In this week’s Indie Wonderland, I look at Tetrobot and Co.. What’s a Tetrobot? What’s a Co? And why the period in the title? Read all about it over at Ninja Blues.
In this week’s Indie Wonderland, I look at Petz Catz 2. Why, oh why do I play this game? And is it good, I guess? I think we both know the answer to that last one, but if you want to be sure — and if you want to watch this trainwreck up close — read all about it over at Ninja Blues.
In this week’s Indie Wonderland, I look at rymdkapsel. What is a rymdkapsel? And why would I think it means ‘space haircut’? Read all about it over at Ninja Blues.
In this week’s Indie Wonderland, I look at Octodad: Dadliest Catch. Does anyone suspect a thing? Read all about it over at Ninja Blues.
Risk of Rain. Kind of a weird game name, don’t you think? Or maybe I just think that because I’m Dutch. After all, we don’t really understand the concept of ‘risk of rain’. Had this game been developed by a Dutch studio, it would have been called Absolute Goddamn Certainty Of Rain At Exactly The Most Inopportune Moment.
But Risk of Rain wasn’t developed by a Dutch studio: it was created by two-man team Hopoo Games and published by none other than Chucklefish, who, so hot on the heels of my Starbound review hold the semi-prestigious honour of Studio Referenced Most Often In The Shortest Amount Of Time. But don’t worry about any overlap between the two reviews! After all, Starbound is a 2D action-platformer about one or multiple intrepid space travelers exploring a large variety of procedurally generated pixelated worlds, fighting off semi-random monsters and powerful bosses to retrieve items and increase in power while attempting to unravel the mysteries of their surroundings. Whereas Risk of Rain is…
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low-ish. Mechanical, fairly high.)
Okay, okay, no joke this time: The Banner Saga‘s impact notwithstanding, the real major Kickstarter impact I was alluding to last week is obviously the long-awaited release of Double Fine’s Broken Age, to those who backed the Kickstarter that launched a thousand ships. Or, rather, its partial release: Broken Age as-is is considered ‘Act 1′, with the concluding ‘Act 2′ finding its way to computers near you “later this year“.
While Broken Age’s release was obviously a Big Thing, capitalization non-optional, I opted to give precedence to The Banner Saga for a couple of reasons. First, there was that business with the reviewing embargo that accompanied Broken Age’s initial launch. While I know it was lifted fairly soon after, the whole thing left a rather sour taste in my mouth… plus, by the time it was officially lifted, I’d already started doing the preliminaries for The Banner Saga anyway.
Second, notice that I said Broken Age was released to Kickstarter backers. At time of writing, the game is still off-limits to regular prospective customers: stores don’t open for those lacking Double Fine faith until January 28th. And while I understand the value of advance reviews, postponing a column on a game that people could actually buy immediately for one they’d have to wait another week for felt a little weird to me. Not to mention that this way, this column and Broken Age’s unlock date sync up rather well. I can even start pretending I timed it like that on purpose!
And third… well, third is that Broken Age is an adventure game. That classic genre of games that I can’t really review the way I like to review games, because giving a brief overview of the first half hour of gameplay effectively ruins the first half hour of gameplay. Which, in a game as relatively short as Broken Age — I clocked about five hours for the whole thing — is a fairly significant spoiling ratio.
I’m still writing about it, obviously. But as before, expect a shorter, more mood-and-experience-focused Indie Wonderland after the break.
Pop quiz, hot shot: if I tell you that this week’s Indie Wonderland is about a fairly high-profile Kickstarter game that’s finally come home to roost — and assuming you haven’t already seen the title or the featured image, both of which kind of give the answer away immediately — which game would you guess I’m talking about? Yeah, that’s right: clearly, the single most influential name in Kickstarter gaming as of right now is Stoic Studio‘s The Banner Saga, their purportedly epic turn-based tale of giants and Vikings and pretty, pretty artwork.
We’re all on the same page here, right? I mean, I wouldn’t even know how to break an age. Do you just… tear a calendar in half, or something? Is that how it goes?
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, fairly high.)
Another year, another Kickstarter that delivers: GhostControl Inc., by developer Bumblebee Games, has deigned to see the light of day. Pitched as a blend between classic X-COM and Ghostbusters, I backed it because it was pitched as a blend between classic X-COM and Ghostbusters. I mean, doi hoi.
GhostControl Inc. has actually been in development rather briefly, with the Kickstarter dating back only to July last year. This wasn’t particularly surprising: with such a modest funding goal, and with gameplay demonstrations that felt as functional as they did, as early as they did… I actually had a chance to play an early build at Gamescom 2013 (and leave my name on the Indie Table) which felt pretty decently developed for a game only two months out of Kickstarter. Point is: while only six months of development from Kickstarter to completion seems short — and it is — I could see it work for GhostControl Inc.. Whether or not it’s actually worked, however, is something I hope to find out in the next couple of thousand words.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, not a whole lot. Mechanical, pretty much completely.)
Happy 2014, readers! Can I just take this moment to say how happy it makes me that you’ve all decided to continue your Indie Wonderland patronage post-Year of Luigi? I’m very glad to see all of you here. Especially you. Yes, you, the person currently reading this! Having you here just brightens my day immeasurably. Don’t tell any of the other readers, but you’ve always been my favourite.
I’ve decided to start 2014 off with a first look at a game I’ve halfway had my eye on for a while now: Peter Molyneux‘ latest masterpiece of over-hype and likely false promises, Godus, or ‘the regenesis of the godgame’. Like Starbound, Godus is currently in Early Access, meaning there’s a not insignificant chance any obvious weaknesses I complain about will get improved upon over time. But building on Starbound, I’ve made the executive review decision that any game that demands payment for access is a game that relinquishes the ‘it’s still in beta/development’ criticism defense. Doubly so when the price of this early access — Godus currently trades for about twenty dollars on Steam — would get you full access to any number of completed, proven-quality indie games instead.
Hence, Godus. Let’s see if I can give you an impression of what Godus is all about.
(Q: “Jarenth, if this is another Early Access game, why didn’t you do another Choose-Your-Own-Adventure review?” A: I’ve considered this, but my experience with Godus hasn’t really lent itself to that kind of review. Sorry! Maybe next time.)
So uh, yeah. Along Came A Spider, from indie developer Raoghard, is… a game. About a spider. That… came along, I guess? I’m sorry, I don’t really have a good story to go with this game: I saw it in a bundle I’d purchased earlier, it looked decent enough from the short gameplay trailer I watched, and I already resolved to not spend any more money on games this month if I can at all help it. And that conflux of circumstances lead directly to the review you’re currently eyeballing.
You know how people sometimes have off days? What you’re looking at right now could probably be considered an off column: a review that I just can’t think of a funny or insightful opening blurb to write for. And yes, feel free to make any ‘how is that any different from normal’ jokes at your own leisure.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, not really a factor. Mechanical, somewhat high.)