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Build Your Own Indie E3 - Krater, Analogue, The Journey Down, and New Expansions

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Posted May 30, 2012 - By Rob Manuel


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Even if you can’t make it to E3, you can still experience all of the awe and wonder with half of the deafening crowd by checking out some of the best indie games around. Forget about waiting in lines for hours just to get your hands on controllers touched by the hundred people in front of you.

Indie E3 never fails to disappoint with creativity, imagination, and you don’t have to wade through the triple-A hype to get to your favorite game. Some of the future learders of the industry as well as those of the past are turning their eye towards smaller teams and downloadable titles that won't break your wallet in order to play.

Let's start Indie E3 right with a trailer.

If you still haven’t gotten an overdose of top-down hack-and-slash gameplay already, then maybe you should check out Krater. In the post apocalyptic frozen tundra of Sweden, you along with three factions vie for control over the tunnels that run deep into the great scar opening below the ground. Developers say that you’ll have to dig deep just to reach the bottom of the 200 quests and 60 varied locations.

And being in the land of Ikea, you can craft everything you need from weapons to items and even your character’s abilities. Speaking of which, your team develops and grows as they level up and gain new abilities. There’s also death – real death in this game. I’m not talking about five seconds and you’re back at your last save. 

It sounds as though you may have a far easier time dancing with the devil than taking on the land of low price furniture and ABBA. In Krater, the hole you find may be the last one you ever need.

Okay, fine. I’ll admit that going to E3 allows me to play some of the great indie titles before you get your hands on them. After a year waiting, I’ll get my little thumbs on the gravity-defying Pid as well as color in some of the missing pieces when I check out another level of Unfinished Swan. Still, this doesn’t mean that you can’t tackle some of the great games already out there.

Two of the essential indie titles just got an upgrade with new DLC. Frozen Synapse took the art of chess and gave you shotguns in this turn-based tactical shooter. In this blue neon coated VR world, you take your team into any number of scenarios or against another opponent as you pick the best shot or look to cover when you can find it. One of the big mechanics behind this mind game with grenades lets you play out any number of scenarios before making your final decision. Sometimes you’ll take hours to make sure that every second count.

The new expansion, Red, paints the game in a whole new light. You know, besides a red one. First off, you get a handful of new modes including a co-op (2 players Vs. AI) mode along with a new multiplayer mode called “upload.” There are riot shields to play with in the new single player campaign modes and challenge modes while dancing to additional music tracks. While the price of ten bucks might scare off some players, those who have taken the plunge into the depths of Frozen Synapse will want more.

Finally, I cannot tell you how excited I am about the new expansion for The Binding of Isaac, Wrath of Lamb. Well, I’ll try. Things could get pretty boring here on out if I just stopped typing. As my favorite game of last year, Isaac returns with all the matracide and self-loathing that you remember. It’s a game you crawl naked through the basement as you fight the most hideous creatures you can think of with your tears. What more do you want people?

Wrath of Lamb gives you more of everything. More items. More enemies. More levels. To tell you about any of them would be a little spoilery. Part of the charm behind Isaac comes from picking up something new like an item, a random tarot card, or a pill and having no clue what it does until you play around with it. Sooner or later you’re bound to find yourself with wing, a knit cap, your mother’s underwear, and a bomb for a head. This game is not for the faint of heart and several other vital organs.

I get it. You want something new with a good story. Try out The Journey Down for anyone who misses the days of the classic point-and-click adventure title. Think of it as Grim Fandango meets Sam & Max with a Caribbean flare. Someone’s gone missing and a man with plenty of money and bullets wants him found. Right now, the only things standing in the way are two gas jockeys who can hardly keep up with the bills.

Quirky puzzles dressed in some rather impressive Tiki style keeps this first episode of hopefully many more to come moving at a rather brisk pace. Anyone with fond memories of the days of LucasArts adventure titles should do themselves a favor by picking this one up.

Analogue: A Hate Story

Finally, I’ve never had so much love for so much hate. Analogue: A Hate Story is the newest game to come from Christine Love, creator of Digital: A Love Story and Don’t Take It Personally Babe. Analogue takes us to the far reaches of space to a derelict ship and a mystery. To find out what happened o all the occupants, you’ll need to work with the ship’s AI program to crack the password and discover the secrets hidden within the crew’s journals.

Christine manages to create some of the strongest characters through words and understanding how characters see on another. For a game that’s little more than a couple of screens, I was fully enthralled by the interactions and often my own interaction with the computer AI. The game encourages multiple playthroughs in order to access all of the different endings. Analogue: A Hate Story will be the game that people are talking about at the end of the year as well as will be pointing to again and again when it comes to strong storytelling in a video games.

Build Your Own Indie E3 - Krater, Analogue, The Journey Down, and New Expansions
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