Today the new IndieGameStand launched featuring Gnomoria, a sandbox village-building game by Robotronic Games. IndieGameStand, for those who do not know, features a new indie game every 96 hours, which they offer in the pay what you want format, much like the Indie Humble Bundle. Part of the price paid for the game goes to a featured charity chosen by the developer, which so happens to be the Red Cross Foundation for this Indie Game Stand. The games presented are available DRM-free for no hassle downloading. But the game, yes, you would like to hear about that.
The developer, Robert West or “RoboBob”, claims influence from other great sandbox games in ‘The Sims‘ and ‘Dwarf Fortress‘ and looks to build on the successes of those games. Gnomoria focuses on the lives of a group of gnomes who have left the city and moved to create their own village and kingdom. Players control the whole group and issue orders such as digging, building, crafting, and farming to keep their society flourishing. They also work to ward off attacks from outsiders and enemies who want to destroy their kingdom before it starts.
Each game begins with a procedurally-generated world, which features a fully destructible environment. Each part of the world can be broken down into materials which can then be used to rebuild the world into a beautiful kingdom. Gnomoria is a true sandbox game and allows for players to build their society as they see fit. Is your society a defensive military powerhouse or a simple farmers village? It is absolutely up to you.
Robots are amazing these days. They’re not only compact, but quiet as well. So quiet that, despite having followed the development of this promising platformer since the early days, the release of Joyride Laborotories Nikki And The Robots last week went completely unnoticed by me, and that’s just sad. Maybe it’s the chunky, colourful sprites. Maybe it’s the fantastically bouncy chiptune music (seriously, it’s goooooood) and maybe it’s the fact that secret agent Nikki is planning on saving the world wearing her most kitty-tastic catsuit, but the whole package is just strangely loveable. Here’s a gameplay trailer featuring all of those things, and more than a few robots:
This is one of those releases where everyone wins. The game will run on just about any hardware that you can put it on, and there are Windows, Linux & Mac versions available. The game itself can be downloaded for free, and if you don’t pay a penny then you still have access to both the level-sharing hub and the level editor. If you think the game is actually worth some money, though, you can pay whatever you want (anything over 1 euro will get you Desura/Steam keys as and when the game reaches those platforms) to gain access to an official level set. Right now it’s just one episode, but there’s more coming in the future.
The game is fully DRM-free, a small download, has a built-in updater and (as mentioned above) there’s an integrated level-sharing hub. It’s a remarkably fleshed out package, so give it a try. For those still on the fence against all reason (if nothing else, you can play a large chunk of the game for free!), we’ll be giving it the full review treatment once we’ve conquered the occasionally-fiendish first episode.
Well, hard to argue that this is going to be anything less than the deal of the day. It’s Humble Bundle time again, and it’s one of the big ones. A minimum price fluctuating around the $5 mark for six of the best indie games of the past year (or two), all in both Steam and DRM-free formats, with Linux & Mac editions included. It’s standard form for a ‘numbered’ Humble Bundle, but still… Whoa. Here’s the official launch video:
Six fantastic games. The only one that is questionable in any way, shape or form is action-RPG hit Torchlight, and only because the developer are no longer technically independent – still, the game was released as an indie title, and you can’t fault them for using that to drum up press for the upcoming (and supposedly rather great) sequel. Hitbox Team’s Dustforce is one of the better platformers out there, happily sharing virtual shelf-space with Super Meat Boy & They Bleed Pixels.
Personally, I think everyone needs to give Vessel some time and love. A very clever steampunk platform-puzzle game based around fluid dynamics and physically driven automatons. By placing ‘seeds’ in bodies of water, you construct simple Fluro robots, which perform basic tasks such as following people, standing on lit buttons and avoiding/following light sources. There’s even a dash of Metroid in the game structure, although the general flow is mostly linear.
The rest of the games are great. Shatter is one of the best takes on the Breakout concept ever released, and has one of the best electro soundtracks to grace a game. SPAZ (Space Pirates & Zombies) is a compelling – if slightly grindy – space shooter/strategy adventure across a huge procedurally generated universe, and Rochard is a solid run and gun platformer with some physics-heavy puzzling, and a rather non-standard (Portly, middle-aged mustachioed space-trucker) protagonist sharing a voice actor with Duke Nukem.
Being one of the big ‘numbered’ Humble Bundles, this means that bonus games are almost inevitably going to be thrown in to sweeten the mix around the halfway point, and those buying in now are still getting some extra treats. Five soundtrack albums, and several of these games have quite notably great music. Torchlight’s soundtrack (by the original Diablo composer) fits in great with any dark and dreary dungeon crawl, and Shatter’s music is unlikely to ever leave my iPhone.
The business model is Humble Bundle standard form. Pay what you want (although going over the average gets you Dustforce, plus any bonus items down the road), divide your payment up between developers, a couple of charity organizations and the bundle organizers themselves. By this point, you probably know the drill.
Personally, I already own each and every one of these games, so I’ll just be sitting on the sidelines, keeping an eye on any upcoming bonus items. If nothing else, it’ll be fun to watch the highest donators box again. Last year saw a running battle between the Humble Brony collective and Minecraft maestro Notch in a race to give away as much money as humanly possible. The Humble Bundle is live now, and will be running for the next two weeks.
The new Bundle in a Box released today with the theme being deep space. If you have not heard of Bundle in a Box, it is a pay-what-you-want indie game bundle featuring DRM-free games that fit a specific theme. This time around the Bundle in a Box features five games featuring outer space themes. The bundle will be available for 14 days and also features 3 additional games for those willing to pay above the average price payed thus far. The goal is to promote new games on the market and proceeds earned from sales go to charity. It is a great idea and this month features five awesome games. Let’s cover them briefly.
Space Giraffe from Llamasoft- Advertised as an abstract action arcade style shooter, Space Giraffe features some awesome environments produced by graphic synthesizers. Players can expect to shoot their way through over 200 levels of transcent bliss.
Death Ray Manta from Rob Fearon- Rob Fearon loves his colors and does not skimp on them here. Death Ray Manta is a Bundle in a Box exclusive which builds on the successes of past arena shooters such as Geometry Wars and Robotron. It is the beautiful attempt to create a pop song video game complete with editable text and super fast gameplay.
The Wreckless from Duct Tape Games- A single player space ship simulator with a full campaign and 16 levels to battle your way through. Different mission types, all played using WASD controls instead of a joystick, can be conquered with differently researched ships. Players can also customize the difficulty by choosing the number of ships deployed.
Dark Scavenger from Psydra Games- A deep space adventure game with point-and-click qualities, Dark Scavenger is the story of a powerful space traveler played by you. With strategic combat and a quirky cast, Dark Scavenger is a zany space adventure reminiscent of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in which you must decide whether to save the world or simply save yourself.
Armalyte from Psytronik- Armalyte is a remake of the Commodore 64 game with the same title. The classic shoot em up has finally been released for PC with revamped graphics and audio. Their is also a brand new soundtrack made specifically for the PC and the involvement of Armalyte developers Dan Phillips and Robin Levy have helped the game stay true to its origins.
The other three games included for those who spend over the average price spent are Sol: Exodus, a journey to find a new solar system, Miner Wars Arena, arcade game inspired by the PC classic Tunneler, and Robot Riot, a 16 bit platformer with gun-turrets and bosses.
For every 100 sales $10 will be added to the indie dev grant which is awarded to an indie dev selected by a voting process. 5% of all revenues are donated to the Hellenic Centre for Mental Health and Treatment of Child and Family. Also, the more people buy, the more unlockables are earned. OSTs and DLCs become available after so many people purchase a bundle.
Here at IGM we are pleased to announce the coming of a new indie games distribution site, IndieGameStand! This site co-founded by our very own Mike Gnade, is dedicated to the distribution of little-known yet high-quality games. But several sites do that. What sets IndieGameStand apart is its pricing system. Every four days a different game will be featured, during its feature period the game will be pay-what-you-want which is a spectacular deal for gamers, as I’m sure you’re all aware from other pay-what-you-want sales. It’s also great for developers, who get 90% of the proceeds and lots of exposure for their game.
Where does the other 10% of the profits go? I’m glad you asked! For the four days that the game is featured, 10% of all sales profits go to a charity of the developer’s choice. Once you have bought the game and sent your money off to both the developer and charity, you will have access to your DRM free download. This means that once you buy them, they are added to what is called your digital wallet. From there, they can be downloaded at your leisure to any computer simple, easy, and efficient.
As stated in the title, IdieGameStand will launch September 26th. If you head to the site between now and then and sign up, you will be rewarded with a free copy of Chester (a 2D platformer with some light RPG elements). There’s a quite helpful countdown timer running on the site’s main page, which will tell you exactly how long you have before the site launch. As of the time this article as written, you have 16 days. Don’t waste them! Get a move on!
Amp, Watts, and Circuits is now available on Indievania as a Pay What You Want release, with the minimum price paid at $1, for PC and Mac. Amp, Watts, and Circuits, which released back in February is a first time commercial puzzle release from one-man Indie Developer Jamo Games. Amp, Watts, and Circuits is a grid-based puzzle offering which allows the player to lead 3 unfulfilled robots from their workplace.
To escape from their place of work, an industrial factory, the three disgruntled employees, smartly named Amp, Watts and Circuit, must use their talents to help each other reach daylight. To do so the robots move around factory tiles to activate switches or disable traps. In doing so the three robots use the contraptions to exit areas of the factory on their way to freedom.
Other features include a level designer, which allows players to craft their own puzzles for others to try, and an original electronic soundtrack. Amp, Watts, and Circuits spans the length of 50 challenging puzzles over 4 zones and the addition of the level editor allows for a high amount of replayability. Using the level editor, players can set traps and obstacles, making their ultimate robot defeating puzzle.
If you would like to support Jamo Games on their upcoming title, hate to see robots doing monotonous factory work, or are an avid puzzle game then you should definitely check out Amp, Watts, and Circuits over at Indievania. Likewise, you should check out Jamo Games at their dev site and on Facebook, and Amp, Watts, and Circuits at its website.
The bundles, they just keep coming! Hard to complain in this case, though – Indie Royale’s latest entry, the Getaway Bundle, is an unusually eclectic bunch of games. This one includes zero-G arena FPS Shattered Horizon, sci-fi/mystery visual novel with a strong feminist angle Analogue: A Hate Story, wrestling-themed point-and-click adventure Da New Guys, neon-hued twin-stick shooter Waves and ultra-minimialist monochrome roguelike Miniflake. Oh, and yet another XBLIG refugee – the completely bonkers Super Amazing Wagon Adventure. Here’s the official video:
Well, there’s a mismatched bundle if I ever saw one, but it’s hard to complain about the quality of the games included. Having played and enjoyed all but Da New Guys (although I have heard reasonably positive things about it), it’s an easy recommendation price-wise. It’s also worth noting that an expansion has just been announced for Analogue: A Hate Story, which should help fill in some of the blanks in the plot, particularly the events leading up to the downfall of civilization on the colony-ship you’re investigating.
The only possible real low-point of this bundle is Shattered Horizon. Not for any quality concerns – it’s an excellent and sadly underrated game – but it was never able to really retain an online player-base. Fortunately they added bots in a later update to the game, but you’re largely limited to playing against them, unless this bundle helps kickstart the public server population once more.
There’s a base price, and a bonus higher price-tier with assorted goodies as always for Indie Royale, and no higher charity motive. This is just about promoting and supporting lesser-known indie developers. All the games are for Windows only, with the sole exception of Analogue, which is for Mac & Linux as well. Steam keys are available where possible, and everything else activates on Desura, as well as offering DRM-free downloads.
I guess we’ve moved past the concept of ‘bundle season’ – you can’t go a few weeks without someone bundling up a pile of indie (or less-than-indie) games, slapping a pay-what-you-want pseudo-pricetag on the lot and calling it a day. Still, can’t sniff at this lot, even if it’s not nearly as grandiose as previous Humble Bundle offerings. Here’s the official launch video:
As always, it’s a fully cross-platform bundle, so despite the ‘Android’ part of the title, everything in here will also run on your PC, whether it’s using Windows, Mac or Linux. It’s a good set of games, too. We’ve got super-popular Tower Defense game Fieldrunners, musical Breakout-esque game BIT.TRIP BEAT, award-winning, brain-crushing puzzle game Spacechem and Introversion’s ‘the future according to the 80s’ hacking simulator Uplink. All great games, although definitely an eclectic bunch. The over-the-average bonus game is Spirits, which I’ve honestly not heard much about, but it certainly looks lovely.
As is Humble Bundle standard, a chunk of the money goes to charity as well, at least by default. You’re free to decide how much of your money goes to the developers, the charities involved and the Humble Bundle organizers. As mentioned, this isn’t exactly a mindblowing bundle, but it’s a solid pack of games, and probably worth it just for Spacechem, which I will happily recommend to anyone with a functioning brain.
Indie Royale may not be as big and burly as other indie bundle sites, but they’re not really trying to be. Their mission statement focuses more on increasing coverage of obscure, lesser-known indie games. Today, they’ve rolled out yet another bundle of six for a variable Pay What You Want price-tag. Here’s what’s on offer this time:
So, first up is Sol: Exodus. An old-school (although leaning towards the arcade side of things) space shooter that I’ve heard an impressively broad range of things about. From what I can gather, it was rather ropey at launch, and through a series of major updates has improved significantly. It’s unlikely to dethrone any of the genre classics, but there’s a fair bit of spaceship shooting to be done here.
Second is All Zombies Must Die. Again, mixed vibes on this one. It’s a more open-world, involved sorta arcade zombie-shooter than it’s predecessor Burn, Zombie, Burn, and that seems to have been a bit of a double-edged sword. What it gains in freedom and variety, it loses in terms of sheer score-hunting focus. Still, reviews for it have been generally positive, and there are definitely worse ways to spend your time shooting virtual zombies.
Third is Cubemen. RTS meets Tower Defense in an abstract, blocky world populated by… well, little men made of cubes. Heard solid things about this one, and there’s much more of a competitive edge than usual for the genre, as you’re often going up directly against enemy forces, positioning your little cube-people in order to get the best weapon coverage while keeping covered from counter-fire.
Fourth is the weird one of the bunch. Squids is apparently a rubberband-flinging artillery puzzle RPG. One description I’ve heard is Angry Birds meets Final Fantasy Tactics. Never played it myself, but with a description that downright weird, I feel compelled to at least give this one a try. The art-style is bright and cute, and the theme already has me quietly humming ‘Under The Sea’ to myself. But you probably don’t have that problem… right?
Last is another pair of XBLIG refugees. This time, the Platformance series – Castle Pain & Temple Death. Cute little minimalist platformers with an interesting twist – the entire game takes place on a single screen, normally viewed up-close. You can zoom all the way out to see the entire game-world, and the level design takes advantage of this clever interconnectedness from time to time, with older areas being changed by your actions, opening new paths. Simple, twitch fun. Also rock hard and maddeningly frustrating. Not for casual play, then.
The first three games are all Steam activated (All Zombies Must Die being Steam-exclusive), while the rest are Desura-only. Sadly, the only games in this bundle to offer Mac support are Cubemen & Squids. Everything else is Windows only. As standard for Indie Royale, there’s some additional music if you’re willing to pay a few dollars over average, although any unlocked game-related goodies are usually covered by the base price.
Not Indie Royale’s greatest offering, but for a few dollars, it’s still good value. Check it out.
One path to drain your wallet into indie gaming ends, and another opens. Indie Royale are back with yet another bundle, and this one – as with their last few – looks to be a genuinely good mix of games. Especially good for RPG fans; despite filling up only a single slot in the lineup, the Geneforge saga is no less than five huge games by veteran CRPG studio Spiderweb Software.
So, as with previous Indie Royales, this is almost all for the developers. Steam and Desura keys offered where available, and direct downloads whenever possible too. There’s only a couple of games here with Mac support, and none for Linux, so this should be considered a Windows bundle. Here’s what the pack includes:
Puzzle Agent – Telltale’s take on the Professor Layton series. Not their greatest, as some of the puzzles are kinda awkward, but the Fargo Meets Twin Peaks atmosphere and twisted humor help hold it together. Uses the art and setting of cartoonist Graham Annable’s ‘Grickle’ world to great, and occasionally disturbing effect.
The Geneforge Saga – Five full length CRPGs by one-man uberstudio Spiderweb Software. While not exactly pretty games, there’s some genuinely interesting gameplay here, with you playing as a Shaper – part wizard, part genetic engineer – trying to piece together the secrets behind a research-facility island gone silent long ago. Rather than raise a party, you grow your own minions and customize their stats. Each game has multiple main plot routes and there’s five of them here. Expect to invest 100+ hours to get through the whole series, easily.
Oniken – I’ve only played the demo of this one so far, so seeing it in this bundle has put a big grin on my face. It’s a NES-style platformer done in full late-80s style. This means big burly anime dudes slicing up giant evil robots and posing menacingly against flaming backgrounds. The demo was rock solid, like a blend of Ninja Gaiden and Strider. Can’t wait to dig into this.
Mutant Storm Reloaded – I’ve been a long-term fan of PomPom Games, and Mutant Storm was the game that really put them on the map for me, and this is their updated remake. Robotron updated with wibbly graphics and some very distinct-yet-awesome Retro sounds. A nice scoring system, too. Clear enough levels without losing a life and your score multiplier rises, but so does enemy speed. Much more creative level layouts than most twin-stick arena shooters, too.
SWIFT☆STITCH - Sophie Houlden’s clever one-button maze puzzle game. Navigate a fairly complex 2D arena, collecting target stars along the way by using just your a single key to switch between movement in two directions. Much more complex than it sounds, as the levels are remarkably intricate, and contain multiple warp points and barriers that reverse the two directions you can move in. Very nice soundtrack, too, and does a surprising amount with simple vector graphics.
UnEpic – I’ve not played this one, but I’ve heard plenty about it. A slightly tongue-in-cheek Metroidvania platform RPG that seems to have racked up a lot of positive reviews, and has been repeatedly rejected for release on Steam, despite being a fairly consistent seller on Desura. UnEpic is brought up regularly as a key example as to why Greenlight needs to launch sooner, rather than later. Also included in this bundle are a few bonus in-game items for UnEpic via a special unlock code, presumably to give new players a bit of a foot up.
Oddly enough, this bundle just about fills up my Summer wish-list. Mutant Storm Reloaded was among the high-ranking ‘wants’, as was UnEpic and Oniken, so I’m making out like a bandit on this one. If you think the devs of these games deserve a little extra money, then throw a little extra cash at the bundle – it’s Pay What You Want stuff, after all. Those who pay over the average push down the ‘base’ price for others, plus get a chiptune album as a little sweetener.