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.
With the amount of projects being discussed weekly on TIGSource and only limited space at my disposal, it often happens that a number of genuinely interesting devlogs don’t get a spot in this magazine, including games which have been previously been featured well over a year ago but are still in active development! To help at least partially remedy that, this week we’re bringing back a few of those: Somewhere, Elliot Quest, Master Spy and Son of Nor.
With GDC and the IGF Awards at our backs, you’d think the indies could take it easy for at least a few days, but you’d be wrong!
This week’s issue of the Devlog is a round up of some very interesting projects — a few of which have been in development for quite some time already.
And given that EGX Rezzed is in full swing in Birmingham right now, and will be through Sunday the 30th, this issue features some of the indie games being displayed there, including TinyKeep, Kaiju Panic and Light — all of which are playable there, along with Narcissus (which was previously featured in Issue #16).
[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective.]
Bummed out that you missed the debut of the ultimate game of competitive feline poise & grace? Then join us next Thursday, April 3rd, at 7:00PM at Austin’s North Door, as JUEGOS RANCHEROS presents Musclecat Showdown, a new game from Major Bueno & Bee and Puppycat creator Natasha Allegri!
Musclecat Showdown was originally conceived & devised for That Venus Patrol Wild Rumpus Party at this year’s Game Developers Conference — which went down barely a week or so ago — and ended up being so amazing that we’re ready for it to begin its world-tour, starting right here in Austin!
In it — as captured above by David ‘CandyHam‘ Vileta — both players act as playground-conflict mediators between two rival schoolchildren, who settle their score by having an afterschool house-pet pose-off.
In phase one, you’ll get pumped in your respective full-length mirrors, and then meet on the field for the showdown itself! Follow your owner’s directions or get squirted with spray-bottles! Do them proud and find out who is the real ultimate musclecat!
Doors will be open Thursday, April 3rd, at 7:00PM at North Door, 501 Brushy Street, Austin, TX 78702! The show is free and open to all the public — come drink, play, and meet the people changing the way you think about videogames!
Even through I’m not sure any of us have actually fully recovered yet from last week’s That Venus Patrol Wild Rumpus Party, I don’t think I’m alone in already wishing I could relive all of its exhaustive glory over again.
In addition to the embedded version below, you can also listen to the mix at Arcane Kids’ dedicated site for the set, where you can also find a rotating display of Vines from That Party, which are a pretty good start at recapturing what made the night amazing.
The game — a sequel to the 2009 iPhone original Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor — is set to expand on the first with an even larger and richer world, which again layers super approachable web-slinging and insect-eating mechanics over the deeper, unspoken mysteries of the locations in which it takes place, left for the player to delve into and uncover of their own accord.
To help give everyone everywhere equal opportunity to prepare to piece together those mysteries, we present here full video of the night’s proceedings. Above you’ll find a complete walkthrough of some early levels that introduces many of the mechanics you will remember from the first, as well as a number of new features, including one that changes the content of the game based on the time & weather around you in the real world.
In hopes of giving everyone a little more lead time this year, organizers of Fantastic Arcade — the indie game offshoot of Alamo Drafthouse’s Fantastic Fest — have just opened submissions for this year’s festival, which will take place here in Austin, TX on September 18th-21st.
Once again, the festival will be curated by Austin’s game collective JUEGOS RANCHEROS, and will give the developers the opportunity not just to showcase their game (including some in custom-built arcade cabinets, like at top!), but give talks in whatever manner they choose.
Even if I wasn’t part of the curatorial team, I’d still call Fantastic Arcade one of my favorite festivals of the year: it’s super open & free-form and basically exists to bring some of the best developers together for a week to eat, drink & celebrate awesome games, and the FA team have a bunch of other really cool things to announce as the date draws near.
This is it! GDC’s final day, marking the end of one of the craziest weeks ever. What an amazing year for indie games this has been: today we’re proud to celebrate the 16th Annual IGF awards, showcasing this edition’s victors in a special issue, of course along the usual goodness straight from the TIGSource forums.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of days, you’re most likely already aware Lucas Pope’s dystopian document thriller Papers, Please swept the IGF, winning the prestigious Seumas McNally Grand Prize as Best Independent Game, on top of being awarded for Excellence in Narrative and Excellence in Design.
Other prizes where awarded to Jason Robert’s Gorogoa (Excellence in Visual Arts), Tale of Tales’ Luxuria Superbia (Nuovo award), Simogo’s DEVICE 6 (Excellence in Audio), Hoppo Games’ Risk of Rain (Best Student Game) and Galactic Cafe’s The Stanley Parable (Audience award). Congratulations to this year’s winners, and thanks for bringing honour to independent games as a whole by striving for perfection and pushing the limit ever forward!
Huzzah! So much goodness. But don’t let GDC and the IGF Awards grab all of your attention, as amazing indie games are constantly being worked on, even during this frantic week. Among the latest arrivals on the TIGS boards, we find Midora (a modern take on the 2D ARPG genre, inspired by classics like The Legend of Zelda and the Mana series), Party Animals (a political strategy game about winning the mayoral elections and also about the kind of sacrifices you’re ready to make in order to do so, featuring visuals by Prison Architect‘s artist Ryan Sumo), accompanied by Hex Brothers and Upside-Down Dimensions, two brand new projects of which only little is known about yet, but I’m very confident will soon be making the news.
I’d also like to give a special mention to Evan Todd’s Lemma and Steamburger Studio’s Let’s Go Camping!. The former is an innovative parkour game, in which every player’s move has the potential to alter the dynamic environments, while the latter is, in its creators’ words, “an FPS roguelike(lite) dungeon crawler” in which the player needs to hike, camp, and survive in a vast overworld wilderness in order to find procedurally generated dungeons and the treasures hidden within.
That’s all for now folks! Remember to check each and every devlog in the release, as all of these projects are well worth your attention. Happy final GDC hours and see you next Friday!
In this issue you might notice an abundance of pixel art, but we’ll also be featuring a few notable outliers.
Halfway and Heavy Shell are both turn-based strategy games. The former puts an emphasis on tactical squads positioning, while the latter features voxel mechs and lies somewhere between X-Com and Front Mission. Elsewhere, Elysis and NDE — both in development for almost a year now — take on the action RPG genre instead.
Tako’s Japanese is an interesting educational game set to help you learn how to read and write in Japanese, while also being entertaining. And Elarooh promises to amuse you with beautiful watercolor & hand-drawn backgrounds and characters.
I also included a few games have had devlogs on TIGSource for multiple years, as development continues tirelessly on moonman, Even the Ocean and The Curious Expedition. As usual, be sure to check all of the devlogs in today’s issue — each of these projects is well worth your attention in their own right!