Last time around, I promised I’d suggest a few cool indie games you might enjoy as you discover the ridiculously huge world of gaming. Amusingly enough, I had no idea The Edge was teaming up with IGF for their own awesome games event, so a few of of my choices are in the program. Fortunately, I can think of many, many others that are more than fine substitutions as well as additions to your growing games library. Here are three you can grab NOW and two that are very promising works in progress.
Bastion – Supergiant Games’ wonderful action/RPG has a great story, stunningly beautiful visuals and solid, challenging gameplay. That said, key to the experience is the stellar soundtrack and narration The game’s narrator comments on everything you do as you play, offering up a fresh take that makes the game experience even more enjoyable. A smart, fun and often funny world-building hack & slash built by a tean that clearly loves what they do (and it’s their FIRST game). Available now on Xbox 360 Live arcade and for PC over Valve’s Steam delivery service.
Vanessa St Pierre-Delacroix and Her Nightmare – This super fun puzzle game with the long name is a throwback to classic 8 and 16-bit 2D games with a fun 3D twist. Play as a curious little girl trapped inside a game world set inside a rotating cube. You’ll need to manipulate both Vanessa and the cube in order to get around and the experience is definitely a mind-bender that’s pleasing for young and old alike. Bad Pilcrow has created one of those memorable little titles that you’ll go back to again and again.
FOTONICA – A first-person game that’s all about momentum, running and jumping in a surreal landscape, SantaRagione’s wickedly fun experience is also a one-button game that works flawlessly as a reflex test. Nailing some really tricky jumps and landings on narrow pathways is hard at first, but then something clicks and you get that adrenaline rush going as you start connecting with the ground and gain more speed. The mix of 80’s style vector graphics (there’s an option to add a two-tone effect), sense of motion and nice level of challenge should appeal to a wide range of gamers. Available on PC or Mac in a “pay what you want” download.
Tiny & Big in Grandpa’s Leftovers – Black Pants Game Studios’ combination of whimsical art direction and physics-based gameplay is pretty stunning stuff even though the game still has a fair ways to go in development. Playing as Tiny, your goal is to recover a pair of stolen underpants left to you by your dearly departed grandfather. The culprit, Big, is a pesky warping annoyance who manages to escape just as you catch up to him taunting you all the way. Gameplay revolves around using a cool laser cutter to dice parts of the environment plus a cable you can use to pull destroyed objects around in order to gain access to higher ground. Go download the demo (Tiny & Big in Up That Mountain) which is available for PC, Mac and Linux and prepare to get a grin going.
Journey – In this innovative and gorgeous PlayStation 3 exclusive set to hit PSN (PlayStation Network) next spring, developer thatgamecompany has created an amazing online experience like no other. An intelligent, quiet yet enthralling multiplayer exploration game where only two players are on screen at any given time, Journey makes each play through a unique experience. Just enjoying the game space while making one’s way across a massive desert landscape seems to be one goal, but there’s more depth that’s subtle and rewarding. Your avatar is a slim mystical being that can glide short distances while jumping and manipulate cloth objects in the game world. Traditional platforming skills apply and there are many navigational puzzles to solve along the way, but communication is limited to musical tones generated by characters that activate parts of the landscape. Easy to pick up and play and featuring some stunning visuals (the ocean-like sand movement is astounding), this is sure to be one of 2012’s biggest small games once it’s released.
Want more? Well, I’ll be compiling a much longer list on my blog in the near future, so feel free to pop in from time to time if you need a suggestion or two.