Indie Game Spotlight - That Indie Column


Posted March 14, 2012 - By Rob Manuel

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Indie Game Spotlight

GDC gave me the opportunity to meet some amazing people filled with the ideas that will drive games into the new century, but also those with frustration. Some feel as though the community is too isolated, supporting their own while not helping those in real need. Others expressed how the press perpetuates this by not covering enough in the way of variety. Passion has a way of motivating us as well as turning against us when it goes unfulfilled. And when there’s nothing else, it all comes boiling out into a steaming rant.

But this is not a rant. With all the passion overflowing and fists clinched waiting for change, we need to look towards actions and not just words to pave the way.

Let’s be the change we seek. As Chris Hecker, the developer behind SpyParty, pointed out in his talk, we lock ourselves into a perpetual cycle of sameness with everyone always focusing on what’s in front of them. Change the conversation. Find the brilliant, the marvelous, and hoist those who toil away in obscurity into the spotlight. Get out of your ill-fitting chairs for once as you judge those before you and let’s look at some of the great indie games coming out. It’s time we started doing something instead for others to make their move.

With that said, my Twitter door is always open for you if you need a rant or looking for directions to the spotlight. Here are some indie games that could use your attention and keep your passions alive.


Combine something like Mirror’s Edge along with the psychological elements of Amnesia and you’ll find yourself trapped in Phobos, a game where running from your fears is the only way to survive. Your suit gives you the ability to pull yourself or repel from balls of light located through the winding and ever darkening corridors. From the video alone, it’s easy to see how this won the main prize for the Game Connection America 2012.

If you happen to be hungry for your fill of what Wolpertinger Games has to offer, you can try out the surprisingly awesome Poopocalypse for XBLIG. Pigeon poop may not be as nerve-racking as trying to escape from the mind of a killer, but taking out the Eiffel Tower has never been so much fun.


From some of the behind the games STALKER and Heroes of Might and Magic 5 comes a game that takes you into the future and to the Mongolian Plains. Cradle mixes technology as well as the style of the region to create something that’s both alien and familiar to the player. Shades of reds mix with an often barren landscape as you try to comprehend the world around you. According to the main site, you scavenge the land for parts to repair your female mechanical companion while trying to figure out the mystery of the abandoned amusement park nearby.

Beautiful and ambitious, Cradle takes players in a world that seems very similar to the wasteland we’ve seen in STALKER with fewer people shooting at you and attack dogs. Keep an eye out for this game when it hits sometime Spring 2012.


Starbound looks to take players to the stars and beyond by developing whole worlds of unique content for you to explore. The team looks to focus on co-op by letting you explore with a friend as well as create arena asteroids for PVP battle. On top of all of that, you’ll need to collect tech, rare aliens, construct your space station for the NPCs you befriend to work and live. For those of you who happen to be a little blood thristy, there will be plenty of weapons for you to weild, but the team says that there will be mining and plenty of constructing for those who are looking to bring a little harmony to the universe.


From the creative mind behind Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure comes a new tale of danger, mystery, and utilizing the power of words. Spellirium takes place in a junk punk world where monster and men meet in order to do battle. You happen to be special, one of the few humans left who can read. In this world, words have power. By moving and arranging letter on a board, you can take down the mightiest of foes or accomplishes the grandest of tasks. When you need to sheer the sheep, pick out words like “cut” or “trim." Some monsters will change depending on which words you use so you’ll need to think ahead before switching those titles.

In the video above, check out how you have to use the blue letters to attack the blue monster. Special attacks can help you eliminate pesky letters that don’t quite fit. With a unique style and interesting gameplay mechanic, you may just accidently learn something new while having a good time.


Rogue-like dungeons don’t always go down. TownClimb turns the genre on its head by keeping you moving up. Run, jump, fly, and survive as you make your way up a procedurally generated tower filled with monsters, rocks, and plenty of danger. Instead of swinging swords, you’ll be swinging for your life of the edge of ledges, on ceilings, or anything your can get your little pixel hands on. It's the kind of game that makes your loot senses tingle. Instead of worrying about attacking, you're looking to raise your jumping ability to get you to that next level. For just five bucks, you can buy yourself into the beta and start climbing today.

Lone Survivor 

I’ve mentioned this pixel survival horror game in the past but the time has come for it to be finally released. Word from the developer says that you’ll be knee deep in horror very soon when we finally get our hands on Lone Survivor. This atmospheric trip takes you through dark alleys and foggy streets as you take on abominations one bullet at a time. Just watching the trailer will give you chills straight from Silent Hill. As the last survior of a terrible disease that ravanged the human population, this survivor horror game throws some big scares as well as a lot of big questions your way. Are you really alone in this world? What are you willing to do to survive? And more important, when can I play this?

Indie Game Spotlight - That Indie Column


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