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

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Device Spotlight: Woojer – Feel The Sound

As a PC gamer who pretty much gets all my gaming done through a mouse & keyboard, or on my tablet, I have forgotten what it’s like to feel the rumble of an outgoing artillery round, or the impact of a crash in a racing game. Short of hooking up a console controller to my PC, I receive absolutely no physical feedback.

A new device called Woojer, is set to solve that problem for PC and mobile gamers.

Woojer is a small, compact device that gamers hook up through the standard headphone socket that every mobile device sports. PC users simply plug it into their PC’s audio output socket, just as they would with a headset. Woojer bridges the connection between headsets and the device/PC, allowing users to sport their preferred headet while enjoying the effects of the device. The Woojer itself can be placed anywhere on the player’s body, and is silent while in use.

By providing the user the right physical feedback, the Woojer device can completely immerse the user in the moment taking place within the game. The device itself was thought up by a rock concert engineer who was frustrated that he and other music enthusiasts could not have the same physical sensations at home, as they could at live shows thanks to the massive speaker systems that pump out the bone-shaking frequencies.

During Woojer’s testing phases, the designer discovered that the device could benefit the hearing impaired, as it allows hearing impaired users to literally feel the sounds. It was also discovered that many gamers were playing games at dangerous audio levels, in an effort to compensate for their headphone’s lack of ability of producing that desirable deep rumble, iconic of subwoofers. With the Woojer, those gamers found they could play at much lower audio levels, as the Woojer provided them the feedback they wanted.

Currently, the designers of the Woojer have taken the device to Kickstarter, in an effort to generate $100,000 to get the device out on the market.

The Woojer has the potential to revolutionize the game industry’s peripheral scene. If it catches on with PC and mobile gamers, there is a high chance it could be seen brought to consoles as well. A few years down the road we could all be playing Titanfall with five of these devices strapped to our bodies. Taking enemy fire while in the mech suits would set the devices off, allowing players to feel the impact of being hit, while feeling the rumble of their own weaponry going off. The future of the Woojer is certainly full of possibilities.


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‘Core of Innocence’ Preview – Sidequests, And Fanservice, Galore

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If you ever wanted superpowers (and a super-skimpy outfit to go with them), you might want to take a look at Core of Innocence, an upcoming adventure platformer for the PC from Pudding Hat Games. Sprout wings, turn into a cat, save the world from imminent destruction – all the classic elements are there, along with a fairly charitable dose of fanservice.

Say “hello” to Lila Ashford, a young woman born into a family of archaeologists. For years she has searched in vain for her mother, who mysteriously vanished during an excavation in the Balanceran mines. One day, Lila’s grandfather contacts her with news of a discovery at the mines – a new energetic mineral dubbed Electrum, which could be linked to her mother’s disappearance. But once Lila arrives on-site, a dark force reveals itself, launching her into a dangerous quest to uncover the truth about her mother, her family’s legacy, and her own identity.

While the overarching goal is obviously to defeat the big bad guy and find out what happened to Lila’s mother, even the current version already includes a plethora of optional undertakings and secret locations in addition to the main plot. It seems like every other person in the mines has some random chore they’ve been dying to dump on the new girl. “Could you find my bracelet for me?” “If you see this random laundry-list of items just lying around on the floor, bring them on over, would you?” “Did you find my favorite pair of underwear yet?” (Yes, seriously.) Luckily, Lila doesn’t have to do anything you don’t want her to – except, of course, for the whole main quest thing. That one’s kind of a big deal. But for all you completionists out there, Core of Innocence looks like it could be one heck of a scavenger hunt.

Taking cues from the classics, the game looks to be chock-full of everything fans of the genre could want. Power-ups, collectible weaponry, equipment upgrades, side-quests, magic portals to (eight) other worlds, supernatural legions of evil forces bent on bringing about the advent of hell on earth – you name it, it’s probably there. Highlights include double-jumping, which causes Lila to sprout a rather snazzy pair of black wings in order to grab some extra air, and transforming into a wall-crawling, travel-sized feline.

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Personally, I prefer cat-Lila. My natural bias towards felines aside, the potential for fanservice is greatly reduced when your character has neither breasts to animate nor, for that matter, a female human body to show off. And yes, there is a pretty decent amount of fanservice in the game so far, which is probably the main reason why it is stated to be intended for a mature audience.

Lila initially shows up dressed in a conservative pair of overalls and a t-shirt, but once her secret awesomeness kicks in, she immediately changes into a black bikini top and a teeny-tiny miniskirt. Practical? Not exactly, but at least she’s got a top at all, which is more than some of the racier varieties of enemies can say. There are other options in her inventory, but at the current stage equipping these only affects Lila’s stats, not her appearance. With any luck, however, this will be changed in some future update – some of her alternate ensembles, like Witch Hunter, actually look pretty darn cool. Dressing her up as Heather Mason could be fun, too.

Core of Innocence is determined to be an exciting, challenging game of sword and sorcery, and with all the content the developers are packing into it, it definitely has a fighting chance. No official release date is set yet, but according to the Pudding Hat Games blog, a full release shouldn’t be too far away. The final version will be DRM-free, and free to download with a “pay what you want” donation option.

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Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Core of Innocence’ Preview – Sidequests, And Fanservice, Galore


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‘Luxuria Superbia’ – Lots of Luxury, Not as Much Superb

Please, don’t get me wrong, I love weird games. If there’s a game that breaks traditional gameplay techniques and stories, I’d probably love it! Have I ever told you a few of my favorite games? Mirror’s Edge, Jet Set Radio Future, The World Ends With You…all those games do a great job of defying what traditional games in their respective genres do. I love games that are weird like that, but they still have to be a bit grounded. Tale of Tales trippy title Luxuria Superbia is pretty far out there. It’s essentially a beginner’s acid trip.

Luxuria Superbia is a (rhythm?) game that was originally meant to be played on a tablet. In fact, playing with just a mouse is pretty much impossible. You’ll be plugging in a gamepad for this one. You control two cursors (flowers?) inside a tunnel, and each side of the tunnel begins colorless. Through petal collection, each side begins to fill up with color, and you gain points as long as your cursors stay in the colored area. But if you fill up every side completely, the level ends.

Luxuria Superbia Screenie 1

The control of the cursors is really smooth, and I thought it made the game a little more challenging than it would be on a tablet. The sensitivity of the analog sticks is near perfect—you can always predict where you’re going to move to, and that’s essential in a game like this. It’s only detrimental in the later levels, where I noticed some slowdowns and FPS drops during gameplay. That’s weird, considering the later levels are pretty easy. The game has a very easy difficulty ramp, but I have trouble calling it a ramp. It’s more like a very small elevation change, like stepping from the street up onto the curb. This game is really, really easy. The only hard part is having enough time to finish the levels with a high score.

That is, if you’re not too put off to finish the levels. During each one, text will appear in the middle of the screen that’s…disturbing, at best. Phrases like “Touch me.” and “Oh god.” or maybe “Right there.” Might throw you off your game a little bit. Or a lot. I had them on for two levels and then paused the game and found the option to turn them off. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had to keep them on. Thankfully, the visuals aren’t nearly as creepy. They’re mostly nonsensical, with flower petals turning into chairs and other random objects depending on the level you’re on. The music, while well-produced and interesting at times, is pretty experimental. But what did you expect from an experimental game?

Luxuria Superbia Screenie 2

I feel like this game should be judged from a standpoint of visual art/multimedia art, but I’m a game critic, so it’s not my place to look at Luxuria Superbia like that. It really does look beautiful, and I’m just one person; this could be right up someone else’s alley. As a game, however, it’s got a long way to go before I’d pick it up and play again. There are elements of replayability, and there’s a start-to-finish game, but everything else is either missing or just a little bit off. It’s worth a look, and I recommend it to anyone interested in art games or solid control schemes.  Let us know what you think in the comments, too!

Luxuria Superbia will be released on November 5th for  Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Ouya. It is $3.99 for iOS/Android/Ouya and $5.99 for PC/Mac. You can keep up to date with Tale of Tales on Twitter!

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Luxuria Superbia’ – Lots of Luxury, Not as Much Superb


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‘Knite & The Ghost Lights’ Channels Tim Burton In Its Artistic Design

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No, the image you see above is not from the set of the next Tim Burton/Henry Selick film, but it’s a screenshot from Knite & The Ghost Lights, an upcoming sidescrolling adventure from Mobot Studios. The game is currently in development for PC and Mac.

In Knite & The Ghost Lights, the land of Mistland is populated by ghostly wisps, a.k.a. the “ghost lights”, which are the wandering souls of characters essentially stuck in limbo. The game’s protagonist, the Knite, is a reluctant hero armed with a pipe which can be played to guide these lost souls to redemption.

The game utilizes hand-crafted sets and characters, and the results are quite impressive. Mobot Studios is blending traditional stop-motion animation with 2D and 3D animation technology to create seamless character movements needed for a video game while still retaining the unique feel of stop-motion animation.

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There is little detail in regards to what the gameplay will be like, other than it’s , “filled with puzzles, platforming, hidden surprises, tons of magic and exploration.” The developers also mentioned that lighting will play an integral role in how the game is played.

Mobot Studios is a team of five individuals based out of Seattle, Washington. Previously, they developed the iOS game Paper Monsters, which was a hit with both critics and fans. Now with their sights aimed at an even larger target, Mobot Studios recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to assist them with the development of Knite & The Ghost Lights.

Seeking $35,000, Mobot Studios has so far managed to collect a little under $9,000 at the time of this writing. Because of the unique visual design that the game is being made with, the team is finding themselves in a situation that many game developers never run into: lack of space.

“Our lead designer’s apartment is literally full of clay,” explains Mobot Studios on their Kickstarter campaign page. “Because each completed set takes up a ton of space, we’re even trying to secure an extra room to hold all of the sets, characters, and models for the game. ”

Visit the campaign page and follow Mobot Studios on Twitter.

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Indie Intermission – ‘Probe Team’ Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

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As the working week draws to a close I move onto the number 1 game from the latest Ludum Dare. Today’s game is Probe Team by Andrew Shouldice and it’s a wonderful space arcade exploration game that forces you to use a team of probes to explore the environment and complete the objectives.

Probe Team has been created in a very simplistic monochrome style that along with the added grain and slight bulge to the screen makes the game feel although it is being played on a computer of the early 90′s. All these subtle visual effects come together and help create a truly great looking game brimmed full of nostalgia.

The gameplay relies on you guiding these probes through this maze, but be warned as you only have 10 seconds of fuel per probe and you must be quick. Although no one probe will make it all the way you must use many probes to work together to hopefully explore this sprawling labyrinth.

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Average play time – 6 minutes

Probe Team is a lot of fun and has a truly fantastic style to it that helps create a unique and fun game. The use of the 10 second time constraint is great, and does create the main mechanic that holds the whole game together, yet it has been done in a fun and interesting way.

If you would like to play Probe Team you can play it online for free. If you would like to visit the Ludum Page you can do that here.

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 – ‘Probe Team’ Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts


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‘Penguemic’ Uses Penguins To Teach SAT/GRE/GMAT Vocabulary


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PAX Prime 2013: Breadbrothers Interview And ‘Sully: A Very Serious RPG’ Gameplay

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We were able to catch up (on a comfortable couch, thank god) with Ben McGraw of Breadbrothers Games last weekend at PAX Prime to discuss his upcoming old-school RPG, Sully: A Very Serious RPG.

Sully’s comedic tone matches some of the other games in the recent phoenix-like rise that indie developers have provided for retro JRPGs, but the game relies strictly on character nuance – rather than direct parody of the genre’s tropes — to get its humor across. Here’s Ben on the past, present and future of Sully:


Sully is available now for pre-order and will arrive later this year on PC, Mac, Linux and PS Vita.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – PAX Prime 2013: Breadbrothers Interview And ‘Sully: A Very Serious RPG’ Gameplay


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PAX Prime 2013: Threaks Interview And ‘Beatbuddy’ Impressions

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Janessa Olson, one of our IGM PAX Prime 2013 team members, writes on her hands-on impressions of Threaks’ title Beatbuddy – one of the hottest destinations inside the Indie MEGABOOTH.

There is a strong chance that Beatbuddy is the most fun I’ve had at PAX so far; a statement not to be taken lightly given that every game I’ve played has been nothing short of fantastic. Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians is a musical platformer created by Threaks, a small startup based out of Hamburg. The game follows an adorable headphone-wearing blue blob as he floats around his underwater world, fighting crawdad enemies and sea urchin obstacles.

The first thing you’ll notice about Beatbuddy is the artstyle; the game was hand painted with over 10 layers to achieve a vivid, captivating atmosphere. To complement the vibrant levels is a fantastic soundtrack complete with songs composed by a variety of musical artists specifically for the game. Every song is catchy, upbeat, and will cause you to bob your head or shake your hips involuntarily.

It’s typical to see stone-faced PAX attendees demoing games, but everyone playing Beatbuddy was smiling and obviously enjoying themselves. I cannot recommend this game enough; Beatbuddy left me feeling energetic, excited, and wanting to play more.

The game is available now on Steam for PC, Mac and Linux. Here’s our gameplay-packed interview with developer Wolf Lang:

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – PAX Prime 2013: Threaks Interview And ‘Beatbuddy’ Impressions


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PAX Prime 2013: Interview With Phobic Studios And ‘Glare’ Impressions

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Janessa Olson, one of our IGM PAX Prime 2013 team members, writes on her hands-on impressions of Phobic Studios’ title Glare.

The fast-paced platformer is Phobic studios’ first game release outside the mobile market, and they do not disappoint. The gameplay is very similar to that of Rayman Origins; the player quickly advances through levels, jumping and ducking over obstacles to reach the goal. Your main weapon is a sort of flashlight that you use to push back enemies of the darkness, or to create new pathways. Like Rayman Origins, the controls of Glare are user-friendly, and the learning curve is inclusive to a variety of gamers, regardless of age or skill level.

While there is no release date yet for Glare, pre-orders are currently available through Phobic’s website and the game has been confirmed for PC, Mac and Linux. Here’s a video interview we put together with the developer, which also provides a look at how the game plays:

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – PAX Prime 2013: Interview With Phobic Studios And ‘Glare’ Impressions


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‘Full Mojo Rampage’ Preview – Voodoo Gone Roguelike

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Imagine Disney’s The Princess and the Frog being kidnapped by Tim Burton and transmogrified into a chaotic dungeon-crawling extravaganza – complete with voodoo dolls, trickster gods, and hordes of the irritable undead – and you’ve got a decent idea of what it’s like to play Full Mojo Rampage. Currently being developed for the PC by Over the Top Games (the creative team behind NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits, The Fancy Pants Adventures, and Dive: The Medes Islands Secret), Full Mojo Rampage is a fast-paced, semi-roguelike, top-down adventure with more action and stylistic flair than you can shake a staff at.

There’s definitely something to be said for a game with ambition, and Full Mojo Rampage is ready to run amok with it. Though there’s no knowing what features will or won’t make the final cut, at its current stage the game has so much going on that the only thing left to add might be a tutorial level. Optional hints do pop up when you first start playing, but who has time to read about medals and money while fending off a horde of supernatural skeletons?

Featuring both single-player missions and online co-op, gameplay consists of four basic elements: crushing enemies, collecting useful items, circumnavigating booby-traps, and completing level objectives. Superficially, this seems simple enough (though the current cast of zombified and skeletal enemies does include some pretty challenging fiends), but the sheer amount of play-style customization and power-up possibilities turn a straightforward hack-and-slash scenario into a more complex mystical experience.

When deciding on a look for your character (at the moment only two options are available, but more are promised in the future), you are also offered a selection of several voodoo gods and goddesses, one of which will become your own personal patron of destruction. Your choice determines what blessings are bestowed upon you, including speed boosts, health enhancements, and special attacks. Medals, gold, and experience points gathered along the way can purchase, among other things, special pins which can be equipped between missions to augment stats.

Along the way you’ll also be picking up voodoo dolls and mojos – special items, like magic staffs and protective amulets, that temporarily improve or alter your abilities. Leveling, of course, also improves stats, and in the final version your XP will also count towards unlocking even more deities and their (sometimes mixed) blessings.

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Despite only being at the alpha stage of development, the game already looks like a finished product, with beautifully rendered 3D graphics, unique designs, and some seriously satisfying animation work. Spells sparkle, ghouls glow in the dark, and the action flows fast and smooth. Procedural level creation and a ton of environmental variation keep things fresh and interesting even when replaying stages – which happens rather often, thanks to the high cost of death (in other words, severe progress loss).

If the setting is a little Burton-esque, the music is a lot Danny Elfman-ish – in all the right ways. Composer Alistair Lindsey’s creepy-sweet soundtrack is a mixture of haunting music box melodies and midnight overtures. The tunes are kept lighthearted enough to fit the caricatured character designs, but with just enough of a dark twist to evoke a good, old-fashioned Halloweeny atmosphere.

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Though no final release date has been announced yet, Full Mojo Rampage is available to purchase from both the official site and the Steam store, with several add-on options if you don’t mind paying a little extra. Though the base price of $20 seems a bit steep for an alpha build, purchase of the alpha will also include a DRM-free version of the full game upon release, as well as a Steam key.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Full Mojo Rampage’ Preview – Voodoo Gone Roguelike