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PlayStation Indie Titles That Won't Break Your Wallet: Slam Bolt Scrappers, Hoard, and Everyday Shooter

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Posted March 31, 2011 - By Rob Manuel








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PlayStation Indie Titles

With Swarm recently hitting both the XBLA and PSN recently, it got me thinking about the indie market on PlayStation side of things. Microsoft makes it rather easy to pick up and find the newest indie titles with a couple of flips of the menu. I’m not saying that their “bin-style” layout with each game pushing down the next in an every growing sea of avatars and zombies is the best method - but it works. PSN throws everyone into the same pool where the smaller games are often obscured by the rest of the titles. I have noticed that once you find something to your liking, the PS3 will suggest another handful of games similar to the one you’re looking for. If you like this indie game, here are a couple more indie games like that one. Simple. Easy. You just need to find that first game.

And that’s where the trouble begins – finding that first game in a cascade of indie titles floating around the PSN pool. While Sony has a great eye for talent, they need to work on promoting these hidden gems among their wares. It doesn’t even take that much effort. The words “fighting Tetris” and “invading dragons” conjure up enough interest on their own to get those virtual dollars rolling. Maybe a section for indie games or titles that are a little easier on the wallet would help to sell a couple of games. (Just throwing out ideas, Sony. Feel free to steal any one of them.) Fortunately, word of mouth is still a viable source of information. Here are a few of PSN indie titles along with one game you should start downloading to your system immediately.

PlayStation Indie Games 

Slam Bolt Scrappers
PSN
Fire Hose Games
$14.99

Practically every game these days is some hybrid of genre – Action/RPG (Dragon Age), Puzzle/Platformer (Braid), Platformer/Insanity (Super Meat Boy). But the good gents over at Fire Hose Games have managed to combine two genres into a monstrous amalgamation rarely seen on the modern screen. Slam Bolt Scrappers is only what I can imagine happens on the frozen Moscow tundra on a daily basis - you play Tetris and you fight. What you get is the virtual equivalent of rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time. But this time you get ray guns.

Despite the madness of rockets blasting through the air, lightning arcing across the screen, and enemies respawing every couple of minutes; all the familiar mechanics remain intact from both genres. The puzzle portion utilizes Tetris blocks to fill in the grid below. Instead of eliminating rows, you create blocks of the same color. These blocks then turn into weapons like rockets or drills to shoot at your opponent's ever growing tower. Bigger sections create bigger and more powerful weapons. You can go for lots of little weapons or one big one to do all of your dirty work. Then there’s the whole problem of what weapons to focus on. Do you go for the lightning gun or should you build up more bubble shield blocks to keep the rest of your arsenal working? Clear blocks even allow you to move pieces around so a bad move won’t mean instant death. Old mechanics with a new strategy always makes for a winning combination – if only everything wasn’t trying to kill you.

Instead of blocks falling from the sky, you have to squeeze them out of the enemies flying around and attacking your tower. Punch their little heads and out comes a block. You have the typical attacks, combos, block, and even a special cartwheel attack that will send you flying across the screen. Your opponent also has all of the same moves along with the ability to use them against you. Add in the fact that enemy weapons can target you and you’ll find yourself fighting to find five seconds just to place a block. Slam Bolt Scrappers has all the action of a game of Jenga played with bricks made out of C4 in the middle of a firestorm. You might find yourself wishing for a third hand just to manage all the buttons – punching, moving, rotating blocks, and just keeping your sanity together in one piece. With plenty of multiplayer modes and a decent single player campaign, this is one game you need to get your hands on just to witness the insanity. 

PlayStation Indie Titles That Won't Break Your Wallet: Slam Bolt Scrappers, Hoard, and Everyday Shooter

Hoard
PSN
Big Sandwich Games
$9.99

You are a dragon. (Cool, right?) You burn things, steal princesses, and accumulate gold – lots of gold. On a layout somewhat akin to an open storybook or a board game set up on a table, you fly around wreaking havoc and reaping the rewards. Fly with one stick, breathe fire with the other. Controls make it quick, easy, and intuitive for just about anyone to pick up and play. And that’s about the only thing easy about this game. Hoard, much like the dragons in the game, is devious and never to be underestimated. Practically every new element from the board to the upgrades adds a new level of strategy to the game that will make you change the way you play the game. 

For a game that puts the dragons at the forefront, the secret to their success lies in the minefield of risky options that litter every map. The boys over at Big Sandwich Games have made nearly every building flammable and every scurrying human is a dilemma that will test your need for gold. Farmlands burn easily but if left alone they will produce wagons that can be taken out for more gold. Let those little wagons go on their way and they help to increase the sizes of towns that will produce even more gold once you put your flaming lips to them. Of course with more gold comes archers and thieves set out to take down some of that still warm loot. Already, you can see the beads of sweat forming on your brow as the game clock ticks down. Greed is good but no one has ever said that it was easy. 

Hoard lets you play with friends online, at home, or just by yourself against the computer. With so many different strategies, power-ups, and ways to transform your dragon; you could just spend a whole weekend puzzling out a single board. Easy to get in to and hard to master; this dragons gone wild party is a great pick for gamers looking for a little fire with their heavy dose of strategy. Hoard recently came out for the PSP as well, letting you take the dragon fire-breath on the go.

PlayStation Indie Titles That Won't Break Your Wallet: Slam Bolt Scrappers, Hoard, and Everyday Shooter

Everyday Shooter
PSN
Queasy Games
$9.99

Beautiful, haunting, highly inventive; Everyday Shooter is the one game I would demand every owner of a PS3 to download. Even though it’s a couple of years old, this game still holds it’s own as a mix of Geometry Wars, indie music, and strategic explosions. You are a dot – a little white dot to be exact. Through multiple stages, you’ll shoot your way through eyes, robots, and abstract shapes. Enemies burst into little white dots that you can collect to score more lives. You should shoot away at every little abstract spec that comes crawling your way or you can play it smart by finding that one creature that will cause a cascade of explosions to wipe out the approaching forces. Every level is different and a challenge even when you know the trick.  

Music plays a huge part in this little title. Blobs explode into guitar plucks, drum snares, or any number of notes that go along with the background music. You’re not just making a mess, but a masterpiece. Part of the charm of the game comes from the little musical works that come from every level. The visuals blend together both the gameplay and the audio. From the comic book-style explosions to the enemies taken right off the walls of an Andy Warhol exhibit, Everyday Shooter is both a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. 

Words don’t do this game justice. If I could, I would sum up everything with a couple of strums from a guitar, a drum beat, and a small explosion of lights. That just about covers everything. Go try it and see what I mean.

PlayStation Indie Titles That Won't Break Your Wallet: Slam Bolt Scrappers, Hoard, and Everyday Shooter
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