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

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Indie Royale’s ‘Getaway Bundle’ Offers Space War, Feminism & Wagons

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.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Indie Royale’s ‘Getaway Bundle’ Offers Space War, Feminism & Wagons


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Steam Summer Sale Indie Roundup – July 22nd – Final Day

And here we are. The last final curtain call, and the end of a short and brutal campaign on your wallet. There’s now 24 hours to grab whatever you can at up to 80% off via Steam, and then things return to normal for another few months. This has been one of the more effective sales I’ve seen, with a lot of niche and indie games getting promoted solidly, and sales on even smaller titles outstripping AAA mega-hits. Here’s the last set of daily featured deals, and a round-up of recommended other items:

Today’s Individual Deals:

  • Space Pirates and Zombies75% off – A charming 2D space combat/strategy/RPG hybrid. Starting out as a nobody in a lost corner of the universe, you set out to claim the mighty treasure of the Galactic core by the best way you know: Piracy! Beat up everyone in your path, steal their ship designs and manage a small fleet, constantly upgrading and levelling up as you go. It can get a bit repetitive later on due to the lack of variety in events and the procedurally generated universe, but an easy recommendation at this price.
  • Bastion75% Off – One of the best indie releases in recent memory. A clever, creative take on the isometric action-RPG, narrated continually by a talented storyteller. Every tiny action, every item claimed and every enemy felled gets their own fully spoken narrative beat, and it all comes together quite spectacularly by the end. Not the biggest, hardest or deepest of games, but it has soul.
  • Double Fine Collection75% Off - Questionably indie, although definitely one of the bigger players behind the rise of the Kickstarter phenomenon for indie funding. Double Fine have produced some great, compelling and excellently-written games over the years. This contains most of their recent output. Easily recommended.

Today’s Flash Deals – They’ll Be Gone Soon!

  • Trine 275% off - 4 hours and counting down on this one. – Frozenbyte’s astonishingly good-looking platform puzzle adventure returns for an encore. Whimsical fairlytale storytelling, art to match, likeable characters and varied levels that require both direct and character-oriented logic to solve, there’s not much to dislike here. It’s even better with friends.

Today’s Indie Bundle (75% Off When Bought Together):

  • Hydrophobia: Prophecy - Great water physics, and that’s just about it. Despite a huge set of overhauls and patches, the best this third-person shooter can hope to be is mediocre, and is aggressively irritating at points. There’s some nice concepts here, but it never really pulls any of them off. It’s sad, really – it could have been so much more if it had tried to be less. A puzzle game based around fluid dynamics, maybe, rather than a generic shooter with too much water.
  • Orion: Dino Beatdown – If Hydrophobia was a textbook failure of ambitious concepts never realized, then this is on the scientific cutting-edge forefront of failure, and is still under peer review. Future soldiers with jetpacks and mechs battling dinosaurs in lush, tropical online battlefields? What could go wrong? In this case, just about EVERYTHING. It is an unholy trainwreck of a game, and not enjoyable in the slightest. Please, do not give the creators of this any money. Just buy the good stuff from this bundle separately.
  • Star Ruler - 4X strategy with serious space-science math behind it. While very much on the dry and mechanical side, there’s a lot to like in this quirky take on the genre if you can see the appeal in deconstructing entire solar systems in order to create a ringworld-scale superweapon capable of punching a hole in a planet from half a galaxy away. It’s also 75% off if purchased by itself. You should do so.
  • Waveform – A cute little rhythm-puzzle game, well-reviewed and polished. Not gotten to play this one myself, admittedly, but former IGM editor Chris Priestman  did, and loved the pants off it in his review here. To quote: “It’s a game that comes easily recommended to just about everyone, and one that you’ll come back to again and again, if just to sway along to the sublime soundtrack and calming visuals”. High praise indeed.
  • World of Goo - One of the big commercial releases that kicked off this whole indie revolution. A super-charming, clever and varied physics puzzle game about building wobbly, burbling structures out of happy little living goo-balls, in order to ferry a certain number of them out of the level safely. Good replay value, and multiple solutions to most puzzles too.

A rather underwhelming indie bundle, sadly, brought down by a couple of damp squibs. As with the previous Winter sale, the previous days core deals are available for a few hours more, so snap them up if you missed any you wanted.

It’s the last day, so there’s no more reason to hold back. Got everything you wanted? Snapped up any big hits in the Flash Sales? Well, here’s some scattered indie recommendations, all at rock-bottom prices. All good games, and you’re sure to get plenty of bang for your buck with this lot:

Pixeljunk Eden – 80% Off
Stellar Impact – 75% Off
EYE: Divine Cybermancy – 60% Off
Solar 2 – 75% Off
Beat Hazard Bundle – 75% Off
Trine 1 + 2 – 75% Off (Flash Sale)
Analogue: A Hate Story – 50% Off
Nimbus – 75% Off
Super Monday Night Combat Bundle – 75% Off
Legend of Fae – 75% Off
Shatter – 75% Off
Inside A Star-Filled Sky – 75% Off
Sol Survivor – 75% Off
Waves – 70% Off
Mr Robot – 75% Off
Zen Bound 2 – 75% Off
Data Jammers: Fastforward – 75% Off

There’s plenty more where they came from in the Steam Indie section. Just sort by ‘specials’ to find some hidden gems. And that’s all, folks, until the inevitable Winter holiday mega-sale. We’ll see you there. And while you’re still here, why don’t you drop into the comments thread below? Share what your favourite picks of this sale have been, and drop a few recommendations of your own.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Steam Summer Sale Indie Roundup – July 22nd – Final Day


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Steam Summer Sale Indie Roundup – July 19th – Day 8

Just a couple days left of indie discounts, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing some surprises in the final stretch.  It’s the eighth day of Summer sales over on Steam, and this means that a metric ton of indie games are going to be very cheap, although usually for only one day at a time. IGM are here to help you pick out the wheat from the chaff while the daily deals are active.

Today’s Individual Deals:

  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent75% off – One of the scariest horror games ever made. Low on monsters and jump-scares, high on tension and atmosphere. A Lovecraftian trip through a cursed mansion, your only safe response to encountering the twisted creatures stalking the halls is to run and hide and hope they don’t see you – there’s no combat here, and no feeling that you’re anything but an unprepared, terrified man, alone and defenseless. It also got an impressive free addon entitled ‘Justine’ during the Portal 2 promotional deal a while back, and is host to a huge number of excellent mods, several of them full-game-length. It’s the horror game that keeps on scaring.
  • Gratuitous Tank Battles66% off – Tower defence and offence in one with this rather flexible take on the genre. An in-depth TD game where you can construct your own defensive and offensive units, equip them and test them on the battlefield, and then turn the tables and play the role of the aggressors. While I’m personally a bit burnt out on the entire genre concept now, I’ve heard a lot of happy things said about this one from TD fans, as it offers a huge amount of replay value and depth via the ever-shifting variables and units in play.
  • Krater50% off – A quirky action-RPG set in post-apocalyptic Sweden, of all places. I’ve not played this one myself, but have been meaning to. Rather than control a single character, you’re in constant tactical control of a party of three, built to your specifications, and each unit has a very different role in combat. While I’ve heard word that the game had a raft of bugs and technical issues at launch, it sounds like post-release support have been good so far. The game is almost brand new, hence the lower-than-average discount. Might be worth a shot if you’re still starved for a challenging ARPG after Diablo 3.

Today’s Flash Deals – They’ll Be Gone Soon!

  • EYE: Divine Cybermancy75% off - 6 hours and counting down on this one. – The sheer number of times this one has been on sale over the past six months suggests that it really shifts units when discounted. A good thing, as I really think more people should experience this ridiculously ambitious FPS-RPG. It falls well short of where it’s aiming, but it was aiming higher than any AAA studio dared to begin with.

Today’s Indie Bundle (75% Off When Bought Together):

  • Demolition Inc. - Cute physics-driven puzzle game. Playing as an alien demolition engineer, it’s your goal to clear out entire city blocks on Earth. Each level, you’re given a certain number of targets and a limited number of tools. Want to destroy a building on the cheap? Check around it for explosive objects, then place some glue on the road to spin cars in the direction of the Boom. Also features exploding cows. Not a great game, but solid.
  • Hoard - Arcade dragon sim, almost Bomberman-like in its pacing. Best played with buddies, you get to hoard gold, kidnap princesses and set thatched-roof cottages on fire. Been on sale a whole bunch of times – a solid game, but fairly forgettable once you’re done playing. Good fun while you can rope some friends/potential enemies in though.
  • SOL: Exodus - Short and sweet space dogfighting action here. Not nearly as in-depth as Freespace or I-War 2, but pretty, polished and focused action. Jet around space in a high-tech fighter, hunting capital ships and intercepting wave upon wave of enemy craft. It was a bit of a mess when it first launched, but the developers have been hard at work on this one – it’s a more robust game than before, and looks beautiful.
  • Swords & Soldiers HD – Charming and silly 2D RTS fun. Previously a big hit on the Wii, this is the logical evolutionary conclusion of most of those ‘buy units, watch them walk across the map to fight, hoard goal, repeat’ flash games you’ve seen over the years. Three civilizations to play as, each with quite different play-styles and a fairly lengthy campaign mode. Good fun in multiplayer too, if you can rope in a friend. Great 2D art and a good sense of humor too. Not going to win any grand awards, but entertaining strategy-lite gaming.
  • Wings of Prey - One thing this game most certainly isn’t: Indie. It’s easy to recommend, though. A spinoff of the excellent IL-2 Sturmovik flight sim franchise, aimed at a less hardcore audience. At the highest realism settings it approaches simulation levels of fidelity, but you work your way up to that from a simplified starting mode that feels like Ace Combat in WW2. Great stuff if you’ve ever wanted to learn a flight sim from the ground up, so to speak.

A solid day here, with an unusual but likeable bundle-du-jour. Not the greatest, but some solid deals available for indie bargain-hounds. As with the previous Winter sale, the previous days core deals are available for a few hours more, so snap them up if you missed any you wanted.

A bit of advice: As with all big Steam sale events, if something you want isn’t a daily deal today (or you missed out on the day that it was) then put it on your wishlist and hold onto your cash until the final ‘encore’ day of deals. You never know what’ll be featured! Shop smart, and you’ll come away from this with a fat sack of games to last you until Winter. And then the cycle begins all over again. Ain’t gaming great?

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Steam Summer Sale Indie Roundup – July 19th – Day 8


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Green Man Gaming Kick Off Their Summer Sale With Free ‘Hacker Evolution’

14 hours left and counting, at the time of writing. Today only, British digital distro store Green Man Gaming (their notable gimmick is that you can trade many games out of your account for store credit once you’re done with them) are luring in impressionable young l33td00ds with a free copy of Exosyphen’s rather nifty Hacker Evolution. While still heavily inspired by unrealistic 80s/90s movie hacking, it’s a more involved and realistic affair than Introversion’s Uplink.

The site may be UK-based, but accounts are open globally. GMG also carry a good range of indie stuff, and do run regular giveaways and some fairly steep discounts. Don’t tell anyone (ssssshhhhh – the walls have ears!), but you can usually trade away any unwanted free giveaway items after the event for a handfull of store credit towards your first proper purchase. It’s sneaky and underhanded, and almost certainly part of their business plan.

Sign up, grab your free game and Hack the Gibson. You know you want to.

Edit: Article updated. Winter is now Summer. I cannot Brain today. I have The Dumb.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Green Man Gaming Kick Off Their Summer Sale With Free ‘Hacker Evolution’


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Times Are Tough – Spare A Buck For The ‘Recession Bundle’

Not your usual indie bundle, this one, but worth a look anyway. Times are tough, if you haven’t already noticed, and a lot of us are struggling to make ends meet. While there have been some stunning success stories in the indie gaming scene lately, there’s just as many folks who are counting pennies, and freeware game developers might well be among those. Rather than go the usual donation box route, six freeware devs (plus two commercial ones) have pooled their marketing know-how together and decided to just do what everyone else is doing: Meet the Recession Bundle.

For your dollar (or more), you get that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting six developers who have been giving away their games for free, plus a portion of your money goes to the SOS Children’s Village Croatia charity fund. Throwing any amount of money at the bundle also gives you two rather entertaining commercial indie games. The full freeware line-up is as follows:

  • Mighty Jill Off by Auntie Pixelante
  • Action Fist by Teknopants
  • Vidiot Game by GZ Storm
  • The Cat And The Coup by Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad
  • Dubloon by Banov
  • Neverball by Robort Kooima & Others

And the two commercial games are:

  • Star-Twine by Eric Billingsley
  • 8-Bit Night by Retro Souls

This is actually a pretty solid bunch of games, and the commercial duo are good fun, too. Feel free to check out the Recession Bundle site and download all the freeware games gratis, and if you enjoy any of them, consider dropping a few dollars on the developers. Indie devs need food to code, y’know!

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Times Are Tough – Spare A Buck For The ‘Recession Bundle’


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‘The Journey Down: Chapter One’ Slashes Price By 50%

I rather liked The Journey Down: Chapter One, back when I reviewed it back in May. Still, at the time of writing, I wasn’t aware of the pricing, and was assuming that it would be $10 or less. For such a small adventure the launch price-tag of 15€ did seem a bit steep, especially considering the growing competition from the likes of Wadjet Eye and Telltale. As of today, my recommendation that all adventure fans run out and buy this one can be wholeheartedly reiterated, as SkyGoblin Games have permanently slashed the price to a more reasonable 7€ , or your regional equivalent, perhaps more befitting the short, episodic nature of the game. Here’s the official announcement video:

Now all that remains is the long wait until the next chapter is released. SkyGoblin promise that it’ll be longer, more involved and darker than the first outing, with knuckleheads-for-hire Bwana & Kito getting to explore a mysterious town at the edge of the (flat) world itself. Somehow, I don’t think we’ll see much of the ‘Underside’ itself until Chapter 3, but if the quality of writing, puzzles and general easygoing charm of the first episode continues? Well, that’s worth waiting for. You can find The Journey Down at the new lower price over on Desrua for Windows, Mac & Linux PCs.


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Indie Royale Returns With The Graduation Bundle

Bundle Fever continues to wrack the internet. It seems that some bundle sites are starting to run out of steam and interesting new things to offer… but apparently not Indie Royale, who have just landed back on the scene with a very unique lineup called The Graduation Bundle. It’s a very strange set of games this time round, but all good quality fun, and with one particularly notable item that probably deserves a mini-review of it’s own.

At the low end of the bundle is 1000 Amps, a cute but simple platform puzzle game from over somewhere in Desuraville. Two more games jump ship from the Xbox Live Indie Games store – Lasercat and Dead Pixels – the former being a super-oldschool ZX Spectrum style platformer with great music, and the latter being a fun little co-op zombie masher with random levels and a dash of River City Ransom in the design.

The real meat of this bundle comes from two games. The Ship (a game which almost everyone on Steam already owns, admittedly, due to an enormous giveaway some time back), coming first, is a multiplayer murder manhunt. Great when played with friends who’ll stick to the rules and actually try to remain stealthy/innocuous, but it does admittedly fall apart when played on public servers where it quickly becomes a no-holds-barred deathmatch with umbrellas and fire-axes where everyone loses. Star of the show, though, is undoubtedly The Void. Released in 2008 by experimental Russian studio Ice-Pick Lodge, it’s… well, it’s utterly unique, although strangely reminiscent of the very earliest first-person 3D adventures such as Driller and Castle Master.

The Void is the biggest item here, a first-person survival/horror/experimental art adventure. You step into the translucent, naked form of a lost soul in a dark, purgatorial realm. Your goal is to rise to the surface where possible redemption or reincarnation awaits. The path to the top is dangerous and – bizarrely enough – filled with politics and philosophy. While The Void is a very difficult game requiring careful planning, precise use of resources and efficient expenditure of Colour (your universal mystical power-source, cultivated and harvested from withered gardens that you can set to bloom once more) in combat, the main drive comes from the Sisters and the Brothers – two groups of paired beings living in the Void itself.

The Sisters are beautiful, oft-nude (the game somehow manages to get away with a lot of nudity without seeming tacky at all) siren-like figures who are both prisoners and gatekeepers of the Void itself, and will try to convince you to feed them Colour in order to allow your further ascent. The Brothers are twisted, nightmarish creatures tasked with the protection and control of the Sisters, and as horrifying as they look, the situation isn’t nearly as black and white as you might first think. Some of them are even rather friendly – so long as you play along. Just to make things nerve-wracking, the Brothers are blind and believe you to be one of them, so you must carry out the tasks they assign while serving your own needs. It’s a dangerous balancing act, and a very unique experience as a whole.

And topping off the bundle is a Steam beta key for Airmech, one of my most eagerly anticipated games of the year. Essentially a direct modern update of 1989′s Megadrive/Genesis action-strategy game Herzog Zwei, you directly control a Macross-esque transforming mech around the battlefield, ordering the construction of units on the fly, and picking up and delivering them manually to where they can best be used to assault and capture the various bases. There’s a dash of DOTA and even a bit of Advance Wars in the graphics and design, but the core gameplay is almost unchanged in nearly a quarter-century. The fact that it holds up so strongly to this day speaks well of the design. The Graduation Bundle also includes an item that gives you a handy permanent 5% XP boost for the lifetime of the game.

The one weak-point of this bundle is that, aside from 1000 Amps (which is available for Mac), everything is Windows-only. There’s no Linux support at all. Steam keys are offered for everything except the XBLIG refugees, though, which is always a popular move. There’s also a still-unannounced bonus game due to be announced sometime later into the bundle. A vague hunch is that it may well be Ice-Pick Lodge’s silly physics-puzzle adventure Cargo: The Quest For Gravity, but that’s just wild speculation at this point. The Graduation Bundle as it stands now is easily worth a few dollars. The Void by itself could easily command that price. You’ll almost certainly have never played anything quite like it before.


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Say Watt?: ‘Amp, Watts & Circuit’ Gains New Level Editor, Temporary 50% Discount

Amp, Watts & Circuit

A couple of weeks ago, we reported that Jamo Games were to release a stonking Amp, Watts & Circuit update, the most notable constituent of which being a level editor. Now, after a slight delay, the update is live, and, to celebrate, Jamo have put the game on a 50 discount sale through Desura.

The level editor operates through the newly-introduced AWC Network, and it allows players to create and share their own puzzles with the entire Amp, Watts & Circuit community. With 50 levels available in the vanilla version of the game, it’s fair to assume that the addition of this much-anticipated new feature will breathe a new lease of life into what was already proving to be a popular package amongst laterally-minded gamers.


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May Day: ‘Curse Of Slate Rock Manor’ And ‘Love And Order’ On 40% Off Sale

Curse of Slate Rock Manor

Red Panda Games are holding a little sale over on VisualNovelGames.com in celebration of it being May – Curse of Slate Rock Manor and Love And Order are 40% off for a week.

Pinch, punch first of the month and all of those other reasons to annoy and beat your classmates into submission. So, it’s May, right? That’s a good time of year and that’s being proven as there’s a game sale being held to simply celebrate the arrival of this month. Woo!

Red Panda Games run VisualNovelGames.com and they’ve organized this sale which will run from May 1st to May 7th. During this time, you can head on over to the site and pick up mystery adventure novel, Curse of Slate Rock Manor, and mystery dating novel, Love and Order, with 40% off their usual price. For the former, the discount is automatic in the checkout. You may also get the game for free by purchasing something through TrialPay apparently.

However, for Love and Order you must enter the discount code: MAY when prompted in order to get the 40% off, so make sure you do! Red Panda also note that you may need to purchase Love and Order separately in order to apply the discount code.

Our head is spinning from all of this but hopefully it all makes sense when it comes to it. You can find out more information on Curse of Slate Rock Manor on its official page and the same can be said of Love and Order, its page being here.


More information on the sale and the games can be found on the VisualNovelGames.com website.


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‘Sword & Sworcery’ Is Having An Anniversary Sale, Today Only

Sword & Sworcery Sale

As it’s the time of the Vernal Equninox which means that Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP has been out a whole year, the game is on sale for one day only at a very good price.

The highly praised an well received action adventure for iOS, Sword & Sworcery has been out a whole year now and to celebrate Capybara Games have dropped the price dramatically. Instead of the usual $4.99, Sword & Sworcery is now only $1.99 on March 21st 2012 only! Head over to the App Store as soon as you can to grab it.

Sword & Sworcery LP

There’s more to it than that for this anniversary sale – the composer of the Sword & Sworcery OST is asking you to pay-what-you-want for his most recent LP on his website. The record is called The Ballad of the Space Babies so that means it’s attention worthy already!

Not stopping there, that LP is also available on vinyl and cassette with a new limited edition print from Adventure Time’s Pendleton Ward over on Jim’s little shop too! Go grab all of these things while you still can!

You can find out more information on Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP over on the official website.