»19th March 2019
For one reason or another, when it comes to computer games I've become a total indie cindy. I'm one of those people who take smug joy from not knowing about the latest 'Triple A' (What does that even mean? Who came up with it?) title; who considers a game from 2012 still startlingly 'new'; whose Steam games library has lots of games beginning in 'The' and few ending in a number.
Being an Indie Cindy means I get to get excited about games no one else has played. Here's some good ones:
Metroidvania: Platform game with a focus on unlocking new abilities and powers to allow further exploration of a giant open-world level. Heavily inspired by the Metroid and Castlevania series.
Rogue-like: Originally, referred to RPGs inspired by Rogue. Now an increasingly nebulous term to refer to games with elements of: perma-death (if your character dies even once, it's game over, no reloading, no backsies) procedurally generated levels. Generally have a very steep learning curve and heavy element of chance, oftentimes individual playthroughs may be unwinnable.
Twin-Stick Shooter: No idea where this genre came from, basically you have a character that can move around and aim or shoot independently.
Metroidvania-style platformer set in a Giger-esque fantasy landscape. Fantastic art style. Absolutely banging soundtrack. Probably the newest entry on my list of all-time absolute most favourite bestest games ever. Hey, that would make a good blog update.
Rogue-like Twin-Stick-Shooter. Salad Fingers meets Zelda. Absolutely banging soundtrack.
If this were somehow a Metroidvania too, I think we'd have reach peak indie.
The 'original' indie game. Developed solely by one man (who goes by the name 'Pixel') and originally released as freeware in 2004. Has since been 'remastered' and given a '+' appendage to denote new music and high(er)-res graphics. Quirky Metroidvania. It's fun but has a few drawbacks resulting from its one-man-development origins, mainly a completely wonky difficulty curve.
Dungeon-crawling rogue-like with Final Fantasy-esque turn-based combat. Dark gothic art--personally I think it looks too murky, like it's trying too hard to be dark.
Typing game where you control a girl riding a three-tailed fox through some kind of story-world that mirrors the in-game author's own life. I know, ludicrously hip, but give it a chance. The typing action (that's right, the typing action) is solid and the graphics are very stylish. Good fun.
Highly innovative turn-based strategy. Cyber-punk stylings. Very satisfying when a plan comes together. Cool vector-style graphics, the few non-vector graphics feel kind of cheap though. Cheapness pervades this game, it's desperately crying out for a bigger studio to pick it up and make it feel more fully-featured.
Rogue-like strategy putting you in control of a ship that you can customise and upgrade. Star Control meets Star Trek TNG. Absolute classic.
A JRPG battle system underneath a spaceships strategy game. Not as fun as it sounds, sadly. The first half of the game feels kind of shallow, there didn't seem to be enough depth and subtlety to the upgrades and skill progression tree. Then the second half of the game just becomes a brutal grind as you hit the difficulty wall.
Metroidvania-style platformer. Slick controls. Stylish visuals. At times deeply frustrating, grindy difficulty curve.
Repeatedly dying at bosses often necessitates five to ten minutes of back-tracking only to once again die 10 seconds into the boss battle. This can happen a lot and frankly is unacceptable. Don't give me that 'well, it's supposed to be hard' bullshit. If I were giving grades out, the back-tracking would drop it from an A to C/C+--it's that much of an issue.
Top-down sort-of-twin-stick shooter. Ultraviolent. Absolutely banging soundtrack. At times deeply frustrating, grindy difficulty curve.
Top-down Zelda-ish kind of game. Fantastic art style. At times deeply frustrating, grindy difficulty curve.
Turn-based rogue-like strategy. Units move a little bit like in Chess. From the guys who made FTL. That alone should convince you it's worth a look. Sadly, nowhere near as much replay value as FTL.
Super-minimalist (Two-colour graphics!) Metroidvania. Short. Some neat mechanics. If I were an indie game developer, this is what I would make too. It's cheap on Steam.
God sim. Oh, hello nineties ways of describing games. Planning/management strategy where you run a for-profit prison. Grim. This can easily become a massive time sink as you build ever expanding prisons and work your way up the tech tree however it kind of stalls when it reaches the late-game and you're just faced with selling up your prison and starting again. The campaign is pretty basic, stick with the sandbox gameplay and prison escape(!) modes.
Imagine if those princess maker games weren't about princess making, but were about Rocky and 80's nostalgia. That's Punch club. Bangin' soundtrack. Not much in the way of strategic depth or replay value, but a really fun, short ride.
The main music that plays during the training and exploration bits of the game is the best montage training music since Team America's Montage. High praise.
Rogue-like deck-building card game. At times deeply frustrating, grindy difficulty curve. For fans of Magic: the Gathering if that wasn't immediately obvious.
Walking simulator Whoever came up with that genre name should be shot. First-person interactive fiction. Must not be spoiled. Replay value comes in the form of the pure joy of watching someone else play through it for the first time.
TCP/IP, it's fucking me off. Other protocols doing little more. Definitely got worse. Now making me curse. Removing IPX. Will it ever work? Never!