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October Indie Game Round-Up

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the diverse-field-of-choices dept.

PC Games (Games) 34

cyrus_zuo points out the October edition of the Indie Game Round-up, where four reviewers give their opinions on ten recent independently produced games. This month, their top choice was Multiwinia, a casual, abstract take on multiplayer RTS. The second installment of the Strong Bad series also scored high, as did a side-scrolling platformer called Archibald's Adventures. "The levels are short and sweet, the graphics are cartoon-y and clear and the challenges fit in wonderfully with the paradigm of a young hero attached to a skateboard. The puzzles are all timing and creative thinking and can really be taken on by anyone of any skill level. Also, since levels can tackled in any order (you have large chunks available at a time), you can jump around if you get stuck."

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ROOMMATE IS SICK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25593245)

PLEASE HELP HE'LL DIE FROM STRAPON THROAT!!

Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Re:ROOMMATE IS SICK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25593365)

PLEASE HELP HE'LL DIE FROM STRAPON THROAT!!

Is strapon throat when his girlfriend makes him deep throat her strap-on dildo?

BG2 (2, Interesting)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593275)

I still have a feeling that the indie crowd can step up to the plate and pick up where Bladurs Gate left off... 2d by the way side and gimmicks for miles... I've always held faith that independent developers or kids making mods would end up fulfilling this ginormous gaping hole... It started with the PS1 and N64... 2d bad 3d good. Well I disagree, just as I disagree with nearly any independent game I find on XLA. They seem to cater to a crowd already well served by emulators, they just add the fancy graphics and extra buttons to press. But they never seem to bring the greatness in all but a few genres. And I'm not trying to say 2d is the only way to make a game, but what I am saying is that in the shift to go from 2d to 3d people lost something, something that truly made games worth raving about to people 10-15-20 years later... its found here and again, but never truly captured as it once was in it's pre-3d focus era.

Re:BG2 (3, Funny)

SSpade (549608) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593381)

I don't disagree much with this, but I think it can be expressed much more concisely as "I'm old. I want games to be just like my rosy memories of games when I was young, maybe prettied up a bit."

Re:BG2 (2, Insightful)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593429)

Haha, well summarized. However, I would propose that we really did lose entire genres during the shift to 3D. Things like Marble Madness were lots of fun, but who is making that kind of thing now? There are not that many weirdo's experimenting with weird games these days. And scrolling shooters and platformers really were better before they were given a semi-3D makeover; that sort of thing just worked better in two dimensions.

And don't even get me started on puzzle games. These days people think that means "bejeweled clones". Well, go play Kings Valley and Eggerland Mystery, and then you will know what a puzzle game really is...

Re:BG2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25593619)

It isn't being in 3D that makes a game bad, it's unwise design choices made by overzealous developers to fully exploit 3D that does.

Sure there were lots of great 2D scrolling shooters, but there were also some great 3D scrolling shooters. Games like R-Type and Thunder Force successfully made the leap, without losing anything, but gaining a lot in the process. Einhander is another 3D shooter that comes to mind when I think of 2D in a 3D environment done right.

In the platformer side, we had fantastic games like Pandemonium and Strider 2 which essentially play in a 2D plane, but were rendered in 3D to great effect.

Don't blame the extra dimension, blame the game designers.

Re:BG2 (2, Informative)

damnbunni (1215350) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593755)

If you want something like Marble Madness, try Mercury Meltdown Revolution for the Wii.

Or the rolling-ball game that came with my Mac. (I forget what it was called. The Mac it came with didn't actually have enough RAM to run the thing!)

Or Super Monkey Ball.

And there are plenty of puzzle games that aren't Bejeweled clones. Boom Blox, for instance.

Every scrolling shooter I've played HAS been 2D; sometimes they have rather fancy 3D graphics, but they playfield is still 2D. Granted, I'm not an obsessive fan of the genre so I don't hunt them down, but Under Defeat was fantastic.

Re:BG2 (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25594063)

I think he meant puzzle games that aren't just about blocks, there's Toki Tori though which is more like Lode Runner and Braid which I heard is a puzzle game too (haven't played it yet).

Re:BG2 (2, Interesting)

OverflowingBitBucket (464177) | more than 5 years ago | (#25597981)

There are not that many weirdo's experimenting with weird games these days.

There are plenty. However, the set of people who succeed in making the game, find the concept actually works, polish it enough to hold a new player's interest, explain it well enough to hook people, make it run on as many systems as possible, run a website, and actively market it to get people to notice it, is much smaller.

Re:BG2 (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25598023)

Re:BG2 (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606459)

A better choice, perhaps, would be Rolling Madness 3D which is a complete remake of Marble Madness. But I was not aiming for remakes of old games, but rather for the spirit of experimentation and the level of abstraction needed to make such games a reality. And I don't see much of that these days, not as much as in the old 8 and 16-bit times.

And don't get me wrong, 90% of that stuff was utter crap. But occasionally you would find a gem as well...

Re:BG2 (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607317)

Well part of it is that back in the 8-bit era, nothing much had been done. It wasn't hard to be original when there was so little out there. Actually when you got down to it most games (then and now) drew from other parts of culture and thus weren't truly "original". As a medium becomes mature, it is harder and hard to do something that hasn't been done before in some form or another. That doesn't mean there aren't still lots of fun, and generally original games coming out. Mass Effect would be a good example. Great game, probably the most fun RPG ever on any platform. It has an original universe too, as in it is Star Wars or the like that you've seen before. Now does that mean it's totally original? No, it borrows heavily from all sorts of things you've seen before. However it is a good, original presentation that's lots of fun.

If you want true, totally never before seen originality, well then you aren't going to get that very much, especially in a medium like video games that is fairly mature.

Re:BG2 (1)

Esteanil (710082) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593783)

For a recent example, compare Fallout 2 to Fallout 3. :-(

Re:BG2 (2, Interesting)

wrook (134116) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593789)

Probably everyone here knows about Kenta Cho, but in case you don't:

http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~cs8k-cyu/index_e.html [asahi-net.or.jp]

These are 2d retro games. But the level of creativity is astounding. I found some of them to be a bit weird, but others are total gems. Mu-cade has got to be my favorite. It took me a long time to get into it, but once I did I realized how deep this game is. You can literally spend 10s of hours devising new strategies. And the games generally last less than 5 minutes which means that it's great for people who don't have all day to game.

Re:BG2 (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593887)

Can you get Mazer Mayhem to work? It always crashes when I try to start it and yes, I have installed the .net and XNA stuff it needs.

Re:BG2 (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 5 years ago | (#25594049)

Sorry. No windows here... I've only played the games that work under Linux. But I'd love to take a look at some of the other ones too. What I can't believe is how many of them he's written... Real dedication.

Emulators (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25594285)

[Xbox Live Arcade games] seem to cater to a crowd already well served by emulators

Some of the Xbox Live Arcade games are emulators. This is true of the Wii as well: every title in the Virtual Console section is an emulator. What exactly did you mean by this?

Re:BG2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25594525)

I generally agree with what you are saying. But I think it also depends on the genre, and how much effort/time/money the game developer puts into creating the game play, story line, audio, and artwork/graphics. And which one of these gets the priority. It seems more often than not that large developers/distributors just ride upon the coattails of the popularity of a previous game, and just add 3D graphics to it for a rotten sequel.

A great example of this is Rollercoaster Tycoon 2. A great rts/sim game. Still enjoyable to play today, although the graphics are quite primitive compared to modern games. When some other company took over development for RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, they added nifty 3D graphics to it, all kinds of bells and whistle and options. Yet the game play was absolutely boring. And it seemed with each of the two expansion packs they tried to compensate for the dull game play by adding a bazillion new rides, attractions, and scenery parts.

Of course with FPS you don't run into this problem as it is already 3D. But game play and story line can still suffer. I haven't played either of these titles, but Deus Ex 3 and Thief 3, both got heavily criticized for being terrible compared to their previous versions.(Thief 2 and Deus Ex 2 were amazing games!!!)

Just my 2 cents. :)

Re:BG2 (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25594961)

Deus Ex 1 was an amazing game.

Deus Ex 2 was a consolecentric titled that paled compared to part one.

Re:BG2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25599983)

Whoops, an overlooked mistake on my part. You are absolutely right! Deus Ex 1 was the good game. I must have just group the version in my head with Thief 2 and 3. Sorry. :D

Re:BG2 (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25594539)

I don't think the issue is really the 3D part, even so I agree that there should be much more 2D games these days, I think the real issue is simply the development process. Many games of the good old days where written by small teams and thus had much more freedom to experiment around with stuff. Today on the other side you have pretty huge teams, which makes doing something new pretty close to impossible, so everything gets based on tried and tested game concept. The indie fraction on the other side seems to have the problem of having no teams at all, a single person simply can't do as much as a small team of three or five people, thus many indie games end up a little lacking in one area or the other. And last not least, gaming trends seem to ruin it all. Back when Bridge Builder was first released it was awesome, today however we have at least half a dozen other games that are build around the exact same concept, it gets old. Physic engines in general seem to be overused a lot. And there is of course also stuff like the dual-joystick shooter, half the games on XBLA end up falling in that genre, nothing wrong with that genre by itself, but its really over done.

I think one of the core problems is simply that developers these days have grown up with video games, while people in the early in the video game era hadn't, so they took inspiration from books and movies, while todays developers take inspiration from video games themselves, so you end up with an endless cloning process instead of people trying completly new ideas.

and linux people still baffled..... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25593325)

statements of the linux person, all made within one day, with very low level of self understanding:

1. gee, why aren't these games release for linux?

2. binary compatibility is not important

3. binary distribution is not important

4. why do these games cost money? why can't they just GPL it?

Re:and linux people still baffled..... (2, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593781)

4. why do these games cost money? why can't they just GPL it?

Quake series, Doom series (except 3, but soon it will be), and lots of other games are GPL but not free.

You pay for the maps, sound, graphics, etc. The engine is free.

Mount&Blade (1)

underpants_gnome (1226602) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593509)

I'm surprised that Mount&Blade wasn't mentioned. It was released recently, and it's awesome. For those that never heard about it, think Pirates! in a medieval setting. It's a great (if not the best) melee combat simulator i've ever played, and horse combat is amazing. It also has some light RPG elements.

Check the developers' site (http://www.taleworlds.com/ [taleworlds.com] ), and play the demo. You can enjoy the full game until level 7. After that you either create a new character or buy the full version. And I highly recommend it.

If you prefer, Paradox (the publisher) also sells through their site: http://www.paradoxplaza.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=395&Itemid=228 [paradoxplaza.com]

Re:Mount&Blade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25594563)

I was also very much surprised it wasnt there. MnB is great and what you get from taleworlds is basically a small part of what you get with mods -- total game conversions.

There is another great indie game - Wurm Online
Its a MMORPG written in Java (although graphically and in performance Id say it can beat most MMORPGs out there; also cross-platform) based on survival in the vast lands of wild. 100s of skills, items etc, you get few basic tools and head out to build, hunt, craft etc
You can play it for free with 20% skill cap altough to be honest it still gives you access to about 80% of the game.
http://www.wurmonline.com

Scientifically researched brain game (3, Interesting)

Dr_Banzai (111657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593651)

Brain Workshop [sourceforge.net] -- a free, GPL brain game (downloads available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux).

It could be called a memory game, mental challenge or puzzle. It's been shown in a peer-reviewed study to improve working memory and fluid intelligence (one component of "IQ"). This is huge because intelligence was previously thought to be static or immutable.

More research is currently underway at multiple universities to confirm the positive effect on fluid intelligence. You can see the results for yourself by practicing this game 20 minutes 4-5 times a week for a few weeks.

This could be hitting the front page of your morning paper in a few months once more research is published.

Re:Scientifically researched brain game (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25595503)

Interesting that the posttest was only a day after daily training ended - is there any evidence that these effects are lasting?

Re:Scientifically researched brain game (1)

Dr_Banzai (111657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25595633)

Interesting that the posttest was only a day after daily training ended - is there any evidence that these effects are lasting?

Not yet - hopefully this question will be answered through additional research.

Even if it turned out to be a short-lasting effect, I would still add it to my daily routine to maintain a high level of mental fitness (along with physical exercise, good food & adequate rest).

Casual abstract RTS? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593881)

Sounds a bit like Kernel Panic [clan-sy.com] .

World of Goo? (1)

Gigiya (1022729) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593963)

How could World of Goo [2dboy.com] not be on there?

Re:World of Goo? (1)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 5 years ago | (#25600045)

Or Smiles for the iPhone?

Fantastic Contraption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25595367)

This is a great and challenging game for those who like to think:

  fantasticcontraption.com

Get the full version for only $10 and gain access to thousands and thousands of new levels!

Mount & Blade - World of Goo (1)

cyrus_zuo (821016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25597145)

Are both listed at the end of the article as games that will be reviewed in November. The games are reviewed as they are received, which means the article is always about 20-30 days behind :).

relatavistic asteroids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25598537)

How about this for an notable indie game:

www.referencegames.com

It's a re-skin of the classic asteroids made relatavistically correct. Not super playable but a cute idea.

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