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

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Recettear Breaks 100,000 Copies Sold, Carpe Fulgur Talks Future

Recettear_Success

Carpe Fulgur head Andrew Dice has shared some exciting news regarding EasyGameStation’s translated version of Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale. Apparently, sometime in December the game surprassed the 100k mark in units sold. Wowzers.

Ever the realist, Dice goes on to talk about what this does, might and doesn’t mean for the indie games translation company going forward. He points out that much of the numbers were accumulated by big discounts on the game, specifically Steam’s Indie Story Park which brought the $20 game down to (effectively) just $1 in a five dollars for five games bundle. From the response and other data they collected it was concluded that the game could have sold as many copies as it did with a 75% discount instead of a 95% one — at least exercising the option to drop it to $5 before they bundled it together for cheaper was something of a missed opportunity according to Dice.

That’s not to say that they didn’t make out well though. Recettear brought in more during the Steam sale than in its launch month where Carpe Fulgur deemed the situation an “unqualifed success,” and because of that the company seems quite secure for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of future Dice also mentions the possibility of putting in the finances necessary to add an English voice option to the parody RPG. With all signs pointing to maybe at this moment. He goes into much greater detail on all of this, so if you’re interested get the rest on the developments straight from the horse’s mouth.

[Carpe Fulgur]


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Best of 2010: Editors’ Top Picks

DIYlogoFrom January 1st to December 31st, 2010 was the year that DIYgamer was up and running from the first to the last day of the year. We’ve hit ups and downs and talked about hundreds of games this year, and it’s finally time for the staff to sit down and figure out which games we happened to love the most. The thing about trying to pick our favorite indie games of the year is that there are always more. Every discussion of our favorites turns into a series of exclamations of  “oh yeah!” as each of us remembers other games we had forgotten to mention.

The way we devise this list of our Top Picks is that all of the editors are asked to submit five of their favorite games of the year and write a paragraph as to why they liked it so much. The game that is repeated across the most lists automatically gets our Game of the Year nod and anything else with more than one pick gets a Runner-Up spot. Everything else falls under Honorable Mention and you must know that every single one of them might as well be the Game of the Year.

We are well aware we may have omitted some amazing games, so feel free to add your own in the comments section along with your own explanation. We’d love to hear it and more than likely agree with you!

But without further ado and explanation, here is the DIYgamer Editor’s Top Picks of 2010:

HONORABLE MENTION

Shibuya (iOS)

shibuya

I don’t think anyone has the right (especially Sony and that annoying little shit Marcus) to complain that iOS games are not up to par. The App Store in general took a huge step forward this year with the release of a multitude of successful indie (and mainstream) titles. Shibuya, by Nevercenter Games, was perhaps the most addictive of them all. I’m pretty sure I earned a grade lower than I should have in at least one of my classes because of this game. Nevercenter took one devastatingly simple concept and treated it with absolute finesse, adding polish and an excellent 5-track electronica soundtrack (by Millionyoung) to melt away all other thoughts. When you Shibuya, it’s only you and Shibuya, baby.

Arsen Nazaryan

(Buy it in the App Store)

Hero Core (PC)

herocore-cinema

Iji was one of my favourite games of 2008 (and 2009, for that matter), so I jumped on Hero Core as soon as it was released. It’s a much more modest offering, but a much more substantial game than it first appears to be. An ultra-minimalist Metroidvania, of sorts. Low-res monochrome graphics, a super-limited control scheme and a single-minded, speed-runnable goal hide a wealth of design cleverness, including a whole second campaign masquerading as a Hard Mode, and a multitude of bonuses and extras to unlock through extended play. The aesthetics may be minimalist, but there’s a keen eye for design at work here, and enemies and their shots are distinct and clear, despite the lack of colour.

Dominic Tarason

(Download Hero Core)

Chime (XBLA and PC)

chime

Chime’s simplicity and zen-like need for concentration were completely hypnotic to me this year. Compounded by the fact that its publisher is completely not-for-profit, this indie title is something everyone should give a chance. With a stellar soundtrack including Philip Glass and Paul Hartnoll, everyone should experience this beautiful puzzle game. With elements of Tetris and other classic puzzle titles, this experience is a perfect storm of audio and geometric concentration. If you haven’t yet experienced it you really ought to.

Peter Eykemans

(Buy it on Xbox Live Arcade or Steam)

Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale (PC)

Recettear_Update_October

It’s always bothered me in RPGs that item shops charge so much for equipment when my hero is trying to save the world from total destruction. But thanks to Recettear I now know why: because running an item shop is an adventure of its own. As the comically aloof Recette, players will have to manage their time between action-packed dungeon crawling for loot, and running a successful business selling said loot. And while the game’s humor begins as mere parody, by the game’s conclusion Recettear stakes out its own unique pedestal among the throngs of RPGs out there. From the colorful characters to the fantastic dual gameplay styles, Recettear is a truly fantastic game. Capitalism ho!

Scott Nichols

(Buy it on Steam)

Hydorah (PC)

hydorah

This is not the greatest Gradius game in the world, this is just a tribute. It’s also pretty dang close to being better than the games it is paying homage to. A massive undertaking for one man, Locomalito has lovingly crafted a huge, distinctly retro and remarkably deep scrolling shooter in Hydorah. A broad range of weapons/power-ups, huge variety in levels, a branching campaign map and tons of secrets all held together with beautiful sprite-art and a stunning soundtrack (by Gryzor87). I bought Gradius Rebirth on the Wii earlier this year. A freeware game made me forget all about it.

Dominic Tarason

(Download Hydorah)

LIMBO (XBLA)

limboboat

My LIMBO experience was beset with troubles. First, the game released while I was on vacation in Hawaii (and yet I couldn’t shake wanting to play the game amidst countless umbrella-clad drinks), and upon returning and downloading the game I was welcomed by the flashing three lights indicating that my Xbox would no longer like to be my friend. But three weeks later I got my system back and played through the game in almost a single sitting. Its clever puzzles, complete control of atmosphere and style and moments of absolute unexpected clarity truly make this one of the best games of the year for me. I first demoed the game at GDC back in March, and while I was completely absorbed into the game with thick headphones blocking out the chaos of the conference, I’ll never forget the absolute belly laugh I couldn’t contain when I was first killed by a bear trap.

Peter Eykemans

(Buy it on Xbox Live)

Spirits (iOS)

spiritsipad

If you own an iOS device and you have yet to try out Spirits, then you need to get off Angry Birds and download Spirits now. Within a two-game lifespan, Spaces of Play went from making a good but generic game (Mr. Bounce) to making an incredibly unique game. Spirits defines “hand-crafted.” Its music, its artwork, its design, its feel are intertwined to evoke gloom and hopefulness subsequently. This year was a big step up for Spaces of Play and I can’t wait to see what leaps and bounds they will make in the future.

Arsen Nazaryan

(Buy it in the App Store)

Zombie Estate (Xbox Live Indie Game)

ZombieEstate003

It’s easy to see why Zombie Estate would be on my list. Not only does it include zombies (an automatic qualifier, in my opinion) but it also gives such a charmingly unique perspective in regards to the camera and graphics. Combine all that with four-player, weapon upgrading fun and you have one of the best zombie games to get released in 2010.

Geoff Gibson

(Buy it from Xbox Live)

Kaleidoscope (XBLIG)

Kaleidoscope

From a Dream.Build.Play finalist, it’s reasonable to expect a pretty stellar game. What you may not be expecting though is for it to be as adorable and infectiously charming as Kaleidoscope. Players take control of Tint, a cute bug-like thing as he embarks on a platforming journey to restore color to the world of Kaleidoscope. By collecting colored orbs in the level players gradually bring color back to the scenery. The restoration of color is accompanied by an amazing dynamic soundtrack that builds up adding new instruments with each new layer of color. And though Kaleidoscope is on the short side with only twelve levels, they are spread across four visually distinct worlds, each of which coming to life in the game’s coloring book art style. There’s just something about Kaleidoscope, when the world blooms in color and the music blooms with it. It’s digital joy.

Scott Nichols

(Buy it on Xbox Live Indie Games)

The Oil Blue (PC)

the_oil_blue

Vertigo Games’ The Oil Blue came out of nowhere at me. I had never read anything about it up until its release when Erik drafted up his article for DIYGamer. The demo left a huge impression on me and I decided the whole game would be well worth the undertaking. I was not mistaken. The Oil Blue is just unlike any other game I have ever played. It’s not about the graphics or style, it’s not about the story or music, (and I’m not saying those weren’t good but) it’s all about the gameplay. Half the time I didn’t know what the hell was going on, but I felt awesome doing whatever I was doing. Leveling up was satisfying and each machine handled differently. The Oil Blue is one of the best indie action-sims ever, and earned itself a spot on the list the second its demo was released.

Arsen Nazaryan

(Buy it from Vertigo Games)

Joe Danger (PSN)

JoeDanger002

Imagine if you were to take Excitebike and combine it with the dare deviling antics of Evil Knievel and that’s what Joe Danger is. From the moment I played Joe Danger I was immediately drawn to the pure amount of “fun” that the game contained. There’s no back story, no pointless control mechanisms. Just solid gameplay at its best.

Geoff Gibson

(Buy it on PSN)

Super Mario Bros. X (PC)

super mario bros x

A strange choice, perhaps, but this one really came out of nowhere for me, and was the key inspiration for my current series of fangame articles. It’s an amazing piece of work – an impressive, full-featured Mario game in its own right, worthy of official Nintendo branding, but it goes significantly further than its peers in many respects. The intelligent split-screen multiplayer, the full-featured (but easy-to-learn) level editor and toolset, and now the addition of features and characters from other games are all giving the industrious level-creating community more to work with. I see this one continuing to grow and improve well into 2011. Hopefully it’ll provide incentive for other fangame developers to persevere, and aim high.

Dominic Tarason

(Download Super Mario Bros. X)

Game Dev Story (Mobile)

Game_Dev_Story

How can I not put this on the list? Game Dev Story was secondary only to Shibuya in my case. I spent hours in bed, in the bathroom, in the elevator, etc. playing the shit out of Game Dev Story. I got hooked, my friends got hooked, everybody got hooked. In large part, this is due to the overall theme; it’s a game where you make game. Can there be any more perfect of an idea? Though it was a port of a 1996 Japanese PC title, Kairosoft’s execution was brilliant regardless of the spelling and syntax mistakes that plagued much of the game. Who cares? The quirky graphics and strategic sim set-up helped skyrocket Game Dev Story to the top of the App Store, and it has earned itself a spot as one of the best indie games of the year. Sequel, anybody?

Arsen Nazaryan

(Buy it from iTunes or the Android Marketplace)

INCHES BEHIND THE GAME OF THE YEAR

Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC, Mac, Linux)

Amnesia_03

I can safely say that no game has impacted me this year as much as Amnesia: The Dark Descent. I’m a big fan of horror games, but all too often the sense of tension in a game is demystified as new weapons and abilities are added to the player’s arsenal and enemies reduced to mere speed bumps along the path to completion. Not so in Amnesia. In Amnesia there are no weapons. The player’s only way to defend himself is to run and hide, preferably in a dark closet. But even the act of hiding, surrounded by darkness, causes the player’s sanity meter to slowly tick away. The atmosphere in Amnesia is oppressive in the most stunning of ways, with small creaks and sounds blending with dimly lit corridors to instill an unmatched degree of paranoia. In my own experience, in a well lit room, I couldn’t play Amnesia for longer than an hour at a time. And yet I loved every second of it.

Scott Nichols

My playthrough of Frictional’s adventure horror game is one of the few “experiences” I had this year, and that goes beyond the realm of video games alone. The developers took great pride in painstakingly constructing an immersive and truly frightening atmosphere for players to take part in. Big risks, such as taking away the player’s ability to defend himself, paid off in spades for this game. An indie that elicits a powerful emotional response and one that really ought to be played at least once by anyone who considers themselves a core gamer.

Erik Johnson

The Penumbra series were easily amongst the scariest games I’d ever played when they originally came out. When the first teaser videos for Amnesia were released, my faith in the developers was renewed and I immediately put my money down on a preorder. I was not disappointed. A lovecraftian psycho-horror spectacular with amazing production values for such a small studio, Amnesia kept me on the edge of my seat, and often leaping clean out of it for the full length of the story. The understanding Frictional have for the raw psychology of horror games is unparalleled – they know exactly how to get the player to look where they want, hide when they want you to, and make you dance like a puppet to their ghastly horror show.

Dominic Tarason

(Buy it from Frictional)

Super Crate Box (PC)

SuperCrateBox001

The beauty of Super Crate Box is its simplicity. The player’s only real goal in the game is to collect crates. Of course, there’s the secondary goal of surviving the torrent of enemies flooding from the top of the screen so players will want a weapon to defend themselves. The catch is that each crate players collect changes their weapon, with some significantly more useful than others. Pick up the minigun or flamethrower and you’re good to go, but get stuck with the pistol or, god forbid, the disc gun and you’ll want to scramble to the next crate as fast as you can. And even when players finally find that perfect weapon, since collecting crates is the only thing that gives points, there’s no way to reach for the high score without giving it up again. Players will constantly be switching strategies on the fly, adding a sense of urgency to an addictively simple game.

Scott Nichols

Released just over a month ago, Super Crate Box has fast become my go-to game for mindless enjoyment on my PC. The weapons, the level progression, everything about the game is a brilliant mash up of platforming shooting glory. The only thing that would make this game better was if it came out on XBLIG. I can only imagine how much fun it would be in my living room.

Geoff Gibson

(Download Super Crate Box)

VVVVVV (PC, Mac, Linux)

vvvvvv1

In a few years, when she’s old enough to, one of the first video games my daughter will play is VVVVVV. You can count on that. It perfects the platformer by seamlessly integrating individual puzzles and challenges into cohesive levels, each offering different takes on the versatile flipping mechanic. Forgiving in some places, tough as hell in most, the game consistently challenges you. I found myself screaming “that’s impossible!” on more than one occasion, but every time after a payment of Captain Veridian deaths and a bit of luck, I’d make it through and deem that the challenge was just almost impossible. It also boasts the soundtrack of the century by Magnus Palsson. Chiptune gold which quite simply takes the game from great to legendary in my eyes (and ears.)

Erik Johnson

VVVVVV jumped into existence at the very beginning of the year yet it struck me immediately as one of the most fun games I’d be playing for a long time. With precise puzzles and an exceedingly well executed control scheme, the game is wonderful in its simplicity. While I initially grumbled about its many difficult sections (like Veni, Vidi, Vici) I now look back on them with glowing pride. After the game hit Steam a few months ago, I played it all over again and thanked my fingers for being able to pull off that epic section without too much trouble. VVVVVV‘s tricks and timing will be stuck in my fingertips for the unforeseeable future and its fantastic soundtrack keeps my head bobbing to this day.

Peter Eykemans

(Buy VVVVVV)

Breath of Death VII (XBLIG)

BreathofDeathVII000

Perhaps if Zeboyd Games upcoming title Cthulhu Saves the World didn’t release the very last week of December we would see the developer’s second throwback JRPG on this list. As it stands, we’ll just have to do with the dev’s first effort, you know, the one that boasts the highest demo to purchase conversion ever across the entire Xbox Live Indie Games Channel. Why? While it doesn’t reinvent the genre, Breath of Death VII presses a nostalgia button that triggers thoughts of early Final Fantasy titles while revitalizing the old school RPG. How? By making a farce of it. It’s the original writing and creativity in the parody that really makes the game unique. It even offers improvements from its predecessors such as a battle limit for each area coupled with the option to call for a fight. It also earns points for raising the bar on what to expect from the Xbox Live Indie Channel, not just shoddy clones and crap apps.

Erik Johnson

As a fan of the original Dragon Warrior games I was immediately drawn to Zeboyd Games’ Breath of Death VII which not only players similarly to the JRPGs of yesteryear, but also takes careful time to make fun of almost every inane aspect of the old genre. Seriously, this game was an absolute treat and I’m very excited to play Zeboyd’s next classic JRPG.

Geoff Gibson

(Buy it on Xbox Live)

Minecraft (PC)

MinecraftLogo001

This was a tough decision, because honestly I’ve barely played the game. Hear me out though. It earns my vote not for the simplistic brilliance the gameplay brings, but rather that it fulfills the proverbial “American dream” for indie developers. Find a solid concept and put a ton of work into it and good things can happen, really good things, like nearing a million copies sold just entering beta good things. Some have made it clear that they’ll never consider the game indie again given its current following from both players and press, but anyone who knows spit about this industry knows Minecraft’s indie roots are as deep as they come.

Erik Johnson

While Minecraft has technically been in alpha most of the year, its ability to be more engrossing and unique than almost anything else out there nets it a spot on my list this year. When I first downloaded Minecraft, albeit later than a lot of people, I disappeared for three days. It got to the point where other DIY writers were emailing me to see where I had gone. The only answer was underground. Minecraft satisfies that childlike desire to build a fort anywhere and on anything and allows you to hoard and create the world of your dreams. I look forward to the game’s progression going into next year and expect to disappear for at least another week into the depths.

Peter Eykemans

Not much that really needs saying here. Minecraft is the new hotness. While I’m not nearly as addicted to it as many of my peers, I’ve still played it at little bit every few days for several months in a row, and it keeps me coming back and looking for more. Combining tactile building, clever crafting and tense combat with that childlike sensation of building a pillow-fort to ward off imaginary monsters, it just presses buttons that no other game can.

Dominic Tarason

(Buy it from the Official Site)

GAME OF THE YEAR

Super Meat Boy (XBLA/PC)

Super Meat Boy Cover

Super Meat Boy is probably one of the hardest games I’ve ever played, and a constant source of anger and frustration. Wait, anger and frustration are a good thing? I’ll admit, they aren’t typically what I look for in a game. The difference in Super Meat Boy that makes it all worthwhile is that I was never angry at the game itself. The levels are expertly designed, and the controls accurate, so my failings in the game were all of my own doing. It never felt unfair. Every death was a learning experience, teaching me how to avoid a trap or properly time my jumps with moving platforms. Trial and error gameplay has been done before, but it’s Super Meat Boy’s pace that raises it from merely a fun challenge to the level of obsessive addiction. Just as my brain would begin to process why I had failed, Meat Boy would instantly respawn, ready to test my newfound knowledge. And once a particularly challenging level is conquered, the feeling is unmatched as you watch a replay of all your failed attempts running simultaneously. Nothing makes victory feel sweeter than reflecting on how hard you had to work to get there, and Super Meat Boy delivers this better than any other game. Ever.

Scott Nichols

I spent more time playing Super Meat Boy than I did any other game released this year, with possibly the exception of FIFA 11. Super Meat Boy packed tons of content through a variety of levels, notable indie characters with their own traits, and one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard in a game (Props to Danny B). There is no doubt in my mind that Super Meat Boy is the Indie Game of the Year 2010. Team Meat’s self-conscious but unpretentious effort to spread the indie love became one of the best games of the year, including the mainstream. Way to deliver on your word, guys!

Arsen Nazaryan

I’m a bit surprised myself to have more than one platformer on my list, but the love child begot from two of the hardest working guys in the industry simply can not be ignored. Edmund and Tommy thought they had something good here when they started on the project and boy were they right. Where VVVVVV strikes the old school nostalgia chord, Super Meat Boy mashes and warps it to its own devices. The game has you laughing at nearly every cut scene and cursing on nearly every level. Plus it’s completionist heaven, the sheer amount of content they packed into (and are still providing for) the game doesn’t get acknowledged nearly as much as it should.

Erik Johnson

Big surprise huh? Super Meat Boy had so much going for it that I’m positive this game will be on most people’s “Best of” lists. It’s challenging, adorable, very fun, and, most of all, uses a protagonist that is a skinless boy. How awesome is that? I guess the cherry on top would be all the amazing little touches the developers have added in like including multiple other indie game characters or the free level packs coming to the XBLA version.

Geoff Gibson

Super Meat Boy grabbed me in a way I never quite expected this year. I’d played the game on three different occasions at various conferences before it released and knew the game was going to be fun. But once I had the expansive world at my fingertips and could take my time exploring its nooks and bloody crannies it took me by the throat and never let go. As of this writing I have collected 100 bandages in the Xbox version and am sitting on 94 in the PC version. I have no explanation of why I put myself through the whole frustratingly-amazing experience over again other than the game is simply fantastic and will be remembered for years to come. And like a true addict I’ll go ahead and admit that I’ll probably do it all over again once it hits Wii.

Peter Eykemans

I bought Super Mario All-Stars on Wii a couple of weeks ago, and after playing for half an hour, all I could think was “these controls are far too floaty.” And it’s all Super Meat Boy’s fault. So thanks for ruining my childhood, Team Meat.

Mike Rose

(Buy it on XBLA or Steam)

So that’s 2010 from DIYgamer! We’re looking forward to an exciting 2011 with all the site’s power under our control and more great games to sink our indie teeth into.

What were your favorite games of 2010? Let us know!


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Recettear an “Unqualified Success”, Update Released

Recettear_Update_October

The English translation of EasyGameStation’s parody JRPG Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale has wooed the hearts of some 26,000 and counting, as the localizing-specialists at Carpe Fulgar share some happy numbers a month after launch. Make sure you hit the link for that warm fuzzy feeling. Here’s an excerpt from the post on their forum entitled “The Dream Fulfilled”:

Recettear has done what we had barely dared to hope it would do: in a month it has secured the future of Carpe Fulgur by allowing all of its members to make wages comparable to “proper” jobs in the industry for an entire year, and has provided EasyGameStation with a massive new stream of revenue that they did not previously have access to.

The team hopes to announce some “very exciting projects” in the near future as they’re currently considering a number of potential titles for localization. Great news for all of us, as we’ll get our hands on more of what Japan’s indie scene has to offer.

Carpe Fulgar has also released a new update for the title, now available for download for owners of the game on Steam. The patch brings more fixes for typographical errors as well as other issues.

From the patch notes:

  • Fixed typographical errors
  • Fixed error regarding the naming of the “brick floor” and “ruins floor” options for the shop
  • The reputation level of the shop with ‘normal’ customers (such as old men) now increases properly in both Survival modes
  • Adventurers should now properly equip any upgrades sold to them.
  • Adventurers will no longer attempt to wear two hats at once.
  • The crashes some people have been getting when the game attempts to play sound are fixed

- If you are not getting sound, please ensure your sound drivers are properly installed and ensure your user permissions allow all programs to access sound hardware properly

  • Fusion requirements have been extensively reworked

- Lower-level fusions in general should be easier now, and some of the highest requirements (such as 50 Fur Balls for the Panda Suit) have been drastically lowered. Note that level 4 and 5 fusions are still somewhat difficult, however, as these are premium and powerful items

[Carpe Fulgar]


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Recettear Update Fixes Everything but Insistent Melons

Recettear_Update

Carpe Fulgar has released a new update for EasyGameStation’s RPG Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale, now available for download. Version 1.106 brings several correctional fixes for the title, reworking some monster statistics as well as patching-up typographical errors, musical cues and equipping issues.

Also, melons continue to insist that the desert is their home apparently. From the notes:

- Corrected a number of typographical errors throughout the game script. Melons, however, continue to insist that they reside in deserts.

- Corrected improperly set monster statistics in certain dungeons – this should have the effect of making the early dungeons a bit easier and the later dungeons (Obsidian Tower and beyond) more challenging, even for well-leveled, well-geared adventurers.

- Corrected an error wherein the description of your current merchant level did not display.

- Corrected an error wherein certain musical cues in events did not obey volume control.

- Error wherein adventurers do not equip certain items sold to them should be corrected.

The patch can be downloaded automatically by Steam and Impulse users, anyone with another version of the game can grab it manually here.

A review you ask? Here you go. A full walkthrough you say? Fine, but make sure to abide by the gamer’s code–friends don’t let friends use on the first time.

[Recettear]


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Indie Links Round-Up: Caress Me Down

The_Witness

Round-up is back with so much good stuff to share from all across the indie line. Popular indie titles being picked apart, notable indie developers talking about anything/everything and of course, lots of free games to discover and play. Thank you, come again.

A Tantalizing Session With The Witness, The Next Game From The Creator Of Braid (Stephen Totilo/Kotaku)
“Unattended, unlabeled, unmarked… the new game from the small team led by Braid creator Jonathon Blow was stealthily present at the Penny Arcade Expo this weekend. The adventurous — and those who recognized Blow standing off in the shadows — got a delightful surprise.”

The Weekly Report #1 (Paul Eres/TIGSource)
“This is a new feature where I’ll be covering ten notable releases and newly posted games in production of the past week. A couple of people suggested I call this “The Eres Report” but it’s really just as much Ortoslon, who suggested most of the games here. These are all good games so try them all out, the numbering is just in the order of my preference. I’ll also include a weekly classic (2+ years old) game that was never covered in TIGSource.”

The Arena Shooter Tribute (Pixel Prospector)
“This Video showcases 6 sec clips of 93 enjoyable Arena Shooters that all happen to be free…Lean back, enjoy the show and then have a good time by checking them out afterwards.”

In(die)credible: Best New Indie Games You Haven’t Played (Tim W/IndieGames)
“At PAX 2010 there was an awesome panel that highlights a couple of indie games which you may not know about. This video features indie superstars like Robin Hunicke (thatgamecompany), Eitan Glinert (Fire Hose Games), Nathan Vella (Capybara Games), Dylan Fitterer (developer of Audiosurf) and Andy Schatz (Monaco) recommending some of their favorite indie games to the audience.”

Interview: Carpe Fulgur’s Dice Talks Recettear, Indie Charm (Kyle Orland/GameSetWatch)
“New import publisher Carpe Fulgur has brought quirky Japanese ‘item shop’ indie RPG, Recettear, to PC digital distribution services, and talks to our own Kyle Orland about localization challenges and plans.”

In-Depth: RedLynx On Life After Trials HD (Simon Parkin/GamerBytes)
“Trials HD developer RedLynx tells our own Simon Parkin about MotoHeroz, the studio’s recently-announced stunt racing game for WiiWare that “has as much in common with Super Mario Brothers as it does Trials HD.”"

Review: Tidalis (James Murff/Big Download)
“The folks at Arcen Games have been hard at work continuing AI War. Once of the sleeper hits of last year, it’s a stellar strategy title that builds design around cheating AI, as opposed to simply having it there. However, they are not just working on AI War’s expansions. Recently, they released a new game that is far outside of what one would expect from an indie strategy darling. The game is Tidalis, and it is a casual puzzle game in the same rough ballpark as Bejeweled. Tidalis is not just for casual players, however. Under its simple match-3 exterior hides a game of incredible depth and complexity that will intrigue players from every camp.”

Indie Game Challenge Deadline (IndieDB)
“Only 1 month remains to enter the indie game challenge and have a chance to win over 200,000$ in prizes. On October 1 2010, entries will close to the 2010 indie game challenge. With two prizes worth $100,000 each it is well worth your time to have a crack. Just ask last years winners COGS how it worked out for them.”

Interview: In Conversation With Rudolf Kremers – Co-Creator Of Eufloria (Marty Mulrooney/AMO)
“Following on from our recent review of Eufloria (Version 2.05) on PC, AMO caught up with co-creator Rudolf Kremers to discuss the future of his studio Omni Systems Limited, Eufloria’s pending PSN reboot in 2011 and life as a full-time indie game developer.”


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Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale Walkthrough Guide

recettearThis is a full walkthrough explaining how to complete the main quest in shop-keeper RPG Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale. A day-by-day guide is supplied below, detailing how to clear all your debts.

Before you scroll down to read, please note: There is no set method for completing Recettear – it’s possible to finish the game via a variety of different methods. Listed below is one such method, which can act as a beginner’s guide for anyone finding the game tough.

The walkthrough is split into weeks and days, showing each day leading up to debt payments. You may choose to follow the guide exactly, or use it more as an ideas guide.

A few pointers before we begin:
1) Save often – at the start of every day, after every dungeon crawl, after every shopping spree – just keep saving.
2) When a sale is on at the market or Merchant’s Guild, it is usually a good idea to buy the most expensive stuff in bulk – that way, when the prices rise again, you’ll make a tidy profit.
3) Try to stock at least one of every type of item, so as not to stop your just selling combo
4) Always aim to achieve your weekly total well in advance. If the collector wants 80,000pix by the 15th, you make sure you’ve got it in full by the 12th at the latest.
5) When you go to town, make sure you always visit places that are glowing – this means there are cutscenes to see.
6) Go into town at least once a day, and try to mix up the time you go out so that you see all the different cutscenes.
7) At the beginning, you may as well sell your items for the base price, since the difference in profit is marginal and you’ll get your merchant level up much quicker
8 ) Learn who pays lots for your wares and who doesn’t, so that your just combo doesn’t get cut – for example, in general the little girl will not pay much more over the base price, so you may as well always offer her at 100%.

When dungeon crawling:
9) Make sure your adventurer is always fully equipped with the best weapons and armour.
10) Don’t use a teleporter to the next floor until you’ve found everything on the current floor.
11) Always take advantage of double experience when it is announced.
12) Use chains are often as possible, especially early on when there aren’t as many different types of bad guy – they will make you level up much faster.
13) Learn which enemies you’re not very good at fighting, save your powerful attack for those.
14) keep your HP above half at all times to be safe.

Now for the full walkthrough – again, this is just one method for completing the game:

Day 1
Straight forward day – simply follow the tutorials and learn how everything works. After today, week 1 begins.

Week 1 – 10,000pix to pay

Day 2
Acquire Louie as an adventurer from the Adventurer’s Guild, then travel to the Hall of Trials and make your way to the fifth floor. By the time you reach the end, Louie should be level 5 or 6. When you get back to the shop, lay out your best wares and open the shop up for the last part of the day. Only sell items at base value – don’t bother upping the price. That way, you’ll achieve a larger just combo and near pin combos, and level up your Merchant rank faster.

Day 3
Equip Louie with the best stuff from the Merchant’s Guild, then head to the Adventurer’s Guild and go to Jade Way. At floor 5, you’ll mean the Crowned Slime – dodge its slams, hit it a few times, and it will soon be dead. Don’t go through the door just yet – continue through the dungeon. At floor 10 you’ll meet the Giant Rat – destroy the red mushrooms, and when he eats the purple ones, hit him as he falls on the ground. Repeat until he dies.

Now that you’ve completed floors 1-10, you should have a fair haul of stuff, so leave by the door and head on home.

Day 4
Spend the day selling your the stuff you picked up yesterday.
Again, sell at the base price for now – it’s important that you get your Merchant level up. You should be able to easily make 10,000pix by the end of the day.

Day 5
Do floors 1-10 of Jade Way again for even more expensive items. Louie should be around level 10 by the end of it. Once again head home and sell some items before the day ends.

Day 6
Spend another day selling your wares. By night-time, you should have around 20,000pix. Don’t forget to venture in to town at some point to catch any important cutscenes.

Day 7
Head back to Jade Way, but this time do floors 11-15 – or even floors 1-15, if you’re feeling ambitious. By the time you reach Charme on floor 15, Louie should be level 12 or higher.

Charme puts up a tricky fight – make sure you have a few spare food items to boost your HP. The idea is to run her round in circles in the middle – don’t let her trap you against the edge of the arena. Wait until she does her fire rush move, then slash once and retreat. Repeat until she’s beaten. Then grab the special item out of the chest, and return home.

Day 8
Another selling day! Sell sell sell, and you should have no trouble at all fielding the 10,000pix debt collection.

Week 2 – 30,000pix to pay

Day 9
Equip Louie with the best stuff and do Jade Way floors 1-15 for even more nice items. Make sure to check everywhere in town first for cutscenes.

Day 10
Day at the shop. Sell you stuff, and by the end of the day you should be on Merchant level 5 or 6, and have around 20,000pix.

Day 11
The Adventurer’s guild is closed today, so it’s time to sell again. Hopefully you’ve still got some stuff and should be able to build your Merchant level to 6. You’ll now be able to buy the best wallpaper from the market and put it up in your shop, attract customers who are willing to pay for more expensive items.

Day 12/Day 13
Spend one day selling, and one day adventuring on Jade Way floors 1-15 – which way around you spend your time is up to you. Whichever day you sell, make sure you reach level 7 Merchant, and hopefully your new wallpaper should attract some big spenders. You should be able to reach 50,000pix by the end of these two days. Charme will come into your shop, and offer you her business card at this point, so you can use her services – although we stuck with Louie for the entire game, so whether you take her up is up to you.

A guy called Caillou will come in to your shop and place an order – make sure you note what he wants, and get it all the next time you go adventuring.

Day 14
Selling day! Charme will come in to the shop and tell you about a new dungeon – Amber Garden. You’ll go exploring there tomorrow. You should hit merchant level 8, allowing you to change the floor – so go and buy the best one from the market and fit it in your shop.

Day 15
Head into the new Amber Garden dungeon. Floor 5 is the Eyebat King – wait until he fires the laser, and as the laser stops, start slicing at his eyeball. He dies quite quickly after only a few slices.

The Insect King is waiting for you at floor 10 – wait for him to roll, and hit him from behind. Make sure to take out the pesky wasps first. We’d advise stopping at this point and returning to your shop. If you have any time left, open the shop in the evening.

Week 3 – 80,000pix to pay

Day 16
Sell sell sell! Caillou will come into the shop and give you his card if you sold him enough candy. Hopefully you should be able to build your fortune to around 30,000pix by the end of the day.

Day 17
Go back into the Amber Garden and do floors 11-20 (or 1-20 if you think you can handle it). Floor 15 is The Gauntlet, in which you have to kill everything for the door to appear.
Floor 20 is the Giant Crab – hit the red bomb baddies towards the crab, and when he blows upside down, slice his underbelly. Repeat until dead.

Louie should be level 22/23 by now and pretty unstoppable.
End the day by selling stuff in the evening.

Day 18
Sell time! If you hit Merchant Level 9, don’t forget to buy carpet from the market. You may even be able to hit Merchant Level 10 if you play it well. End the day with around 60,000pix.

Day 19/20
Another sell/dungeon double day. If you’ve hit Merchant level 10, don’t forget to play with moving the counters around. Visit the Merchant’s guild around this time, and you’ll activate an encounter with Elan.

Over these 2 days, you should be able to get to Merchant level 11, which grants you new items in the shops.
Aim to have around 90,000pix by the end of day 20.

Continue from Amber Garden floor 21 (or earlier if you want to). Floor 25 houses two King Slimes, which really isn’t much more difficult than just the one.

On floor 30 you’ll find a lost girl caled Tielle, who will proceed to attack you. Destroy the boxes and cut the shortest route to her, dodging her arrows all the while. Do this twice, then in the third room she’s hiding in a box. Find her quickly, as this part can get quite chaotic. Then she starts to attack – quickly lay into her over and over, and she will die quickly.

Take her back to your shop, and the day will end.

Day 21
Go to the market and stock up on at least a couple of each thing. Meet Euria in the plaza. Then it’s sell sell sell time! Make as much money as you can, while raising your Merchant level.

Day 22
You should have enough to pay the debt for this week by now, so you might as well go adventuring again in Amber Garden and find more items for sale tomorrow. Start from whichever floor you like, and find the most expensive items you can.

Day 23 onwards…

From here on in, it’s very much a case of repeating the same thing over and over, but finding more expensive items to help you reach the weekly goals. Week 4 asks you to collect 200,000pix, while the final week sees you paying back 500,000pix.

Make sure you continue to visit all the places in town frequently, and eventually you’ll collect a fair number of business cards from adventurers – although we’d suggest you continue to use Louie until the debt is fully paid off. You’ll also learn about a new dungeon – the Tower of Obsidian.

After completing the main story, you can continue to play and beef your shop up to the maximum. There are also a few new modes to play too, including Survival Mode – which is pretty much Story mode, except all the dungeons are already open – and Endless Mode, which lets you play forever and introduces two new dungeons, Lapis Ruins and the Crystal of Nightmare.

[Recettear]


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Yeyifications!… Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale [Review]

recettear1Next time you’re off galavanting around a massive RPG world, slaying monsters and fulfilling your destiny, spare a thought for the shopkeeper in the last town who sold you all your gear. Without them, you’d be a nobody – you’d have no sword, no armor, no healing products. Confined to a live of standing behind that counter, all for your benefit.

Except that, thanks to satirical shopkeep-em-up Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale, we now know the truth – RPG shopkeepers lead an even more exciting life than their customer heroes. Recettear is a wonderfully unique take on the genre, with great dialogue and plenty to see and do. It can be a little too difficult to begin with, but stick at it and you’ll find one of the best RPGs of the year.

GAMEPLAY

With debts to pay, your task is to open your item shop and sell sell sell. Customers will waltz in and offer money for whatever you have on display, and you can barter with them and try to wring a little more out of them. Over time, you’ll be able to upgrade your shop, changing the interior design, adding new shelves and selling better items.

The items have to come from somewhere, however, so simply sitting around in your shop won’t cut it. There are two ways to gather new stock – either heading into town and buying from the market stalls and Merchant’s Guild, or employing adventurers to accompany you into the darkest corners of dungeons, where rare and valuable items can be found.

When you journey to a dungeon, the RPG elements kick in. You take control of the adventurer, and hack-n-slash your way through baddies, levelling up and finding treasures beyond your (customers’) wildest dreams. Dungeons are randomly-generated, so every outing is different.

You’ll fall in love with Recettear immediately, thanks to its lovingly translated dialogue (originally a Japanese indie game) and general premise. Carpe Fulgur has done a brilliant job of localizing the banter between Recette and her associates, and I found myself genuinely laughing out loud a fair few times. Recette is so beautifully oblivious to everything going on around her, that lines like ‘Stained glass yeyness!’ will really get your lips curling upwards.

recettear2Recettear is all about time-management – working out when to collect new items, and when to sell. Having the weekly time limit is quite daunting at first, but eventually you realise that it creates valuable tension and makes you consider each day to the fullest. Being ruthless with your selling and pushing your adventurer to the max become key elements of your business.

Initially, I found the dungeon crawling to be rather difficult. You begin with Louie, a rookie hero who will die from just a couple of hits from the enemy. It can be really irritating when you’ve spent the last 15 minutes making your way up a tower, only for Louie to get caught in a tight spot and die within seconds, losing everything you just collected. Ironically, while Recettear satires the RPG genre, it’s also one of the toughest RPGs I’ve played in a while.

Eventually, however, you’ll start to build up strength with powerful equipment and higher levels, and enemies will soon be falling at your feet constantly. By this point, the frustration is over and Recettear is nothing but bliss all the way. Dungeon battling is great fun, with crazy boss battles to be found, while selling your wares in your shop feels really rewarding. Building up relationships with your customers is particularly gratifying.

What it boils down to is that Recettear is massively entertaining. Juggling your shop duties and your adventuring is rewarding stuff, and there’s always something to do, be it meeting new characters down at the pub, or receiving a special visitor to your store. The main game lasts around 10 hours and I was completely enthralled for the entire time.

If that wasn’t enough, extra modes are unlocked afterwards, which add new dungeons and variety of the mix. You can also continue on after your debts have been paid, and build your shop up to something incredible. I found myself staying up till four in the morning numerous times, as I simply couldn’t tear myself away from Recette’s world.

STYLE

Recettear‘s combination of static anime-style cutscenes and 2D sprites in a 3D world sets a marvellous scene. It all looks fantastic, and the facial expressions Recette and the gang pull can be priceless at times. The gorgeous – if sometimes blocky – visuals make Recettear’s world all the more entertaining to navigate.

It’s not often that using 2D sprites on a 3D backdrop works all that well, but here it is pulled off majestically. You really have to see the dungeon battling in action to understand how great it looks. Animations are smooth and the interface is useful yet never intruding.

recettear3The music will either be your taste or it won’t. There are plenty of very Japanese jingles to listen to, but eventually I found myself setting the volume low and booting up my own soundtrack.

I did, however, keep the voices turned up high – Recette and co have retained a few Japanese lines and will frequently say quick phrases and the like to each other. It’s especially nice in dungeons, where if the adventurer gets hit, Recette will call out to them and they may have a brief back-and-forth which I can only assume is her asking if they are OK. Which, let’s be honest, is cute as hell.

STORY

When Recette was very young, her father left to be a great adventurer. He also left some huge debts behind, and when he mysteriously disappears after an encounter with a dragon atop a volcano, the loan company decide to pay the remaining occupant of the house a visit.

Enter Tear, a loan shark fairy who lets Recette know that if she doesn’t pay off her father’s debts, the house will be repossessed. Tear suggests Recette should turn the house into an item shop, and work on making the money needed. She soon discovers that Recette has never worked a day in her life – and so the hilarity begins, starting with a combination of Recette and Tear becoming the shop name Recettear (which, just in case you missed the joke, sounds a lot like ‘racketeer’).

While it all starts off pretty humorous, you soon begin to see a different side to the heartless Tear and the moronic Recette. It’s impossible not to feel something for these characters, so lovingly crafted is the story. It may initially be satire, but eventually Recettear comes full circle and proves itself to be one of the greatest RPG ideas in a good while.

OTHER

I say without any hesitation that Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale is definitely a contender for my indie game of the year. I’m not exactly a huge RPG fan, but this game pulled me in and never let go until the very last payment was made (and beyond!). It’s clever, it’s gorgeous, and it’s highly playable.

My advice would be to free up a few days of your schedule, grab a copy of this game and reap the rewards. For the ridiculously cheap asking price, can you really argue? Capitalism, Ho! and all that.

[Recettear Steam link]


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Recettear Redux: Steam Version Announced with Pre-Order Discount

Recettear_Steam_Gamersgate

I mentioned in my post a little over 12 hours ago that Carpe Fulgar’s translation of EasyGameStation’s parody JRPG Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale that we’d hopefully get some news on a pre-order situation over the next week or so, prior to the game’s September 10 release date. Turns out good news has arrived earlier than expected.

Valve and Carpe Fulgar revealed today in a joint announcement that the game will be distributed on Steam, with the digital distributor also carrying the only available pre-order discount for the title. We now know the game will run $20, and can be had for 10% off for those who purchase the title before its release on Steam, a savings of $2.

The game’s purchase page that had so little info yesterday has now been updated with direct links to the game’s Steam page as well as a GamersGate page, confirming that the game will see release across multiple distributors with Impulse’s logo still listed. Also worth noting is the lack of the phrase “subject to change” on the updated purchase page in regards to the September 10 release, pointing to the distributor’s confidence that the game will be ready to go at that time.


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Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale Coming to Impulse September 10

Recettear_Release_Impulse

Following up on the coverage we ran on the demo of EasyGameStation’s parody JRPG Recettear, we’re treated to the wondeful news that the game is currently set to arrive for North America and Europe via Stardock’s digital distribution outlet Impulse early next month.

A small mention on the website of the game’s translators Carpe Fulgar advertises the partnership with the digital distributor and notes that the game will be available to purchase on September 10; adding that the date is subject to change.

No pre-order option or page of any kind is available on Impulse currently, but hopefully we’ll see something in the next two weeks leading up to the game’s release.


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Indie Links Round-Up: Socially Aware

Indie_Links_NDAOur latest set of Indie Links gathered from far and wide consists primarily of conversations and connections between developers/enthusiasts and gaming journos/bloggers. There’s really nothing more easy going out there than those who work in the indie slice of the industry. Often, both sides reach out to one another often to form both a business and personal relationship and we all benefit for it. Check out today’s picks.

The Worth(lessness) of NDAs (IndieFund)
“It’s been almost two weeks since we opened up the submission process and the response has been fantastic, if somewhat overwhelming. We’ve gotten over 70 applications so far and we’re working through them as best we can. Please be patient with us… we will get back to you. One thing that has come up a couple of times is a request to sign an NDA, and that’s actually the focus of this post. We do not sign NDAs and would like to share the rationale behind this decision.”

Inteview: Andrew Goulding on Jolly Rover (Martin Mulrooney, Philip Jong/Adventure Classic Gaming)
“Jolly Rover is the debut adventure game from indie developer Andrew Goulding and his company Brawsome. Goulding is no stranger to the games industry, having worked for years as a game tester, programmer, and producer. Although comedy pirate adventures are certainly not unique to the genre, Jolly Rover seems to have taken on a new twist to an old theme by casting all of the game’s main characters as canines. Indeed, it is this unique design choice that makes Goulding’s game different from the competition.”

Unity Giveaway Contest Winners (Henley/IndieDB)
“Our Unity contest has come to a close, with over 50 entries and 10 amazing finalists, the quality of entries has been amazing. We asked for original concepts and we had an amazing response but in the end there can only be 2 winners.”

Interview: Dejobaan Games’ Lambe, Jaitley On Doing Things A Little Different (Mike Rose/GameSetWatch)
“Mike Rose sits down with two of the principals from super-quirky independent developer Dejobaan Games — creator of AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity and The Wonderful End of the World – to reference upcoming title ooo! ooO! oOO! OOO! and their unique way of approaching game creation.”

Talking Shop: Carpe Fulgur On Recettear (Alec Meer/RPS)
“The demo of Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale is one of the best things I’ve played in a while. A Japanese indie game pitching an RPG shopkeeper as the star… well, you can read all that in the last post. Given the slightly unusual nature of the project – it’s only available here thanks to a third-party translation company- I thought I’d chat to said translators about the why, how, who and what next. Interesting stuff – there’s this whole vein of (slick) indie gaming that we otherwise hear nothing about. Take it away, Carpe Fulgur’s Andrew Dice.”

LIMBO Review (Jeff Mattas/Shacknews)
“Playdead’s action-based, puzzle-platformer, LIMBO, [is] out for Xbox LIVE Arcade and to put it bluntly: prepare to die!”

Tom Jubert Talks Projects, Plots, Penumbra (Lewis Denby/RPS)
“At the Develop Conference in Brighton last week, I had the opportunity to sit down for a beer and a chat with Tom Jubert, perhaps most famous for writing the excellent horror adventure series Penumbra. They’re dark and sinister games whose writing, and the structure of their storytelling, were often their strongest asset. Read on for Tom’s thoughts on the writing process, tales of game design tribulations, and his involvement in a major new title.”

Alhóndiga Bilbao Announces International hó Play Competition (Eric Caoili/GameSetWatch)
“Spanish culture and leisure center Alhóndiga Bilbao has announced hó Play, a new project that aims to present and promote video games that “stand out for their originality, creativeness, and innovation.”"

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Delve Deeper (Justin McElroy/Joystiq)
“This week we talk Lunar Giant Studio’s Adam Eidukas (Lead Developer) and Neil Wickman (Creative Director / Lead Artist) about how Adam FULLY beat Final Fantasy with just the thief. … Oh, also they made a game.”

Interview: Riot Games’ co-founder talks about Season One of League of Legends (John Callaham/Big Download)
“The game didn’t get a lot of attention from the mainstream game industry or the media when it launched last October but today it looks like League of Legends has been a huge success for its developer/publisher Riot Games. The company made the free-to-play multiplayer RTS-action game with some of the people behind the popular WarCraft III mod Defense of the Ancients.”