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

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Editor’s Notebook: ‘Shelter’ or How I Am A Horrible Badger-Dad

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The night is punctuated by a guttural growl and then a high-pitched squeal. My brain goes into overdrive. I curse myself for letting my attention drift as my hands flick my mouse and spin my badger dad around to face the terror of the night. While the camera spins to face the unseen predator I’m also tallying up my badger children in an emergency roll call. There’s Burger, Dart, Splotch, …where’s Gnat? “Where is Gnat,” I practically shout at my monitor at one in the morning.  I recklessly dash my badger into the darkness looking for the lost cub, and then hesitate, remembering I still have the other three to worry about. As I wait for my remaining three little ones to catch up, I give one last glance around into the nightmarish darkness, before turning back and resuming my night trek through the valley. Gnat, much like his brother, Zorro, is just another casualty of Shelter.

Turns out, I’m a horrible badger father. By the end of my hour-ish playtime with the preview build of Shelter, I had lost the majority of my badger babies to the dangers of the wild.

Shelter is an upcoming game from Might & Delight, the developer behind 2012′s stylish platformer, Pid. In Shelter, a game artistically and mechanically much different from Pid, players take on the role of  the badger-parent of a small clan of badger babies, and the game revolves around the slow migration of this badger family through the wilderness, scavenging for food, and just attempting to stay alive. The babies follow the player around automatically, while being completely dependent on the player for survival.

Shelter ushers players through the zones by implementing a necessity to feed the baby badgers (who can starve to death if you neglect to feed them, as I found out with Zorro). Uprooting onions or headbutting trees to knock down fruit will be how players acquire the majority of their sustenance, but there are the occasional frogs or gophers that players can attempt to run down, as well. Survival comes into play when larger predators make an appearance, notably an eagle that will try to snatch up the babies if players stay out in the open for too long, —hectic dashing from cover to cover is required to stay alive.

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From my time with Shelter, it feels like Shelter is more of an experience, rather than a game. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it just seems like to go from a very exciting platformer like Pid, to a game that is essentially slow-paced Mother Nature simulator, is a bit of a tone down. With that said, there will certainly be people who disliked Pid, but will find entertainment and joy (and a bit of morbid reality) within Shelter.

“The idea came to us, soon after Pid,” explains Johannes Wadin, Might & Delight creative director, in a developer diary video. “We knew we wanted to do something quite different, and we decided fairly early that it would be something like a fable, or that animals will have a crucial role. Once we decided on the mother protecting her cubs that’s when it all happened, when we decided we would focus on creating a game with a slower tempo…a more emotionally absorbing game.”

With that objective in mind, I would feel comfortable saying that Might & Delight has met that goal; Shelter presents an engaging and unique experience that is sure to change the way players view wild animals.

Shelter was recently approved through the Greenlight system on Steam, and will launch at $9.99, later this year.

Visit the game’s official website, and follow the developer on Twitter.

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Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Editor’s Notebook: ‘Shelter’ or How I Am A Horrible Badger-Dad


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Hefty Free Update for ‘Invertical’ Released

Richard Adams, also known as Oxygen Addict, has just released a significant new update for his puzzle platformer Invertical. The update boasts a significant amount of improvements, and is generously offered for free to those who have purchased the game previously. The update focuses on improvements to the game’s controls, clarity, exploration, and wealth of content.

The first, and arguably most important update on the agenda here is full controller support for Invertical — for many a must in a platform-based game. The new update also offers a brand new first level to provide a clearer introduction to the colour inversion mechanic, some further insight into our square hero’s character, a greater exploration element with the introduction of ‘The Invert World’, and an alternate ending.

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Richard has also addressed a key issue raised in the IGM review of Invertical. Back in November 2012, erstwhile writer Sam Adonis  spoke of his disappointment with the lack of reward for picking up collectibles.

“The only other complaint I can think of for Invertical is the game’s secondary objective of collecting books through the levels”, he writes. “There was not much of a reward for doing it (or punishment for not), so I never bothered. The only time I cared much was when an icon would pop up reminding me that Simon loves to read, and would appreciate if I found books for him.”

Well, to address these concerns, the new update brings bonus levels for collecting all the books and scrolls in a chapter, so there’s more of an incentive to collect them aside from just rigorous completionism.

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If you already own the game on IndieCity, a free update will get you all of this. If not, there’s never been a better time to get involved than now, with the new content injecting new life into an already great game. Pick it up on IndieCity now, for just $2.49/£1.49.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Hefty Free Update for ‘Invertical’ Released


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Indie Intermission – ‘Sky Island’ Monochrome Misadventure

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Yet another week flies by and with it my selection of free games. Being so close to the weekend now I’m sure everyone is digging deep to just keep going until they clock off later on today, so I hope Sky Island from Toaster Games will help you get over this final hurdle.

Sky Island is an interesting retro explorative platformer in which you must navigate around the perils of this island in the sky to find all of the cores in order to complete your mission objective.

Sky Island was created for the GBJam and therefore carries the classic Game Boy aesthetic which I find quite endearing, mostly being a huge fan of the Game Boy.

The game itself is quite standard offering a difficult but largely run of the mill platformer in which you must make seemingly impossible jumps – but I was never that good at platformers anyway.

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Average play time – 10 minutes

Sky Island is a fun little platformer which has been created in a great retro style that captures the Game Boy style perfectly. Although this monochrome design will not be popular with everyone anyone from the Game Boy era should have a blast here.

Play Sky Island online now.

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 – ‘Sky Island’ Monochrome Misadventure


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‘Teleglitch: Die More Edition’ New Content For One Of Last Year’s Best Games

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For those of you who have been following the site for sometime you may vaguely recall a rather awesome little roguelike that goes by the name of Teleglitch being released at the tail end of last year, and I did love it (my review).

Teleglitch is a retro low-res roguelike horror game which offers some awesome ideas and painfully difficult levels that just keep on punishing you time and time again making for a game you just love to hate. Created by the tiny team at Test3 Project Teleglitch was a labour of love that has delivered a fantastic experience reminiscent of games gone by.

The new Die More Edition adds a lot of great additions to this crazy game adding  five additional levels that exist as alternative branching paths, so you don’t have to beat the entire game before you can gain access to them, but be forewarned they are no walk in the park.

In addition to the levels expect more weapons, greatly improved enemy AI, and a much deeper lore to the original game all of which make this already fantastic game even better and positivity brimming with content.

In addition to all of this if you purchased Teleglitch prior to the new shiny edition you get the Die More Edition along with all the Steam pre-orders for free! So if you already own the original you now own the new version too which is just great.

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Be forewarned Teleglitch is not for the faint of heart and will soak up hours of your day as you try to just beat the first level each time offering new and horrifying challenges.

You can now buy Teleglitch: Die More Edition on Steam for $12.99 and if you enjoy roguelike games this is an absolute must.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Teleglitch: Die More Edition’ New Content For One Of Last Year’s Best Games


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Dev Links: Explosive Results

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Presenting players with dilemmas, nailing down a set of terms for your game and more in today’s Developer Links.

Nailing Down Terminology (Frictional Games)
“One thing lacking in game design, especially when it comes to interactive storytelling, is a proper set of terms. While I do not think having a precise terminology will directly aid in making games better, it will help us communicate better. As proper communication is crucial for progress, proper terms are indirectly an important part of making better storytelling games. Because of this, I am going to go over some terminology that I find essential, what I mean by them and why I define them in a certain manner.”

The Beautiful Dilemma (Berlin Game Design)
“One of the main goals of game design is to present the players with dilemmas. Without them, player decisions–if there are any–will seem too obvious, and the game will lack tension.”

Too ugly? Keep stirring the baby until the lumps disappear (Dejobaan Games)
“This week was B-U-S-Y! We brought the Ugly Baby team in, shackled them to their chairs, and asked everyone to crunch. The goal was to launch our next amazing build, but we wanted to give it another week to bake it to perfection. Here is how the week went… in pictures and video, ’cause words are lame-o.”

Good Morning Gato # 121 – Lawn Bag Throne (Ska Studios)
“XBLA Fans posted an in-depth article last Friday, “For indies, working with Microsoft is a horrifying mess…right?” covering multiple sides of the hot topic of what it must be like to work with Microsoft. They included our view and linked to James’ Blood of the Indies post, which was nice.”

Shooting Spirit (Electron Dance)
“Cinema and literature have shown they can weather the storm of time: The African Queen can make contemporary audiences laugh, Nosferatu is still disturbing and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice remains a favourite. But videogames are cursed. The cutting edge corrodes with frightening speed and the once-pioneering designs of yesteryear give way to frustration when compared to leaner, smarter modern work.”

Spider bait (Auntie Pixelante)
“SPIDER BAIT is a transcript of a back-and-forth email role-play between me and my luna that we wrote / played between the last time she visited me in february (around my birthday) and may (her birthday). i play two spider-queens and she plays a very unlucky girl. it’s of course totally explicit, and is mostly about tickling and fucking and spider-queens salivating over captive girl-meat. nasty & gross stuff from a couple of real perverts.”

Jack Lumber hacks his way onto the Mac App Store! (Owlchemy Labs)
“That’s right, we branched out and have sunk our roots into the Mac App Store.”

SDCC 2013 – Preview Night (The Behemoth)
“Whew! Finished up our booth 229 just in time for the Preview Night crowd last night. We had visitors come by to check out our custom built arcade cabinets, get some merchandise from the Gift Shop and even had a special visit from Hatty Hattington!”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Explosive Results


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Indie Intermission Sunday Round Up: An Immersive Experience

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Hello and welcome to my Sunday round-up reviewing all of the games I’ve covered of the course of the week. I hope this will give you a chance to check out some awesome free games and have a fun lazy Sunday.

As always clicking the title will take you to my original article whilst clicking the image will take you to the game.

Monday: ’ASCII Portal’ Mind Bendingly Fun

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ASCII Portal is a crazy yet fun game that takes the Portal concept and de-makes it into a 2D puzzler using ASCII coding just to add some flare and quirk to the game.

Tuesday: Explore The Lush World Of ‘Samorost’

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Samorost is a beautifully created point and click puzzle game that has you solving some charming puzzles as you try to move through this beautiful world with new surprises round every corner.

Wednesday: Just Go With The ‘FlOw’

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FlOw is a minimalistic fish in pond game that is relaxing and very ambient from start to finish. It is very easy to drift off into this pool and just immerse yourself whiling away a good amount of time.

Thursday: ’Enviro-Bear 2000 Operation: Hibernation’ Bear With It

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Enviro-Bear is quite the strange little game that reminds me a little of games like Surgeon Simulator simply because it has the same zany take on the control system. It’s a crazy little game but it’s also a lot of fun if not highly frustrating from time to time.

Friday: ’King Of Terror’ Who Will Reign Supreme

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King Of Terror is a nice concept piece showcasing a very creative and fun beat em up in which you must battle other horror icons along with some helpless “prey”. It really is a nice idea and I would love to see a more fleshed out version of this game although I don’t know if this will ever happen.

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 Thanks for sticking with me today, I hope you’ve enjoyed my selection from the week and have had just as much fun playing them as I have had. I hope you have a great Sunday and I look forward to seeing you back here tomorrow for an all new Indie Intermission.

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 Sunday Round Up: An Immersive Experience


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Dev Links: Building Blocks

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Today’s Developer Links include indies publishing indies, the strength of Japanese games and the psychological appeal of violent shooters.

Characters and Worldbuilding: Analyzing the Strength of Japanese Games (Gamasutra)
“From April 2010 to May 2011, I had the opportunity to study manga (Japanese comics) and video game design at one of Japan’s leading art schools, Kyoto Seika University. In total, I lived, worked, and studied in Japan for about four years. Here, I would like to share what I learned there about game design.”

Redshirt developers video blog #3 (Positech Games)
“For those who are new, RedShirt is a comedy/satire/lifesim/strategy game developed by indie devs ‘The Tiniest Shark’ and being published by Positech Games (me!). Enjoy…”

Oh Canada! La La La (Positech Games)
“So today I have been in Canada fact finding mode. Would you like to know the average Canadians maple syrup consumption? or the latest estimates for moose population? Forget all that…lets get down to the nitty gritty. A lot of statistical browsing has led me to the rather worrying conclusion that getting the Democracy 3 economic model to make sense over different countries is all but impossible. I am giving it my best shot, but don’t play the game thinking ‘this is Canada’. Play the game thinking ‘this country could vaguely be something like Canada’ and you will be fine!”

Spirits by the Numbers (Space of Play)
“We released our action-puzzle game Spirits on the iPad in late 2010. Over the next two years, we ported it to iPhone and Mac internally, and to PC, Linux and Android with the help of Tim Ambrogi and Apportable. For each port we spent a significant amount of time in getting the quality of the ports up and above the original version, supporting platform-specific features like Retina resolution or Steam Cloud. Reaching more players on different platforms helped our studio to be sustainable, and to be able to have some money in the bank while we work on our next game Future Unfolding.”

RTX 2013 Recap (The Behemoth)
“Howdy, y’all! Just got back from Texas yesterday and we had a blast at our first Rooster Teeth Expo. On the last day of RTX, we had more people coming by to play BattleBlock Theater and get raffle tickets. In the end, we decided to give a token of our appreciation to all of those who returned for our last raffle by giving everyone squeezy chickens. I mean, it’s the least we could do since the crowd even sang Happy Birthday to us! It’s The Behemoth’s 10th year and we appreciated the warmth and love RTX attendees had to offer.”

The Psychological Appeal of Violent Shooters (The Psychology of Video Games)
“I have a new article up on gamesindustry.biz exploring the psychological appeal of violent shooters via self-determination theory. I draw from work by Scott Rigby, Richard Ryan, and Andrew Przybylski that looks at how this theory of human motivation can explain why violent shooters are so popular.”

ᐊᑕᓇᕐᔪᐊᑦ (ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖅ ᐊᑕᐅᓯᖅ ᓈᒻᒪᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ) (Hemisphere Games)
“Last year, Ryan Oliver – a developer from Nunavut – reached out to us. While playing Osmos he had noticed an achievement we named “Atanarjuat”, earned for completing the game’s “Chase” stage. This was a nod and a reference to a wonderful Canadian film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, based on an ancient Inuit legend. (yup, we’re Canadian.) This one word sparked a vision in Ryan’s mind. “

Alex’s “Segway” or Everybody’s First Game is Awful (Owlchemy Labs)
“While Owlchemy Labs certainly produces absurd and highly polished games these days, our scientists weren’t born with that innate ability. In fact, pretty much nobody is! We’ve all had to start from somewhere and, oftentimes, those first few attempts not only fail spectacularly but also hilariously.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Building Blocks


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IGM Video – Hands On With ‘Super Panda Adventures’


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Indie Links Round-Up: Your Move

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New game announcements from popular indie developers plaster today’s Indie Links.

Die Gute Fabrik reveals adventure game: Mutazione (Shacknews)
“Die Gute Fabrik, developer of Johann Sebastian Joust, has detailed their next game. Mutazione is a “quiet single player” adventure game, “the opposite of Sportsfriends,” according to developer Doug Wilson. Inspired by classic adventures like Another World, the goal of Mutazione is to give a “sense of a living place.” It’s even “a little inspired by Majora’s Mask.”

Double Fine to produce two new games through Indie Fund partnership (VG247)
“During the Horizon Indie Game Conference at E3, Greg Rice from Double Fine and Kellee Santiago announced a new partnership between Indie Fund and Double Fine to produce two new games.”

Lone Survivor PS3 and Vita has new content and endings (VG247)
“The PlayStation 3 and Vita versons of Lone Survivor have a significant amount of additional content when compared to the PC release.”

Oculus Outbreak: IndieCade@E3 2013 Displays 4 Oculus Rift Games (Indie Game Reviewer)
“At E3 2013, IndieCade celebrates its 7th annual E3 Indie Showcase. This year, they’re packing in more indie titles than ever before – a staggering 44 games! As always, the projects span various gaming genres and platforms, including 4 virtual reality indie titles that can be played using the Oculus Rift headset.”

Tiggit: What It Is, and Why You Should Have It (Indie Game Insider)
“If you’re anything like me, you have many fond memories of surfing the web and occasionally discovering a ground-breaking yet humble indie game. I don’t mean to come off as a video game hipster, but back in the day before Minecraft, Bastion, and all the media coverage indie developers are currently receiving, we had to dig much deeper to find these hidden indie gems. As I’m sure you know, innovative ideas and brilliant concepts can emerge from even the loneliest, most forgotten corners of the Internet; the trouble merely lies in finding them.”

IndieCade at E3: Dominique Pamplemousse in ‘It’s All Over Once The Fat Lady Sings!’ (Joystiq)
“IndieCade took over a corner of the E3 show floor this year, complete with giant orange inflatable chairs and almost 40 games on various platforms. Out of all this beautiful madness, I spotted three games that went above and beyond the standard indie call – they were weird, they were different, and they were awesome.”

Ouya’s alleged tussle with the ESA at E3 (Gamasutra)
“The Ouya team chose to show off its upcoming Android-based games console at E3 in a unique fashion this week, renting out a parking lot across from the Los Angeles Convention Center. However, E3 organisers the ESA allegedly aren’t very happy that the Ouya is being showcased outside of the main E3 show, to the point where they have tried shutting the operation down.”

Review: Super Sanctum TD (Indie Game Reviewer)
“The tower defense genre has firmly established itself with a wide selection of gameplay variants and with players always seeking out new experiences the pressure is on for developers to provide original and innovative titles. Tower defense certainly offers a strong canvas for new ideas and Coffee Stain Studios have worked hard to take advantage of this in their FPS/tower defense crossovers Sanctum (our review) and Sanctum 2. Today, though, we’ll be looking at a smaller, lesser known title: Super Sanctum TD.”

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


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Monaco is Mine, Gunpoint, Reus and more in Issue 34 of IGM

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