Brandon Boyer

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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.


Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

Developer: Next Level Games/Nintendo | Platform: 3DS | Get it: Here

“… I’m gonna cheat a bit and totally go AAA with this recommendation, which just recently came out and I feel like not nearly enough people are talking about (ed. note: this turned out to be very not true). This is the best Nintendo game I’ve played in ages — a puzzle/adventure game that’s AMAZINGLY funny & well constructed, and has some truly remarkable sound design. This one really pleasantly surprised me and I think it will you, too…”

2013 IGF Finalists

Developer: Various | Platform: Various | Play them: Here

“… another total cheat, which is to say that it’d be a really great idea if you went back to last week’s news and checked out all the finalists of this year’s IGF, because there are some really beautiful gems in there. If you haven’t tried Cart Life, which swept a bunch of the IGF awards, or some oddball newcomers like 7 Grand Steps, there’s no better time.”


Developer: Nifflas | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store

“…I’ve recommended this maybe even more than once before over the past couple years — if you STILL haven’t climbed on board here, it just recently was released for iPhone & iPad with a set of finely tuned swipey touch controls that work surprisingly well for an iOS platformer. This one’s sort of a quiet lullaby of a bedtime game.”


Developer: Anna Anthropy/Leon Arnott/Liz Ryerson | Platform: Web | Get it: App Store

“… a quick and difficult, but easily digestible, puzzle game, the object of which is to arrange these three people so that they sleep comfortably in the same bed throughout the night, made difficult because the three have set ways in which they shift — this is a really cute and cerebral little bit of polyamory.”


Developer: Johan Gjestland | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store

“…a crazy beautiful little iPhone and iPad experience that’s about nothing more than diving through this low-poly seascape, into the darkness, with a nice generative audio experience attached to zipping through these little shards of color. This seems to have passed most everyone by, so definitely investigate this one further.”

The Castle Doctrine

Developer: Jason Rohrer | Platform: Windows/Mac/Linux | Get it: Here

“…if you were at GDC you probably got a really nice demonstration of what this was all about, but essentially this is a massively multiplayer game about the idea of a man’s home being his castle, about the lengths you go to to defend that castle, and about the risks of breaking into someone else’s home to rob them blind.”


Developer: Frogmind | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store

“…another tunnel flying game like Wave Trip was last month, but this time with a really nicely kinetic sense of awkward physics and weight as you sort of bumble through these beautiful landscapes…”

Pipe Trouble

Developer: Pop Sandbox/Jim Munroe | Platform: iPad | Get it: App Store

“…put together by a Canadian studio called Pop Sandbox and co-designed by Jim Munroe, who you might remember from his work with Molleindustria on Unmanned. This is at heart a take on pipe-laying puzzle games you’ve played a bunch before, but with real-world political underpinnings about the practice of trans-Canadian natural gas pipes.

It’s been in the news up there a bunch over the past few weeks because a news report more or less decried it as government sponsored eco-terrorism — it’s another interesting read on how the larger world tries to come to grips with political satire in games.”

The Best Amendment

Developer: Molleindustria | Platform: PC/Mac/Linux | Get it: Here

“… from the OTHER half of the Unmanned team, Paolo from Molleindustria is calling this one ‘an unofficial NRA game’, where each successive level sees you fighting against yourself from all the prior levels you’ve already completed — a twist on the NRA’s stance that the best defense against guns is more guns. Paolo’s released this one as a pay-what-you-like download as well, to help raise money for workshops to help more people create activist and social-change related games.”

Memory of a Broken Dimension

Developer: Ezra Hanson-White | Platform: Windows/Mac | Get it: Windows / Mac

“…it’s actually not really anywhere near complete, but because he ran into a bit of tech trouble demoing it at GDC last week, he’s released a newer demo version from around the end of last year that gives a really good sense of what he’s going for. In essence, it’s a game about hacking — as in, using actual command-line skills — and exploring these gorgeously glitched out broken 3D spaces through your terminal. This one’s so, so beautiful if you’ve got the patience to remember your old DOS command line skills and stick through it to find the scenery above.”