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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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Runner 2 Submitted for Consoles, Launching Later This Month

February 3, 2013 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

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Gaijin Games has completed work on its upcoming Bit.Trip Runner sequel Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, and has successfully submitted the game to Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony for certification.

Gaijin founder Alex Neuse details the experience in this blog post, noting that each submission was plagued with its own unique issues. After squashing some last-minute bugs, however, the team is confident that certification should proceed smoothly.

Gaijin Games' current task is to finish up the Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of the game. If all goes well, Runner2 will launch across all platforms in late February.

It's official: XNA is dead

February 2, 2013 6:00 PM | Staff

xna.jpgMicrosoft has confirmed that it does not plan to release future versions of the XNA development toolset.

A blog post from developer Promit Roy earlier this week apparently detailed Microsoft's plans to fully retire the XNA Game Studio tools on April 1, 2014, while also suggesting that the future of API collection DirectX is uncertain.

The company has now further explained the situation to Polygon, assuring developers that DirectX development will continue, but stating that XNA has received its last update.

"XNA Game Studio remains a supported toolset for developing games for Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone," said the representative. "Many developers have found financial success creating Xbox LIVE Indie Games using XNA. However, there are no plans for future versions of the XNA product."

Numerous developers took to Twitter to mourn the death of the platform -- or otherwise. Unity CEO David Helgason in particular tweeted, "Farewell XNA, you were never quite the worthy opponent I expected, though you hit some high notes along the way."

XBLIG Pick: Avatar Football (Barkers Crest Studio)

February 2, 2013 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Who's hyped for the Super Bowl?!

Okay, you're reading a website about indie games, so maybe you're not all that excited about tomorrow's game. Perhaps you'd like to spend Super Bowl Sunday playing Barkers Crest Studio's Xbox Live Indie Game Avatar Football instead.

Don't let the generic name and the inclusion of ill-omened Avatars dissuade you from checking this one out. Avatar Football is a fast-paced, arcade-style take on the sport. Specifically, it's modeled after the NES classic Super Tecmo Bowl, meaning that it focuses less on simulation and more on fun. Better still, you can swap out the Avatars for (somewhat goofily animated) football player models.

Avatar Football is also surprisingly deep, and boasts a wealth of gameplay options. In addition to a single-player season mode and a local multiplayer option, Avatar Football includes an online multiplayer mode that supports up to six players. You can even design your own plays and customize your team's roster. It's obvious that a lot of thought went into this game, and it plays great!

Avatar Football is regularly priced at 240 Microsoft points, but is available for 80 Microsoft points ($1) until February 5th.

Penny Arcade's Rain-Slick 4 to be Exclusive to XBLIG and PC

February 1, 2013 12:00 AM | Danny Cowan

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Despite the previous chapter's appearance on Mac, iOS, and Android, Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4 will be exclusive to Windows and the Xbox Live Indie Games service, Robert Boyd of developer Zeboyd Games revealed this week.

Boyd cites low interest in Zeboyd's other ported games (including Cthulhu Saves the World) as reason for the PC/XBLIG exclusivity.

"Our mobile games & ports haven't done so well so the new PA RPG will only be on PC & XBLIG," Boyd tweets. "Apologies to fans of iOS/Mac/Android."

He continues: "We'd love to put our games on every platform available but we're a two-man operation and want to be able to keep making new games."

On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4 is set to be Zeboyd's most ambitious project to date. Boyd notes that the game in its current state features 50 percent more maps than Rain-Slick 3 and its DLC had, and more will likely be added before it's fully complete.

Cave Story dev's Ikachan now on 3DS

January 31, 2013 9:10 PM | John Polson

ikachan.jpgCave Story developer Pixel (Daisuke Amaya) created a light diversion for free called Ikachan back in 2000. Over 12 years later, he and publisher Nicalis have re-released Ikachan on Nintendo 3DS for $5.

Ikachan is very much the underwater action adventure equivalent of Pixel's more popular Cave Story, compacted into a 1-2 hour experience. The player-squid builds up life through eating fish and bashing enemies and earns new powers to get further in the game. I usually hate the swimming environments in games, but controlling Ikachan feels rather effortless. It's almost a relaxing game, save a couple boss battles.

I have no complaints with the length of the game; the world was charming enough to make me play until the end. The price will meet some friction, for sure, though. I just hope whatever Amaya makes will motivate him to finish RockFish, because I'm ready for another, longer dip in the Pixel pool.

XBLIG Trailer: Aliens vs Romans (Sick Kreations)

January 31, 2013 6:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Nuclear Wasteland and End of Days: Infected vs. Mercs developer Sick Kreations is putting the finishing touches on Aliens vs Romans, a slick-looking competitive first-person shooter for the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

Aliens vs Romans pits sword-wielding Roman soldiers against heavily armed alien forces in a series of single-player, cooperative, and competitive online multiplayer gameplay modes. Sick Kreations' previous titles ranked among Xbox Live's biggest-selling indie games in 2011 and 2012, and judging from the footage above, Aliens vs Romans looks like it will be a worthy follow-up.

Aliens vs Romans is currently in peer review, and Sick Kreations notes that XBLIG fans can expect to see a public release "very soon."

Top 10 Indie Platformers of 2012 (Paid)

January 30, 2013 9:45 PM | John Polson

dustforce.jpg[IndieGames is wrapping up its year in review, with lists including the Top 10 (Free) Platformer Games, Top 10 (Free) Puzzle Games of 2012, Top 10 (Free) Experimental Games of 2012, Top 10 Indie Adventure Games of 2012, Top 10 Indie Strategy Games of 2012, Top 10 Indie Horror Games of 2012, Top 10 Indie Shoot-'Em-Ups of 2012 and our Top 10 Indie Games of 2012 (+2!).]

Upon reviewing the top 10 platformers of 2012 that ask for your money, almost half of them actually started out wanting nothing more than your time. Whether they were on gaming portals or simply freeware experiments, they were there for us in the past to enjoy. Now, they've come back even fiercer and ready to take the money we've supposedly been throwing at their screens for years!

All that is to say free games aren't going anywhere, and we'll probably continue seeing more matured versions of free games in the future. We'll probably continue to see an equal amount of amazing commercial games based on new IP, too.

What will the next-gen gadgets offer us, and what will inevitably higher-powered PCs offer us months later? I can't wait to find out! But until then, let's celebrate the games that made us jump around in the funnest of situations. These are the best of 2012's indie platformers for pay.

Skulls of the Shogun Launches for XBLA, Windows 8, Windows Phone

January 30, 2013 6:00 PM | Danny Cowan

It's been a long wait, but at last, it's finally here! Indie developer 17 Bit has launched its debut title Skulls of the Shogun for Xbox Live Arcade, Windows 8/RT, Surface, and Windows Phone.

Skulls of the Shogun is a turn-based strategy game that ditches the hex/tile-based gameplay of many similar titles, giving troops a circular range of movement instead. The game's unique approach to the genre allows players to form advanced strategies -- troops can be closely lumped together to form blockades, for instance, in order to prevent enemies from threatening your more fragile units, like archers and generals.

The package is capped with some humorous dialogue and a unique setting in which undead ronin and samurai seek a shortcut to the afterlife. The game also boasts a variety of multiplayer options, including the local competitive Skulls on the Couch mode, the up to four-player Skulls Online, and the asynchronous, cross-platform Skulls Anywhere (only available for Windows 8/RT, Surface, and Windows Phone).

The Xbox Live Arcade version of Skulls of the Shogun is priced at 1200 Microsoft points ($15). The Windows 8 version is available for $9.99, while the Windows Phone edition can be had this week for $4.99.

XBLIG Pick: Pester (Flump Studios)

January 29, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Xbox Live Indie Games is a haven for bullet hell shoot-'em-ups, and the service's shmup catalog grows larger still with this week's release of Pester, a follow-up to Flump Studios' Cave-inspired XBLIG shooter Super Killer Hornet.

Along with "a poop load more bullets," Pester boasts "a crap ton of game modes" -- don't let the feces talk deter you from trying this one, though, as Pester features a surprisingly varied collection of gameplay modes, including a Raiden IV-esque "duo" mode in which one player controls two ships at once.

Pester is priced at 80 Microsoft points ($1).

Bombball aims to unlock OUYA eSport potential

January 29, 2013 6:00 PM | John Polson

BombballSS1.pngAurora/Auralux developer E McNeill has created a browser-based prototype to coincide with his OUYA create competition entry, Bombball, an eSport game that he says can take advantage of the console's distinguishing features.

The developer had only 10 days to create the prototype for OUYA, but his and 165 entries completed the challenge.

McNeill describes the game as "an abstract, fast-paced eSport" that was directly inspired by the SPORTSFRIENDS-bound Hokra. "I'm aiming for the same sort of indie simplicity and local multiplayer, local spectator magic. I think that's the area where the OUYA can actually offer some unique value in competition with traditional consoles, PCs, and mobile devices," says McNeill.

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