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

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‘Cypher’ A Dystopian Sci-Fi Text Adventure

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The Cabera Brothers have proudly released, Cypher, a text-based adventure game, inspired by the iconic, gritty, sci-fi movies from the 80s.

Cypher puts players in the shoes of Dogeron Kenan, a low life criminal living in NeoSushi City whose job is to smuggle passcodes through international borders inside the synapse modification installed in his brain. Of course, things don’t work out so smoothly, and Dogeron finds himself waist-deep in trouble.


The Cabera Brothers promise to bring the fun and magic of classic text adventures to the 21st century, pushing interactive fiction to a whole new level. Cypher is packed with beautiful graphics and chilling ambient sounds, and the gameplay will open your imagination by placing you in locations such TecNoir, a Yakuza nightclub, or the streets of Harajuku Market where the seediest locations in the city can be found.

Having spent a great deal of time ensuring that the player isn’t simply looking at an empty screen with text, the Cabera Brothers designed a unique graphical user-interface that retains the feel of the classic text-based adventure games, yet adds in visual features that will aid in the gameplay and help the player progress through the story.

Cypher is available through the game’s official website, as a digital download. There are three download packages to choose from: Standard, Collector, and Deluxe. Each package contains extra goodies that the buyer can download and use or print out. Things like Cypher’s soundtrack, future discounts, printable game materials with in-game components, printable game box DVD cover, a map of NeoSushi, a digital hint-book, and more.

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Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Cypher’ A Dystopian Sci-Fi Text Adventure


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’3089′ The Fourth Installment Of Phr00t’s Series Live On KickStarter

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A couple of days ago on Kickstarter saw the latest project from Phr00t in his fantastic Sci-Fi series. 3089 is the fourth installment in the futuristic 3D open world action RPG with randomly generated terrain, items, weapons, and from the looks of it everything else as well.

It is very exciting to see the series develop phenomenally from the 2D top down state into what is now proposed to be a full 3D randomly generated smooth flowing seemingly endless world.

These are some of the key features that make 3089 really unique:

  • Terrain will be smoothly generated (no more blocky gaming)
  • Much more procedural generation in endless biome types and textures
  • Unique quests made from individually generated task lists
  • Randomly generated vehicles, from small hovercrafts to large ships
  • Weapons construction & customization based on individual parts
  • Limitless height & depths
  • Dynamic lighting
  • Complete storyline with procedurally generated exploring
  • Integrated physics engine
The Kickstarter video from Phr00t can be seen below and highlights the series so far:

It really sounds that Phr00t is really pulling out all the stops and really upping the ante from 3079 in lovingly expanding the series. 3079 was a huge success and I have high expectations that the sequel 3089 will at least reach the same level but will more than likely surpass the previous title.

3089 seems to be pulling together a load of new and great ideas into this Sci-Fi world in an ever evolving and changing world, really giving each individual player a unique and memorable experience.

3089 is currently in the early stages of development and is live on Kickstarter now. Phr00t set a very modest goal of $1 000 with the vast amount spent on modeling characters and sprites in the game. However don’t let the low figure fool you as all extra funds will be used to develop the game to an even greater extent. The low goal is simply to cover the minimum, however all extra on top will really improve 3089 and help make it the game Phr00t envisioned it to be.

If you are a fan of the series or love the look of 3089 then please back it on Kickstarter here.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ’3089′ The Fourth Installment Of Phr00t’s Series Live On KickStarter


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Re-Logic Unveil First Video Of ‘Terraria’ Console Port

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Earlier today Re-Logic published their first video of the new Terraria port coming to consoles. The video has been put up exclusively for the fans who are following them on Facebook but will be published more publicly as the day goes on.

Terraria is a 2D side scrolling adventure game with construction elements that resemble Minecraft on a very basic level, but deviate much more. Terraria is more focused on exploring and adventuring then Minecraft with the ability to fight a whole host of monsters along with many unique and difficult bosses. The 2D side scrolling elements do resemble the classic Castlevania games, always a good game to model any game on.

Terraria has already been a massive sensation on the PC selling over 1.6 million units and after only playing the game for a short time it is easy to see why. The lure of exploration and RPG esque elements allowing you to better equip yourself via random drops to improve your chances to actually beating the increasingly more difficult bosses that you will encounter.

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Re-Logic really did hit a gold mine crossing the creative elements of Minecraft with the adventure state found in classic 2D side scrollers making this hybrid, which is just great fun. With the ability to play co-op with your friends it really makes Terraria a fantastic game, soon to be available on your favourite consoles.

The Video shows a lot of the gameplay that has already been established within Terraria after the numerous updates, however at the end it does indeed hint that the console versions will include new content that has yet to be released on the PC version. The video released on the Facebook group page can be found here, so judge for yourself. I am greatly anticipating the wave of new players for this awesome little title from a fantastic studio.

For all the latest news as it breaks be sure to check back to The Indie Game Magazine or follow us on twitter @indiegamemag

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Re-Logic Unveil First Video Of ‘Terraria’ Console Port


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‘Miner Wars’ Launches Beta

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Miner Wars a long time project from Keen Software House has finally reached Beta after being in development for almost a decade (although most of this was as a part time project). On the back of this beta release Keen Software House have published their most interesting trailer so far. Containing some of the finalized voices, along with showcasing some storyline progression and….. Pirates! Check out the new exciting video below to see what you think.

Miner Wars is a First person action survival space simulation game, oh yeah it is also classed as Sci-Fi. Miner Wars seems to have a great deal of classifiers but overall the game does look very interesting and indeed does require a great deal of description to get the message across.

Set in the year 2081 this is the first installment in the proposed franchise of Miner Wars. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic inner solar system, approximately 10 years after the destruction of Earth.

The story focuses on the struggle of mankind to live in outer space for long periods of time now that the sanctuary of earth no longer exists. This unsurprisingly leads to war as vital resources become key points of dominance in this fragmented society.

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The gameplay is focused around players controlling a mining ship on an adventure across the inner solar system. The gameplay is highly action oriented set in a fully destructible open world, which remains persistent as players complete missions or play online with others. The conservation of resources such as fuel and ammo will play a huge role in this traitorous space combat sim.

Miner Wars does sound a very interesting and different concept to the norm, I am sure the beta will show the true depth of play and you can download a demo from the official site here. You are also able to purchase the game from the site  at the pre-order price of $19.99, if the demo leaves you wanting more. If you would rather get Miner Wars on Steam vote for it here to make it a possibility!

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Miner Wars’ Launches Beta


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‘Spelunky’ Adventures Start On Mac

Spelunky Splash

The roguelike platformer much loved by all who have come across it Spelunky has just been unofficially patched with Mac OS X support. For the longest time the much loved PC indie title Spelunky has eluded the Mac community, however thanks to the love of “Idyll” in a 1.3 version update Spelunky has finally reached a new platform.

The patch however is no small feat as Idyll had to convert the game’s source code from Game Maker 8 to Game Maker 7, in order to create the Mac port. The only drawback for the Mac adventurer is sadly the port does not support controllers innately, leaving Mac users trawling the depths of the internet in order to find suitable third party controller applications. It does of course support the use of keyboard much like the PC version, though many people swear by the use of a controller to get the most from the title.

For the small minority who have yet to enter the mysterious caves, Spelunky is a roguelike platforming adventure title with randomly generated content. This means much like a real adventurer you will always be entering the caves blind, and unraveling the mystery that is held within as you try to progress through this increasingly difficult title.
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Even though Spelunky made the leap to XBLA earlier this year (July), the PC community have continued to show much love for the original release, which released all the way back in 2009. With its own retro charm in the graphical choices made by Derek Yu  the PC version of Spelunky still holds a dear place in many gamers hearts and now with thanks to Idyll Mac users can also get in on this spelunking action.

Spelunky for both PC and Mac is 100% free to download, allowing you to adventure to your heart’s content. It can now be downloaded for Mac over on the TIG Forums here. If you are a PC user and love to adventure find the official site here. However if Xbox is your weapon of choice head over to the XBL marketplace and download Spelunky for 1 200 Microsoft Points, or try the demo.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Spelunky’ Adventures Start On Mac


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The Chopping Block – ‘Eryi’s Action’

Disclaimer: These are not full reviews, and shouldn’t be treated as such. No final scores will be given, as these are extended opinions of a few hours of play at most, and may not give every aspect of the game a fair shake. Feel free to disagree, heckle, kvetch or even just discuss things reasonably in the handy comments section below.

The past few months have been amazing. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a golden age for gamers, if not developers. Between bundles, sales and new releases, I now have a backlog of indie games so massive, my brain struggles to comprehend just how long it would take to get through them all. Welcome to The Chopping Block, where I dive in and cut the pile to size. At least one game enters every single day, and none leave without judgement being passed from above.

Today’s Target: Eryi’s Action for Windows PCs. Developed by Xtal Sword & localized by Nyu Media. RRP: $5. Available Direct, via Gamersgate & Desura.

Well, clearly someone’s a fan of Kaizo Mario and I Wanna Be The Guy. The opening screen of the game tries to lull you into a false sense of security by showing you some easy, casual platforming, only to yank the rug away the moment you step into the game. Any attempt to walk off the very first screen – a short introduction, telling you that Eryi is off on an adventure to recover her stolen dessert melon – is greeted by an instantly lethal falling basin; a staple of Japanese slapstick comedy. There’s a lot of potential for frustration here, and that’s how the game bills itself – as a platformer for masochists.

That said, I think it manages to sidestep the worst of cruel and unusual behaviour that you’d expect to see in games like this. There’s still the occasional invisible platform hidden just where the apex of your jump would be, but those seem few and far between, with the focus of the game being on some rather clever puzzle-oriented gameplay with fairly regular checkpoints. It’ll take a few deaths to understand the rules of each puzzle, of course – an experience perhaps comparable with sweeping for mines by rolling your face along the ground – but you can learn over time, if you don’t mind some pain. At least you have infinite lives, right?

A good example is the end of the first level – there’s a Mario-esque level completion flagpole, and if you touch it, the game takes over and walks you off the right edge of the screen, right into a falling spike-ball trap. As the game is in control at this point, you can’t evade, avoid or otherwise do anything to escape death. The only way to survive is to somehow break the game. What you need to do, then, is pick up and carry a sprinkler (effectively acting as a jump-pad) from a screen or two back, and use it to vault over the level completion pole. You can now dodge the spike-ball, and exit the level, right? Well, no. You’ve not touched the pole, so you just walked off the level to your death. Go back to touch the pole, and you auto-walk into the (now stationary) spikes.

So, after a little experimentation, I found that in addition to bringing over the sprinkler, I needed to (carefully) pick up an explosive bomb-type enemy, jump over the flagpole with it, evade the spikes, throw the bomb and clear the path. THEN touch the flagpole, and let the level ending sequence play out properly. Bypassing videogame logic in order to get it working again – it’s kinda clever, in a weirdly dumb sorta way. This seems to be the general thrust of the gameplay – puzzles that bend or abuse the logic of the game and require some actual thought to get through, with the platforming itself being not too hard to get through.

Every few levels the game throws a boss battle your way, and these are genuinely tough platforming/reflex challenges that are probably the most frustrating element of all, although there’s nothing that can’t be conquered with a little patience. It’s nowhere near the sadistic difficulty of I Wanna Be The Guy. At least, not yet. The game itself actually looks quite nice, and the music feels appropriate for a Mario-inspired platformer. I’m still some way from the end of the game, but I’m actually having fun with this, which I honestly didn’t expect.

The Verdict: Maybe the difficulty spikes hideously later on, but in spite of frequent deaths, I’m actually having enjoying puzzling my way through Eryi’s Action. It feels almost like a puzzle game disguised as a sadistic platformer, and there’s a strong vein of humour running through it all, even if the player is the butt of all the jokes. I may well go back to this one once my backlog is a little shorter, so consider this a guarded recommendation. Now, on to the next – check back tomorrow for another indie game on The Chopping Block.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – The Chopping Block – ‘Eryi’s Action’


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Dev Links: Open Wide

In today’s Developer Links: high dynamic range lighting, Sony’s approach to working with indie developers, and yet more developers’ takes on the Steam Greenlight fee.

‘Evolving Every Day’ – Sony’s Approach To Working With Indies (Gamasutra)
“Sony has earned a reputation for funding daring indie games — especially lately. Dyad and Papo & Yo, in particular, have picked up plaudits in recent weeks. Of course, this is not an accident, says Sony’s Adam Boyes.”

Good Morning Gato # 97 – Oppa Gato Style (Ska Studios)
“We went to PAX! Gato sends her regrets that she was not able to attend as she was tied up all weekend in an international business meeting. Be extra sure to click all the clickables in this week’s Good Morning Gato. You wouldn’t want to miss a single brilliant gem.”

$100 (Thinking In Rectangles)
“So yeah, there’s a big debate this week about greenlight’s $100 fee. I thought I’d come on here and type up my fully formed opinion, because I continue to put my foot in it on twitter. I think others are saying far wiser and more interesting things on the subject, but I want to put my own opinion up, then shut up..”

The Video Game Kickstarter Report – Week of September 9 (Zeboyd Games)
“The biggest new video game kickstarter in the past few days is for a Homestuck Adventure Game. It’s at $853k ($700k goal) with 26 days left which already places it as one of the top 10 highest grossing video game kickstarters. To be honest, I’ve never heard of Homestuck before now but apparently it’s a rather popular webcomic with a weird sense of humor.”

Musing On Iterative Creative Perfection (Cliffski.com)
“The film ‘wanted‘ was on TV here again recently. I’ve seen it maybe 4 times now, and although it has lots of men shooting guns, for once it’s a film like that I really like, mostly because the actual gun bits are irrelevant. It’s a film about breaking out of a rut, in a job/relationship/life you hate, and becoming someone important and doing something you believe in. No wonder I love it.”

Friday Flashback #30: The Return From The PAX (Broken Rules)
“We’re back home! After a few tumultuous days in Seattle, indulging the crazy event called PAX Prime 2012, we’ve finally returned home to use the knowledge we’ve gathered for good. But before we let you know about this week’s achievements, we’d like to present you some of the feedback we’ve received.”

Flow – A Coroutine Kernel for .Net (AltDevBlogADay)
“This post will present a small library called Flow that abuses .Net’s IEnumerable functionality, providing a Kernel for cooperative multitasking based on the concept of coroutines.”

Tech Feature: HDR Lighting (In The Games Of Madness)
“Hello my name is Peter and I’m the new graphics and engine programmer. New is not really the correct word since I have been working at Frictional for a year now. During this time I have updated the engine and added a lot of new graphic features. This will be the first of my blog posts descripting the changes that have been made.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Open Wide


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IGM Limelight: Week 4

Hello all you beautiful indie gamers and devs and welcome to the fourth week of IGM Limelight; the article that attempts to make Greenlight games known to the entirety of the world. What’s that? Not everyone reads Indiegamemag.com? Well they should. Regardless, here are 5 games you should check out on Steam Greenlight. BEGIN WEEK 4:

Montague’s Mount from Polypusher Studios- Players wake up surrounded by rubble and wreckage. The ship in which our main character once fished is ruined. The island is wired with electricity, but the generator appears to be broken. Players have nothing to go on but these facts and must explore the Irish island in this psychological thriller. Montague’s Mount builds on the success of the first person environmental adventure and focuses on a psychological story by combining adventure and puzzle solving. Montague’s Mount is mysterious, with no story details leaked yet, and will be presented in episodic form with the first episode being released late 2012. The second two episodes have been announced for spring and summer 2013 respectively. For more on Montague’s Mount take a look at the official website, or follow Polypusher and Montagues Mount on Twitter.

Eador: Masters of the Broken World from Snowbird Games- The world has been broken into shards, each of which is its own separate world with its own inhabitants. You are a supreme and powerful Master, who has interest in controlling all the shards and uniting them under his power.  It is up to you how you approach defeating the enemy demigods and gaining control of as many shards as possible. Eador: Masters of the Broken World plays as an turn-based strategy game, but also integrates RPG elements. Some guy who almost sounds autotuned gives a great in-depth analysis of the gamplay on the Greenlight page, so check that out for more details on gameplay. And, by the way, the graphics are the BOMB. Other than that, for more info on Eador, there is an official website and a Facebook page, both of which you should totally check out.

Gnomoria from Robotronic Games- Gnomoria is a delicious little sandbox game where players control a group of gnomes who have set out to create a life of their own. The world begins procedurally generated and anything created can be broken down for material. Gnomes are given commands and can dig deep down to obtain mining materials, cut down trees, and farm grassland. The goal is to create a flourishing community for the gnomes to live in. The interface appears to be intuitive and the dev running the video makes it look super easy. If you dig the sandbox genre, I could not recommend anything better. For more info check out the Gnomoria official website.

Init. from Narrow Monolith- In Init. players have to see the world differently. Perception is posed as an enemy, and it is the player who must adjust how they see the world to complete puzzles and challenges. The 3D platformer has taken away the rules of physics and challenges platform lovers to reinvent the way they look at the abstract world Narrow Monolith has designed. Init. presents the player with over 50 unique environmentally based challenges, all of which are presented in a 60 fps HD abstractly envisioned world. You can pick up Init. right now or try the demo over on Desura and learn more about it on Narrow Monolith‘s official website.

WazHack from Warwick “Waz” Allison- “All the Time in the World. Permanent Death.” is the advertisement for the roguelike WazHack. In this RPG Adventure game from single developer Waz Allison players choose from 1 of 8 character classes, each with different starting stats and equipment, then venture into procedurally-generated loot filled dungeons. The most interesting mechanic is that time only moves when the player does, allowing players to stop and think about moves instead of simply spamming attacks. The simple element of giving players plenty of time allows for a world of strategic gameplay. Players must be careful though, because one slip up could mean permanent death. To learn more about WazHack and try out a demo take a gander at its official web page, and make sure to vote it up on Greenlight.

That is it, and that is all. Thank you so very much for reading and I hope you enjoyed the picks as much as I did. As always, it was a pleasure writing for you guys. As a side note, Limelight will be moving to a daily format next week (YAY!!!) so that I can be more in depth with these fantastic games. So check back Monday for the first daily edition of IGM Limelight.

If you’d like us to consider YOUR Greenlight project for IGM Limelight, send in your submission to editors@indiegamemag.com with the subject “IGM Limelight”. Didn’t see your game this week? Stay tuned for next weeks round-up and you may very well be one of our top picks!

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – IGM Limelight: Week 4


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Explore the World and Sandbox to Survive ‘Darkout’

The people at Allgraf want to test gamers’ ability to survive in a world which is no more inviting than a dark alleyway. In fact, the world of Darkout is kind of like a dark alleyway. But instead of an alleyway, it is a world which you are not welcome to and instead of darkness simply being an environmental factor it is fully one of your enemies. So maybe Darkout is way more hostile then an alleyway, but luckily the devs give players plenty of tools to bring light to a world encased by darkness.

First of all, Darkout is a side-scrolling platformer and sandbox game. Players are fully able to collect materials, build shelter, and create weapons and armor from the surrounding world. To create these weapons players need to research technology and gather the proper components. Much like in other sandbox games, the crafting element is a strong feature and absolutely necessary for survival in this world of darkness.

 

The aforementioned surrounding world is full of hostile enemies hidden in the dusky foliage and the key to fighting them is the light. Therefore, players must both use light as cover and use light-based weapons to fight the mysterious creatures of the island. By protecting oneself from the monsters gamers can then build more structures. Progress in Darkout is achieved through assembling materials, battling bosses, and upgrading structures. All of this takes place in a randomly generated world ripe with replayability.

Darkout will be released first for PC then for Mac with later ports coming to Ipad and Xbox Live. The people at Allgraf are working hard to advertise their game and there are many places to learn more about Darkout. Here’s a list of them: Official Website, Twitter, Greenlight, and Indiegogo. Check it out. For updates on the progress of Darkout as well as all your indie gaming news, keep it right here with Indiegamemag.com.

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Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Explore the World and Sandbox to Survive ‘Darkout’


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Indie Links Round-Up: Big Smile

Would it be possible to make a game like Portal in 2D?  Or a stealth game where you can’t see the movement of enemies out of your character’s line of sight? Or a game where things that aren’t illuminated cease to exist?  Today’s Indie Links say yes to all of these, and more.

If Portal Were A 2D Platformer It Would Go Something Like This (Kotaku)
“Coming this week to Steam and Xbox Live Indie Games, Gateways is a 2D retro-style platformer that creator David Johnston describes as ‘like Portal, only better.’ Those are fighting words, Mr. Johnston.”

To The Moon: A Lesson In Interactive Storytelling (Funsponge)
“Being a younger medium, interactive storytelling is still defining its language. Writers from more traditional backgrounds are adapting their tool kits, but dictating our experience in those terms often comes at the expense of interactivity. To the Moon falls into this category, for the most part you’re just along for the ride, but when the ride is so compelling, none of that seems to matter.”

I Have Played: Dark Scavenger (Scripted Sequence)
“Many of the best things in life derive from unexpected combinations. The peanut butter and jam sandwich, for example, is humanity’s single most glorious achievement, and yet a mathematical quandary: the sum is greater than its parts. Psydra Games’ adventure-RPG Dark Scavenger is born of a similar (if less hyperbolic) phenomenon. It sequences DNA from Phantasy Star and Zork, adds a dash of Discworld: The Trouble With Dragons, and feels like it might have been lovingly raised by Armando Iannucci’s comedic imagination — an analogy that’s bereft of Dark Scavenger’s triumphs and near-misses, but full of its spirit.”

Review: Mark of the Ninja Brings 2D Stealth With Style (Ars Technica)
Mark of the Ninja is utterly defined by the lack of information it gives players in key situations. If you want to know if there’s a guard in the next room, you have to lean up against the door and look through the keyhole (and be sure to dart away if he’s about to open that door). If you want to know if you’ll be spotted when you climb up over that ledge, you need to carefully peek your head up around the corner first. When you duck back down, a hazy, slowly fading red outline will tell you the guards’ last observed position, but you can still track their movements by watching the small grey circles that represent their subtle footfalls.”

Wot I Think: Closure (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“How many lives must be expended to put in a lightbulb? If a tree falls in a forest but there is no light to show its final position, can it bridge the gap across a chasm? These and other philosophical quandaries are answered in Tyler Galiel’s Closure, a platform-puzzler that constitutes a sinister journey comprised of a thousand tricks of the light. Here’s wot I think.”

[PAX] Turning Into A Chicken: A Hands-On With Guacamelee (Twinfinite)
“Metroidvania games have become as numerous as the leaves in a tree. Two classic series with admirable gameplay? Who wouldn’t want to mash them together and try to make a game. More often than not, the game is mediocre or just plain bad. Sometimes it turns out pretty good. Rarely, the right ingredients come together to make one damn good game. Guacamelee falls in this last category. Hit the jump to see why.”

Portabliss: Super Hexagon (iOS) (Joystiq)
“I feel weird about rendering a verdict about a game I’ve played for, at most, 48 seconds in a single session, but that’s just how Super Hexagon works. Besides, that 48 seconds was hard-won after dozens of less successful, even briefer attempts. I’m reasonably sure I get the idea.”

Storyteller Is An Incredibly Original And Surprisingly Deep Indie Game (FULLNOVAZERO)
“…His own game, Storyteller was going to be shown for one hour the next day. I, as always, was curious to see what this was all about. My friends and I got locked into a match of Natural Selection 2 the next morning and when everything was done I checked my phone and ran over to the Spy Party booth with only 10 minutes left. Now I’m glad I did, because this is one of the most original games I’ve played in a long time.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Indie Links Round-Up: Big Smile