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

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Dusty Revenge looks like a cross between Overgrowth and Shank

Singapore isn’t all about banning chewing gum and caning it’s lawbreakers.  It also is the home of the small indie development team behind the upcoming 2D brawler action game, Dusty Revenge.  Dusty revenge looks like a cross between Overgrowth’s bipedal fighting rabbits and Shank’s 2D violence and action.  Dusty Revenge has been in development for over a year and a half now and is the first release for Singapore based PD Design Studio.

In the game, you control an angry rabbit out for vengeance in a wild west setting.  This game is all about old-school 2D combo carnage, but when things get too messy you can call on supporting characters for artillery support (reminds me of Streets of Rage).  The game features fantastic 2D graphics and stylish cinematics.  The game is scheduled to be released this Fall for Windows PC and should feature 8 environments to bash and shoot your way through.  For more information, check out the game’s official website.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dusty Revenge looks like a cross between Overgrowth and Shank


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Excuse Me? ‘EA Indie Bundle’ Registered On Steam

EA Indie Bundle

An EA Indie Bundle has been registered on Steam. We gasped at the idea before deciding to share the news. Can EA have an indie bundle? The lineup suggests that it’s JUST about plausible.

Something might be wrong in the world today. The fact that I am writing “EA” and “indie” in the same sentence might be one of the signs of the apocalypse. I’ve already had to vandalise the EA picture at the top because it scared me so – I thought a pink rendition of the word “indie” would help. It didn’t. Okay, I’ll take a breather and just report this fairly and squarely…or at least try.

EA, Electronic Arts (the monsters!), have an indie bundle on the way – we found it recently registered on Steam. This consists of six games which they have had some fondling connection with. It’s tenuous at best that these games are “indie”, amongst the others that ride the line of definition. Alas, they’re indie and so we’re just going to roll with this.

There’s no idea given of a release or pricing for this bundle of course, but we can tell you what’s in it. So here goes:

We’ll keep an eye out for this when it does release on Steam whenever that may be – probably this week or the beginning of next week if you ask us. But damn, EA Indie Bundle…that is something.


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And Then There Were Soundtracks: The Humble Indie Bundle 4 Bonus

Most of you are probably wondering what goodies the Humble Bundle folks were going to add their latest and greatest entry. It would be hard to put something up that rivaled this selection of games, after all. So, they made a pretty good decision: soundtracks to all the games in the bundle. I can’t think of a better addition to these incredible games than the phenomenal soundtracks that were the essence of their respective atmospheres.


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24 Hours In The Humble Indie Bundle 4 Has Accrued $1.1 Million, 200,000 Bundles

Well that certainly didn’t take long. In 24 hours since the Humble Indie Bundle 4 launched it has seen some amazing numbers proving, once and for all, that the sequentially numbered bundles are far more successful than the independent game bundles. Although that’s not to say the former bundles were unsuccessful in the slightest.


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Leak? More Like Flood! The Humble Indie Bundle 4 Launches!

Update: Breaking all records, the Humble Indie Bundle 4 has sold 100,000 units, and raised over $500,000 before the two week countdown even begins. I think I can hear the champagne corks popping already.

Guess the leak was accurate. What nobody could predict was that the bundle itself would be out just hours later. Five of the best indie games out there (Jamestown, Shank, Bit.Trip Runner, Super Meat Boy & NightSky HD) for whatever you want, although paying above the average will get you the updated classic Cave Story+ and Positech’s impressive asynchronous fleet-construction puzzle/strategy game Gratuitous Space Battles. It’s an amazing pack, and it’s here, now. The average price is around the $5 mark right now, and – as always – Linux, Mac & Windows versions of everything are available in both Steam and direct-download formats, and a sizeable portion of the takings goes to the American Red Cross and Child’s Play charities. Announcement video after the break. Go nuts.


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The Humble Bundle To End All Bundles? Another Leak!

From the same source as the earlier Introversion leak (people poking around the Steam content registry), it looks like the Humble Bundle are going to end this year with a megaton bang: Seven of the most impressive indie games in recent years, including some downright legendary ones. Brace your wallet – this one is going to be big.


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Shank Joins ‘Spank on PC Oct. 26, Discounted Pre-Order Bundle on Steam

shank_spank_pack

Last week when I covered Hothead’s Deathspank getting a PC release on October 26, I apparently missed a coinciding announcement for Klei Entertainment’s Shank heading to the platform on the same day. That’s mah bad, so let’s talk some good.

Steam is offering 15% off a bundle of both games, dubbing it Shank and ‘Spank. The titles will run $15 each upon release (currently $13.50 for pre-orders) but those who purchase before launch can get the two titles for $25.50. That’s slightly more savings than paying early for each title individually, and better than the standard Steam pre-order offer of 10% off.

Read up on our Shank review if you’re a PC’er who didn’t take a look because of its former console exclusivity, or if you’d just like a little refresher on the side-scrolling beat ‘em up.

[Klei Entertainment]


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Revenge is a Dish Best Served Diced… Shank [Review]

shank1If you ever decide to look up the definition of ‘cool as fuck’, you’ll obviously find this writer’s suave and elegant face starting back at you. But soon, I’m going to have competition for that particular position – and if it comes down to a fight for the right, I will most likely run in the opposite direction, screaming for my life.

Shank is that competition, and his story of revenge oozes charm, looks fantastic and is a blast to play. It’s a little rough in areas, but you’ll be enjoying yourself so much that you probably won’t notice.

GAMEPLAY

Shank plays out in the form of a side-scrolling fight/shoot-em-up. Armed with a variety of lethal weapons including dual pistols, a chainsaw and his trusty shank, our hero lays into anyone who gets in his way, inflicting pain and leaving no-one standing in his wake.

Initially the sheer amount of different attacks which Shank can pull off is quite overwhelming, and I found myself hammering every button in the hope of stringing together some kind of combo. Eventually, however, it suddenly all snaps into place, and you just ‘get it’ – and this is when it all gets rather fantastic.

The fighting is an utter joy to behold, with Shank capable of slicing enemies up in front of him, then quickly changing to pistols and blasting the guys approaching from behind, before finally leaping into the air, pinning that last enemy to the ground and grinding his face with the chainsaw. It all flows perfectly together, and allows you to feel completely in control at all times. Soon you’ll be seeing how large a combo you can achieve before getting hit.

As you’ve probably gathered by now, this is a very gory game. Shank is one vicious dude, and doesn’t think twice about splattering blood and human insides about the place. There’s also plenty of swearing and sexual references, and while we’ve got no problem with a bit of uncivilized banter in our games, some of it feels quite awkward and forced. The dialogue may have read better if it was toned down a little.

shank2Where Shank really shines is in its gameplay variety. You’re not simply killing everything on the screen, moving on, repeat until fin – there are some lovely set pieces that come into play, including acrobatic sections which see you climbing walls, leaping over pits and sliding down poles. It’s always exciting to see what the game has in store for you next.

While Shank is fantastic fun, it also comes with frustrating elements. Loading times between levels are terrible, usually taking around 20 seconds. Checkpoints can be very harsh, sending you back quite far when you die. Sometimes the game will throw far too many enemies at you, and even with the best dodging and shooting skills you’ll be completely overwhelmed. These are just some of the game’s issues that bring the experience down a little.

My biggest gripe, however, is admittedly rather trivial, and yet frustrated me the most. You press X to pick items up off the floor – yet this is also the slash button. Hence, if you’re trying to purposely leave an item on the floor for later – usually health – you may accidently pick it up while swiping at the enemy. I really cannot fathom why the same button would be used for both these actions.

Shank also comes with a local co-op mode for two-player carnage. Amazingly, this mode features a whole set of levels completely different to the single player, following the backstory that comes before the events of the main campaign. Playing Shank with a friend can be a little bit too hectic – with enemies pouring onto the screen,  it’s sometimes difficult to find yourself in the mess. Still, it’s a great diversion if you’ve got a friend over.

STYLE

You’ve seen the screenshots and the trailer, so you know exactly what I’m going to say here – Shank is an absolute stunner. The comic-book panels style and cel-shaded characters, mixed with some incredibly stylish special effects, are like nothing we’ve ever seen, especially from an Xbox Live Arcade title.

shank3It’s not just gorgeous, either, as plenty of extra touches make it feel even more brilliant to play. Shoot fast enough, and dead enemies will continue to hover in the air, kept afloat by your barrage of bullets. And don’t even get me started on the glorious slow-mo effects. Probably not a game to play with other people around, in case they spot you drooling.

The cutscenes look amazing too
, although they feel a little disjointed now and again, usually when switching between scenes. It’s all good, though, as the voice-acting is top notch and will keep your solidly reeled in.

STORY

The main campaign follows the story of Shank, a skilled warrior who is made to watch his girlfriend die, and then left to rot. Seven years later, he is back to exact his revenge. One by one, he hunts down each perpetrator Kill Bill style. The co-op is like a prequel to the main story, showing the follow-up to the murder of his girlfriend and why it all happened.

While it’s quite a shallow story with not really that much to it, you can’t help but feel something for Shank, and you’ll want to take revenge on his enemies as much as he does. As mentioned above, the voice-acting does a grand job of pulling you into the story.

OTHER

Shank looks and feels fantastic, and is a real gem of an Arcade title. The main story will take you around three hours to complete, which is possibly a little on the short side – but if you factor in another three hours for playing it through on hard mode, and then two hours for the co-op, you’ve got yourself plenty of gaming time.

You should definitely pick this game up. I’m telling you this for your own safety – I mean, you don’t want to make Shank angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.


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Indie Links Round-Up: Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap

spyparty_indie_linksIndie Links flexes its muscle for the third time this week, I like this whole M,W,F thing–we’ll see if we can keep it going consistently. Plenty to check out today, including more info on GameStop’s acquisition of Kongregate. Highly anticipated titles (Shank, Trine 2), innovative games (Spy Party), explanation and exposition…it’s all here, enjoy.

Interview: What GameStop’s Kongregate Buy Can Mean For Indies (Leigh Alexander/Gamasutra)
“GameStop’s acquisition of indie Flash game and social hub Kongregate represents a gain in the major brick-and-mortar retailer’s strategy to stay in step with fast-evolving digital trends. And while the small-developer community ethos of Kongregate might initially seem at odds with the corporate retail change, the companies see it as a net gain for all involved.”

Ten Super Cheap Xbox Indie Games You Have To Play (Matt Miller/GameInformer)
“We’ve all been there. Microsoft points never manage to come out even; just like carnival tickets, you always have a few left over. But what to do with that extra change after you buy some big new Live Arcade game or DLC expansion? We’ve gathered together 10 of the best Xbox Live Indie games that cost between 80 points ($1) and 240 points ($3) for you to explore.”

Spy Party Hard: Hands On With Spy Party (Kieron Gillen/RPS)
“Andy “Monaco” Schatz’s cat is being slowly broiled alive. It crawled behind the oven, which was in the process of cooking Macaroni & Cheese. It’s only later that Andy’s Delightful Wife is alerted by the frantic yelping of a distressed pussycat. We’re about to play SpyParty at my hotel room when the alert comes through, leading to a frantic cross-San Diego dash to try and rescue the pipping-hot cat from its furnace-crammed state. The Andy is trying to get his landlord on the phone, to see if there’s any reason why they can’t just pull the oven around. He’s failed. Meanwhile, Spy-Party-dev Chris Hecker is insisting that it’ll be fine, and we should just act immediately heft the cooker to release it. Let’s do this thing! We do this thing, and the cat runs free. I’m not sure this is a metaphor about Chris’s position in the industry or SpyParty or how he’s a man capable of making hard decisions swiftly, but it was too good not to share. And I wanted something to separate this initial report of SpyParty from all the other pieces online, because I’m basically going to echo what they all said. This is looking like something genuinely startling.”

Interview: Trine 2 and Beyond- Exclusive With Frozenbyte (Uğur Yurtsever/Tom’s Hardware)
“As you’ve already known from the great announcement just before E3 2010, the surprise was Trine 2 and it should be the revenge chance for us to get some cool details about the game. We loaded our most powerful weapons with old womanish questions and fired it directly to Helsinki, Finland… Frozenbyte headquarters of course!”

COLUMN: Abbott’s Habit: Blood, and Steel, and Bacon (Michael Abbot/GameSetWatch)
“Abbott’s Habit is a monthly GameSetWatch column by writer and Brainy Gamer blog author Michael Abbott. This month, he looks at DeathSpank and the evolving role of comedy in games.”

‘Shank’ Interview: Jamie Cheng CEO of Klei Entertainment (The Gaming Liberty)
“We recently threw a few questions at Jamie Cheng, the founder of Klei Entertainment. Jamie and his team at Klei are about to unleash Shank on PSN, XBLA and PC and look set to have a monster on their hands. This game is going to blow you away. Here’s what Jamie had to say about everything from Shank to God of War, Digital Distribution, Double Dragon and why playing Shank renders playing boardgames obsolete…..sort of…”

Hands-On: Arvoesine (Derek Yu/TIGSource)
“Arvoesine is a new platform game from Alastair John Jack, the creator of the entertaining platformer RPGs Ainevoltas 2 and Final Vision. The game puts you in control of a little Roman soldier who can attack with a sword or spear, and has a shield to defend himself with. The goal of the game is to make your way through five short stages, fighting a boss at the end of each stage.”

Interview: Ron Gilbert On The Synthesis Of DeathSpank (Chris Remo/Gamasutra)
“Designer Ron Gilbert is best known for his landmark LucasArts adventure games Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island, but his career has also encompassed children’s games at Humongous Entertainment, and he served as producer on Chris Taylor’s ambitious large-scale RTS Total Annihilation. His latest game, DeathSpank, debuts on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network a few weeks ago, and represents the addition of the action-RPG to his repertoire.”

Nuclear Dawn Dev Diaries: In the shadow of Russia (tcviper/IndieDB)
“With the trailer preparations and raw footage shoots done, we can finally resume our scheduled transmissions. Let’s take things up a notch, as we reveal one of Nuclear Dawn’s most treacherous maps.”

Interview: Nitrome’s Annal on Keeping Their Retro Flash Game Ideas Fresh (Michael Rose/GameSetWatch)
“Continuing his series of interviews with notable independent game developers, Mike Rose catches up with the Brits behind popular retro-style Flash game site Nitrome, discussing their approach to free browser gaming and their inspirations.”


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Shank Trailer Shows Off Co-op

Shank_coop_TrailerA month away from its release, a new Shank trailer has been passed along by Klei Entertainment showing off the recently announced co-op mode for the game.

The co-op portion will be separate from the main plot, offering its own campaign that provides backstory for the characters.

Shank hits PSN August 24, XBLA August 25 and PC later this Fall. Trailer below.