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IndieGames.com is presented by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, which runs the Independent Games Festival & Summit every year at Game Developers Conference. The company (producer of the Game Developers Conference series, Gamasutra.com and Game Developer magazine) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers.

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Archive For March, 2007

The Underside

March 7, 2007 4:18 PM | Tim W.

The Underside is an exploration based action platformer in the vein of games like Castlevania, Metroid, and Cave Story. However, unlike most other games in this genre, the gameplay is driven more by plot than by free-roaming exploration.

Graphics and engine are completely original. The plot revolves around a character named 'Ip' who must escape from the underside, and maybe prevent the world from being destroyed while he's at it. Characters, plot strands, and dialogue are heavily inspired by Earthbound, and are quirky, whimsical, and sometimes a little strange.

The gameplay is very fast based, a lot more akin to games like Mega Man or Metal Slug rather than Metroid or Cave Story in terms of pacing.

Name: The Underside
Developer: The Podunkian
Category: Platform
Type: Freeware
Size: 20MB

News

March 7, 2007 4:08 PM | Tim W.

More screenshots from Oddbob's latest vertical shooter were recently posted, tentatively titled Beast Invaders 3. [G-Force review]

Pushover 2 will feature 3D dominoes. [Pushover review]

Screenshots from Ichigo-Citron's (Melon Squash, Feather Raid) upcoming vertical shooter can be found here.

Gesundheit! will be released this week. Roughly two hours' worth of gameplay. Screenshot below.

Top 20 Freeware Shmups 2006, Part 2

March 7, 2007 10:18 AM | Tim W.

Twenty of the best freeware shooters released in 2006 and early 2007, ordered alphabetically.
[Top 50 shmups page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, the entire list]

11. Arachnos
12. Asougi
13. Beautiful World
14. Exceed 2nd Vampire
15. Excellent Bifurcation
16. Guxt
17. Hyper Wars: The Mega Firestorm
18. La Soeur de Barrage
19. Touhoukokuhuugi
20. Virtual

11. Arachnos

Arachnos is an effort by BootanSoft that is reminiscent of arcade shmups from the early 80's. I could not get this to work full screen, but changing to a lower desktop resolution helps. Controls are shown under the configuration menu. Set BLT scale to double for a larger game display window.

The graphics may appear to be bland but does improve after the second level. Several weapons most commonly found in Konami's classic shooters make their appearance here, such as ripple lasers and options to name but two. Your ship does not explode immediately when hit, allowing options to be recovered after the loss of a life.

End level bosses have several attack patterns, guaranteed to test your bullet dodging skills. The asteroids in stage two can actually be used as a temporary shield during the boss battle, assuming that you don't crash into any of them.

Name: Arachnos
Developer: Bootansoft
Size: 5.61 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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12. Asougi

Asougi is a freeware vertical shooter that resembles ESP Ra.De., a Cave arcade favorite featuring characters with the ability to fly and amazing psychic powers.

Some of the bullet patterns are rather unique and not the sort commonly found in recent shmup releases. It's also rather friendly to beginners as the number of continues are set to unlimited, though progress past stage three is only allowed to players using three credits or less.

The executable file with a longer name is the version with less effects for slower computers.

Name: Asougi
Developer: Asougi Project Team
Size: 120 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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13. Beautiful World

Beautiful World is a relatively unknown shooter from Project Boueigun, featuring the usual array of power-ups, collectibles end level boss encounters.

Hold down the left shift key to shoot and press the Z key to launch a bomb. Scroll down slightly past the screenshots to get the latest version.

Name: Beautiful World
Developer: Project Boueigun
Size: 4.25 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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14. Exceed 2nd Vampire

eXceed2nd-VAMPIRE- is a brilliant shmup by FLAT which mimics the polarity gameplay system made popular by Ikaruga. The color of the circle surrounding your character can be changed by tapping the C key. This will determine the type of enemy bullets that your ship absorbs while charging the special weapon in the process.

Press the Z key to shoot and use the V key to bring up the pause menu. There are only four stages in this trial version, unfortunately. The 70MB file package may take a while to download, but rest assured that it's one shooter well worth the effort especially for fans of Treasure's classic.

Note: the color change button has to be remapped to C again using the in-game control setup option. FLAT updated the demo recently and messed up the original key configuration setting.

Name: Exceed 2nd Vampire
Developer: FLAT
Size: 88.1 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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15. Excellent Bifurcation

In Excellent Bifurcation, the aliens have attacked and their ability to exist in either or both of their world and ours has given them an almost unsurpassable advantage. Take command of a special fighter craft capable of existing in both realities at once and drive them back!

The form your fighter takes on the left has double fast-firing cannons and can charge to release up to eight seekers. It is ideal for destroying small and weak but numerous enemies. The right-hand form has a single powerful cannon which fires slowly but does far more damage, and is more suited to taking out larger enemies. It can charge up to release a wave which passes through things, damaging them as it goes. You can switch them between the worlds depending on what kind of firepower you need where.

The only vulnerable parts of your ship are the white parts at the centre. This means that the small form is much better at dodging than the large one. The only dangerous parts of bullets are the brightest (yellow or white) parts. Also, if you are shot down the form which was hit emits a green shockwave instead of a yellow one.

Press the Z key to shoot, X key to charge the special weapon, and C key to switch between two forms. Use the A key to activate autofire. You can change settings, like windowed vs fullscreen and whether it uses vsync, by editing the init.txt file.

Name: Excellent Bifurcation
Developer: Linley Henzell
Size: 0.96 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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16. Guxt

Guxt is a new vertical shooter by Pixel, the famed creator of Cave Story and Ikachan.

Click on the first text to download. Use the arrow keys to move your ship, and tap the left control key repeatedly to shoot. Screen size can be adjusted by selecting the menu tab. A key configuration option is included as well.

Power-ups can only be collected after you've destroyed their protective shells. Autofire is possible once your ship gains it's first weapon upgrade.

Name: Guxt
Developer: Pixel
Size: 0.25 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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17. Hyper Wars: The Mega Firestorm

Warning: Contains strong language.

Hyper Wars: The Mega Firestorm is a vertical shooter by CK which uses only two colors throughout the entire game. There are plenty of power-ups to choose from and several bosses to defeat at the end of each level. The demo only showcases four stages, but expect more in the near future as development continues.

Name: Hyper Wars: The Mega Firestorm
Developer: CK
Size: 2.35 MB
Download page: Click here

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18. La Soeur de Barrage

La Soeur de Barrage is a pretty decent shooter with emphasis on boss fights and accessible controls. Use the mouse to move the character and hold the left button to shoot.

There's plenty of save points and unlimited continues to assist beginners, plus a super easy mode has been included which allows the player to resume a game with twenty-four lives. Three long stages.

Name: La Soeur de Barrage
Developer: Tocoroten
Size: 54.3 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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19. Touhoukokuhuugi

Touhoukokuhuugi is a pretty good Shoot the Bullet clone developed by President Room, requiring impossible bullet dodging and photography skills just to get past the first few levels.

Take pictures by holding the Z key when your camera is ready, indicated by a percentage shown above the crosshair. Use the X key to make your character move slower, or press both buttons to charge your weapon faster. Only photos with bosses are considered valid. Still early in production, the game is very playable even without any background music or sound effects.

Originally Shoot the Bullet was supposed to occupy this spot, but no demo was ever released so this decent substitute gets the nod instead.

Name: Touhoukokuhuugi
Developer: President Room
Size: 4.53 MB
Download page: Click here

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20. Virtual

Virtual by Vector Games is a shooter with a mix of gameplay elements from Japanese shmups, Every Extend and Tron. Hard to imagine, but pretty fun nonetheless. When pressing the left control key, your ship will warp and create a small circle. Any round objects with the same color caught in it will basically go offline and disappear.

Enemies leave trails when traveling, and your ship will be terminated if it crosses these lines with another color. Press the left shift key to change your ship's color. Lives are replaced with logins, which can be acquired by using the same warp action on square objects.

Name: Virtual
Developer: VectorGames
Size: 1.68 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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note: a shmup has to offer least two playable levels to qualify for a place on this list

Top 10 Arena Shooters 2006

March 5, 2007 4:08 PM | Tim W.

Ten of the best freeware arena shooters released in 2006 (roughly).
[Top 50 shmups page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, the entire list]

- Actual geometry wars clones can be found in this article.

1. NaaC
2. Invisible Vision
3. Tank Domination
4. The Design
5. Mu-cade
6. Ray-Hound
7. Zugya DX
8. Winged Gear
9. Super Blazing Vortex
10. Engage to Jabberwock

1. NaaC

NaaC is a pretty good Smash TV clone with all the action focused in one room for the entire game. Aliens will barge through walls from the top of the screen, then left and right. Fortunately better weapons occasionally appear out of thin air, although ammo conservation is vital since they run out pretty fast.

Name: NaaC
Developer: Bloody Monkey
Size: 10.5 MB
Download page: NaaC

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2. Invisible Vision

Invisible Vision is another excellent game from keim, developer of Nomltest FS and Sky Swimmers' Heaven. A departure from the rest of his efforts, it involves engaging sea battles with enemy submarines while avoiding mines and surviving the occasional boss encounters.

Wireframes are used to replicate the surroundings of a dark ocean. With careful observation, it's quite easy to detect enemy ships based on the ripples caused by their movements.

The arrow keys can be used to move your ship around. Controls can be slightly awkward to learn at first but the effort will be rewarded with an amazing gameplay experience. Press the Z key to launch a torpedo. Every missed shot costs three seconds, and the game is over when you run out of time.

If green is not your favorite color, there are two other executables to start the game in gray or blue.

Name: Invisible Vision
Developer: Kei Mesuda
Size: 1.79 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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3. Tank Domination

Tank Domination is a new release from DHC, an acclaimed Japanese freeware shmup developer. As the title suggests, your vehicle can move around and aim freely instead of being limited to one vertical direction. Hold the Z key to lock your aim and shoot at the same time.

Energy will only be replenished when all enemies shown on radar as red dots are destroyed. Your tank will explode with only one hit but three lives are given at the start of each game.

The version available for download features six short stages but does include four different difficulty levels to choose from.

Name: Tank Domination
Developer: DHC
Size: 2.86 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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4. The Design

The Design is a 2D shooter with some unique quirks. You control two dots on a design, which can shoot at the angle from one to the other. New figures on the design appears and you earn points by removing them.

Note that the enemies can only be killed while they're white. If you shoot an enemy while it's red, the bullet will turn against you. Aside from the normal shooting, you also have three upgrades that'll help you with getting a highscore.

Name: The Design
Developer: cactus
Size: 1.83 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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5. Mu-cade

Mu-cade is an arena shooter from Kenta Cho that plays quite differently from all his other efforts. A bit of Robotron: 2084 and Snake, your objective is to stay on the rectangular platform and knock other enemies off it by shooting at them repeatedly using the Z key.

For each enemy pushed off the platform, the tail of your ship grows longer and the score multiplier increases. A longer tail does complicate matters a little as it gets harder to stay on the platform. If the tail of your ship is over the edge, the weight will drag the rest of the ship with it as well.

Fortunately you only need to worry about the front portion of your ship. As long as this part of the ship stays on the platform, you can use the X key to blow up the entire tail and gain some additional firepower momentarily. You will lose the multiplier in the process though.

It gets increasingly harder to stay on the platform as time passes. An extra life is awarded for every 200,000 points earned, so it's important to refrain from using the X key too often unless necessary.

Not one of ABA's best works, but anything outside a top five placing will only incur the wrath of his many fans.

Name: Mu-cade
Developer: Kenta Cho
Size: 6.02 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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6. Ray-Hound

The latest release from Hizoka.T.Ohkubo, RAY-HOUND is an action game which requires no shooting from the player's part. Trapped in a room with enemies consisting of turrets, you can retaliate by clicking on the left mouse button to muster a shield and send their shots back at them. The other method is to move your ship towards the lasers rapidly to initiate a boost and repel the beams of destruction.

In the options menu, it is possible to adjust and increase the chances of boosting with quick mouse movements by lowering the figure. Press F11 or use the ALT and enter key combination to play in full screen mode.

A timer is always counting down, but you can increase it by destroying all enemies to complete the level. The gameplay system is pretty offbeat, since it can be rather hard to direct shots unless the player is adept at slinging projectiles.

It's not a favorite of mine but Hikware's effort did get plenty of press coverage, hence meriting it's rightful position in the sixth place on this list.

Name: Ray-Hound
Developer: Hikware
Size: 565 KB
Direct download link: Click here

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7. Zugya DX

Zugya DX is an excellent shooter from Chinchilla Softhouse that can be described as Robotron: 2084 in space. Arrow keys control the ship's movement, and your shot direction is locked when you hold down the X key. Pressing the C key will activate your plasma charge, which is basically a short moment of invincibility.

Your main targets are the space stations which you have to destroy by shooting at it's core. It won't be easy as they're usually protected by substations equipped with all sorts of defensive weapons. Some of the substations carry power-ups which you can collect to boost your spread shot.

When the game starts, click on the joypad tab, input patch and the largest button to configure default keyboard controls. Consists of fifty stages in total. Another old release, though a major version upgrade was posted on the web site one week before the start of 2006.

Name: Zugya DX
Developer: Chinchilla Softhouse
Size: 7.91 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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8. Winged Gear

Winged Gear is another superb freeware title from Japan that could be described as a mix of Smash TV and SHMUP-type gameplay elements. The game is essentially a top down shooter where you have to guide a ship from room to room full of enemies to shoot at.

You're only allowed to exit a room once it has been cleared of every single hostile unit. There's a time limit that makes matter difficult, but it is usually replenished when you enter a new room.

Special items can be collected to increases your ship's firepower for a short while or replenish your bomb supply. The developers have also thrown in a two player mode as an added bonus. A rather old title, though the web site does state that it's last update was in early 2006.

Name: Winged Gear
Developer: ZAP
Size: 9.56 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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9. Super Blazing Vortex

Super Blazing Vortex is Pug Fugly's take on the classic Space Invaders gameplay with a bit of a twist. The objective is to feed a vortex with space energy left behind by defeated alien ships, then proceeding to destroy the black hole itself by blasting asteroids into it.

A balance need to be struck when it comes to keeping the size of the vortex in check. More points are earned for a larger vortex, although that does attract more enemies bent on blowing up your ship. Not to mention that your perspective will be changed quite often due to the vortex's instability.

Name: Super Blazing Vortex
Developer: Pug Fugly Games
Size: 2.55 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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10. Engage to Jabberwock

The game is basically a combination of all the good stuff that made Smash TV and Zelda series fun. Engage to Jabberwock puts you in control of a character trapped in a labyrinth full of strange creatures, armed with some spells that will drain your mana when used.

Barely sneaking into the list due to maze and puzzle elements. If you're looking for action without the brainwork, just pick any of the notable mentions as a replacement instead.

Note: released as freeware on 14th of February, 2007.

Name: Engage to Jabberwock
Developer: Platine Dispositif
Size: 4.08 MB
Download page: Click here
Inverted Castle mirror: http://zenjohost.com/~hunty/platine/jabberwock.zip

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Top five Geometry Wars clones:
Grid Wars, Veck, Rainbow Wars, XWars, Grid Assault

Notable mentions: Area 2048, Base 2, Kill Your Television, Trouble in Cloudland (2007), Eraser (2007), Candycane (2007), Hold Off Red (2005)

Hall of Fame: Every Extend, Warning Forever, Gate 88, DUO

News

March 3, 2007 10:08 AM | Tim W.

More screenshots from Veck 2 posted, rainbows and all. [right-click here to save new gameplay video]

Battle of Wesnoth updated to version 1.2.2. [Battle of Wesnoth review]

Holotz's Castle gets a proper English translation. [Holotz's Castle review]

An early Crystal Towers 2 prototype was posted yesterday. One playable level only. [Treasure Tower, Special Agent review, Total Klik]

Eyezmaze is searching for sponsors. I'm certain that he can be coerced to do in-game advertising as well for around a grand. Reach over five million users a month, including citizens of Mars and Uranus.

Ankama Games (DOFUS) recently unveiled the new site for their upcoming turn-based tactical MMORPG entitled Wakfu. There will be a free-to-play area (representative of the actual game content), with a subscription model in place and virtual items for sale. For Windows, Mac and Linux. [Source: Canardplus]

DROD: The City Beneath will be out this month.

Gameplay video from the upcoming Super Obliteration remake can be viewed here.

More screenshots from Beast Invaders 3 posted. [latest G-Force build]

Lemmy and Binky pays tribute to Richard Joseph, composer of memorable tunes such as the ones heard in Magic Pockets (a favorite), Cannon Fodder, Speedball 2, God, The Chaos Engine and many more. Tracks can be downloaded from said site. [Speedball 2 remake, due summer 2007]

Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy

March 3, 2007 9:08 AM | Tim W.

Nelly Cootalot, fearsome pirate and lover of tiny and adorable creatures, is charged by the spirit of a dead buccaneer to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a fleet of birds known as spoonbeaks. Her adventure will bring her face to face with the nefarious Baron Widebeard as she uncovers corruption and wanton punning in the Barony of Meeth.

Name: Nelly Cootalot
Developer: Alasdair Beckett
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 20MB

Echoes

March 2, 2007 9:18 AM | Tim W.

Echoes is an arena shooter by Binary Zoo which consists of ten levels, with a different enemy type introduced on every new stage. Each have their unique strengths, weaknesses and require various strategies to deal with effectively.

The player loses energy when collision with an adversary could not be avoided. Remaining energy is shown as a counter on the top right of the screen, also indicated by the colored ring surrounding your ship. There are only three different power-ups to collect. One increases firepower, the other restores health while the third is a sort of bomb.

Zoots awards are handed out whenever a certain task is completed, with current achievements available to peruse via the trial accomplishment screen. To get a perfect score, all ten objectives must be attempted at the highest difficulty.

Name: Echoes
Developer: Binary Zoo
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB

Spud's Quest Update

March 2, 2007 9:08 AM | Tim W.

More screens from the updated Spud's Quest was recently posted on Total Klik. [Spud's Quest review]

The Underside Preview

March 1, 2007 4:18 PM | Tim W.

The Underside demo will be out next week. [second screenshot, The Underside preview]

Ruff'n Tumble Preview

March 1, 2007 4:08 PM | Tim W.

A new Ruff'n Tumble trailer was recently posted in the RR forums. [right-click here to save]

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