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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 June, 2011

Freeware Game Pick: Questling (Flyboy)

June 10, 2011 12:00 PM | Tim W.

Questling is a puzzle game inspired by Psygnosis' classic series Lemmings, created by Flyboy for submission to the Ludum Dare 20 game development competition. The objective here is assist a party of adventurers reach the exit door in each of the included fifteen stages, using only a host of command buttons at the bottom of the screen to direct and instruct them on what to do to reach their goal.

Knights can fight against orcs, rogues have the ability to detect and disarm traps, while mages are able to levitate or heal other party members. There are pre-assigned hotkeys that you can use to quickly switch between commands, and issued orders can be deleted just by right-clicking on them.

The post-Ludum Dare competition build feature a new music track and some minor improvements, so be sure to grab that version if you decide to try Flyboy's Questling out.

Indie Game Pick: Deepak Fights Robots (Tom Sennett)

June 10, 2011 10:00 AM | Michael Rose

I love Tom Sennett. No wait, let me try again. I love Tom Sennett's games, his art style, the effortless way in which everything he does is centred around good, wholesome, wacky fun. I love the fact that he can stealth-release a new game, and just assume that people will play it. And people will play it. I did. You should.

It's called Deepak Fights Robots, and it's a platformer that is a bit like a psychedelic version of Bubble Bobble with an underlying cultural theme. You are Deepak, and you fight robots in a program by collecting power-ups, turning into a superhero and punching them all to death.

There are some great power-ups, lots of bright colours, and some really clever level design. It does take a little while to get properly going, but once you start, it's far too difficult to stop. There are boss battles are the end of each chapter too and, well, just check out the above trailer to see what you'll be up again.

You can buy the game for download for $9.95 from the official site (which has a silly url, as per the Sennett usual). If you played and loved RunMan but never paid for it, now is time to make amends.

E3 2011: BIT.TRIP Complete (Gaijin Games)

June 10, 2011 1:00 AM | jeriaska

Alex Neuse giving a demo of BIT.TRIP Saga at E3

This year at E3, Gaijin Games has been preparing the retail release of their entire six-title library of BIT.TRIP rhythm games for two separate Nintendo consoles.

BIT.TRIP Saga for the Nintendo 3DS will include WiiWare titles BIT.TRIP Beat, Core, Void, Runner, Fate and Flux. The graphics have been adapted for the console's 3D screen, which the independent developer says will give players an edge by individuating foreground gameplay from background imagery.

Revealed today, another more elaborate compilation will be making its way to the Nintendo Wii, packaged as a disc available in stores. BIT.TRIP Complete will come with a number of added extras paying tribute to fans who have supported the game series since its arrival through digital distribution on the Wii.

We had the chance to catch up with game designer Alex Neuse to hear about progress on the 3D portable title, as well as first details on the home console compilation.

BIT.TRIP Saga for Nintendo 3DS is planned to include all the previously released games in the series. How have the play mechanics and presentation been modified for the portable console?

Alex Neuse, Gaijin Games: For Beat and Flux you use the stylus on the touch screen, which feels super-perfect. You can also use the circle pad if you want, though I prefer the stylus. In Fate you steer with the circle pad and aim / shoot with the stylus. The overall presentation has also been enhanced. In most of the games, though Runner is a little different, the gameplay plane is nearer to you, separated from the background.

E3 2011: Hands-On Impressions of Papo & Yo (Minority)

June 9, 2011 7:04 PM | Cassandra Khaw


My interview with Vanders Caballero, the man behind Papo & Yo, was the first interview that had ever driven me close to tears. It began far too awkwardly. I had difficulties putting my questions to words, afraid that I would somehow offend the wild-haired maestro responsible for what many consider as Sony's next Playstation Network darling. A veteran of the gaming industry, Caballero had been previously involved with Electronic Arts and, to paraphrase the man, has been somehow involved in almost every one of their major franchises. Driven by a need to relate his story, Vanders Caballero left his job of eight years and moved on to create Minority in order to tell the story of Papo & Yo.

Captain Jameson Alpha Now Available

June 9, 2011 5:00 PM | Michael Rose


The Captain Forever series continued this week with the fourth installment Captain Jameson, taking the original idea of floating around space, stealing parts and building your ship to more RPG-style levels. This latest release sees players setting off from a space station and exploring a world, while taking part in some familiar Captain Forever style battles.

It's still in alpha at the moment, so it's a little rough around the edges, but if you're a Captain Forever purchaser, you'll be able to access it from the main menu on the official site. It's also incredibly difficult, as you need to visit oxygen refuelling stations periodically to stay alive. However, as you steal parts and expand your ship, you'll be able to take more oxygen onto your ship, and therefore stay alive longer.

It's survivor of the fitness and most deadly out there. Go give it a play - and if you're yet to get in on the Captain Forever action, you really should, as one purchase will get you all four games in one.

Preview: Splatters (SpikySnail Games)

June 9, 2011 3:00 PM | Michael Rose


Remember Confetti Carnival? If you've watched the videos and read the previews, you'll know that it's one to watch out for, with its physics-based paint-splattery. But now, you need to erase that name from your memory, and replace it with a different one. SpikySnail Games has changed the name to the more straight-forward Splatters.

It definitely describes the game well, but it seems highly risky to change it at this point, given how much attention the game has received under the Confetti Carnival name. Sagi Koren, one of the SpikySnail co-founders, told us that Confetti Carnival was only ever meant to be a placeholder, until they'd decided on the final name.

It's not just a new name, however - the game is also equipped with enhanced visuals and sounds from what you've seen in the past, as well as an overhauled tutorial system, that is set to teach players the ropes in a more entertaining manner, rather than simply throwing each idea at you one by one and hoping they all stick.

Android Game Pick: Grand Prix Story (Kairosoft)

June 9, 2011 11:59 AM | Michael Rose

grand prix story.jpg

Whenever a new Kairosoft game hits the App Store, the rest of my week is ruined. No work can get done, and many late nights will be had, as my state of addiction rise to obscene levels. The developer has seen huge success on the App Store, which makes this latest move seem rather strange.

Grand Prix Story, the next game from the management sim dev, is now available via the Android Marketplace, rather than for the iPhone. Clocking in at around £3, it plays out much like past games Game Dev Story and Hot Springs Story, except with racing this time around.

You are the boss of a racing team, and you're tasked with training your drivers, getting sponsors, and then sitting back and watching them bring in the trophies. It's great fun, as you'd expect from Kairosoft, and well worth grabbing. Head over to the Android Marketplace and kiss your week goodbye.

E3 2011: PixelJunk SideScroller (Q-Games)

June 9, 2011 1:20 AM | jeriaska


This year at E3, Q-Games offered a closed-door demonstration of their forthcoming music generator PixelJunk lifelike as well as a build of PixelJunk SideScroller, playable at the Sony booth on the show floor. The game carries over a number of the art and sound design aspects of PixelJunk Shooter 1 & 2, this time centering gameplay on sidescrolling, on-rails shooting.

A similar style of stage could be unlocked at the end of Shooter 2 by gathering all hidden treasures and gaining a 100% completion rating. The first thing you notice about this latest PixelJunk title is that in place of the brightly animated color scheme of Shooter 2 there is now a more abstract aesthetic dominating. Transparency plays a big part in the new look, bringing to mind the neon outlined figures of Tron or the skeletal polygons of Rez.

Another noticeable addition is the robotic co-pilot that comments on many of your actions. A female voice with shades of vocoder will chime in whenever you switch weapons, or are overheating, or have reached a check-point. The Japanese intonations of "Machine Gun!" and "Laser!" are a reminder of Q-Games' headquarters being based in Kyoto, Japan. The android tinge to the voice samples also furthers the vibe of retro-futurism communicated by the high tech weaponry and old school game mechanics.

E3 2011: Hands-On Impressions of Minecraft: Pocket Edition

June 9, 2011 12:05 AM | Cassandra Khaw

Seeing Notch at E3 was a bit of a surreal experience, something that may have had a lot to do with the multitude of fans that were swarming him relentlessly. It was something right out of Hollywood, a red carpet moment transplanted into the Xperia Play booth at E3. Like clockwork, cameras would flash and people would declare their undying adulation. The only thing that could have made the illusion complete would have probably been Notch in a Calvin Klein suit and a matching sneer. Fortunately, the Swedish developer retained both his hat and his unassuming demeanor. Either way, this was less a surprise than it could have been. After all, Minecraft isn't so much a game these days as it is a global phenomenon. It's everywhere and last night, I had the chance to see how well it does on the mobile platform in person.

E3 2011: Planck's Music-Based Mechanics (Shadegrown Games)

June 8, 2011 3:30 PM | jeriaska

Planck Level 2 Trailer

Shadegrown Games founder Matthew Burns describes Planck as an amalgamation of vertical shooter and musical instrument. The player guides a speeding ship across the surface of an aquatic environment, generating pieces of music through swerving and firing. Each level offers a distinct set of instruments and obstacles where the visual art consciously mirrors the dynamic soundtrack.

We caught up with the independent developer during the E3 Expo to hear about the newest additions to Planck, namely the Scored Mode and Level 2.

Your studio is called "Shadegrown," referring to a specific approach to independent game creation. How would you say these practices have suited the needs of your development team?

Matthew Burns (Shadegrown Games): Part of the concept behind Shadegrown Games is giving something room to grow... not just the games, but the people who work on the games as well.

So often in the triple-A industry, I see big companies harvesting people: taking bright, young graduates from school who are just thrilled to be working on a game and mowing them over with work. You get a higher rate of return in the short-term, but then you have these employees that are burnt out at age 30.

To me that's like planting a crop that exhausts the land and depletes the soil. You don't get the best, most creative experience by working for decades and decades in overly specialized roles. I think it's very important for game developers to be multi-disciplinary and to have well-rounded interests.

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