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Every so often, we miss some of the great indie games coming out. With new games coming out on every system and often without any fanfair, the occassional hidden gem sneaks through our grasp, never to be seen again. (Or at least, that's my excuse.) Check out the top five indie games that you need to know about right now.

1. Qasir al-Wasat

I know. Stealth games are a dime a dozen these days and Solid Snake has been doing it since before it became fashionable. Nonetheless, there's something insidiously charming about Qasir al-Wasat.

A stealth action-adventure set within 'one ominous night inside a wondrous palace in 12th century Syria', Qasir al-Wasat will have players taking on the role of an invisible fiend, one that had been forcibly summoned by sorcerer to carry out an assassination attempt.

Unlike many other titles, Qasir al-Wasat doesn't put a limit on how long you can go invisible. It's a permanent thing. This, of course, has a lot to do with the fact that the protagonist is about as fragile as centuries-old china; one friendly nudge and you're dead. To further compound your health risks, you're susceptible to stuff like blood stains and environmental debris. People will take notice if you're careless enough to take a bath in someone else's bodily fluids or if you decide to dance the flamenco in a patch of dry leaves.

To be fair, I could be biased. I'm totally smitten with the aesthetics. In an industry saturated with voxels and big, blocky pixels of all sorts, it's kinda awesome to find yourself immersed in what feels like one of the darker chapters of Scheherazade's One Thousand and One Nights.

And really, what's there not to like about a game that will let you play as a nefarious spirit dragged from another dimension, hmm?

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Super Meat Boy iOS Game Inspired By Canabalt

As Team Meat's work on the iOS version of Super Meat Boy continues, lead designer Edmund McMillen reveals that Canabalt is a source of inspiration for the re-tooled game. He told Polygon that he's a fan of the 2009 game's purely reflex-based play, with the randomized rooftops that players run across eliminating the need for any kind of memorization.

"[The original] Meat Boy was a twitch-based game about memorizing things," McMillen said. "[iOS] Meat Boy is the opposite. That's the foundation of its design. But it's also on a touch device, so there's that as well. We want to make a twitch-based platformer that's not about memorization." The mobile version of Super Meat Boy was revealed in early April 2012; there's no release date set but the hope is that we'll see it in the coming months.

Shadowrun Kickstarter Closes, Tops $1.8 Million In Funding

Fans are plenty excited about the video game revival of the Shadowrun series in Shadowrun Returns, and they've shown it by stepping up with more than $1.8 million in funding for Harebrained Schemes' Kickstarter initiative. That's a significant amount more than the $400,000 that Harebrained originally sought, a goal that the project managed to achieve in just a single day.

The final total falls at $1,836,447 pledged for Shadowrun Returns by 36,276 backers, and that's just on Kickstarter. The final update for the project notes that the PayPal-centered funding initiative for the game -- estabished to allow those without credit cards to contribute -- stands at more than $50,000. You can still put down money there for what is essentially a pre-order at this point as well.

This is where the hard work begins for Harebrained of course, with the team now having to deliver on a project that fans have placed so much faith in.

Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

BURGER CAT

iOS

Oh, Burger Cat. You roped me in with your simple, adorable premise, and then held me (willingly) hostage with your elegant and fun gameplay. At first, you may write off Burger Cat as too simple. After playing through later levels, however, the game quickly becomes giddily complex, and you’ll retract your original mindset.

The story goes a little something like this: Burger Cat loves burgers (pretty obvious). He loves them so much, he decides to add a special ingredient to them to give them that extra kick. That ingredient is nitro glycerin. KA-BOOM.

You’ll spend your time in Burger Cat utilizing different tools to alter the landscape in each level, and then releasing your feline hero into that landscape after making those changes. The goal is to get him across the map to the delicious burger on the other side, and you get a finite number of pre-picked tools to do it with. Some remove/add squares of land, others change the direction the cat walks in; fortunately, Burger Cat encourages you to get creative with placement, often giving you more than what you need to complete each level and making the game incredibly enjoyable for gamers of all ages.

This is a game that slowly unfolds all kinds of measured, deliberate awesome on you, so take a chance. Plus, the “cat + cheeseburger” formula is a known winner (based on the entire internet).

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Angry Birds Space Announced

New levels for Angry Birds Space are available now. That was quick, eh, Angry Birders? The new Angry Birds Space episode is called "Fry me to the Moon," and it features ten new levels.

Developer Rovio is also including 20 free space eagles on iOS as a thank you to its legions of pig-killing, bird-flinging fans. They're also giving out a free space eagle every day on iOS, so if you play every day, you can pick up your free eagle.

Here's the Angry Birds Space link. Get your levels!

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MassDiGI

San Francisco, Austin, Toronto; when it comes to centers for game development and instructing the gaming innovators of tomorrow, MassDiGI wants to add one more city to that list – Boston.

Home of some of the most prestigious schools and development studios such as Irrational Games, the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) is looking to create an environment where students looking to get into the industry start in college and finish with a real job in a development studio right down the road. One such group of students took a step closer to realizing their dreams of creating their own blockbuster game when they won this year’s Game Challenge.

Started last year and based out of Becker College, this innovative group of educators stretches out across more than twenty other campuses in the region and incorporates local business and government to support the efforts of the students looking to gain real world experience. MassDiGI looks to get your hands dirty in the field as you take classes by bringing the real world games to you.

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Commando Kiwi

After five months of development, culminating in a six day marathon session held at the 2012 Gadget Show Live, Commando Kiwi walked away as winners of Epic Games and Train2Game’s Make Something Unreal competition. The four finalists, picked from last November’s Epic Game Jam, were tasked with building an original iOS game based on the Fighting Fantasy series of gamebooks. For their efforts, Commando Kiwi won a full source Unreal Engine 3 license for iOS to be used for a future project.

Industry heavyweights such as Peter Molyneaux, Jon Hare, and Cliff Bleszinski offered advice, mentoring and constructive criticism to all four teams with the final judging performed by Fighting Fantasy creators Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. The four games ranged from third person action adventures to tower offence to first person combat puzzlers, with The Warlock of Firetop Mountain: Lost Chapters from Commando Kiwi chosen as the game that showed the most commercial potential and best adhered to the Fighting Fantasy gamebook upon which it was based. All four games will be made available on the App Store within the next few months, with a portion of proceeds going to The Prince’s Trust.


G4 spoke to Epic Games European Territory Manager and Make Something Unreal Live mentor Mike Gamble via phone and to Kiwi Commando Producer and Team Captain Jonny Robinson via email about the competition.

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Microsoft Pulls Game Because Toilet Sound Offends Chinese

Microsoft pulled a video game from the Chinese market because the sound of toilet is considered offensive there. The game is called Occupied Forever and it can't get certification for the Chinese release on Windows Phone Marketplace because of the "offensive" toilet noises, or so claims Austrian indie developer, Christian Zangl.

According to Game Politics, "Microsoft has a requirement for its Windows Phone Marketplace that 'Content that is offensive in any country/region to which your application is targeted is not allowed.' Occupied Forever failed certification because it 'contains content that depicts toilet flushing sounds.'"

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The mobile space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

DARK LEGENDS

Android

Games like Pocket Legends and Star Legends have rocketed Spacetime Studios into a small class of elite mobile MMO developers, which is why it’s no surprise their newest foray Dark Legends also belongs in that ultra-elite group. While Spacetime could have easily rested on its laurels and created a game with similar mechanics to their previous efforts, Dark Legends takes lessons and improves on what came before it. As a result, it’s both fun and deliciously dark.

The game takes place in the world of vampires, and we’re not talking about lame, sparkly dudes wooing sad little milksops. On the contrary, it’s a very Vampire: The Masquerade style of world (True Blood also comes to mind). Dark Legends focuses on the very sexy side of bloodsucking, and you’ll create a character to roam the streets and discover a sinister plot unfolding as you explore.

Spacetime’s well-executed character leveling system is intact, as well as a revamped mission setup with an energy system. Run out of energy, and you’ll have to either buy it via IAP, or rest your character for a spell. The costumes and different vanity looks certainly speak to the wild looks and characters you might see in the underworld of the undead, which I personally can attest to, as my character is currently rocking an Elvira-esque gown with a giant afro and dual wield machetes. Suck it, Team Edward. Dark Legends is your master now.

(P.S. - Don’t fret, iOS users. Dark Legends will be hitting your iPhone or iPad in the coming weeks!)

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Splash Damage, the developer behind Brink and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, will be stepping into the publishing game starting in June 2012 with the release of its iOS-exclusive title, Rad Soldiers. The turn-based strategy game features offline play against the AI and asynchronous online multiplayer, which the official website describes as "guns with friends."

Rad Soldiers will be coming to iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch sometime in June as a free-to-play title supported by an in-game store. It sounds like there's a heavy emphasis on collecting and customizing your own unique squad of mercenaries, which you'll do by collecting (or buying) coins that you can then use in the in-game store.

The newly launched WarChest website notes that Splash Damage is still working on PC and console games as well. An "unannounced" titles is listed on the site, though there's no actual detail beyond that. Which sort of makes sense, seeing as it's unannounced and all.

Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition iPad Release Confirmed

We've learned some details about the recently announced iOS version of Baldur's Gate.

“Our plan is to raise the level cap a bit in [Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition] to allow for the new content,”  developer Beamdog’s Trent Oster. “We won’t be changing the game to more than six characters, the entire game would have to be re-balanced. [Baldur's Gate]‘s fun is partly the compromises."

Oster noted that Beamdog won’t make changes to the original game’s difficulty -- it's still gonna be hard. Beamdog described the new content as “nasty."

Sadly, it looks like their is no console version on the way. “I can’t ever see us doing an Xbox version. The controller isn’t a good fit. Have to change too much,” Oster said. He also nixed an appearance of Baldur's Gate on the Wii U.

Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition is due on iDevice, Mac and PC in summer.

Source: VG247

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Are Valve And Apple Working Together To Create A Gaming Console?

Are Valve and Apple working together to create a gaming console? Recent puzzles pieces have all been falling in to place to make this rumor seem not too farfetched. Apple CEO Tim Cook was recently spotted at Valve's HQ and the gaming industry took notice. Apparently it's not everyday that the Apple CEO heads out, especially to visit the gaming industry's king of digital distribution.

Cult of Mac is reporting that Cook's trip to Valve was to discuss, what they're calling, Apple's full-on assault to take over the living room. Apple, aside from just bringing out the rumored Apple HDTV, also allegedly intends to bring out a home gaming console. 

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Apple Working On $249 iPad Mini To Compete In Small Tablet Market?

The Apple iPad Mini may be on its way according to Chinese web site NetEase. The report suggests that Apple will launch the 7.85 inch iPad mini with six million units at $249 or $299 this fall in order to compete with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 product line, as well as Amazon's Kindle Fire. Apple of course hasn't announced whether or not they're working on the product.

The report didn't go in to detail on the iPad Mini's specs other than its screen size, and that it could have a 1024x768 display (the same as the iPhone and iPod touch). As more info is revealed, we'll update you on the alleged iPad Mini.

I think it will be interesting to see how Apple's potential  product will do in the smaller tablet market space.

Sources: Kotaku, Image via Macrumors

As the technology behind video games continues to bring the most realistic graphics to your living room, a new kind of gaming has emerged in recent years that want to bring gaming back to nature.

Oddly enough, it's only been just recently has technology advanced to a level to allow gamers to blur the lines between reality and the virtual worlds through cameras, GPS tracking, and the rise of the mobile device. With this being Earth Week, maybe it’s about time that we reconnected with the world beyond our windows by integrating it into our passion for gaming.

The following games bring players out into the real world by using bits and pieces of what’s around you to incorporate them into the game. Sometimes the best way to start caring about the environment is by interacting with it.

Zombies, Run! – A Sweaty Apocalypse

Greetings, Runner 5. Welcome to a world where humans fight for survival and zombies lie around every corner. You are one of the few human runners left to the task of collecting packages in the real world. Lace up your sneakers and get ready to sprint to freedom. You never know when the zombies may be nipping at your heels.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The mobile space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

SWORDIGO

iOS

Finally, someone gets it. With Swordigo, we finally get a hack-and-slash iOS deserves. That’s a pretty bold statement, I know, but developer Touch Foo earns it handily with their beautifully crafted game. There’s a lot to love about Swordigo: a plucky Link-esque hero, lovely environments, some satisfying platforming and collecting action, and plain old, fun-filled adventure.

The controls in Swordigo really sing, and rarely was I angry at missed jumps or laggy response. You’ll often forget you’re experiencing the game without analog sticks or tangible controllers, which is a very good thing. I’m not sure how, but Touch Foo managed to cram around 6-8 hours of solid gameplay into Swordigo’s main story. If you’re a completionist freak like I am, you’ll spend more time than that, and that’s saying something for an iOS game. Any time you can get 5+ hours of non-repetitive gameplay on your iPad or iPhone, it’s worth mentioning.

Swordigo often feels like territory we’ve covered in gaming before; however, that feeling is also a comfortable assurance we’re in a place we know and love. It almost feels like coming home: you know what’s inside, but that’s okay, because its welcome and warm embraces fills you with contentedness.

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