One big game hits the store and the indies are going to make sure you forget all about it. If you’re not already playing FTL, then you’re getting ready to jump into Torchlight 2 or any number of the dozen or so games to launch between now and next week.
Complaints about the cost of games giving you a heart attack? Fear not. Again, the indie have shown mercy where others have not by launching Indie Royale, Humble Bundle 6, and Build-A-Bundle 3. You’re looking at over twenty games for less than what most DLC will cost you and with most of the money going to charity. And while some may hang up the “Mission Accomplish” banner and call it a night, indie developers work around the clock to produce even more games that will keep me up late into the night just trying to keep track of them.
But I say bring them on. Let’s take on innovation and creativity head-on. I’ve sorted through some of the big events happening around the world and in your backyard right now. With each one, you’ll find a couple of choice games that I’ve picked out just for you.
Indie Uprising allows some of the great independent developers on Xbox live to stand up on their desks and shout, “WE’RE HERE!” Usually, that’s followed by a long winded explanation of where you can actually find them in the games section. Being that this isn’t an official Xbox sanctioned event, marketing is limited to their website and word of mouth. This is really unfortunate to gamers all around since there are some rather amazing games lurking in the depths of XBLIG if you happen to know where to look for them.
With every Indie Uprising, a generous handful of developers launch their games over a two week period. This year’s picks run the gambit of 3D puzzlers, platformers, and one game where you get to build your very own call center. Thumb through the list of games coming out for the Uprising, and you’ll see this wonderful cross-section of creativity where developers put their own spin on older concepts or go off in a completely new direction. Better yet, most of these titles download for less than the cost of a cup of coffee.
What You Need To Play:
Down load the trail versions of all of the games and give them a spin. For me, it’s great to see Gateways finally make it to the console. Think of it as Portal meets Castlevania as you try to put together your gateway gun before your lab becomes overrun with nasty enemies. We talked to the creator of the game earlier when it first hit the PC. City Tuesday has this great sense of style about it as it mixes a puzzle games with that of the aesthetic design of a 50’s manual. Get the bomb and get out of there. But sometimes, doing a good deed isn’t as easy as it sounds.
When the cool air rustles through the changing autumn leaves and gaming journalists make their pilgrimage to the Tokyo Game Show, you know it must be time yet again for the Sense of Wonder Night. Not to be outdone by the rest of the world, Japan searches the globe for the latest talent. If you are not one of the few who can make it out to Tokyo for the event, fear not. Some of these came can be easily downloaded to your local computer. For the rest of them, however, you’re just going to have to push your nose against the unfeeling glass of your monitor if you want to get closer to true happiness.
Trust me, I run through a lot of lens cleaner that way.
What You Need To Play:
I’m just going to go through some of the games you can get your hands on right now. There’s no use trying to get your hopes up only to smash them into little pieces. That’s what OkCupid is for.
TAISO puts you right at the end of a gymnastics routine with the only thing left is sticking the landing. As you press “start” in your iPhone, the player jumps into the air for a few seconds before landing on the ground. All you need to do is spin him by twisting, turning, and making your iPhone perform some simple gymnastics. Did I happen to mention that you need to stick the landing? In the space of a few seconds, you’ll need to do all that and get him to land perfectly on the ground. Backworlds lets you take on two worlds at once in this puzzle platformer. By painting the world with your brush, you enter another dimension that lets you find new areas, twist gravity, or get through obstacles you couldn’t get through on your own.
Oddly enough, it seems as though the indie movie scene is pairing up with the indie gaming scene more and more these days. Take Fantastic Fest, for instance. Taking place deep in the heart of Texas, this once small venue has practically grown by leaps and bounds thanks to the ravenous fans of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films. Movies like City of Ember, There Will Be Blood, and Zombieland have debuted behind the doors of the Alamo Drafthouse. Who ever thought the heart of Texas could be so hip?
To add to their cred, Fantastic Arcade sprung up with the help of Brandon Boyer, Adam Saltsman, and Wiley Wiggins; three men who know a thing or two about the indie scene. And much like the festival that houses these games, Fantastic Arcade continues to grow to include more games than ever before. When you don’t have enough video games to satisfy the teaming masses, you start making them. Last weekend, gamemakers all over the world were given 48 precious hours to create a game with one theme in mind – Adventure Time. You can check out all the games on their website.
What You Need To Play:
Honestly, there are a lot of good games that you already should have your hands on right now regardless of the event. McPixel and Super Hexagon should be on your phone right now. But let’s say that you’re standing in the middle of this amazing arcade and you only have a couple of hours to play through a few games. You have to try out Mirrormoon. After seeing this puzzle game at GDC this year where the planet in the sky represents the one underneath your feet, I was more than thrilled to see a playable version of it on the list. Super TIME Force, Octodad, The Banner Saga, and Gunpoint go without say. These are games people will be talking even before they come out.
You might have thought that the guys behind PAX were a little crazy for heading down under next year for their next game. Actually, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Australia is a budding community of developers just waiting to get out into the world. And no, not all the games are upside down.
What You Need To Play:
While a wide stretch of ocean my separate you and the festival, that doesn’t mean that you cannot partake of any of the games. The Fourth Wall is the kind of game that plays with you as much as you play with the game. The idea is that you can cause the world to wrap around itself so that a bottomless hole only sends you to the top of the screen and to get to the right side of the screen, you only need to move off the left end.
Toybox is that kind of game that will stretch your mental capacity by doing very simple things like solving an easy puzzle of shooting aliens. You’ll just need to do everything at the same time to make it through alive. Just to make things tricky, the tasks change every week so you can’t get use to any set. Pick it up for your iPhone now for a fun but brutally challenging game.
How hard is it to fly a lunar module on the moon? Try out Lunar Flight and you’ll find out as you desperately try to guide your little lunar vehicle across the moon’s surface in this hardcore yet completely beautiful take on flight. I hear that if you actually make it through the game, NASA calls you up. They won’t have a job for you, but they’ll be really impressed by your ability to move around cargo on the moon with little fuel.
Are you looking for something a little closer to home, but don’t think you can make it to IndieCade? The Boston Festival of Indie Games might be your next best bet to see some local talent shine. From games you should already be playing, like Resonance, to games you might have missed, this is your time to get acquainted with the neighbors and see what they’ve been coding. If anything, this festival shows you that there’s a ton of gaming talent in Boston. With places like MassDigi and MIT Game Lab crafting the greatest game mines, San Francisco better step it up if they want to be known as the capital of gaming in the US.
What You Need To Play:
Some kids mow lawns to make money during the summer; these up and coming developers made a game. Thanks to the inventive summer program over at MassDigi, a group of students pitched and created their own game with the help of real professionals from the Boston area to guide their progress or just answer any question they may have. Nanoswarm gives players the opportunity to control a sentient cloud of little robots trying to escape from their makers. While I spent my summers selling t-shirts, these junior developers moved one step closer to making into the big leagues. Better yet, you don’t even have to hit Boston to try out Nanoswarm on your iPhone today.