Indie Game: The Movie was released today as a digital download on the documentary’s website, as well as Steam and iTunes. The doc follows Team Meat (Super Meat Boy) and Polytron (Fez) as the two groups work toward releasing their XBLA titles. Jonathan Blow is also part of the film, speaking about Braid and game design.
The Dream Machine is an episodic horror adventure game that stars Victor Neff, a young man who just moved into an apartment with his wife. The first three chapters of the five chapter story have already come out and are now available on Steam. With each short chapter costing $5, it really makes the most sense to try chapter one for free at the game’s website and then buy the full $15 bundle on Steam if you enjoy it.
Confusing distribution options aside, The Dream Machine has a wonderfully eerie and surrealistic atmosphere, and when I played it a year or so back, I remember the story and puzzles being quite interesting. Hopefully the final two chapters will be released soon.
A fantastic take on the classic Lunar Lander-style game, Lunar Flight is currently discounted 75% until May 25th. This drops the price of this challenging and (perhaps unexpectedly) atmospheric game to only $2.50 on Steam, Desura, and simMarket.
I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy my low-gravity maneuvers, and drifting over the surface of the Moon in Lunar Flight really captured my attention. Whether the mission is transporting cargo from one base to another, recovering lost items, or simply exploring the lunar surface, this game provides an incredibly immersive experience that’s still approachable by people not looking for a entirely hardcore simulation.
A number of previously-released games have been added to Steam recently.
First off is Joakim “Konjak” Sandberg’s Noitu Love 2, a fast-paced platformer that was put out four years ago. Even if you already played it, you may want to relive the good times to support the development of Konjak’s latest project, The Iconoclasts.
Wizorb is a Breakout game with RPG elements that came out on XBLIG last year. Developed by Tribute Games with some help from Paul Robertson, Wizorb has great pixel art and adds a number of fun, new ideas to the classic genre.
Capybara Games has ported the popular iPad adventure game Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP to PC. If a lack of iThing was preventing you from experiencing the sweet sights and sounds of Craig Adams and Jim Guthrie, now’s your chance!
Lone Survivor, the creepy survival horror title from Jasper Byrne, was released on Steam 20% off… the first sale since the game arrived last month.
Finally, David Williamson’s casual roguelike Hack, Slash, Loot is also available on Steam. With cutesy graphics and a simple mouse interface, this seems like a good release for those new to dungeon crawling. The OST was released today, as well.
Legend of Grimrock, the first-person dungeon crawl by Finnish studio Almost Human, was released today. You can get the game from GOG, Steam, and the developer’s own website.
TIGdb: Entry for Legend of Grimrock
Realm of the Mad God, the free-to-play, bullet-hell MMORPG will soon arrive on Steam.
Originally an entry in the TIGSource Assemblee Competition, Realm of the Mad God has continued to gain popularity for the past two years, and was announced as a Main Competition finalist for the 2012 Independent Games Festival. The game’s move to Steam, early next week, shows just how popular it has become and will introduce achievements to the game as well as a stand-alone client (though players will still be able to play in their browsers, if they so wish). The game will continue to be free to play, and it’s almost certain that the team intends to add new content throughout the foreseeable future as the player base continues to grow.
Congratulations, Wild Shadow Studios!
Playing through Pineapple Smash Crew a second time, I’m convinced the game needs some kind of time pressure. Running through missions at top speed is exciting and works well with the best idea in the game – the grenade system – as well as the randomized level generation. Not only does navigating the map involve more planning, but you’re forced to put yourself into the middle of the fray and constantly swap grenades, something which PSC obviously wants you to do but doesn’t provide enough incentive for.
Without the speed, the game can drag. The missions rarely pose a challenge, for one thing – it’s easy to clear out rooms without taking too much damage if you’re careful about engaging enemies in small groups. It’s also quite natural to hoard grenades (especially health grenades) until you really need them and max out your squad strength by collecting every chit in every crate in every mission. At that pace you begin to notice the same-iness of the levels, which have little to distinguish one room from the other aside from the bosses. In short, it feels a little like a grindy dungeon crawl when it should feel like a frantic action shooter.
The grenade system really is cool – each member of your squad can hold one, and the effects range from explosives to area-of-effect weapons to turrets to zanier stuff, like vortexes, teleporters, and decoys. They’re powerful and dangerous, and when you’re forced to constantly pick up and use them in the heat of battle, they are a lot of fun. It’s a shame, then, that the game suggests a slower and more careful pace of play.
The levels in Dustforce aren’t long or particularly difficult, but my progress has been really slow. This is due in no small part to the results screen, where, if you’re like me, you’ll likely spend an inordinate amount of time checking your ranking, checking your friends’ rankings, watching replays, and formulating plans to improve your run. Case in point, I probably replayed the tutorial level a dozen times alone before I was satisfied enough to move on to the rest of the game.
I’ve seen Dustforce compared to Super Meat Boy as an “ultra-hard platformer”, but the point of both games seems different. The challenge of Dustforce isn’t so much to beat each level as it is to beat them well, achieving S ranks in both completion (debris cleared) and finesse (number of deaths), and doing it as quickly as possible. This point is driven home by the climbing and dashing mechanics that are based around speed, and the fact that enemies end combos and slow you down, but never outright kill you. You also get keys for SS ranking that will unlock more levels in the hub world.
The controls feel great (gamepads supported) and the levels are designed well around the game’s purpose and your character’s moveset. Watch the replays of the highest scorers and you’ll see some amazing precision, but even with just a little practice you TOO can feel like a ninja! The graphics, which are stylistically too close to free Flash web games for my taste, nonetheless animate extremely fluidly and support the acrobatics nicely. No complaints about Terence Lee’s soothing soundtrack, though, especially “9-bit Expedition”, the song that plays during the tutorial.
Aside from a few interface issues I ran across, I’m having a wonderful time with Dustforce. It’s a great release to ring in the new year with.
TIGdb: Entry for Dustforce
The iPad version of Windosill was released earlier this month and adds a sketchbook gallery, level select, and “translucent mode” that lets you see how each level is put together (although you can’t tell from a screenshot, many of the objects in the game are 3d polygons). The original game, which can be played in your browser or as a download from Steam, came out in ’09.
The brainchild of Patrick Walker, Windosill takes you through 11 simple puzzle rooms. The game is criminally short, but nonetheless quite enjoyable. The toy truck that leads the way is perhaps a hint about how to best play it – by not only solving the puzzles but also goofing around with the fanciful, abstract dioramas that make up each room.
The browser version is free up until the halfway point. It’s currently on sale for about $1 on Steam.
TIGdb: Entry for Windosill
All five games in Spiderweb Software‘s Geneforge saga are now available on Steam as a $20 bundle (currently on sale for $15). The series takes place in an original fantasy world dominated by Shapers, powerful mages who can create life from scratch. Like many of Spiderweb’s RPGs, the Geneforge games are known for their deep storylines, flexible skill system, and tactical, turn-based combat. The first game was released in 2001 and the final game was released in 2008.