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There are very few quality games that take a fraction of a second to understand but an insane amount of time to master. Stickets is one of those games. It's exactly as advertised: an elegantly brutal puzzle game. The one and only mechanic of Stickets is to place your tri-coloured blocks reminiscent of Tetris blocks on a 5x5 grid and connect three of a colour to clear them away. If you thought you'd be rewarded for clearing pieces, you'd be wrong. You only get rewarded by sticking pieces to the grid. Once you've stuck 50 pieces on in the basic 'space' mode, you unlock 'time' mode. This is where it all goes down.

In 'time' mode, you have a meter that tells you how many blocks will disappear if you don't clear them in time. Fear not, for the meter refills for every four pieces you clear. There is one last mode, the 'puzzle' mode, but I'll let you discover how to unlock and play that for yourself.

Tetris and any match-three games pale in comparison to Stickets from a difficulty point of view. If you enjoyed Waderland's other iOS games Midas Touch or Impasse, I'm positive you'll have a fantastic time with Stickets.

Stickets is available for $2.99 on most iOS device stores.

Update: A Hat in Time has officially surpassed its current goal of $30,000! But why stop funding it when you could continue and get 2 bonus levels, a co-op mode, and full voice acting! Furthermore, thanks to Gustav Dahl we now have a prototype of A Hat in Time in our possession, and from what we've played its quite promising. So contribute while you can! Impressions coming soon!

Yes, it's true, Gears for Breakfast's upcoming A Hat in Time is now on Kickstarter. It's looking to raise $30,000 over the next month, and fortunately it's already well past a third of the way there, having raised over $12,000 so far. You can learn more of A Hat in Time over at its Kickstarter page, and while you're there be sure to contribute towards the Kickstarter by taking up Gears for Breakfast on some of their fantastic offers!

A Hat in Time is currently coming to PC/Mac with a possible release on the Wii U in the future. The game is also aiming towards a release on Steam, so by all means head towards Steam Greenlight and vote!

A Hat in Time is a 3D collect-a-thon in the spirit of classic N64 games, such as Zelda, Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64. The game features Hat Kid, an interstellar time traveller. She is armed with her umbrella that can be used for a wide range of attacks and tools, such as a hookshot. Visually, the game is a mix of Banjo-Kazooie, Super Mario Galaxy and Zelda: The Wind Waker. It features huge worlds with tons of stuff to collect. The game's main goal is to bring back some of the magic that old games from the 90s gave us as kids.

Reus is the newest game from the Netherlands' independent developer Abbey Games, and was released on May 16th. The game places players in the position of a god with control over four types of elemental giants (ocean, forest, rock, and swamp) so that they may attempt to turn a barren wasteland into a thriving and blossoming civilization.

At first, the game and its mechanics are rather overwhelming. There are tutorials to ease you into the game, but you'll only be able to really understand the more complicated systems through experience. It's recommended that you have the game's wiki open as you play for the first couple hours, or at least until you have a firm grasp on how things work. Get past that, however, and you'll find Reus to be a fun, neat, and entertaining experience. Head past the jump for more!

It has been announced that PSVita will be receiving ports of two indie titles, Flower and LIMBO, before the end of 2013. For those unaware of either of the two titles, here's a brief description of each:

Flower, thatgamecompany's relaxingly beautiful PlayStation Network classic, is coming to PSVita at an unknown date later this year. Released on PlayStation Network back in 2009, Flower is a simplistic game featuring only one possible action, movement. Players push their flower pedal with surprisingly intuitive Sixaxis controls and the push of any button. With no heads-up-display, no points, no combat and no dialogue, the player's only objective is to float from flower to flower, opening up their buds as you glide along. Flower is the kind of game where you can just sit back, relax, and take in the atmosphere to your heart's content. Expect to see Flower on PSVita sometime in 2013.

LIMBO, another atmospheric indie title by studio Playdead, is a gray-scale platformer in which players step into the shoes of a young boy "Uncertain of his sister's fate, [who] enters LIMBO." While a short game, LIMBO features a number of interesting puzzles and encounters, one involving a fairly terrifying spider, and several intriguing locales. You can look for it on PSVita once June 5th roles around in just under a week.

There's been too long of a silence from Italian indie-game developer Ivan Zanotti, best known for Imscared, which was seen as a perfect antidote to Slender and all of its clones heirs. He has started other projects since his last release, but according to him they're taking longer than expected, and so he's been excited to release a new game. Nothing Else, which he described as 'a weird game experience', is the product of all of his effort.

Nothing Else seems very basic at first glance, being pseudo-8 bit and a 2D side-scroller (with some clues for puzzles found in a first person view). However, Nothing Else is far more than a simple 2D platformer, rather, it is a puzzle horror game. In fact, the very first puzzle involves obtaining the book that your character wants to read as he falls asleep. Instead of drifting gently to sleep, however, your character finds himself transported somewhere strange.

Nothing Else is centered around puzzles, so you should definitely keep your eyes peeled for the clues that have been flawlessly blended into the close-ups. The art in the game is beautifully simple and, when mixed with the eerie soundtrack and near disturbing scenery, provides an almost delightfully creepy atmosphere. The game is a perfect mixture of horror and adventure that only Zanotti could hope to accomplish.

Nothing Else is available to be downloaded for Windows.

According to Don Mattrick, Microsoft’s head of "interactive entertainment" and the main face and driving force behind all things Xbox, the Xbox One will support indie games and indie studios via an “independent creator program.” Mattrick stated that there is “no way” Microsoft would build a console without keeping that in mind.

We’re going to have an independent creator program,” he said. “We’re going to sponsor it. We’re going to give people tools. That is something we think—I think—is important. That’s how I started in the industry. There’s no way we’re going to build a box that doesn't support that.

Don Mattrick furthered this argument by stating that independent game creators “exist right inside our ecosystem,” and that Microsoft is going to “support those guys.” He also said that more information is coming at E3.

It was reported last week that indie developers wouldn't be allowed to self-publish games on Xbox One the way they can on the PlayStation 3, the Wii U, and the newly released OUYA. We also found out that the Xbox One would no longer contain separate channels for Xbox Live Arcade and Xbox Live Indie Games, as all titles would go under one unified tab.

Many indie game studios, such as Curve Studios, Pocketwatch Games, Just Add Water, and The Astronauts voiced both confusion and frustration, along with a little bit of indecisiveness, regarding the console after last week's botched reveal. It seems like everyone is looking forward to E3 -- not just for the new systems and titles that are going to be released, but also so that we finally get some straight answers from Microsoft.

The latest installment in the much-loved bundle of indie game-goodness known as the Humble Indie Bundle is now live and ready to be purchased. For those unaware, The Humble Indie Bundle is a series of "pay what you want" packs of independent video games. The bundled games are cross-platform for PC, Mac OS X and Linux, and they're even DRM free. Plus, as long as you pay at least one dollar, you get a Steam key for each of your new indie games as well. Upon purchasing the bundle, you even decide where the proceeds go. Be that to charity, developers, or even the bundle-hosts themselves, is up to you.

The latest in the series, Humble Indie Bundle 8, includes Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized, Thomas Was Alone and Dear Esther no matter what price you decide to pay. However, if you choose to put down more than the average buyer (at the time of writing, the average is $5.69), Hotline Miami and Proteus get thrown in too. The Humble Indie Bundle is a great price for quality products, so if you're at all interested in indie games, make sure you check it out before it closes in 13 days.

The Astronauts are an indie studio located across the pond in Warsaw, Poland. The team is comprised largely of migrants from People Can Fly, the development studio responsible for several crazy shooters like Painkiller and Bulletstorm, and there's even one astronaut member from the well-respected Eidos Montreal, developer of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and the upcoming Thief reboot. Despite their FPS-filled past, The Astronauts are currently hard at work designing The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, a Lovecraft-inspired first person title which the team states is "not about shooting monsters," but rather focuses on "its escapist factor: the immersion, the exploration and the discovery."

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is something of a passion-project for The Astronauts, and as such they're really going the extra mile with even the smaller aspects of the game's development. According to their latest blog post, the textures are one facet of the game receiving a pretty nice chunk of that special treatment. Last weekend, a few of The Astronauts, cameras and laptops in-hand, gave the Polish town of Karpacz a visit in order to immerse themselves in the kind of setting they want to recreate with The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. While there, The Astronauts spent time hanging from trees and posing like figure skaters to get the perfect shots to give Ethan Carter the most immersive environment possible. Read on past the jump for more on The Astronaut's devotion to finding the perfect texture maps, even for the "damp patch behind a drain pipe."

Christopher Seavor, the project lead on the Nintendo 64's 2001 cult-classic Conker's Bad Fur Day and its subsequent remake for Xbox, posted a tweet yesterday indicating the possibility of his studio, Gory Detail, working on a project for Wii U. For years, Nintendo fans have been clamoring to get back the "good old days" when the talented folks from Rare developed games for Nintendo consoles, so I'm sure we'll be seeing a massively positive response to this opportunity.

Check it out after the jump!

There was a lot of controversy surrounding Xbox One's reveal a few days ago. From vague descriptions of Xbox One's used games policy and the perhaps-exaggerated response to Xbox One's supposedly heavily constrained indie strategy, Microsoft has been getting quite a bit of flak about the unveiling from a significant portion gaming community. However, it may be that some of this criticism is unwarranted, as indie developer James Silva, of Ska Studios, has provided an interesting response to all the ruckus around Xbox One's seemingly regressive indie game-publishing plan. In a blog post on Gamasutra, entitled "We're Indie, we like Microsoft. Too Controversial?" Silva had this to say:

"I wrote this post on our blog a few months ago to express how absolutely weird and unfortunate I thought it was that the trending perception of Microsoft and indies had gotten so bad that silly creative decisions of mine were being taken as Microsoft's ever-burgeoning evilness toward indies, or something. My message was this: we're indie, we make the games we want to make, Microsoft publishes them, and the past five years of this have been great, and it's too bad that that's not super newsworthy, because this whole time it just feels like I must watch, powerless, as Lumbergh keeps taking my red stapler." — James Silva

Over the course of the blog post, Silva also makes a point to be sure he gets across that the meaning of "no self-publishing on Xbox One " is really "that the partner/publisher relationship [between Microsoft and indies] is currently the same [as it was on Xbox 360] but they're exploring ways to improve it."

Perhaps the gaming press as a whole may have jumped the gun a bit too quickly on this one, but what do you think? Has there simply been a misinterpretation on the whole "self-publishing" issue? Or has James Silva just been lucky in his interactions as an indie developer with Microsoft? Sound off in the comments!

In case you haven't heard, the new Xbox One doesn't grant indie developers the ability to self-publish their games. Microsoft has been notorious for lackluster indie relations during the course of the Xbox 360's lifecycle, and many minds in the industry were hoping this would change come time for the new console, now officially labeled "Xbox One." Unfortunately, this isn't the case.

One would think that Nintendo's Dan Adelman, a prominent player in Nintendo's indie relations, is excited that more indie developers would be driven to his employer after Microsoft's big news, but as you can see from the above tweet, Adelman is actually saddened to see that Microsoft isn't going to let indie developers self-publish.

It would appear that Decorous Dude Dan has a bigger heart for indie developers and their market than he cares for the excessive wellbeing of his employer. It's figures like these in the industry, who beget corporate greed for a greater sense of right in the gaming culture, that make me smile every day. Kudos, Dan.

Nyamyam is an indie studio comprised largely of former Rare developers. The studio is currently working on an upcoming game entitled Tengami, a beautiful adventure game with a unique popup-book art direction. Founding member, Jennifer Schneidereit recently sat down to have a chat with Shack News regarding Nyamyam's reasoning behind their choices on Tengami's aesthetic.

In addition to its popup book style, Tengami also took inspiration from the art of Japanese fables. Schneidereit mentions that after choosing to go with a popup book aesthetic, they began researching cultural histories which were rich in paper-making, and eventually settled on the culture of Japan:

"Japan has a long tradition in handmade papers and, since all of us at Nyamyam love traditional Japanese culture, we started to experiment with different Japanese papers until we arrived at the current look of the game."  -- Jennifer Schneidereit

She also points to the willingness of Japanese fables to be dark and their nuanced ideas about good and evil as other contributing factors towards Tengami's gorgeous art direction.

In a recent interview, well known industry figure and director designer on the Gears of War franchise, Cliff Bleszinski, shared his thoughts on the topic of Microsoft's and Sony's dealings with indie developers. He compliments Sony on having "embraced the vibe." But, regarding Microsoft — I guess leaving Epic Games has given Bleszinski the chance to speak his mind — he compares the process of indie development for the Xbox Live Arcade to a "nightmare." Here's the full quote:

"I have a very good relationship with Microsoft, but [there are] a lot of TCRs you'd have to go through ... all the stuff you'd have to go through to get your game on Xbox Live Arcade, or even issue updates on; it was a nightmare ... it feels like Sony's embraced a lot of that vibe thus far, as far as indie games go and whatnot. I feel like Sony's really embraced that vibe, and [the] homebrewed and homegrown movement that's really taken over, and what a cool thing that somebody in his garage made as a mod that is going to go viral tomorrow." — Cliff Bleszinski

This is a pretty commonly held sentiment; my only wish is that people would start pointing out that Nintendo, as well, have been opening up to indie developers.

Don't Starve, developed by Klei Entertainment, is an indie survival game available on PC for $14.99. Players step into the shoes of Wilson, a gentlemen scientist whom a demon has transported to a "mysterious wilderness world." Don't Starve is all about learning how to use the environment to your advantage in order to survive and, eventually, escape. The game also features an interesting art style, which is sort of a blend between Tim Burton and a cartoon.

Several days ago Jamie Cheng, one of the game's team members, was asked on Twitter whether or not there were any plans to bring Klei's PC game Don't Starve to either the 3DS or PSVita. Cheng responded that, though there are currently no concrete plans to do so, he'd "love to." And, given Nintendo's and Sony's recent attitudes toward indies, a 3DS or PSVita release of Don't Starve could very easily become a reality; let's hope it does.

Would you like to see Don't Starve make its way to either handheld platform?

Over the past few years, Sony has been steadily garnering a reputation for its indie-friendly policies. Reports from indie developers consistently surface regarding working with Sony, and just about every single one is positive. And fortunately, that trend shows absolutely no signs of stopping; just the other day Sony was showing off a slew of promising indie titles via its PlayStation Blog: Rymdkapsel (pictured to the left), Hohokum, Doki-Doki Universe, and Counter Spy.

Head past the jump for details and quotes regarding all four of the unique indie titles!