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

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RoboFunk: Frobot Now Available on PC

Frobot-PC

Fugazo has announced the PC release of their hip and happenin’ top-down puzzler Frobot, available now to purchase through the developer for $10.

Dev head Andrew Lum explains that while the single player gameplay is identical to the WiiWare version, the graphics on the PC are “WAAAAYYY better.” Additionally, the PC version offers a handful of exclusive achievements and wallpapers to unlock. Groovy.

Check out Geoff’s review of the WiiWare version. A Mac version is apparently still on the way as well, but no word on that item as of yet.

[Frobot]


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Shut Yo Mouth… Frobot [Review]

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I had originally meant for this review to go live last week, but, unfortuantely, the holidays just got the better of me. I do hope that you didn’t take that to mean Frobot wasn’t a good game, however, as I’ve just finished playing my review copy and I came away thoroughly impressed with not only the gameplay, but also the aesthetic, characters and story… yes this game most certainly has a story.

Frobot, for those of you who haven’t seen it, can be summed up in a single word: funky. Everything about this game oozes with that sort of jive 1970s vibe that was so pervasive 40 years ago. While it might seem dated now, you can rest assured that reliving this fabled time of gold chains and jive turkeys is actually well worth the entry price, particularly if you always found yourself fond of a certain American detective named Shaft.

But enough about that let’s tackle what you’re probably really interested in, the gameplay.

I’ve mentioned this previously on this site multiple times, but I’ll say it again: the entire gameplay of Frobot is very similar to playing a the classic 2D Zelda temples. This, in my opinion is a fantastic gameplay structure as it creates a fun, puzzle atmosphere but without getting overly complicated for people who just want to play a game and not worry a third dimension as is now customary in modern Zelda titles.

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The primary difference between Frobot‘s puzzle “temples” and Zelda‘s is that Frobot‘s puzzles aren’t contained to a singular room. What I mean by this is that you’ll habitually be dragging items from one screen to the next and back again in order to solve a puzzle. This ensures that no puzzle is too easy, aside from the very first few, of course.

Now, naturally, being a badass Frobot, the game hooks you up with an impressive arsenal to dispose of any enemies that you most definitely will come into contact with. You’ve got the traditional “pew pew” energy blast gun, remote mines, a rocket launcher, the “Jive Stalker” which follows your Wii pointer, and a grenade which can be thrown over walls. Each weapon provides it’s own use and functionality within the game that will allow you to proceed through the levels. Note: the grenade is for multiplayer only.

Beyond the weapons, Frobot also has a a shield with which he can block energy blasts as well as a dash that allows Frobot to quickly move out of the way should you require it. These two items are fairly standard within this type of game.

My favorite part about the game, however, isn’t really the puzzles but rather the bosses for each section of the game. During these fights, the game’s camera zooms out and gives you a much wider perspective from with which you can view everything. Each boss has a unique hook to it that makes fighting them different from traditional games where you’re usually just required to hit them ‘x’ amount of times.

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Frobot also comes with a local  multiplayer mode. It’s pretty fun, although nothing really spectacular. It’s just you and 2-3 friends blasting each other with all of Frobot’s arsenal. It can be particularly fun if you’re with the right people. Sadly, however, beyond that there’s just not much to it.

Stylistically, Frobot is a double edged sword. On the one hand, the aesthetic and setting of the game are great. I love how colorful and funky the game feels. On the other side, Frobot is a glaring reminder at the Wii’s inadequacies when it comes to graphics. Colors are dimmer and everything is rougher than what you’d expect on even most Xbox Live Indie Games. A PC version of Frobot is supposed to be coming out soon and I can only hope that it doesn’t suffer from similar issues.

Finally, we come to the story. As you can imagine Frobot absolutely has quite a ridiculous plot line. But that’s okay because being set in the same vein as Shaft entitles you to have a ridiculous plot even if it involves jive robots from a dystopian future. I won’t delve too deep into it, but suffice it to say “the Man” has decided to abduct Frobot‘s women, an entirely unacceptable proposition.

Overall, I was impressed with Frobot‘s simplistic yet addictive gameplay that had me returning for more time and again. There’s a lot of gameplay to be had here, especially for fans of the old Zelda games.

Frobot can be had today on the Nintendo WiiWare store for 1000 Nintendo points ($10).

[Frobot, WiiWare]


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Classic Zelda Lovers Rejoice, Frobot Now Available on WiiWare

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I honestly had my doubts about it getting released this year, but it appears that Andrew from Fugazo has kept his promise to get Frobot out by the end of Q4 2010 and, just 11 days away they’ve made it so.

For those who haven’t heard of Frobot, just imagine the old top-down Zelda formula mixed with a dash of funk and you’ve got yourself a fantastic looking game in the same vein. Seriously, the game looks and plays great. You can check out our own preview of the game earlier this year from PAX 2010, or you can wait until our official review later this week or early next.

There is a demo available right now and, should you decide you want more, the game will cost you 1000 Nintendo points ($10).

[WiiWare, Frobot]


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Frobot Gets an Official Release Date

Frobot-Logo1It’ll be time to get funky this holiday season, because the disco-stylings of Frobot will be hitting the WiiWare channel on December 20th.

We’ve covered the game several times (Early Preview, GDC 2010, PAX 2010) and have been waiting for it to come out forever. When it hits the service in two weeks, it’ll be at the price point of 1000 Wii Points. A free demo will be available that same day.

The game is inspired by the original Zelda, which you’ll see from the inspired level design (room to room dungeons). We’ll do a full review as soon as the game is available.

Check out the latest trailer:


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The Definitive Holiday Indie Game Release Guide

super-meat-boy-artworkAs the holidays get closer and closer there are, arguably, tons of games getting released. This is the time of year when all of the larger publishers’ heavyweights come into the ring to duke it out in a contest of marketing and publicity. But we don’t cover those games here, instead we focus on the little guys. While the big companies are unleashing hoards of money to get people to pay attention to their games and make sure you know when they are released, allow us to guide you through the indie releases for this upcoming holiday season… you know, so you don’t miss ‘em.

Comic Jumper – October 9th (XBLA)

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If you’re not already familiar with this game, or it’s amazing developer — Twisted Pixel — then, well, to be honest I’m not really sure if you can consider yourself a gamer at all given the sheer amount of excitement surrounding this game. This is Twisted Pixel’s third marquee title since they began developing their own original IPs which features a unique hero called Captain Smiley as he traverses 5 completely different and unique comic book worlds.

Who’s That Flying?! – October 12th (Playstation Minis)

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Who’s That Flying?! is the second premiere Playstation Minis title coming from famed indie developer Mediatonic who recently released Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess for both the Playstation Minis and, later, Xbox Live Indie Games. Their new game is a side-scrolling shooter combined with a sort of tower defense game with some delicious courtroom drama thrown in for good measure. Sound awesome? That’s because it is.

Super Meat Boy – October 20th (XBLA)

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Where to even begin when describing Super Meat Boy? I mean it’s arguably the largest indie game to get released in 2010 and is absolutely going to be a success merely based on the quality gameplay, attention to detail, and the massive amounts of coverage the game has steadily been receiving since early this year. Now, in just under three weeks time we’ll finally be able to wrap our minds around everything that this challenging 2D platformer has to offer, which is far more than either of us know at this point.

Under Siege – November (PSN)

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Under Siege, by Seed Studios, is a brand new IP being brought to the Playstation Network that attempts to, once again, bring a playable RTS to the console atmosphere. Something that has only marginally been done by Halo Wars. The game comes with multiplayer, the ability to create and edit your own maps and, probably most importantly, Playstation Move support, something which I’m sure will make any RTS that much better.

Retro City Rampage – December (WiiWare)

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Retro City Rampage… there’s absolutely nothing to not love about this game. I mean, we gave it our Editor’s Choice award for PAX and that was against stiff competition like Super Meat Boy, and Bastion. Anyway the game is set to be released later this year onto the WiiWare. If you all have thought how awesome it would be to take the GTA styled gameplay and mix it with 8-bit graphics in a hilarious world that at every turn takes a jab at the video game industry then this game is for you. Don’t miss it.

Frobot – Q4 (WiiWare)

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Frobot, by Fugazo, is a game that we’ve been covering since last year and was actually intended for release earlier this year. However, after a complete redesign and recoding, Frobot is back, bigger than ever, and ready to go right upside your Wii’s head. The game features extensive Zelda-esque temple puzzle levels wrapped in a unique style. Obviously you play as a the Frobot who is attempting to complete these puzzles with a large and unique arsenal of weapons at your disposal. This is definitely one of the Wii’s premiere indie titles this year.

Raskulls – 2010 (XBLA)

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Raskulls, by Halfbrick, was a game that was also originally supposed to be out earlier this year but was, instead, pushed back to later this year. The game features unique platforming elements that are combined with a sort of racing game to almost give you a sort of Super Mari World meets Mario Kart feel to it. It’s a unique experience wrapped in a colorful/adorable style, in typical Halfbrick style.

Cave Story – 2010? (DSiWare)

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Chalk this one into the “maybe” pile, but, according to Nicalis, the next variation of the incredibly popular indie platformer Cave Story is due to land on the DSiWare sometime soon. While the developer hasn’t nailed down a final release date, they did say the game was in “final testing stages.” That being said, we can only assume the game would make it out sometime within the next three months. Unfortunately, there are no images or videos of this one. The above image is a painting commissioned by Nicalis.

Fowl Space – 2010? (PC)

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Fowl Space, by Pixelante, is another game that we covered quite extensively at PAX earlier this month. The game features a unique “Space Cock” character that is attempting to destroy the sun. While the game’s unique art style and sound gameplay mechanics are an instant draw, the real reason why you’ll be playing this game is due to all the comedic innuendo… dick jokes. While the game doesn’t have a solid release date just yet, the developer has said the game is nearing completion, and rumor has it the team is looking to sign a deal with Steam for release. If true we expect this game out fairly soon.

Until I’m Gone – 2010? (PC)

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Until I’m Gone, by Faraway Studios, is a unique 2.5D, third person point and click adventure that has horror and psychological subtext within. The game promises a unique story with an incredibly detailed style. And the best part? This is all going to be completely freeware upon release. The game was initially set top be released last year, but was instead pushed back to later this year. No solid release date has been offered but the developers assure us that it’s still coming.

So that’s it for the major indie games. Naturally, these aren’t all of the indie games getting released this holiday season, these are just the ones we could find that have solid or somewhat solid release schedules. There are tons of XBLIG, iOS, Android, PC, and browser indie games that absolutely will get released sometime with the next three months, so keep checking those channels for awesome games.

Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments so we can add it to the list! Please include a link to where we can find the release date.


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Afros Have Never Looked Betta… Frobot [PAX]

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When we initially covered Frobot way back in November of last year, Frobot was a rather simple puzzle-esque Smash TV type game. It was quite simple to explain because it was a relatively simple game. After months of redesigning and a completely remade game, however, Frobot has undergone some serious gameplay changes that not only make the game better, but also longer, meatier, and an experience that is definitely worth paying for.

As I mentioned above, Frobot has been completely remade. This entails many things, but first and foremost is the level structure. When we initially covered Frobot the game’s puzzles were always restricted to a single screen. Meaning you would go into a new screen solve the puzzle and move on. In today’s Frobot, however, the game’s entire level structure has been changed from the single level structure of the past to a multi-roomed dungeon, similar to a Zelda temple. Puzzles can now stretch across multiple rooms and backtracking is something that occurs quite frequently.

Of course, with a new level structure that contains backtracking and multi-roomed puzzles, you’d expect there to be some sort of map system so that you wouldn’t get lost. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. While the developer assured me that the game wouldn’t need one being that each level was primarily only 10-12 screens each, the fact remains that having a map probably would have been a nice asset to those of us that are less directionally inclined.

Despite that, however, the game continues to look incredibly solid as a WiiWare title. A number of new additions have been added which include collectible hairpieces — where attaining them is a puzzle unto itself — which will allow you to upgrade your various Frobot equipment. For example, the once timed bombs can become remote or proximity mines, the dash can be upgraded so that you can destroy enemies via dashing into them, etc. This is a worthy addition to the game that really can bring a whole new level of replayability to to thee game’s original sterile levels.

Of course, as a WiiWare game the title also comes with a death match styled competitive mutliplayer. I was able to test this out with the developer and it’s actually pretty good. The multiplayer version is 4-player co-op and comes with 10 maps and 2 additional items — on top of the single players arsenal — the grenade, and shield. The grenade is actually the more useful of the two in my opinion, as you’ll be able to toss the grenade over walls and other objects in order to hit the other players. This is actually one reason why the grenade is exclusive to the multiplayer version as apparently the AI was having a hard time understanding the concept of throwing a weapon over an object.

Of course, the bad news is that the multiplayer is local only. No online multiplayer will be shipped with the WiiWare copy. Additionally the game is only initially planned for release on to the WiiWare. While there was a PC version in the works initially, it appears to have been pushed aside to ensure the WiiWare version was the primary version. A PC port (Steam, Gamersgate, D2D, etc.) is being planned for a later release should the WiiWare version do well. Additionally, should a PC version get made the developers are continuing to assess whether or not to add online multiplayer.

Frobot is still scheduled for Q4 of this year (they’re shooting for October) onto Nintendo’s WiiWare digital distribution platform. No pricing has yet been announced.

Screenshots



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Frobot Landing on WiiWare Q4

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Frobot, the bad ass mutha robot with the penchant for solving puzzles and taking down bosses has finally gotten a confirmed release window, that being Q4 of this year. For those that don’t remember, DIYgamer has been following the progress of Frobot since it was first announced back in in November of last year. Back then the game was set to launch within a few months. Needless to say, however, that didn’t exactly happen as planned.

Frobot is based around arena-styled puzzles, where, as the Frobot, you must complete each puzzle in each area before moving on. Think Smash TV but with less killing and more puzzle solving. Additionally, the game will launch with a multiplayer mode where four players will battle it out with all the weapons Frobot has to offer.

Despite taking a little longer than expected, it looks like the game remains unchanged from what we played earlier this year aside from a single added feature; something called Collectible Power Picks.

Each level in the Single Playa (sic) campaign has a collectible power pick. If you can collect all five power picks in a location, you will upgrade one of Frobot’s powers.

Unfortunately, additional information is non existent. So upgrading your powers to what extent remains a mystery.

I played the demo last November and came away impressed with the game. Here’s hoping whatever spit and polish has gone into the game since then has only made it better.

We’ll be checking Frobot out at PAX later this week so stay tuned for an updated preview.

Trailer


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Letter From the Editor: April 12, 2010

Sleep is Death 1It was a busy weekend over at DIYgamer, Erik’s post about Machinarium versus Microsoft really seemed to strike a nerve out there. We hope some of you who checked out the news stick around, as we have a lot to offer in the indie game arena when it comes to news, reviews, previews and interviews. And don’t forget our ongoing forum giveaways – we currently have two copies of Plain Sight we’re giving away at the end of the week.

My fiance and I have just begun the overwhelming process of packing up our apartment for our pending move to San Francisco. There is something extremely cleansing about throwing out and recycling junk you realize you’re never going to touch again. In the maelstrom of getting rid of things, I came across two things from GDC last month that I had forgotten about: papercrafts. I had two sitting in a stack of papers that I hadn’t yet touched. One for Warioware D.I.Y. which was all pre-perforated and snapped together within fifteen minutes, and one for Frobot, which I ended up spending more time on than I care to mention. But the end result was this dynamic, blocky duo:

Frobot and Wario

You can note the scraggly cuts and rips all over Frobot, and the shiny perfection of Wario. On that note, while Warioware D.I.Y. is not of itself an independent game, you can certainly create games that perfectly fit our whole philosophy. Has anyone gotten to play around with it yet? A buddy of mine who works for Nintendo swears by the game and was trying to tell me about a text adventure he was creating. Sooner or later I’m finally going to have to settle on a portable gaming device to invest in, because I’ve been without one for quite a while. My old cell phone runs Tower Blocks, but that’s about as “game anywhere” as I get. Warioware D.I.Y. certainly sounds like it has some potential for anyone to create something, so let us know what you’ve been working on.

My preorder for Sleep is Death rolled in on Friday, and around midnight I got a text from a friend asking if I wanted to take it for a spin. I agreed, assuming that maybe he had learned a thing or two about playing it (this was before the first two tutorial videos were released). He hadn’t, but suggested just “diving in” might be the best way. It wasn’t, but I will admit that the follies of trial and error on a thirty second counter can be hilarious.The first run through as I hosted consisted of elements appearing and disappearing, failing to get and dialogue text to come out correctly, and after a few screens of chaos, finding the “The End” icon and calling the game. The second run was a little better, as at least I got the characters to talk and managed to move the same characters from scene to scene. I even managed to do some sloppy pixel manipulation to change artistic elements. But all in, it was still chaos. We finally got to switch sides after some IP issues, and I was less overwhelmed by the player side. My controller reacted swiftly to my dialogue choices. I literally spit out my coffee after he took my reference of escaping from a “swarm” and filled the screen with video cameras, which look like bugs, all things considered. Anyone watching us would have called it a failure, but we sure learned a lot. Now to find some spare time and get creating again. The preorders are closed, but you can snag two copies this Friday for $14.

This should be a good week over at DIYgamer. I talked to Zack Johnson, the creator of Kingdom of Loathing, on Friday, all about the state of the game and their new project in the pipeline. That will be going up in the next day or two. James wrote up a good column about the game last week. The two of us have been playing it for a long time. Other than that we have some XBLIG reviews coming up and of course, up-to-date indie news.

Feel free to leave any thoughts of your own here in the comments or over on our forums.


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He’s One Bad Mutha… Frobot!

Frobot-Logo1“All systems go, you better fear the fro.”

Have truer words ever been spoken? Seriously, this game wound up dropping onto my lap the other night and I just can’t get over the how badass it looks. First of all, any fan of Shaft can just sign up to buy the game right now — you’ll see why in the trailer below. Second the game actually looks to have some solid puzzle gameplay mechanics. Personally, to me, it looks to be one part Smash TV and two parts Zelda (NES) in terms of combat and puzzles.

The game is currently set for release onto WiiWare, PC and Mac early next year. For those wanting to dip in a little early, there’s a PC and Mac demo available right now on the developer’s website that gives you the first three levels of the game.

I’ll be dipping into the demo a bit over the next day or so and I’ll relay my findings to you guys. That said, however, I’m not sure if I have the will power to be critical against a game as funky as this…

[demo via Frobot]

Trailer, screenshots and press release after the break.