The Journey Down: Chapter One, has now been released for everyone’s point and click pleasure. Oh, played the freeware version have you? Well this one’s better! Buy it…please?
Look, we’re not here to plead until you buy TJD – we shouldn’t have to – we’re just going to tell you that you can from now until forever. This is a game in which you follow two down and out fellows as they gather parts for their broken plane in order to make a buck from an eager passenger. Now I would celebrate the fact that this is one of the few games to feature black African protagonists, but it’s more of a saddening fact that this must be pointed out every time as a unique selling point. More diversity please!
Before we begin marching down the path of an unnecessary political rant, let’s remind ourselves of how good the game is by looking at our review – a most fitting diversion. To surmise, the only negative thing about TJD is that it may be on the slightly short side, though this is made up with charm, and that some of the voice acting isn’t the best. It’s manageable though, with a slight grimace, so get loosening those face muscles in preparation.
Now, are you ready for a slew of store links? TJD is available for Windows and Mac as of writing, but it will be released for Linux this very afternoon – so all you future people, it’s probably available on all three in your time. There’s also mobile versions in the works too. Now, where can you buy it (get ready)? Here we go then:
Thomas Happ is making a sidescrolling metroidvania – so what’s new? Well, this one has ignited our nostalgic-passion meters into overdrive. That’s some damn fine art and gameplay to match. Corr blimey.
There’s not many things in this world that arouses enough passion within us to send us rubbing our legs in some creepy state of anticipation but Axiom Verge is certainly one such thing. If you’ve ever played a sidescrolling metroidvania or perhaps just a console game from the late 80s/early 90s, you’re about to be sent into a head-spin by Thomas Happ’s efforts. We haven’t seen such luscious-disgusting (yes we just invented that) boss designs for years. YEARS WE TELL YOU! That slug fella at the top is almost pornographic for anyone who can appreciate it. He’s not the only one dribbling at the mouth.
Axion Verge is said to contain 8 hours of playtime, over 60 hidden items and powerups and over 20 upgradeable weapons. So that’s the meat to go with your gravy. Slap on a “pulsing” sci-fi soundtrack and you’ve got yourself a rather sumptuous delight awaiting our shaking hands.
While we’re at it, here’s the outline of the story from Thomas himself:
“You play as Trace, a relatively normal (if quirky) guy who suffers a fatal-ish injury, after which he wakes up in a strange, unsettling new world that is both high-tech and incredibly ancient. Why is he here? Where are the world’s inhabitants? And what is the myterious force that seems intent on ending his life?”
We’re told to expect Axiom Verge to grace PC and Xbox 360s in 2013 which is far too long, but we’ll wait if we have to – it will hopefully be so worth it.
More information on Axiom Verge can be found on the game’s official website.
Not too long ago, I wrote up an article for Eurogamer entitled “Should More Indie Developers Be Saying ‘Just Pirate It’?” I spoke to a number of indie developers to find out what they thought about piracy and, contrary to popular opinion, I found that piracy is actually a viable way for an indie developer to promote their game and potentially increase sales.
Now, just today I spoke to Paul Greasley who is the developer of a number of games: Black Market which is currently in the Indie Fort Bundle, freeware title Under The Garden and Rambros which he is currently developing and looks rather fantastic I might add, amongst others.
He came to me to consult me about his latest blog post, just to check it over for him – the blog post is entitled “Pirates are my best customers… actually.” Feel free to go over there and read it, or stay here and I’ll sum it up for you.
Basically, Paul outlines how a Reddit user posted an image of the various editions available of his upcoming sequel, Under The Ocean. Those are the Pretty Cool Silver Bear Edition, the Super Golden Bear Edition and the Annoying Cockroach Edition. The latter is our focus here, as while the other two are paid for and ‘legitimate’ copies of the game with various extras, the Annoying Cockroach Edition is a link straight to the Pirate Bay download.
Many people were very surprised to see a developer advocating piracy of their own game – some more than others. Paul says he received an email this morning from a supposed developer who accused him of encouraging piracy which was apparently ruining the entire industry. Paul’s reaction to that, as you can read, was that he was actually advocating piracy of his game only and actually in doing so he has gained a lot more sales from it.
It is because of his different approach to handling piracy of his own game that caused someone to point it out on Reddit where it soon ended up on the front page. This then led to Paul gaining a lot of respect from the many people who saw this and many of them went and pre-ordered Under The Ocean, either on principal alone or trying out the pirated version.
I followed up with Paul about how that day has changed his life. He told me, “Piracy is the reason I’m a full time indie developer now. Well, it’s not the sole reason but it’s mostly because of it. I’d say at least 90%.”
Paul admits that he has never made a profit from any of his games before, not even come close to it. Since making the pre-orders of Under The Ocean available, he told me that he might sell a copy of the game a day, on average. He releases developer diaries in video form and those might increase sales for that day, up to maybe a handful. Four days ago though, he sold 263 copies of Under The Ocean and there has been a tail off from that too. This “huge spike” in sales has allowed him to go full time indie and to celebrate it he is actually livestreaming the development process from now on.
What do we learn from this then? Well, it’s probably not that everyone should pirate their games but it is that people are more likely to buy your game if they can try it out, you’re honest with them and if you find new ways of promoting your game. More and more we are seeing indie game marketing evolve – it seems you have to put as much creativity into that as you do your game. Just a thought.
Robit Studios have released their debut action adventure title, the aptly named Treasure Adventure Game, over on GOG.com with some exclusive extras. Don’t fret though – it’s still free!
Treasure Adventure Game is one of those games that came out of the blue and really delighted people for a multitude of reasons. We really enjoyed it as you can read over in our review, mostly for its personality, solid gameplay and retro aspirations.
Now, rather than recommending you to go and play it via the official website, we highly recommend grabbing your download from GOG.com who seem to be making good on their promise of distributing indie games as well as retro classics.
What you’ll get with your download on GOG which you won’t get elsewhere is another free game called Karma which was the prototype game that became Treasure Adventure Game, you’ll also get a 4 track OST and 99 design sketches to pass before your eyes.
You should still visit the official Robit Studios website though, simply to donate some money as a way of thanks for delivering this brilliant, free game. In related news, Stephen Orlando who is the sole developer behind Robit Studios, has started a post-mortem Let’s Play of his own game. Worth checking out if you’re a fan especially.
More information on Treasure Adventure Game can be found over on the official website.
Indie game developer and icon, Mr. Terry Cavanagh who you’ll most likely know for VVVVVV has started up a new blog that aims to highlight the freeware games that he finds interesting.
It took Cavanagh a little while to find an appropriate domain name, one that was suitable and not already take, but he eventually settled on freeindiegam.es. Cavanagh has already posted a few things on there, mostly it seems he’s going for a simple picture with a sentence and a link to download the game – appropriate really when games should be experienced.
Obviously all of the games he will be posting up there will be free but knowing Cavanagh’s taste, they’re bound to be games that push the envelope, have something to say or are just interesting in a way that not many other games are. Certainly, his picks so far reflect this. Anna Anthropy’s dys4ia, Kyratzes’ The Fabulous Screech and Vlambeer’s Yeti Hunter being examples of this. We’ll be keeping an eye on what freeware titles Cavanagh must share as we, as you would expect, share an interest in a game that is both “free” and “interesting”.
Just to remind you again, the site you’ll want to head over to for Cavanagh’s freeware pick is freeindiegam.es – how can you not remember that?
Attending to survival gameplay in a very unique way, Under The Garden became a notorious freeware gem when it was released back in 2010. Chopping down trees, shooting bears and making shelter kept this player occupied in a delightfully delivered effort from Paul Greasley. If you never got around to playing Under The Garden, then make sure you do – you can download Under The Garden for free from this link.There were plenty of bugs to flatten out and a few other slights that Paul had to sort out upon the release of Under The Garden and so he learned many things during the process. He’s now in development of the sequel to Under The Garden which takes on a completely new location which comes with new challenges. Under The Ocean also marks a shift into 3D for Paul, no doubt bringing a whole load of other issues as well as making the game look very crisp.We spoke with Paul about Under The Ocean now that it is available to pre-order to find out why you should be interested in this brilliant looking title.IGM: What are the lessons you learned from developing Under The Garden which you will be taking over to Under The Ocean?PG: Honestly I try to think more in terms of where the game feels like it needs to go as a whole, rather than trying to dissect what worked and what didn’t.
Bidogames have just announced their 2D co-operative sandbox game, Nioki Adventure, which they hope will continue on the soul of games of its ilk.Let me just grab the bullet shield before I advance. Right, so two-man development team, Bidogames, have just announced their slick looking debut title for PC and Xbox 360. It’s called Nioki Adventure and they have said that they hope to maintain the kind of gameplay that Terraria was popularised with (multiplayer, exploration, construction, bosses, etc.), while at the same time advancing it further and shaping it to be something unique, per the community’s suggestion.“It is important for us to have a community by our side to provide more contents to the game, both during the development and after the initial release,” Marc Lejeune, lead designer at Bidogames told us. “Players will be able to submit ideas for quests, items, crafting…any idea is appreciated!”The developers say that one thing they will concentrating on in particular with Nioki Adventure is the quests; having a main quest to complete as well as other smaller ones. In fact, they seem to be concentrating on the RPG side of it quite a lot, making sure the game is challenging and will require players to work together and level up.
Tales of Maj’Eyal (also known as TOME 4) is a relative unknown, but we wrote a bit about it earlier this year. Despite seemingly emerging from the shadows, it won a major ‘roguelike of the year’ audience award at the end of 2011 – beating out even Steam-borne favorite Dungeons of Dredmor, and back-to-basics masterpiece Brogue – by offering a more story-driven and consistently tactical experience than most games in the genre. It didn’t hurt that the presentation in general is among the best out there. Not resting on it’s laurels, a major new version was released just yesterday, bringing a raft of bug-fixes and a sexy new UI.
Locomalito (creator of 8-Bit Killer, Hydorah and others) releasing a new game is always a good reason to sit up, pay attention and play some videogames. Today marks the launch of his latest project, They Came From Verminest, a Galaga-inspired love letter to early 80s arcade games and cheesy 50s sci-fi. Pop on those red/blue 3D glasses, blast off and come zap some bugs. After the break, the delightfully low-fi, live-action trailer and some thoughts on the game.
Via press release we receive word that the first part of John Way’s top-down zombie survival RPG I Shall Remain is now available to download for free. The prologue is available for all on IndieDB, weighing in at just under a gig. Originally a Kickstarter effort that fell short of its goal, the lack of funding didn’t deter the Way’s team from going forward with the project, and now we have the first of those fruits with supposedly more in the works. Good on them I say.