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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 May, 2011

Browser Game Pick: Is it time? (Jaime Fraina)

May 19, 2011 9:03 AM | Cassandra Khaw

When the press release for 'Is it Time?' arrived in my inbox earlier today, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Billed as a 'depressing art game about old age and loneliness', 'Is it Time?' has all the trappings of your standard art game: pixel graphics, minimal controls and a heavy message.

According to creator Jaime Fraina, 'Is it Time?' was developed based on his grandmother and will have you playing as an old woman on the verge of death. I'm going to be upfront here and state that this is probably not going to be for everyone. 'Is it Time?' feels less like an actual game and more like an interactive statement; anyone expecting slick mechanics will definitely be in for a disappointment.

For everyone else, it might have you pondering the same things I did. When was the last time you allocated more than a moment for your parents? As we scramble through the rat race, we often end up neglecting our family, something that 'Is it Time?' tries to make amply clear. As the protagonist, you'll spend most of your time trying to maintain your hunger, fatigue and boredom levels and meandering from your house to the world outside. As the days pass, this will grow progressively more difficult; sight and sanity eventually become major issues.

'Is it Time?' makes me wish a few thousand miles worth of ocean wasn't separating me from certain estranged members of my family. What about you? Does it make you think 'Sim Grandmother' or make you want to hug someone important?

Go here to play 'Is it Time?'.

Kickstarter Projects: Spycraft

May 19, 2011 7:45 AM | Cassandra Khaw

There's nothing quite like a game that takes itself too seriously. Well, maybe. Polished mechanics, an excellent storyline and ample amounts of fun are all also vital elements of a good game. While I'm slightly unsure about the first two, Spycraft definitely looks like it's shaping up to be a pretty decent romp across the mobile platforms.

After all, it's really hard to go wrong with jet packs, stealth, the ability to craft electromagnetic armor and developers aware that the rampant presence of platforms aren't always natural. Based on the Kickstarter video, it looks like the people involved know what they're doing and what they want; the money from the funding will be funneled into the development of an Android version, level design, a quicker release and a multiplayer server host.

If you're interested in providing financial assistance, you can do so here at their Kickstarter page.

Luminesca Beta Free-To-Play This Weekend

May 19, 2011 6:52 AM | Cassandra Khaw

Assuming that the doomsayers were incorrect and we won't be annihilated come the weekend, it looks like those interested in the upcoming Luminesca, an underwater action/exploration by Matt Glanville, will have something to rejoice over.

From Friday May 20th to Sunday 22nd May, Luminesca's preview build will be free to play for everyone. Ostensibly a way to allow the general public a way to engage in the creative process, I also think it's a brilliant marketing plan on the developer's part.

The art style seems reminiscent of Limbo and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet but I personally don't see it as a negative thing though some might. If nothing else, it definitely works well with the general theme of the game. That said, I really, really do like where they're going with this here.

"Lum comes from a unique species which has developed the ability to control its bio-luminescence with startling awareness. He can send complex signals to attract planktids and then blend into the shadows when a bigger fish is on the lookout for more food. Through mutual symbiosis with planktids, Lum can achieve great feats of power and high speeds."

Definitely intriguing. Right now, the game is also present on IndieGoGo and is currently looking for patrons willing to pledge a few spare dollars to its creation.

Those interested in the free weekend can go to the Luminesca's website to take a look.

Review: TechnoBabylon (Technocrat)

May 18, 2011 9:31 PM | Cassandra Khaw


The best thing about cyberpunk is probably the worst thing about it as well. Instead of healthy, productive environment, the genre often illustrates the worst that humanity has to offer; dystopian futures, blatant machinations of the weak, melodrama, a chronic dependence on technology and so forth. At the same time, I guess that's what made it so effective. It was something we could relate to. It's easy to see how addiction happens. It's easy to empathize with the characters even as they turn into cogs in the machine, forgotten except for their contributions to society. It's also really good at making code-nerds like yours truly feel all kinds of cool. Granted, it could occasionally be blatantly silly but sometimes, people would get it right. TechnoBabylon, needless to say, definitely got it right.

Absurdly long review after the break.

Trailer: Paradox Shift (University of Southern California Team)

May 18, 2011 1:12 PM | Michael Rose

Late last year, as part of my IGF judging I played a student game called Paradox Shift. I remember thinking at the time that there was something about it that was stupidly exciting, although it was still rather early in development.

Since then, the University of Southern California team has pushed on, and now has something that is looking mind-blowing. Here's the idea: You have a gun which can move you forward and backwards through time by a set amount. This allows you to past obstacles that aren't present in different timezones, and even mess around in the past to affect what you see in the future.

You can also bring certain things with you, as long as you tag them. A light on the gun shows whether you can shift time (dependent on whether you're going to appear in solid ground or not), and the action gets pretty tense as you shift rapidly between times to dodge incoming obstacles.

There's an official site up that you can check out. No word on a release date yet, but hopefully I can spend some more time with the game soon and deliver thoughts.

Mobile Game Pick: Cube 3 (Robot Bear)

May 18, 2011 11:14 AM | Michael Rose

cube 3.jpg
Cube 3 is a competitive puzzler for iPhone, iPad and Android. It's essentially a two-player game of Tic Tac Toe, with both players trying to match three in a row on any side of a 3D cube.

The trick is that you can only put your colour in a space on the currently selected side of the cube, and you then choose the next available side - hence, the idea is to keep your opponent away from the sides which they have nearly completed.

Pieces put on corners or edges fill the space on the adjacent side too, as you can see from the screenshot, so it's intriguingly tactical. You can play on your own against the computer, or grab a friend and take turns against each other.

Cube 3 is available to download from the Android Marketplace or the App Store, depending on your device of choice.

Freeware Game Pick: Don't Go Alone (pgil)

May 18, 2011 6:00 AM | Cassandra Khaw


pgil's Don't Go Alone was one of the many entrants in the latest installment of Ludum Dare. The theme this time around was 'It's Dangerous to Go Alone! Take this!', something that has been taken in multiple directions but I think pgil may have the creepiest intepretation of the idea yet. In this little adventure, you have a dying grandmother that you must visit. As you progress the woods, you find yourself encountering a somewhat helpful albeit sinister-looking stranger. The forest that you have to travel through is filled with unpleasant critters of all variety and unlike the stranger, you don't come up with an endless supply of fireballs. Whether you like it or not, the stranger will attempt to follow you on your journey and that's where it gets rather unsettling.

I don't know whether it's the music or the presentation or even the dialogue. Heck, I could just be a little too timid for my own good but there's just something about being hounded by someone unknown that leaves me feeling somewhat unnerved. Coupled with the fact that he seems fully capable of single-handedly eliminating everything in your path, it makes you wonder what is the lesser of two evils. There are two endings to the game but those aren't really as important as your little jaunt through this Ludum Dare experiment.

Those curious about it can check it out here.

2BadCompany asks, 'Would you play this?'

May 18, 2011 4:23 AM | Cassandra Khaw

To be specific, they want to know whether you'd play with the first segment of their game while they work on an official demo. For those who aren't unfamiliar with the game, Yokai is 2BadCompany's maiden title and a pretty interesting looking platformer, aesthetically speaking. Not much has been released in terms of actual information outside of the fact that the main character is a bit of a shapeshifter. It's definitely not a unique mechanic in the genre but it works well enough. However, that's not the point of the post. The point of the post is to let you know that 2BadCompany will probably make the bit (and possibly more) in the video playable given enough favorable comments. Of course, if you think they should keep things under their hat up, you should totally go ahead and inform the developers as well.

Go here to let the developers know what you think.

Browser Game Pick: Nobuyuki Forces 4 (SKT)

May 18, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.

Nobuyuki Forces 4 is the fourth game in the rails shooter series from Takahiro Miyazawa, who is also known for founding SKT Products and creating a number of Moai statue-filled games for publication on his site. The shoot and cover system is very similar to the Virtua Cop and (especially) Time Crisis games, where pressing the space key causes our female protagonist to duck out and pop a few shots at her enemies. You will also reload your gun if the same button is pressed when your back is next to a wall.

There are four stages to play through and three boss fights to contend with, and though that sounds like plenty of content it really just takes about fifteen minutes to beat Nobuyuki Forces 4 on your first try. A time attack mode is also included, but many players won't really feel like replaying the same areas at a harder difficulty once they've seen most of what the game has to offer.

Despite its length, NF4 is still one of the better Flash-based rails shooter that you could waste your time on. To play, just head on over to Kongregate.

Q&A: C418's Minecraft - Volume Alpha Soundtrack

May 17, 2011 9:05 PM | jeriaska

Daniel Rosenfeld, writing as C418, has served as the musician and sound designer on Mojang's Minecraft. The critically acclaimed Swedish sandbox construction game received the Audience Award and Seumas McNally Grand Prize at this year's Independent Games Festival ceremony.

Rather than relying on predetermined plot points to motivate progress, what has drawn so many to the world of Minecraft has been the exploration of its procedurally generated environments, which can be mined to create buildings and underground caves. For C418, the challenges in providing music for such an unpredictable gaming environment have been profound.

But the experience has also been profoundly rewarding. The composer has released his score to Minecraft - Volume Alpha through Bandcamp and is at work on the music that will appear both in future updates and later as part of the Volume Beta soundtrack. He will be writing the music score for 2 Player Productions' documentary feature Minecraft: The Story of Mojang. And independent of the game, his next original album is nearing completion.

Despite challenges in determining an appropriate tone for early builds, Minecraft has been met with widespread acclaim prior to its official launch. We had the chance to hear from the musician on his experience creating the first volume of the game soundtrack and his related forthcoming projects.

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