Every month, as part of the regular monthly meetings of the Austin, TX independent game community JUEGOS RANCHEROS, we do a very casual & chatty rundown of the ten or so games from the previous month for the audience, to give people — especially those curious onlookers from outside the indie community itself — a look at what they may have missed. The featured games are both local and global, and both indie and, on occasion, a bit-bigger-budget — what binds them together is simply that they’re all amazing.
In keeping with the tongue-in-tobacco-packed-cheek tone, we call these run-downs A Fistful of Indies, which are presented here on Venus Patrol for your reference, each fully-annotated, -linked, and off-the-cuff blurbed, in addition to their home on the JUEGOS RANCHEROS site.
Developer: Pippin Barr | Platform: Web | Play it: Here
“…from Pippin Barr, who’s amazing at creating these little concise single-idea web games. This one, as the name suggests, is both a play on ‘art games’, as well as ‘THE art game’, as in the life of a professional studio artist.”
30 Second Life
Developer: Bruce Hill | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store
“…another curious little single-idea game, the idea here is that it charts the life of a single person from birth to death. Your only real control over your character’s career arc is in hitting these work buttons as fast as you can, or choosing not to, to fill up that meter at the bottom. So, if you don’t work very hard at, say, being a mall cop, you’ll get fired and drop down a rank, or maybe you work insanely hard and get promoted to chief of police.
Essentially, there’s a massive branching fractal tree of possibilities that your life can take, and you navigate a single path in 30 seconds and go back to explore more branches until you’ve unlocked them all. it’s a super curious and weirdly engaging little metaphorical game.”
Developer: Lucky Frame | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store
“… sort of a play on those helicopter-in-a-tunnel games, where your only real control is moving up & down, but they’ve mashed that up with something like Sound Shapes, where you’re collecting objects that become sequencer beats & melodies, and they’ve opened up the level editor, so you can create your own songs for other people to download and play. It’s a super interesting idea that more people should take a look at.”
Developer: Gl33k | Platform: iPad | Get it: App Store
“…produced by our own local Austin audio studio Gl33k for Glitch, the web MMO that recently was shuttered before it ever really launched. This is maybe the best remnant of that whole ordeal, a super adorable little iPad music sequencer that’s also super intuitive to make surprisingly good music in, and it’s another project that honestly not nearly enough people have taken note of.”
Banner Saga: Factions
Developer: Stoic | Platform: Windows/Mac | Get it: Steam
“…the free multiplayer component of the full Banner Saga game — there’s been a ton of weird confusion about what this thing even is over the past couple weeks, but all you really need to know is that it’s an entirely free and super gorgeous strategy game that’s well worth taking a look at and giving Stoic feedback on as they tune up the systems in preparation for their actual, big release.”
Developer: Analgesic | Platform: Windows/Mac | Get it: Here
“…a top-down adventure in the vein of old 16-bit or GameBoy Zeldas, and while games like this are normally sort of easy to dismiss as dime-a-dozen pixel adventures, Anodyne’s actually really well crafted and far more engaging than I expected it to be”
Developer: Gamesoul | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: Here
“…an iPhone and Android game that feels a little bit like a Foddy game, like QWOP or GIRP, where you’ve got strange and limited control of a ragdoll body, and your only goal is to do a backflip off things and land on your feet.
Initially this takes place in a gym, but later levels get progressively weirder until you’re, as you can see here, backflipping off houses at sunset. people have really been going nuts for this one and getting into very heated high score battles over this one, there’s something really unexpectedly compelling about it.”
Developer: Simogo | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store
“…You might recognize these guys from earlier games like Bumpy Road and Beat Sneak Bandit, but this is a big departure for them, in that they’ve turned away from their earlier hyper cute style and have put together an actually fairly dark little horror game that plays off a lot of Swedish folk tales about the creatures you meet in snowy forests. As usual, though, it’s really beautifully illustrated and crafted adventure, and honestly a bit more scary than I expected it to be. ”
“…you might have played the original version of this when it was called Bit Trip Runner and had a more Atari 2600 aesthetic. Mechanically, Runner2 is more or less identical — you’re still essentially just running & dodging through levels on rhythm with its music — but it’s very much like the unbridled director’s cut. It’s more of the same, but where the same was a thing you really wanted more of in the first place.”
Developer: Vlambeer & aeiowu & Zach Gage | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store
“This is absolutely going to be your new favorite iPhone game, and will be remembered as one of the best of the year.”
See more posts about: 30 Second Life, A Fistful of Indies, Analgesic, Anodyne, Art Game, Backflip Madness, Banner Saga: Factions, Bruce Hill, Gaijin, Gamesoul, GL33k, Glitchamaphone, Greg Wohlwend, Lucky Frame, Pippin Barr, Ridiculous Fishing, Runner2, Simogo, Stoic, Vlambeer, Wave Trip, Year Walk, Zach Gage