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About The IGF 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, 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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Shoot Many Robots out on XBLA and PSN, PC incoming

March 15, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson

Demiurge Studios, an "independent, bootstrapped" company who's previously worked on Epic, Harmonix, Gearbox and other AAA titles, just released its first game: Shoot Many Robots. The multiplayer Metal Slug/Contra-like with level-up elements is now available for download on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, with a PC/Steam release coming soon.

I enjoyed playing Shoot Many Robots for an extended sitting at PAX East 2011, but I haven't given the full title a spin to know if the enjoyment lasts. I reached out to Demiurge to ask about UbiSoft's recent involvement as publisher, but I haven't heard back, yet. Hopefully Demiurge was able to stay true to their vision, and the publisher sat back to enjoy the financial benefits while helping promote the game.

The game currently stands at 64/100 on Metacritic with 15 reviews. Given the game's lukewarm reception so far, I am even more intrigued to know the publisher's involvement.

Trailer: Gun Lord (NG:DEV.TEAM, Dreamcast/Neo Geo)

March 14, 2012 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

NG:DEV.TEAM (Last Hope, Fast Striker) has released a new trailer for its side-scrolling shooter Gun Lord, set to premiere later this month for the Neo Geo and in June for the Sega Dreamcast.

Heavily inspired by the Turrican series, Gun Lord equips players with multiple powerful weapons, and features numerous levels filled with swarms of enemies, collectible items, and screen-filling boss characters. The trailer above shows off a decent chunk of gameplay, including a horizontally scrolling shooter level and an impressive boss encounter. Definitely watch the intro, too -- it's priceless.

Gun Lord will launch March 26th as a cartridge for Neo Geo MVS arcade units. Cartridge-only copies are priced at 319 euros, while a limited-edition boxed version sells for 419 euros. Regular and deluxe Neo Geo AES home console versions will be released later this year, and several Dreamcast editions ranging in price from 32 to 99 euros will premiere June 14th. Preorders can be placed at NG:DEV.TEAM's website.

[via @mommysbestgames]

Redshift: A Procedurally Generated Shooter For XBLIG

March 13, 2012 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Independent developer Daniel Aguisky has released Redshift, a minimalist vertically scrolling shooter for the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

In Redshift, players wage an endless war against enemy waves of increasing difficulty. The mechanics are simple -- players are able to temporarily slow on-screen bullets at the expense of a regenerating "Redshift" meter -- but the game claims to offer over 500 levels challenging "everyone from beginners to bullet hell veterans."

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

[via @shmups]

thatgamecompany Releases Journey on PSN Today

March 13, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

flOw and Flower developer thatgamecompany releases Journey in the US today for $14.99 on the PlayStation Network for all those who aren't PS+ customers (those paid subscribers had access a week ago). The culmination of three years of development and the third, final game thatgamecompany had to make under contract with Sony, Journey is already met with great critical acclaim.

A 3D exploratory, puzzle platformer of sorts, players can choose to embark on this journey solo or with a partner online as they venture towards a shining mountain in the distance. Players can assist each other while travelling through the desert and use magical cloth to fly briefly. Audible communication between players is reduced to a wordless shout.

Journey is said to be somewhat short, but so is life. I'm ready to get my Journey on. Those in Europe have to wait one day more and in Japan, two days. If you try it, come back and share your experience.

Queasy Games Announces Sound Shapes Demo, Gives Gameplay Demonstration

March 13, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

The development team at the Jonathan Mak-headed Queasy Games announced that it will release a free trial version of its PlayStation Vita ambient platformer Sound Shapes in advance of its downloadable release this year.

Queasy Games' Jason deGroot demonstrates Sound Shapes' music-influencing gameplay in the video above, and reveals new details regarding its structure. DeGroot notes that players have unlimited lives, and describes the game as being less like a Super Meat Boy-styled challenge and more like "an experience, and a musical treat."

A release date for Sound Shapes has not yet been announced.

[via Joystiq]

XBLIG Release: Birth Order (Wide Pixel Games)

March 13, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson

Wide Pixel Games' Mikael Tillander, winner of the RGCD C64 16k Cartridge Competition with the game Fairy Well, has just released horizontal shmup/STG Birth Order on the XBLIG service. Tillander breaks a few taboos with this shmup, since no aiming skills are needed, and no score system is involved. Instead, players build up an experience bar while dodging massive loads of bullets and working their way to the Red Leader to stop an invasion.

Wide Pixel also eliminates the step of associating certain enemies to weapons; the correct shot button on the Xbox controller corresponds to the clearly labeled enemy ship cores. Most of the ships look pretty with their elegant, flowing tails that serve as their health bar.

Another eye-catcher is the game map, dubbed a "board game," which is played with cards that are captured from defeated enemies. Different cards can be used on different areas of the procedurally generated (random) game board, as they bestow various power-ups to aid in completing a stage.

As many XBLIG titles migrate to PC, I asked Tillander about Birth Order's future outside of the box. He said "A PC port is possible; [I] do have it running on PC as well, but a different input standard (keyboard) and the like makes me a bit hesitant."

Birth Order on XBLIG is available now for 80 MS points along with a free trial.

2D Tower-Building Title Craftimals Launches For XBLIG

March 12, 2012 10:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Developer Roppy Chop has released Craftimals, a simple but charming tower-building game for the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

Unlike the many Minecraft-likes that infest the XBLIG marketplace, Craftimals restricts construction to a 2D plane. Players are equipped only with a single block type and are given a simple objective: build a tower that reaches the sun. As players reach height checkpoints during their ascent, new block colors, character hats, and ability upgrades are unlocked.

Despite the simplicity of it all, the experience is strangely mesmerizing; I spent way longer building a blocky, spiraling tower than I had thought I would. I can imagine that the cooperative multiplayer mode is a decent amount of fun, too.

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

GDC 2012: Alientrap Shows Early Apotheon Footage

March 10, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

Capsized and Indievania creators Alientrap sat down at GDC to show off an early version of Apotheon, their upcoming 2D action-RPG with platform elements where players must strip the Gods of their powers to stop the mad Hera, who sits as ruler of Mount Olympus.

Lee Vermeulen and Jesse McGibney described (and demoed above) combat very different from Capsized that is not quite frantically paced and includes no concept of combos. Instead, Vermeulen and McGibney showed more calculated sword, slingshot, javelin, and shield gameplay. Aiming offensively and defensively was easy, with a full range of motion controlled by the mouse. The shield also has an visible meter which conveys how long it effectively blocks attacks.

Players can also use a torch with a similar range of motion, which showed off the game's dynamic lighting system. The two developers were very interested in exploring how lighting could be used in later puzzles and stealth sequences later in development.

The team said one thing Capsized didn't have that players wanted was an online multiplayer battle mode. However, they aim to bring players just that in Apotheon. Vermeulen shared that programming physics-based online multiplayer combat is actually a challenge, but it is one they want to overcome before considering co-op campaign.

GDC 2012: Bastion's audio success came from a closet

March 9, 2012 4:00 PM | John Polson

korb GDC.jpg[This article was written by Kris Graft on Gamasutra.]

Bastion developer Supergiant Games might have released a game under a big publisher -- and have a name that implies hugeness -- but the studio is made up of only a handful of people.

Darren Korb, composer on the Warner-published downloadable role-playing game (which was a multiple award winner at the Game Developers Choice awards this week), told GDC attendees how he did a lot with very little.

Korb wasn't a game composer, rather he was just a typical musician. He was friends with co-founder Amir Rao since they were kids, and when Rao asked him to be part of the project, he happily agreed.

It was Korb and his music that really set the tone for the overall game. "I actually took those ideas of gritty frontier fantasy, and made sound effects to reflect that tone. ... Before there was any art in the game, there was music." Levels were even designed around music, he said.

Korb did everything in a makeshift studio, remotely from his apartment in New York while the rest of the team was in the Bay Area.

Milkstone's Little Racers: Street Updates With Time Trials, New Tracks

March 9, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Milkstone Studios has released an update for its Micro Machines-inspired Xbox Live Indie Games racing title Little Racers: Street, adding a new gameplay mode and a variety of requested features.

With the latest update, Little Racers: Street now includes a Time Trials mode, allowing players to compare times across the game's 200 events. New tracks specifically designed for the 12-player multiplayer mode have also been added, along with a new Chase camera angle that provides "a totally different game experience."

Milkstone notes that Little Racers: Street's online mode has received "lots of changes the fans asked for." One key addition: online horns. Sweet!

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