weather-Based Puzzler ‘Storm’ Unleashes on the PC

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Yesterday, indiePub Entertainment announced the release of their physics-based weather puzzler, Storm, after years of the project being up in the air.

Storm has players using elements of weather to solve puzzles. Need water? Make it rain. Need wind? Whip up a tornado. The game offers three modes, Adventure, Challenge, and Spirit mode, each with its own environments and nature-inspired soundscapes from composer Terrance Lee (Dustforce).

Players can choose to use either the mouse and keyboard or sit back and relax using an Xbox 360 controller to play though each of Storm’s 49 levels. Each level involves players in the process of growing trees across the game’s landscapes. By using wind, rain, lightening, snow, tornadoes, ice, and even bubbles, players have the resources to see these seedlings planted.

Storm was originally recognized back in 2009, when Terrance Lee first developed the original concept in two weeks. Storm, and Terrance, walked away from the Independent Games Competition with $5,000 and a publishing agreement  with Zoo Games (now indiePub Entertainment).

Three years later, Storm is finally available to purchase on the PC. PlayStation 3, Xbox360, and iOS versions are expected to be released within the first quarter of 2013.

Buy Storm from the game’s official website, and follow the publisher on Twitter.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Weather-Based Puzzler ‘Storm’ Unleashes on the PC


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Slice-Of-Life Adventure ‘Cherry Tree High Comedy Club’ Hitting Steam Nov 8th

It would seem that Nyu Media really are the plucky little localization group that could. Despite a partnership with Capcom (giving them a direct line to Valve), they’ve struggled to get each of their translated Japanese indie games onto Steam. Cherry Tree High Comedy Club was originally released back in April, and it seemed like it would stay relegated to the smaller online retailers – a shame, as our Sarah Bishop quite liked it, according to her review here. Thankfully, the winds of fate seem to have changed, and Nyu Media are happily announcing that the game is due to hit Steam on the 8th of November.

Not quite an adventure game and not quite a visual novel, CTHCC falls into that unusual hybrid genre of ‘life sims’. In this case, the adventures of a high-school girl and her quest to establish a successful comedy club at her school, inbetween juggling day to day goals and the general state of her education. It’s whimsical, fluffy easygoing stuff aimed at a more casual market. Not the usual sort of thing you see localized (hardcore arcade shooters seem an easier sell), but it’s nice to see more of this sort of thing making the leap. Here’s the official trailer, too:

The game is for Windows PCs only, and usually retails around the $8 mark, although this re-launch will inevitably come with some kind of small launch discount. While you wait for the Steam release, you can try the demo on the official site here and see what you make of it yourself..

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Slice-Of-Life Adventure ‘Cherry Tree High Comedy Club’ Hitting Steam Nov 8th