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


Spike TV Announces Indie Nominees for VGA


Spike TV, as usual, has announced their nominees for the 2010 Video Game Awards which is set to kick off on December 11th. While the event is primarily focused on the mainstream game industry, the fine gents running the VGAs have been kind enough to include a small section for independent games. Here are this year’s nominees:

Tough crowd, particularly among the top three which were all very popular on their respective platforms. Not to say Winterbottom doesn’t have a chance, of course. This is really anybody’s game.

For those also curious here are the rest of the entries, courtesy of Kotaku:

Game of the Year

Call of Duty: Black Ops
God of War III
Halo: Reach
Mass Effect 2
Red Dead Redemption

Studio of the Year

Blizzard Entertainment
Bungie Studios
Rockstar San Diego

Best Xbox 360 Game

Alan Wake
Fable III
Halo: Reach
Mass Effect 2

Best PS3 Game

God of War III
Heavy Rain
Modnation Racers
Red Dead Redemption

Best Wii Game

Donkey Kong Country Returns
Kirby’s Epic Yarn
Metroid: Other M
Super Mario Galaxy 2

Best PC Game

Fallout: New Vegas
Mass Effect 2
Sid Meier’s Civilization V
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Best Handheld Game

God of War: Ghost of Sparta
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Super Scribblenauts

Best Shooter

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Bioshock 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Halo: Reach

Best Action Adventure Game

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
God of War III
Red Dead Redemption
Super Mario Galaxy 2

Best RPG

Fable III
Fallout: New Vegas
Final Fantasy XIII
Mass Effect 2

Best Multiplayer

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Halo: Reach
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Best Individual Sports Game

EA Sports MMA
Shaun White Skateboarding
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11
UFC Undisputed 2010

Best Team Sports Game

FIFA Soccer 11
Madden NFL 11
NBA 2K11
MLB 10: The Show

Best Driving Game

Modnation Racers
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Best Music Game

Dance Central
DJ Hero 2
Def Jam Rapstar
Rock Band 3

Best Soundtrack

Def Jam Rapstar
DJ Hero 2
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock
Rock Band 3

Best Song in a Game

Basket Case – Green Day
Black Rain – Soundgarden
Far Away – Jose Gonzalez
Goldeneye – Nicole Scherzinger
Won’t Back Down -Eminem
Replay / Rude Boy Mashup – Iyaz and Rihanna

Best Original Score

God of War III
Halo: Reach
Mass Effect 2
Red Dead Redemption

Best Graphics

God of War III
Heavy Rain
Kirby’s Epic Yarn
Red Dead Redemption

Best Adapted Video Game

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1 – 4
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
Transformers: War for Cybertron

Best Performance by a Human Male

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Blood Stone 007
Gary Oldman as Sgt Reznov in Call of Duty: Black Ops
John Cleese as Jasper in Fable III
Martin Sheen as Illusive Man in Mass Effect 2
Nathan Fillion as Sergeant Edward Buck in Halo: Reach
Neil Patrick Harris as Peter Parker in Amazing Spider-Man
Rob Wiethoff as John Marston in Red Dead Redemption
Sam Worthington as Alex Mason in Call of Duty: Black Ops

Best Performance by a Human Female

Dame Judi Dench as M in Blood Stone 007
Danica Patrick as herself in Blur
Emmanuelle Chriqui as the Numbers Lady in Call of Duty: Black Ops
Felicia Day as Veronica in Fallout: New Vegas
Jennifer Hale as Commander Sheppard in Mass Effect 2
Kristen Bell as Lucy Stillman in Assassin’s Creed Botherhood
Tricia Helfer as Sarah Kerrigan in Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
Yvonne Strahovski as Miranda Lawson in Mass Effect 2

Best Downloadable Game

Costume Quest
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Monday Night Combat
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game

Best DLC

Bioshock 2: Minerva’s Den
Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx
Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker
Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare

Most Anticipated Game

Batman: Arkham City
Bioshock: Infinite
Gears of War 3
Portal 2

All the normal stuff you’d expect, really.


Joe Danger Gets New Levels, YouTube Support and a Contest!

JoeDanger001Great news for Joe Danger fans — even if only 10% of you completed it –  developer Hello Games as released the first ever free patch for Joe Danger, and it’s a biggun’!

First, and we’ll start with the most exciting news, Joe Danger now comes with two exciting new levels entitled: The Death Box and Death From Above (it wouldn’t be a dare devil game without tons of death!). You can check out the levels at the developers website. Needless to say they both look really solid and really challenging.

Next, in order to celebrate the new “Level Showcase,” Hello Games is throwing a contest. Basically they want you to make your best target tracks and then send them to Hello Games. The winners will be highlighted in the showcase as well as receive some sort of nifty prize, although nothing concrete has been announced.

Finally, Joe Danger now has YouTube support! You can now record your favorite replays and then upload them directly to YouTube’s massive database of internet meme’d videos. This is fantastic news for those of you who are really into creating elaborate Joe Danger levels and want to show them off a little more.

It’s great to see developers continue to support their games with new and interesting ways long after the game’s initial release. This is why we love indie developers.

[Contest Information]


‘Joe Danger’ Demo Details, Patch Incoming

JoeDanger001Joe Danger is a fantastic game. How do I know? Well, because I read Pete’s news piece earlier this week letting us know that the demo would come out on August 17. However, that release date is only pertaining to the demo for the American PSN store. For the rest of the world, the trial demo’s release will be next week on August 25th. In other Joe Danger news, Hello Games announced that a new “feature upgrade” will be available soon after the demo’s release.

The “People’s Patch,” as the developers have named it, provides many fixes and updates as a result of community feedback. Managing Director Sean Murray claims “If you think you’ve completed the game… well, you haven’t.” Expect some huge updates for the game!

I don’t think we can recommend this game enough. Having finally played it, I can say it’s a very legitimate contender for indie game of the year. Check out Hello Games’ website for more updates.


Taste the Joe Danger

JoeDanger1Just a quick note to point out that Playstation has just announced that a demo of the hit indie Joe Danger is dropping onto PSN tomorrow, August 17th.

While we highly recommended the title, some gamers just need to see the quality for themselves. So make sure you test out this arcade racer for the sheer cost of a few minutes of your time.


Letter From the Editor: August 2, 2010

HazardLogoCan someone please explain to me how August crept up so quickly? I understand I’ve just returned from an extended vacation and time flies when you’re having fun (it sure is nice to come back to a job I enjoy), but seriously…August? That means my birthday is on the horizon and school is creeping up. Well, if I wasn’t an old man (soon to be older) and no longer went to school, anyway.

I’ve been musing on what has me the most excited as far as indie games on the horizon. LIMBO is out. Joe Danger is out. And plenty of other heavy-hitting indies have made their way to the marketplace. But luckily we just caught wind that Super Meat Boy is heading into its alpha stage. I daresay that’s the next game that I’m really looking forward to. I played it at IGF, I played it at E3 and I’m ready to have the full game in my hands.

Also I’ve been itching for a chance to put more than show-floor demo time into Hazard: The Journey of Life. Alexander Bruce’s intriguing use of the Unreal Engine for this unique first-person shoo…game is nothing if not beautiful and haunting. I’ve seen videos and had a handful of minutes into it, but I want more.

What are you guys looking forward to?

We’re past the halfway point in the year, so in that same mindset. Which game has your vote for game of the year so far? VVVVVV still has a special place in my heart, especially after putting in the extra hours to get all the Trinkets. Its gameplay is pure excellence and if you haven’t even tried the demo yet…for shame.


Indie Links Round-Up: Grip it and Rip it

The_Witness_Indie_LinksI missed last week, so we’re twicing the standard dosage of Indie Links. That’s right, don’t make me bring the thricening! Anyway, making up words is fun, but not as much as exploring the greater indie horizon. Hello Games gets in a couple shots, and plenty of interviews, hands-on, reviews and more. Have a gander.

‘No monkeys?!’ Why publishers nixed Joe Danger (Develop Online)
“Hello Games took to the stage at the Develop Conference today to exact revenge on the publishers that turned down the Joe Danger project. Without naming any names, Murray went through a list of reasons why the game was turned down, quoting what he had heard from various publishers in meetings. Attendees at the Develop session broke into laughter.”

XBLA is a “slaughterhouse” for smaller developers (Games Industry — Registration Required)
“Hello Games chose to release Joe Danger via Sony’s PlayStation Network because the team regarded Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade as a “slaughterhouse” for small developers.”

The Witness: Location Development (The Witness Dev Blog)
“Much of the other work that I personally have been putting into the game is about the user interface for the puzzles. As I mentioned, gameplay is the utmost concern; this being a puzzle game, you spend a long time solving puzzles, so it’s important to make that feel good, even at this early stage.”

Rules For Games: Do & Don’t #2 (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“I’m in charge. This is firmly established (citation needed). So it’s important I continue to decree my rulings. All must obey, for I am as bad as BP and I burn in hell. Fear me.”

COLUMN: Design Diversions – Fate/Stay Night: Choices Beyond Good and Evil (GameSetWatch)
“‘Design Diversions’ is a biweekly GameSetWatch-exclusive column by Andrew Vanden Bossche. It looks at the unexpected moments when games take us behind the scenes, and the details of how game design engages us. How do we get over our fixation on good and evil as a gameplay element? Fate/Stay Night, a Japanese visual novel, may have the answer.”

Developer Interview: Soenke Seidel (IndieDB)
“Cap’n Frie here bringing ye landlubbers fresh booty! I blabbered wit’ one of me hearties: Cap’n Soenke! Nothin’ like swashbuckling wit’ this sea dog!”

Dog Fighter: Hands-on Impressions and Giveaway (Shacknews)
DogFighter, Dark Water Studios’ arena-based aerial combat game, took to the virtual skies via Steam about a month ago. I spent the past couple of weeks in its virtual cockpit to assess the fast-paced shooter.”

Review: Cut It (TIGSource)
“His first game about drawing, Crayon Physics Deluxe, won the IGF Grand Prize in 2008 and since then, Petri Purho has been developing experimental games on a monthly basis. Cut It is his most recent project and features similar concepts seen in Crayon Physics, but also introduces new ideas and offers a solid concept from which the crayon master can draw on.”

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: 0 A.D. (Joystiq)
“This week we talk with Aviv Sharon of Wildfire about the studio’s 0 A.D., an indie project nine years in the making.”

Depth Music Q&A: 4mat’s Decades (Indie Games)
“Independent game creator Matt Simmonds teased his upcoming PC shooter Depth back in December, which makes creative use of inexpensive red/cyan lens 3D glasses. Music for the title will draw on the Sussex, UK-based designer’s twenty-plus years’ experience in the game industry, featuring arrangements of previously released chiptunes.In this interview the musician relates how varied experiences as a sound designer, ranging from mainstream titles to indie games and the demoscene, are currently contributing to the shape of Depth.”


Evel Knievel? We’re Talking About… Joe Danger! [Review]

JoeDanger001This last week was a pretty important week for indie games. More importantly, it was an important week for the Playstation Network and it’s future as a viable platform for indie games. Why, you may ask? Because indie darling, Joe Danger, has finally been released onto the platform.

Joe Danger is a unique game. One that borrows many ideas from many other games, but also slaps a fresh coat of paint on the mash-up so that it feels essentially like a brand new game.

In  Joe Danger, you play as Joe Danger as he attempts to re-establish his illustrious career as a high-flying, ass-kicking dare devil, which was, unfortunately, put to a near-end after a tragic accident. You come in to help him in his career just as he’s about to take his first ride on the ol’ motorcycle again.

Good enough synopsis for you? Great, let’s get to the review then!



As mentioned above, Joe Danger follows in the path of many games that have come before it. It’s part Trials HD, and part Excitebike with some awesome challenges thrown in for good measure. While it might not seem like the most imaginative game, borrowing so many traits from other games, in reality, these features all mesh so well together that the end product feels very fresh and unique. More importantly than that however, the ultimate result is a game that is pure fun.

Joe Danger has three main components to it: the career mode, the multiplayer mode, and the sandbox.

In the career mode, Joe Danger follows the story of how you’ll be helping him regain his former glory. This means there’ll be a series of tracks where you’ll be met with unique obstacles along with some interesting goals.

Each track is measured in points to determine what metal you get (bronze, silver, gold). Additionally, each track comes with a series of goals you can/must complete in order to get stars. These goals range from collecting all of a specific item to maintaining a 100% combo stream throughout the entire track. Some tracks can have up to 7 or 8 goals. Luckily you can repeat tracks as many times as you want to focus on a single goal at a time, as sometimes getting all the goals in a single run through is impossible.

As you move through the levels, many of the newer tracks will require a star or two in order to unlock. By completing the various goals in the tracks you’ll receive stars. This makes it necessary for you to at least complete a few of them in order to move on. Don’t worry though, as most tracks have at least 1 or 2 easy goals for you to complete.

Moving on, the game also has a local, split screen multiplayer where you and a friend can race down either pre-made or custom tracks. This, in my opinion, is one of the best parts about the game. While online multiplayer would have been nice, the game’s inclusion of local co-op was brilliant as there’s nothing more fun than sitting down with Joe Danger and a friend for some good ol’ stunt-making mayhem.

Finally, you have the sandbox. This is the area where you can create your own tracks and build the most bad ass obstacles you can possibly imagine. I have no doubt that there will be some people who will create some truly jaw dropping tracks with this editor as it’s a fairly robust system. My only problem with it is that the editor can feel a little clumsy at times. Placing and finding the right objects just isn’t as smooth as I’d have liked.

The only problem I really had with Joe Danger is the controls. Joe Danger makes extensive use of the L1, L2, R1, R2 buttons as it’s primary means to control Joe and perform stunts. This means that you’ll likely have to use your middle and pointer fingers on both the left and right side of the controller. For me, this was annoying. I’d have much preferred a system where by stunts can be achieved using one of the analog sticks as opposed to a series of taps of the L and R buttons. Often times I found myself simply mashing buttons in order to perform combos, of which many times would end terribly for poor ol’ Joe.


Joe Danger is easily one of the most charming games on the PSN. The game is bright, has an unlikely cute/funny character in Joe and the overall atmosphere of the game is genuinely interesting. While the game may borrow gameplay traits from both Trials HD and Excitebike, you can rest assured that this games is miles ahead of both in terms of style.

Additionally, the music/sound effects/voice work were all done really well. In fact, it was done so well that I’m honestly surprised this was done by an English developer. The announcer sounds like he’s genuinely from the midwest, as he may well be. I don’t know who did the voice work.


It’s light, I’ll admit, but everybody loves a “comeback kid” and Joe Danger is definitely a comeback story with his return to form and awesome stunts. If thats your kind of thing then get ready to fall in love.

If I could sum up Joe Danger in two words it would be “really fun.” I know that seems like a simple description, but it’s literally the best way to describe the game. I won’t go so far as to say the game is the best PSN game, or even the best indie game on the PSN. But it comes damn close. If it’s not the best, and that’s subjective, then it’s certainly one of the best.

For casual gamers and die hard Playstation fanboys alike, there’s little reason to not check out Joe Danger. It has hours of gameplay, tons of customization, fast and furious stunts/races, and, probably most important, an interesting split screen multiplayer mode which can easily make this game one of you most played games. To put it into perspective, I haven’t had this much fun with a local co-op game since Super Smash Bros. Brawl, despite the two games being very different. Take that for what you will.

Joe Danger is available on the PSN, right now, for $14.99.


Early Contender for “Indie Game of the Year,” Joe Danger, Gets Released Today

JoeDanger001Hey all you indie gamers out there. Did you know that one of the most anticipated indie games since World of Goo is getting released today, exclusively on your PS3? Well it’s true. Joe Danger, the indie darling that features a motorcycling stuntsman on a track that you can customize at whim, has been officially released to American PSN stores today, with the European’s getting the game tomorrow.

We’ll be getting our own review of the game up soon. In the mean time, feel free to check out the game yourself via the trailer below.

If you don’t need to bother with any of that stuff and want to jump into a purchase right now, the game can be had for $14.99.




Indie Links Round-Up: A Game of Questions

Indie_Links_Round_June_7We have an uncommon amount of inquiries in our latest gaggle of Indie Links. We’re like the anti-Lowe’s: You’ve got questions, we’ve got ‘em too pal; but, with a lot of reading and a little introspection you may just find answers. Answers you didn’t even know you were looking for in the first place.

Have I thoroughly confused you? Good, you’re prepped, jump into the colorful ball pit.

The Activision Indie Games Competition from the view of an Indie Game Developer (Wolfire Blog)
“You may have heard that Activision is hosting an independent games competition, like a much higher stakes version of the Independent Games Festival. We’ve been getting messages from fans about it, encouraging us to enter. However, after reading the finalized terms, this seems to be an entirely different kind of competition: an indie game / business plan jam to create investment opportunities and world-exclusive development prototypes for Activision to profit from. Many stories see it and immediately laud Activision for helping the indie community, while many stories are quick to trash it, noting dubious clauses in the fine print. As an indie developer, I thought I’d take a closer look myself.”

Who’s The Boss? (Team Meat Blog)
“I posted the 1st images of C.H.A.D. the final boss in Ch2 “The Hospital” on our twitter the other day and i thought id make a more in depth blog post about him, and bosses in general.”

Opinion: Where Have All The Good PC Casual Games Gone? (GameSetWatch)
“In this editorial, Gamezebo founder Joel Brodie examines the effects of a vicious price war on PC downloadable casual games, suggesting that the segment is in “dire shape”, and may only get worse without major changes.”

Postmortem: Frozenbyte’s Trine (Gamasutra)
“As the third game for us, Trine had a lot riding on it. If it would not be successful, it would be hard to find the strength to carry on, and the financial debts would probably devour the company. But it was also a project full of potential — Trine was to be the rebirth of Frozenbyte.”

Why didn’t you buy Gratuitous Space Battles? (Cliffski’s Blog)
“I am NOT complaining. I am NOT moaning about sales. I am NOT unhappy with sales, I am not whining or anything like it. I just like making games that people enjoy, and I don’t know why the people who didn’t buy it, didn’t buy it. I’d like to know. The answers may well make it a better game for everyone, if I fix those reasons (if they make sense). It will make the game attractive to current fence-sitters, better for current owners, and more sales for me and my cats.”

Interview: Firemint’s Peters On iPhone/iPad-Fueled Studio Independence (GameSetWatch)
“Independent Australian developer Firemint (Flight Control, Real Racing) has built a strong presence on iPhone and iPad, and our own Christian Nutt talks to the studio’s Alexandra Peters about its success and philosophies.”

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: bitFLIP (Joystiq)
“Being a giant, beloved video game blog has its downsides. For example, we sometimes neglect to give independent developers our coverage love (or loverage, if you will) as we get caught up in AAA, AAAA or the rare quintuple-A titles. To remedy that, we’re giving indies the chance to create their own loverage and sell you, the fans, on their studios and products. This week, we talk with Joshua Hernandez of Tap Me! Games.”

Joe Danger Review (IGN)
“These aren’t just race tracks. Levels are laid out like platforming environments with hidden areas and items to find. You’re not just trying to reach the finish line as fast as you can – this is a game you can explore.”

Mini-Review: Love+ (Big Download)
“There’s something supremely entertaining about a simple, lo-fi game that doesn’t aim to complicate its mechanics. Love is such a game, and the developer has outdone himself with the remake Love+. A love song to the era of tough platforming, Love+ is fun, polished, and best of all, available for whatever you want.”

Preview: Night Train‏ (IndieGames)
“Night Train is the story of a woman’s journey into her memories. Having fallen asleep while riding the train, she begins to remember her past, and slowly pieces together why she is on the train in the first place.”

Preview: Leap4Blue (IndieGames)
“We don’t usually post trailers for Flash projects awaiting sponsorship, but Noel Berry’s Leap4Blue seems like a fun little game that could be of interest to fans of challenging platformers. He’s currently working on adding around fifty levels to Leap4Blue, and once that’s done it’ll be up for bidding and shortly after, a release.”


Joe Danger Lands (Safely) on PSN June 8th

JoeDanger1Everybody’s favorite adorable, daredevil, Evil Knievel wanna-be Joe Danger has received his launch date for June 8th, as in nine days from now.

For those who still don’t know, despite our exhausting coverage of the game, Joe Danger is a unique racing/stunt game where you get to play as Joe Danger in a wildly ambitious stunt track that you can create yourself. The game looks very solid and offers some unique track customization methods.

This is definitely one of the larger indie games to get a release this year and, with the full backing of Sony, it seems like it will also be one of the most popular. You wouldn’t want to be left out of that, right? Good, so come June 8th, I expect Joe Danger to be atop of the PSN sales list.

Oh and here’s a delicious trailer to get your motor’s all revved up: