Indie Games: PAX, Indie Games Summer Uprising, And More

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Posted August 24, 2011 - By Rob Manuel

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Sometimes I get busy I miss a couple of projects here and there. With PAX, Indie Uprising and IndieCade landing on our virtual shores, I only have so much time to give you all the info you need to be on top of the indie scene. Here’s everything you need to know about what’s going on in the world of cutting age indie gaming this week.

You Have My PAX!

If you recall IndieCade last year, the Audience Award went to a rather unusal game that combined time travel, side scrolling shooters, and those plastic guitars you have littering the house. Retro/Grade puts you into the seat of a cadet battling for your life – backwards. You’ll suck up shots as enemies rematerialize from huge explosions. Their new trailer shows off some of the new mechanics implemented into the game since last we got our hands on it. Head over to their website to get your own Reverse Pilot ID card at the show. Get the high score during PAX this year and you’ll be immortalized forever in their virtual world.

While you’re trying to make a virtual name for yourself, make you also check out Zeboyd Games, the creators of Cthulhu Saves The World, when they announce their new project PAX. Then head over to Retro City Rampage to get your hands on this homage to 8-bit action games as well as a free avatar award. If you don’t mind putting up a couple of pictures on Twitter, you might be able to win a free code when the game hits XBLA. A little guerilla marketing never hurt anyone – especially if you get something for free out of it.

Join the Uprising

With the cool winds of autumn slowly stirring the gentle buttercups on the hillside, you know what that means. It’s time yet again for the Indie Games Summer Uprising. For ten glorious days – none of that just a whole week business – you can enjoy some of the best games that the Xbox indie scene has to offer from the fighting fury of Battle High to the raw sim power of Train Frontier Express. Okay fine, not everyone is going to go for the train simulator. Uprising gives you a chance to try out hidden gems like Cute Things Dying Violently and SpeedRunner without having to muddle through games where you have to keep your cat from the cereal bowl. Yes, that’s a real game.

And speaking of SpeedRunner, Microsoft also announced the finalists for the Build. Dream. Play. Competition. If you are not familiar with this, you may know some of the great games that have come out of it such as The Dishwasher. This year provides a fairly stellar cast of games. While I’ve already touched on the awesome Solar 2 and TIC: Part 1 in previous posts, I would like to call out a few more titles that I think deserve a little recognition.

A Pixel Escape

Games take us from the edge of the universe to the bottom of the ocean, but this is the first one that tries to take us farther than the screen we’re playing on. If that makes sense. A Pixel Escape throws you into the role of a pixel trying to break out of the computer screen. 2D platforming means a first person viewpoint as you try to traverse the pixilated landscape. Different color pixels behave differently and the game lets you paint some of the pixels for a little puzzle fun. Let’s not forget your own giant avatar staring at you as you play. Creepy.


Not many games out there take something you’re already familiar with and make it better – even fewer do it for three bucks. Sequence takes the old-style DDR gameplay and turns it into an RPG game with magic, monsters, and mana. Playing on your controller, dance pad, or little plastic guitar – because hopefully, you have at least one of those – you flip between three different menus of falling arrows. Complete all the arrows in one menu and you may defend, cast a spell, or store up a little mana. Did I happen to mention that the arrows keep falling even while you’re not playing? The best thing about this game is that you can buy it right now. Go on. I’ll wait.


I have the need, the need for a game that actually updates the mechanics of Canabalt with powers like a bionic arm, double jump, and the ability to go left. SpeedRunner gives your twitch nerves a workout by throwing you in a race for your life over pits, spikes, and questionable corners. From the video alone, there looks to be some rather smooth ways to get from point A to Point B without going splat along the way. Gather a couple of your speedy friends to try out the multiplayer modes. I mean, someone needs to eat your dust.

The Best of the Week

Life is filled with lots of regrets. Every day, it seems as though there are things that you should do but never get around to. You should call your mom. You should change your underwear. Luckily for you, I can fill in that quick list of “shoulds” for the rest of the week with games. And you’re welcome.

You Should Play: Kingdom Rush – I hate to name drop, so I’ll just say that there’s a certain redhead from The Guild that would agree with me that this flash tower defense game is both highly addictive and challenging. With only four types of towers to maintain, you’ll need to prepare for the worse as you balance upgrades, new towers, and even which towers to effectively use against the oncoming horde.

You Should Buy: Dungeons of Dredmore – There’s a new rogue dungeon crawler in town and it’s bringing a new level of difficulty with him. Pick from several very different skills that you can level up throughout the course of the game (if you survive that long) and embark on this turn-based real-time exploration into the slightly silly and terribly deadly.

You Should Donate: Nexus II – If you enjoy the flying depths of space with a massive armada of ships, then you might want to throw a little love and money this way. And yes, this is the original team from the previous Nexus game looking to make a true sequel with psi powers, new races, new ships, and new areas to explore. Fans of real-time strategy space combat should start tossing whole wads of dollar bills at this project. Even if you only have twenty bucks, that’s good enough to get the game once it launches – a great deal in any solar system.

Indie Games: PAX, Indie Games Summer Uprising, And More