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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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Mobile Game Pick: bit Dungeon (Tom Heinecke)

January 15, 2013 6:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

bit dungeon.pngI know this is neither the time nor the way to rant, but I just have to admit that the iPad is shaping up to become my all-time favourite handheld gaming console ever. I feel I even prefer it over my trusty Atari Lynx to be brutally honest, but I digress. And almost rant.

Then again, the Lynx always lacked a top-down, RPG-esque, Zelda inspired, pure action roguelike-like, whereas the iPad just got itself bit Dungeon. It's a smartly and elegantly designed game that's not afraid to permakill you, looks gloriously 16-bit and has proven itself way more addictive than I had anticipated. Definitely worth your $0.99 if you ask me, if only to marvel at its control system, brilliantly balanced dungeons and varied environments.

Joe Danger is a rare example of console-to-mobile done right

January 13, 2013 9:00 PM | Staff

joe danger long.jpgGuildford, UK-based Hello Games has had quite an explosive few years since it was founded in 2009, thanks to its rather popular arcade racing Joe Danger series. Now, as the third installment launches on iOS, the studio is finally ready to put Joe to bed.

Joe Danger Touch is the perfect swan song for the franchise, with great reviews rolling in from both the press and App Store users. For Hello Games' Sean Murray, it truly is the end of an era.

"You'd think I would be glad to leave Joe Danger behind, wouldn't you?" he says. "Instead I feel incredibly sad - it's a game that I'm very proud of, that's been very important to us, and a lot of people have a real fondness for."

Hello Games now moves on to its second new IP, currently codenamed Project Skyscraper, with a new genre and new platforms in mind... but we're getting ahead of ourselves. Right now Joe Danger Touch is the big talking point on iOS, and the move from console to mobile has gelled well with the title.

Free Mobile Pick: Growtopia (Robinson, Hommel)

January 12, 2013 4:00 PM | John Polson

Android and Apple device users who crave an MMO experimental sandbox platformer are in luck. Seth A. Robinson and Mike Hommel (Robinson Technologies and Hamumu Software, respectively) have released yesterday for free Growtopia, which explores the crafting part of Minecraft, while trading the mining for growing.

Specifically, everything in the game can be grown from seeds of trees, including lava and jet pack trees. New trees and items also come from mixing and trading the seeds. Players can apparently find most of the items quickly, so the in-app purchases don't feel forced. Growtopia also employs an innovative lock system that protects players' creations and allows players to share access to them with friends.

[iTunes, Google Play]

Windows/Android Release: Earth Defenders HD (InvaderGames)

January 12, 2013 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

InvaderGames has released Earth Defenders HD, a "neo-retro styled arcade shooter" for Windows and Android that blends elements from the tower defense genre and Taito's arcade classic Space Invaders.

In Earth Defenders HD, players orbit a sphere at the center of the playfield, fending off alien invaders in either the 28-mission story mode or the wave-based Infinite mode. InvaderGames developer Manuel Etchegaray recommends playing Earth Defenders HD on a high-resolution Android tablet like the Nexus, in order to enjoy the game's full effect.

Earth Defenders HD is available as a free, ad-supported download for Android. The Windows version is priced at $3.99, and is also available in a $9.99 Special Edition that includes an ad-free Android apk.

Ex-Rovio Veterans Launch Noble Nutlings for iOS

January 11, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Boomlagoon, a new indie studio headed up by Angry Birds developers Antti Stén, Tuomas Erikoinen, and Ilkka Halila, has launched its debut title Noble Nutlings as a free download for iOS devices.

Noble Nutlings is a side-scrolling, physics-driven racer starring a gang of squirrels. Somewhat terrifyingly, these squirrels have learned how to drive, and players must assemble makeshift vehicles in order to traverse acorn-laden obstacle courses.

While the core game download is free, numerous vehicle components are unlockable using in-game currency, which can also be bought outright via microtransaction purchases.

Skulls of the Shogun Passes Certification, Release Info Announced

January 10, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

After an extended development period, 17-BIT's anticipated "fast-paced turn-based strategy game" Skulls of the Shogun has passed Microsoft certification and will release January 30. The game will cost 1200 MS Points ($15) for XBLA, Windows 8 and Surface, and $6.99 for Windows Phone via the Windows Phone Marketplace

The announcement follows up on Skulls of the Shogun's honorable mention in the Technical Excellence category of this year's Independent Games Festival and the recent conclusion of its three-year press tour.

Haunt the House: Terrortown Arrives for PlayStation Mobile

January 10, 2013 6:00 PM | Danny Cowan

This week's PlayStation Mobile update brings the release of Haunt the House: Terrortown, a unique haunting sim for the PlayStation Vita and supported Android platforms from SFB Games.

Similar in premise to EA's little-known Sega Genesis title Haunting Starring Polterguy, Haunt the House puts players in the role of a vengeful spirit who must possess environmental objects and use them to scare away nearby humans.

"When we heard about PlayStation Mobile and thought about PS Vita as a platform, there was only one game we had in mind," SFB founder Tom Vian notes. "The colourful graphics and simple controls of Haunt the House work perfectly in this context -- it's a really natural fit. The original Haunt the House was a browser game we made for Halloween back in 2010, and since then we've come a long way as designers."

Haunt the House is priced at $3.49.

10 Indie Games Scene Shakers in 2012

January 10, 2013 4:00 PM | Staff

Thumbnail image for super hexagon long gama.jpgThe "scene" that envelops indie games has grown exponentially, as players are finding more freeware, browser, and commercial games than ever before. Accompanying the marketing, releasing, and making of such games naturally were bold steps and missteps.

Thanks to the mostly transparent nature of indie development, there is much more to learn than what used to stay behind heavily ironclad doors.

This feature takes a look at some of the most meaningful events in 2012 and reflects on their impact on indie games and developers, including bundles, Steam and IGF changes, Pirate Kart, and piracy.

GDC 2013 adds Capy, Shellrazer, Yamove! Summit talks

January 10, 2013 1:30 PM | John Polson

Game Developers Conference 2013 organizers have revealed the latest Summit talks scheduled for the March conference, including Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP collaborator Capy on the viability of paid Apps, Ninja Robot Dinosaur Entertainment's approach for IAP in iOS hit Shellrazer, and a unique collaboration between engineering students and indie game developers resulting in dance battle game/Indiecade finalist Yamove!

These talks are part of the Smartphone & Tablet, Independent, and GDC Education Summits that will take place Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.

Nathan Vella of Capy, the Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP collaborator and Critter Crunch creator, will examine the smartphone and tablet app market in 'Still Kicking: The Viability of Paid Apps in the Era of F2P.'

Vella will impart the risks of free-to-play as a small studio and the continued viability of developing paid apps. He will also paint a clear picture of the paid app market while showing how to leverage the opportunities in the paid app space.

Complementing Vella's paid App talk is Shane Neville of Ninja Robot Dinosaur Entertainment's 'Shellrazer - Designing In-App Purchase Without Losing Your Soul' for the Independent Games Summit.

The Voodoo that Ayramen Do Looks Swell

January 10, 2013 3:00 AM | John Polson

Voodoo will be Ayramen's first game, and it's quite the beauty. This point and click title even adds an element of danger, since players can actually die. This death mechanic, developer Abraham Rojo tells me, is to "avoid the player tapping everywhere, without consequences." According to Ayramen's website, players "must help the doll to solve puzzles and riddles to move through the different levels," too.

Ayramen is currently a 3-man team in Spain: Abraham Rojo, Flavio Díaz, and Miguel García. Right now, iOS is the only platform Rojo has confirmed, despite my asking about Windows and Mac ports. Hopefully the team will also bring the point-and-click adventure to PC in 2013, because frankly, touchscreens don't let you click anything.

Pretty photos of Voodoo are after the jump:

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