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

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Fantástico Guacamelee Bundle Out Now

Drinkbox Studios has released the Guacamelee Bundle Fantástico which includes game DLC and more. Available now on the Playstation Network in North America, the bundle supports Playstation Vita cross-buy and will give access to the El Diablo’s..

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Fantástico Guacamelee Bundle Out Now


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Spectrum Brings Beauty To Puzzle Platforming

Just when you thought you had mastered the art of platforming, a game like Spectrum comes along and mixes in a few mind-bending puzzles to prove there is always more to learn. While it may..

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Spectrum Brings Beauty To Puzzle Platforming


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Indie Intermission – ‘Cardinal Quest’ Going Deeper Underground

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With the weekend just around the corner I bring you a fantastic little rouge-like to get you through the last few days. Cardinal Quest from Ido Yehieli, it is a great browser basted game that has a distinct Dungeons Of Dredmor feel to it.

In Cardinal Quest you must select one of three common RPG archetypes to play as and using that character you must move around the dungeon collecting loot and slaying monsters the common RPG story really. However for a browser-based game Cardinal Quest is surprisingly polishing and well put together.

The pixel art graphics and great midi music and sound effects help to make Cardinal Quest a great deal of fun really bringing a full and rounded gaming experience.

What is great about Cardinal Quest is how you will automatically equip the strongest items and sell the lower tiers which helps streamline the complex and often boring inventory management that you find most RPGs have. Of course many people may dislike this idea but I personally find it means more time actually playing the game and less reading stats in menus.

Cardinal Quest ss01

Average play time – 30 minutes

Cardinal Quest is a whole lot of fun and provides a great experience that can be played again and again as you start to understand more of the in-game tropes. For anyone who loves rogue-likes Cardinal Quest will provide hours of fun!

You can play Cardinal Quest online however it is probably available on your mobile too, so check out the developers site for more information.

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 – ‘Cardinal Quest’ Going Deeper Underground


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Upcoming Serious Game ‘Choice: Texas’

lariceThe upcoming indie game Choice: Texas is a very serious game. This project is an interactive fiction game discussing accessing to legal abortions in Texas. Like the successful serious game DepressionQuest, Choice: Texas will use a browser-based IF gameplay medium to engage the player in a storyline with a message.

    Choice: Texas, developed and designed by Carly Kocurek and Allyson Whipple, uses careful research into Texas legal regulations and demographics to create fictional characters. These characters encounter realistic situations, financial and geographic limitations, as well as personal choices and goals. By asking players to take on the role of one of these women, the developer invite players to consider the situation Texas woman might encounter, and asks the players for empathy and understanding.

    “This game is about an important issue effecting women in Texas, and is intended as a means of furthering discussion and empathy,“ says Carly Kocurek. (Carly will be on a panel with me, and other amazing women in game development, at Geek Girl Con, discussing women’s experiences in the games industry!) “We really think games can facilitate further conversation about and understanding of these kinds of issues.”

    I’ve written many times about the power of serious games to create understanding, not to mention the potential of text-based games. Depression Quest successfully used an interactive fiction format to bring players into the role of a person suffering from depression. Another serious game, McVideogame, threw the player into an unsympathetic role, and used this to build understanding and awareness of the interconnected relationships in the fast food industry. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Choice: Texas handles such a complex topic.

    Choice: Texas will launch an IndieGoGo campaign on August 19, 2013, and lasting through September 15th. The game will be developed in Twine and released for free play on the game’s website, so funds raised will support the development and publicity for the game.  From the IndieGoGo description:

“We are billing Choice: Texas as “a very serious game,” and we mean that. While the game is intended to be engaging, the issues it addresses are very serious. Women’s access to reproductive healthcare in Texas is significantly limited, a state of affairs that is especially true for women who are working class or poor, or who live in rural areas. One of the great strengths of games is that they can invite players to explore other people’s experiences; Choice: Texas is such a game, and asks players to seriously consider the plight of Texas women.”

More development news, including character art, can be found at choicetexas.tumblr.com.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Upcoming Serious Game ‘Choice: Texas’


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Indie Links Round-Up: New Heights

Starseed

Indie Links today has freeware before commercial, personal instead of professional and hot Monaco on Monaco action.

Four perspectives on personal games (Gamasutra)
“The personal games movement is providing an important, exciting new avenue for expression and a new understanding of design, many believe. At the Different Games conference in New York this weekend, four panelists presented on the theme of personal game-making and why it matters to them.”

Review: Starseed Pilgrim – A Game of Discovery by Droqen (IndieGameReviewer)
“You could be forgiven for initially dismissing Starseed Pilgrim as little more than a curiosity. Droqen’s latest endeavor is a strange, abstract title that does little to endear itself to new players; spending ten minutes with the game might leave you with the vague impression that something is missing. Spend an hour with it and you may come to the conclusion that it was designed with the specific purpose to bewilder and confuse its audience. If you stay a little longer though, you’ll begin to see something compelling and altogether worthy of your time emerge from the blankness.”

Analog Investigations in Arkham (Gnome’s Lair)
“Deduction, despite what Sherlock Holmes would have you believe, is not a science. It’s a method. A method that could arguably make the life of all fictional investigators much easier and can definitely be applied to board-games as the classic Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective so effortlessly proved over 30 years ago. What’s more, deduction is what you’ll be using when playing the freshly released and rather excellent Arkham Investigator.”

Why Vlambeer won’t stop making freeware first, products second (Polygon)
“Earlier this week, Vlambeer — an independent developer who receives as much ink for their critically acclaimed titles as they do for unscrupulous developers’ tendency to copy them — got hit once again. SkyFar, an iOS game from Bangalore’s Rubiq Lab, was criticized for nearly duplicating Luftrausers, a browser-based Flash game Vlambeer released in 2011, which the studio later planned to turn into a full retail release.”

Live Free, Play Hard: The Week’s Finest Free Indie Games (RPS)
“Heterosexual narc. More than a few games about the demise of balls. CANDY ANT PRINCESS.”

Two Game Developers Travel The World, Playing Games And Helping People (Kotaku)
“Earlier this year, Battlefield producer Daniel Matros and former colleague Tim Kjell set up something called Charitystream. The idea was simple: stream games online, raise money for charity. It’s a noble goal, yeah, but it’s also something countless others are engaged in.”

Monaco made good on Indie Fund $100K before launch, what it means (Joystiq)
“Since 2010, Indie Fund has helped launch high-profile games such as Dear Esther, QUBE and Antichamber, each one recouping investment within days or even hours. The first game in which Indie Fund ever put its faith (and money), Monaco, launched last week and made back its $100,000 investment in negative time, before the game went live on April 24.”

Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine offers the thrill of the heist (Shacknews)
“Andy Schatz’s IGF award-winning Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine is all about staying in the shadows and avoiding detection. In fact, it’s succeeded almost too well, remaining out of the spotlight since it first took the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at IGF 2010. After years of tireless work and dedication, Monaco has finally been released and like a fine French wine, it was worth the wait.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Indie Links Round-Up: New Heights


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IGM Let’s Try- ‘Cubemen 2′

Cubemen 2 is a fast paced, action packed, original 3D Strategy game where you use your little Cubemen units to defend and attack enemies in a range of awesome game modes including CTF, Skirmish, Territory and more.

Cubemen 2
Steam

Be sure to Subscribe to our channel to be notified of our latest content. Please let us know what you think of the game. Leave your comments below!

About the Video:
Created by Zephyr Moore

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Source: The Indie Game Magazine – IGM Let’s Try- ‘Cubemen 2′


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Unique Platformer ‘Ecotone’ Gets an In-Browser Demo

Ecotone is a game from Sundae Factory which actively seeks to be different. Be it the unusual dark storybook visual style, the ambient, understated and unsettling nature of the soundtrack, or the dreamlike atmosphere, this is a game that doesn’t wish to run with the pack. For some of you, I am aware, simply knowing this fact is making you lose interest. Indeed, there are many gamers who are more puristic in their views of video games, and reject indie developers’ predilection for the avant-garde as nothing more than pretension. However, based on the playable alpha demo, Ecotone’s strengths are more than merely skin-deep.

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The quality of the game’s artwork is immediately striking. As I touched upon earlier, the game world really does look like a storybook turned sinister, with the player character isolated against a starry backdrop in a world filled with peering eyes. In fact, with its dream-like quality, unique use of ambient sound and puzzle platforming gameplay, the game which Ecotone reminded me most of was Limbo. Both games excel at implying their stories rather than explicitly stating them, and for making you empathize with their protagonists despite their basic, largely faceless design.

Possibly the most effective and unique element of Ecotone is the way in which every new screen is introduced with a sentence. These sentences can relate to the introduction of a new mechanic, provide a snippet of insight into the mysterious protagonist, or often both. An early example is ‘I think I had a Brother…’ On this screen, your input controls not only the player character, but also his ghostly parallel who stands on a platform above. Your goal is to deliver both safely to the other side. This is a good example of how the system works, and it’s a novel way of introducing new mechanics and interspersing narrative elements into the game. Personally, I find this to be a really interesting hook for the game, and it makes you want to play on for the next drop of text-based character development.

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Having greatly enjoyed Christopher Whitman’s Runa primarily platform-based game with a heavy focus on narrative and poetic language, I welcome more conceptual platformers with open arms. After all, in a genre this saturated your game really does need to do something different, and find its voice to stand out. Refreshingly, Sundae Factory have proven themselves willing to go out on a limb with Ecotone, and to deliver a new experience to their players.

Ecotone is coming soon to PC and Mac, but in the meantime you can grab a taste of the playable alpha build in your browser. If you’re taken with Sundae Factory‘s intriguing vision, you can back them on Steam Greenlight, or follow the official Ecotone Twitter account for updates.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Unique Platformer ‘Ecotone’ Gets an In-Browser Demo


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GDC: Escape Goat 2 Preview

escapegoat2Escape Goat 2 is a sequel to the original puzzle platformer, Escape Goat.  The game revolves around solving single-room puzzles as the level shifts and moves around you. Escape Goat 2 was only announced back in January, but is already coming along extraordinarily.  This is in part due to the fact that Ian Stocker of MagicalTimeBean has actually split up the workload and is working with an artist and another programmer who helped him on the new lighting engine.  The game is prettier than ever, but the core gameplay elements, twisting puzzle rooms, and magical mouse companion all remain intact.  Perhaps the biggest change in the game is the much more linear approach.  In the first game, you could choose which group of levels you wanted to tackle via an overworld hub.  In the sequel, the game will be much more linear, but there will be secret doors and branching paths off of the core levels.  Even this early build of the game had tight controls and some tough puzzles.  Keep an eye out for more on Escape Goat 2 by visiting MagicalTimeBean’s official website or following Ian on twitter @MagicalTimeBean.


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Indie Links Round-Up: Developer’s Lair

playgrounds

Today’s Indie Links include a hundred indie game picks from the Independent Game Festival submissions, ten notable indie strategy games from 2012, and nine games that weren’t finalists in the IGF awards (but at least one judge thinks should have been).

100 Indie Game Picks for IGF 2013 (PixelProspector)
“Well…I’ve browsed through the 800+ Entrants (~580 Main Entrants and ~300 Student Entrants) and picked 80 100 games. All those games can be found on 100 Indie Game Picks for IGF 2013 (with links to: homepage, igf entry page and trailer)
The shown games are either picked because I have tested them personally (for example: Awesomenauts, Syder Arcade, Gas Guzzlers, Iconoclasts, Super House of Dead Ninjas…) or because they look promising.”

Top 10 Indie Strategy Games of 2012 (IndieGames)
“Strategy gaming, despite being one of the most demanding genres for players and developers alike, is also one of the areas indie devs seem to excel at and gamers seem to love. What’s more, 2012 was an excellent year for the tactically thinking masses indeed, what with its impressive selection of strategy offerings appearing on most platforms. What follows are our picks of the very best strategy games of 2012 and, as you will soon discover, it’s a list covering everything from RTS and turn-based games to tower-defense and rogue-like variants. It even sports some excellent freebies!”

Indie Studio Takes Stand Against Over-Priced Games In Australia (GamePolitics)
“Melbourne Australia-based indie game developer Endgame Studios is tired of the high prices that gamers in the region have to pay for video games (compared to Europe and other regions) and has decided to voice their opinion about how much they think it sucks. In a post entitled ‘A stand against exorbitant Aussie game prices!,’ the studio says that Australian gamers are asked to pay 50 – 100 percent more than American consumers due to – according to publishers and distributors – currency exchange rates. Endgame Studios says that now because of digital distribution of many titles (there is no physical product to haul) and because the Australian dollar is stronger than the U.S. dollar the old justification for higher game prices no longer works.”

3DS Game Review – Fluidity: Spin Cycle (Curve) (IndieGames)
“Curve has shown its platformer breadth and expertise once again, having previously mixed physics and blasts in Explodemon and stealth and speed in Stealth Bastard. The dev’s latest, Fluidity: Spin Cycle (or Hydroventure: Spin Cycle in the EU), is so slick with its water-based physics and puzzle platforming that it easily becomes one of the best games on the 3DS, retail or digital.”

Hit List Q&A: Supergiant Games Studio Director Amir Rao (Joystiq)
“Amir Rao is the Studio Director for Supergiant Games, the team behind the AIAS award-winning downloadable game Bastion, which was released on Xbox Live Arcade, Steam, Mac, Linux, Chrome and iOS. Prior to Supergiant Games, Amir worked at Electronic Arts Los Angeles as a designer on Command & Conquer 3 and Red Alert 3.”

The Inaugural Horace Awards For Forgotten IGF Entrants (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“The IGF 2013 finalists were announced yesterday, with many worthy nominees up for the trophies. But as a judge in the first round of voting, I spotted a bunch of games I’m disappointed to not see get further. Disappointed, and with my own website. So to fix this, I’ve pulled together the inaugural Horace Award For Forgotten IGF Entrants. The winners are below.”

Game The News Project Developer Interview (Independent Gaming)
“While surfing the web I came across an interesting concept. A group was putting together (indie) games to help people better understand the news and the world around them. I was so curious as to what the developers had to say that I contacted them and landed an interview with the creative director, Tomas.”

Playgrounds: Gaijin Games’ Jason Cirillo (Polygon)
“This is our very first installment of Playgrounds from outside of the Polygon staff and it’s with great pleasure that we introduce Mr. Jason Cirillo, a designer at California-based Gaijin Games (makers of the BIT.TRIP series), and host of retro gaming web series Bit Museum. If you’re a collector, developer or super fan with a collection worth sharing on Playgrounds, let us know at playgrounds@polygon.com! Take it away, Jason!”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Indie Links Round-Up: Developer’s Lair


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Indie Links Round-Up: Losing Your Head

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“Chivalry”, “Hydorah”, “Sugarcube” and “Telepath” are all examples of dactyls, metrical feet consisting of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables. More importantly, they’re all the first words of titles of games covered in today’s Indie Links.  (Heck, one of the titles, Sugarcube: Bittersweet Factory, consists entirely of dactyls. Huh.)

Bleed (Indie Gamer Chick)
“…In short, the name sucks and the price sucks harder.  Are we clear on that?  Good. Bleed is fucking awesome.”

Review: Blood, Grain, and Steel – An Indie Turn-Based Strategy Game (Indie Game Reviewer)
“Turn-based strategies are a delicate art; pacing is everything and it’s important that tactics and balance are tempered with regular reward. The genre, by its nature, provides measured and reasonably slow experiences (compared to other gaming genres at least) and it can be easy to drive away potential gamers with these qualities if the game doesn’t also offer some level of excitement and deep involvement. Blood, Grain and Steel faces this challenge, presenting turn-based strategy elements reminiscent of Total War combined with chess style grids.”

Today I Die Dev’s Storyteller Still Enchants (IndieGames)
Today I Die and I wish I were the Moon developer Daniel Benmergui is still working hard on his IGF 2012 Nuovo award winner Storyteller. He recently published a dedicated website for Storyteller and announced a late 2013 release for Windows, Mac, and iOS.”

Oh, Sweet Emotion!  Sugarcube: Bittersweet Factory (Indie Statik)
“…Thing is, 2D puzzle-platformers are the ‘bread and butter’ of that thing we awkwardly refer to as indie gaming. If you’ve been interested in this chewy slice of the gaming world for more than a couple of weeks, you can most likely name ten of them off the top of your head. This doesn’t detract from Sugarcube‘s quality in any way, it just means that the game would have to work very hard to stand out in a highly competitive field. There’d have to be something unique to make it worthwhile for more than just the die-hard ‘indie fan’. Which brings me back to the poo.”

Kickstarter Katchup – 15th December 2012 (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“The temptation is to throw copper coins out of my window at passing urchins, demanding that they purchase food and gifts on my behalf, but instead I decided to tuck into the selection box that is the Kickstarter Katchup to see what’s happening in the world of crowdfunding and gaming. The SPORTSFRIENDS survived, Consortium’s first-person role-playing adventure impressed and much else besides. I would say more but I really need to go and eat some painkillers though…”

GameStop Cancels This Year’s Indie Game Challenge, Future Unclear (Polygon)
“The Indie Game Challenge is on hiatus and will not be held during DICE 2013, a representative from IGC sponsor GameStop revealed to Polygon. ‘The 2012 – 13 Indie Game Challenge (IGC) will be on hiatus while we take time to analyze ways to promote and celebrate the independent game movement,’ GameStop’s media relations manager Wendy Dominguez confirmed via email. ‘We have been committed and continue to be committed to supporting the independent game developer community.’”

Hydorah 1.1 (TIGSource)
“In other Locomalito news, Hydorah has received a nice update to 1.1. According to Zosite on theshmups.com forums this update includes:…”

A Bloody Good Game  Chivalry: Medieval Warfare (Independent Gaming)
“From Torn Banner Studios –  the same developers as the Age of Chivalry mod for theSource engine - Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is a multiplayer-only realistic medieval hack’n’slash on the powerful Unreal engine. It features mostly melee combat but also contains ranged weapons such as the longbow, catapult and ballista.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Indie Links Round-Up: Losing Your Head