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: Exotworking | Platform: Web | Play it: Here
“… a brief and clever little short story of a game from Exotworking, a group that includes a guy who’s currently interning at Double Fine, which should give you a hint about the sense of humor you can expect. I won’t go into too much detail & spoil the fun, so let’s just say it’s an exploration of the ethics of the traditional retro platform game & leave it at that.”
“… just recently landed on the 3DS — which is my new favorite way to play it — it’s a serene bedtime story of a game from a Swedish indie called Nifflas, who’s sort of the resident master of quiet, ambient platformers, which is exactly what you should expect from this.”
Developer: The Catamites | Platform: PC/Mac | Get it: Here
“… a 3D dungeon crawler from the same developer of the amazing game Murder Dog. If you’ve played that, you’ll feel right at home with the sort of anarchist punk vibe happening here. If you haven’t, you’ll basically be wolloped across the face by how bizarre and brutalist it is, but underneath the sort of terrifying severity, there is actually a lengthy adventure here.”
Mark of the Ninja
“… a super polished stealth platformer from Klei, and is maybe most remarkable for the fact that it’s the first game that’s given me the choice between pacifism and genocide and I’ve not just chosen but almost like lusted to kill every single person — it’s an incredibly satisfying game all around.”
Developer: Colin Northway | Platform: PC/Mac/Linux | Get it: Here
“… the new game from our friend Colin Northway, best known as the guy with the big mutton chops and a blue safari hat in Spelunky. Like most of his games, this is a heavily physics-based game where you construct your own characters, here by adding limbs & muscles to give them life and solve puzzles. It’s insanely beautiful & super satisfying.”
God of Blades
Developer: White Whale | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store
“This has been featured at a previous JUEGOS, but if this is your first time hearing about it, it’s a pulp fantasy inspired swordfighting game for iPhone & iPad from our own White Whale Games that’s got a ton of soul, and is just about to get a big new dose of content in the next couple weeks.”
Developer: Twinbeard | Platform: Web | Play it: Here
“…basically impossible to describe without ruining it, except to say that I know that based on this screenshot you’re not going to believe me that it’s not just one of the funniest and absurd games to come out in recent memory, but one that basically has the most ideas crammed into one experience. You’ll see what I mean.”
Developer: Honeyslug & Dick Hogg | Platform: PlayStation Vita | Get it: PSN
“… a minigame collection that teaches you about all of the hardware features of the Vita, and also a super funny, absurdist, irreverent game with a ton of unbelievably amazing guest artists. If you’ve got a Vita, you need this game.”
The Unfinished Swan
Developer: Giant Sparrow | Platform: PlayStation 3 | Get it: PSN
“… if you’ve only seen screenshots like this, where you splatter black paint on a fully-white world to explore more deeply, you haven’t seen anything yet. As a sort of magical children’s storybook of a game, it’s just unbelievably completely delightful. ”
Developer: Dennaton | Platform: PC | Get it: Steam
“…an extremely violent and blood-soaked action game that also manages to be both fantastically stylish and awesomely thoughtful in how it handles its violence. Also worth noting is that this screenshot here will be part of an update to the game that should be ready by the time you read this, which lets you play a special level that takes place right here in the Highball.”
See more posts about: A Fistful of Indies, Colin Northway, Dennaton, Exotworking, Frobisher Says, Frog Fractions, Giant Sparrow, Goblet Grotto, God of Blades, Honeyslug, Hotline Miami, Incredipede, Klei, Mark of the Ninja, Nifflas, Night Sky, Richard Hogg, The Unfinished Swan, The Visit, TheCatamites, Twinbeard, White Whale
You’ve seen the trailer, but Incredipede creator (& real live Spelunky character) Colin Northway has just posted an extended video breakdown of how to solve one of the game’s challenges, where the player’s asked to scoop up a falling bonus apple from behind a wall and deliver it to the goal before Quozzle — the game’s main character — does herself.
Admits Northway, of the seven minutes of struggle it eventually takes:
I actually thought up this level on the bus. I also thought up a nice solution to it. Unfortunately the solution I thought would work didn’t work at all so I tried various things in this video until I got it. It’s not a great level and didn’t have the showiest solution but it gives you an idea of how to play.
[VP Rewind is a quick look back at the important events of the past week or two that should have been on Venus Patrol had it actually been alive.]
Already available for discounted pre-orders (due for release in just a few short months) or for getting Greenlit on Steam, if that is your wont, Incredipede is the latest from globe-trotting developer Colin Northway, first seen around these parts several years back having found somewhat overnight success with his very first Flash game, Fantastic Contraption, now a multi-platform powerhouse in its own right.
Incredipede doesn’t fall too far from the Contraption tree-of-knowledge, as it were, still apparently being primarily concerned with creating ambulatory creatures that traverse from one side of a level to another, but what’s most worthy of note here is just how much adding just one reactive eye can elicit real empathy & tension from a player — as the video above amply proves.
As a side note, I won’t take too much credit, but I definitely can still recall an old email thread where I ranted, “you gotta make it look like the Codex Seraphinianus!”, mostly because I can’t find the email anymore, but also because Incredipede artist Thomas Shahan went into so much more fantastic territory than I could have even anticipated, and all I had to offer was a pile of words. [via Northway Games]