Featured Games

The Goalkeeper by Winter Wolves Tennis Eblow by Mana Games Tasty Planet: Back for Seconds by Dingo Games Tasty Blue by Dingo Games Gratuitous Space Battles by Positech Games The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Grey Alien Games Jolly Rover by Brawsome

Thursday, 31 March 2011

"250 Indie Games You Must Play"

Our blogging friend Gnome has posted a nice little review of this book, along with an interview with the book's author Mike Rose.

It's available from Amazon:

Legendary Wars Springs to Life with Retina Graphics and Free Version

California based Liv Games announces the release of a Free version and the first major update of the acclaimed hybrid fantasy game, Legendary Wars, for iPhone and iPod touch. Legendary Wars offers a unique blend of traditional RTS, RPG, and castle-defense game-play, set in a beautifully crafted, fantasy world. Legendary Wars Free offers players seven custom levels that introduce an assortment of units, from noble Elven Archers to brash Magical Unicorns.



Orange County, California -  Liv Games announces the release of a Free version and the first major update of the acclaimed hybrid fantasy game, Legendary Wars, for iPhone and iPod touch. Legendary Wars offers a unique blend of traditional RTS, RPG, and castle-defense game-play, set in a beautifully crafted, fantasy world. Now taking full advantage of Apple's Retina display and Game Center platform, the game offers hours of progression through captivating landscapes, as well as new global leaderboards and more than 50 achievements. With individually controlled units, unique special abilities, exciting boss encounters, and hordes of varied enemies, the strategic game-play grows as quickly as the intricate cast of characters.

Legendary Wars Free offers players seven custom levels that introduce an assortment of units, from noble Elven Archers to brash Magical Unicorns. Within each level, players mine resources and recruit units to send into the fray along 3 lanes of battle. Units can be independently directed to change lanes, advance, retreat, stand guard, or use combat abilities to overwhelm the enemy. The free version also presents an introduction to the rich, varied set of arcade-style mini-games.

"Our goal is to have a game that everyone can truly enjoy, so we built Legendary Wars Free from scratch and made sure it is packed with custom content," says Orian Livnat, Creator of Legendary Wars. "We can't wait to bring Legendary Wars to  the iPad platform in the coming weeks."

Legendary Wars has a rich, unique blend of RTS, RPG and tower defense. As players journey through five mystical, though tumultuous, zones in the full version, they set out to unravel the secrets that surround the mysterious Sunstones of Legendaria. Throughout 50-plus stages, players can upgrade the stats of their units, fortify their castle, obtain legendary armor, and unlock even more powerful combat abilities. As the story progresses, players pit their champions against hordes of Netherworld creatures, and bosses that range from massive frost-breathing dragons to rabies-infected werewolves.

"After taking over a year to perfect Legendary Wars, our whole team has been thrilled with the game's positive reception," Livnat continues. "We truly appreciate our players, and we're giving Moonstones to all of our current fans when they update."

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
* Requires iPhone OS 3.1.3 or later
* 158 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Legendary Wars 1.3 is only $0.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category and is also available in a free version.

Legendary Wars - Liv Games
Legendary Wars Free - Liv Games

Liv Games is an independent games developing company comprised of eight talented developers and artists who collectively share one goal-- to make fun, addicting games that remind them why they began playing games in the first place. Founded by Orian Livnat and friends in 2009, Liv Games aims to create innovative new games for iOS platforms. Copyright (C) 2011 Liv Games. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Schogini Systems Launches Explosive New Game, tPori, for iPhone/iPod – Offers Free iPad 2 for Best Level Creator

Sunnyvale, CA (March 31, 2011) – Schogini Systems has launched tPori, a strategic puzzle game for iPhone that requires users to test their ability to think quick and plan perfectly to move a fireball across a series of blocks to ignite the bomb. The game offers multiple levels of challenging game-play, plus the ability to extend the game by creating custom levels that can be shared with the entire tPori playing community which is said to be growing exponentially. In fact, the company will reward a free iPad 2 to the person who submits the most challenging level.



In tPori, the objective is to move a fireball across a maze of blocks to ignite a bomb as quickly as possible. Players will need to avoid all of the Green Elements, which will extinguish their fire balls, while using the friendlier elements to help accomplish their mission of igniting the bomb and making it explode.

Some of the blocks in tPori can be removed with a tap, while others are immovable. The player’s success with tPori lies in quickly understanding the elements and creating the perfect strategy to solve the puzzle. This game offers the players an ‘undo’ option in every level, so they can reconsider their strategy after each move. This unique feature allows gamers to better their game-play each time.

 
With tPori’s unique Level Builder, players have the opportunity to design their own challenging and innovative levels. They can share these designs with other players in the tPori playing community. tPori’s Level Loader enable players to install levels designed and created by others. Added to this the most popular designs will be permanently added to future versions of the game, with the creator's name engraved. Also, gamers can play and add levels from the Global level list into their favorite list, play it and also rate it. The application also allows you to share your thoughts via Facebook, Twitter and Email. It also allows you to send feedback about the game-play.

“We’re excited about this game because it includes all the elements we enjoy in a good game – quick thinking, smart strategy and explosions!” said Ajith Kumar, the company’s spokesperson. “It provides unlimited possibilities to explode the bomb with the fireball. The key is to blow the whole thing up as quick as possible.”
tPori features:
  •     Innovative game of strategy that is fun and captivating
  •     An addictive game of skill and strategy that is easy to learn, but hard to put down
  •     Race against time to score the most points
  •     3 skill levels make the game fun for both beginners, experts and veteran gamers
  •     Veteran gamers can publish the solutions for a level to the tPori playing community
tPori is available on the App Store for just US$1.99. More details on the game and the iPad 2 contest for custom level creators can be found at the company’s website, http://www.schogini.in

About the Developer - Schogini Systems:
Schogini Systems has the best engineers at work churning out apps using the state of the art iOS SDKs, and their expertise is in Physics, 2D, Game Center/Multi-Player based Apps. Schogini Systems' recent free iPhone app 3D Globe demonstrates how to import and interact with a 3D object in iPhone. The PHP expertise of Schogini Systems has made it almost an exclusive payment gateway integrator for Magento, Prestashop and OpenCart ecommerce platforms. For more information, visit www.schogini.in.

First movie released of turn based, tactical, browser game - Hostile Sector.

Mindemia has released a first teaser of their upcoming turn based tactical game, Hostile Sector, depicting some of the environments and gameplay elements.  Hostile Sector is a team oriented, turn based, online strategy and tactics game where players fight in persistent environments against AI and other players.  Create a platoon of soldiers. Customize their looks, skills and weapons and send them out on the battlefield. Take over territory that gives your team additional bonuses and glory for your company, all the while your soldiers gain experience and better equipment.



Taking inspiration from classic isometric tactical games, Hostile Sector takes the genre to the next generation by combining them with strategic elements based on territory control, and multiplayer support, while retaining rpg elements and character customization.

Hostile Sector is being developed by indie studio Mindemia, and is due for a 2011 release.

More information can be found at: www.hostilesector.com

Avadon: The Black Fortress - Macintosh Fantasy Game Now on the App Store

Spiderweb Software, Inc. announced today that their games are now available on the Macintosh App Store. The first title available there Avadon: The Black Fortress, a new, Indie fantasy role-playing game. Avadon is in epic adventure in a strange and dangerous world. You are a spy and warrior who must fight the enemies of your homeland. As a servant of the Black Fortress, your word is law. Gain power and influence, experience an exciting adventure, and battle a conspiracy to destroy your people.

Avadon: The Black Fortress - Spiderweb Software

Seattle, Washington - Spiderweb Software, Inc. announced today that their games are now available on the Macintosh App Store. The first title available there is Avadon: The Black Fortress, an all-new, Indie fantasy role-playing game. Avadon is in epic adventure in a strange and dangerous world. You are a spy and warrior who must fight the enemies of your homeland. As a servant of the Black Fortress, your word is law. Gain power and influence, experience an exciting adventure, and battle a conspiracy to destroy your people.

You are an agent of Avadon. The Black Fortress. Outside your lands, there are limitless threats. Barbarians. Fading, jealous empires. Titans and unspeakable horrors. The warriors and spies of Avadon are sent to keep them weak and divided. Your resources are unlimited, and all must obey you.

But a dark time is coming. Assassins are killing Avadon's warriors, and hidden enemies plot to unite all of your homeland's foes. If you cannot discover and destroy this conspiracy, and soon, your people face total destruction. But beware. The assassins will soon come for you ...

Avadon: The Black Fortress is an epic fantasy role-playing adventure in an enormous and unique world. You can choose from four different character classes, each with dozens of unique spells and abilities. Explore cunning dungeons, hunt for hundreds of magical artifacts, and travel through an enormous world, full of secrets. Avadon features many different endings. Your choices will change the world, and there is plenty of replay value.

System Requirements:
* Mac OS X 10.6 or later
* 103 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Avadon: The Black Fortress 1.0.2 is $19.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide through the Mac App Store in the Games category.


Avadon: The Black Fortress - Spiderweb Software

Spiderweb Software, Inc., an independent game-design company based in Seattle, WA, is fanatically dedicated to creating fun, exciting fantasy role-playing games for Windows, Macintosh, and iPad. Past titles include the award-winning Geneforge and Avernum series. Copyright (C) 2011 Spiderweb Software, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

The Game Creators release "The Blobs" for iOS

You play the part of Brother Blob, a cute little green guy whose body can split into multiple pieces. After disaster strikes the family and splits them all up, you must help him search through 120 fiendish levels to reunite them all.

The game started life as an idea based on a 80s mercury maze game. It’s since evolved into a high production title that will enchant and challenge iPhone puzzle fans with its charming characterization, cute music and ever progressive and interesting levels.

Players will travel through six different terrains, from the heavily wooded “Secret Forest” to the harsh conditions of “Metal Defence”. Gamers move Brother Blob by tilting their devices around and sliding him towards the exits in each level. His fluid like body can squeeze through tight gaps and he can even split into separate pieces (making things very challenging!)

Brother Blob moves in a very unique way which players will have to master the skill of to guide him in his mission. Here’s a taste of what’s in store;

• 120 Levels across six different zones
• Unique meta-ball physics used to animate Blob
• Pick up bonus stars in each level
• Avoid spikes, holes, trap doors and firing cannons.
• Resist blowing fans
• Spin around in roundabouts
• Flick switches to open doors
• Unlock exits by solving sequence puzzles
• Push past crumbling rocks and bounce off bumpers
• Destroy robots and teleport through portals
• Speed past electrified areas and avoid shooting turrets

Can you save all the Blobs and bring sanity back to their little world?


The BLOBS! - The Game Creators

The Blobs Screenshots:
















The BLOBS! - The Game Creators

New Star Soccer 5 Trailer!

Silicon Sisters Interactive Unveils School 26 Social Engineering Game for Teens and Tweens

Silicon Sisters Interactive Unveils School 26 Social Engineering Game for Teens and Tweens
Female-focused studio's first release coming to iPad and iPhone in April; other platforms to follow

VANCOUVER, March 30, 2011 - Silicon Sisters Interactive, Canada's first female owned and operated video game company, is proud to announce the upcoming multi-platform launch of School 26. Designed for girls ages 12 to 16, School 26 is a unique casual game built around the complex social hierarchy of high school. Versions for iPad and iPhone / iPod Touch are expected to arrive in the App Store in April, with PC, Mac, and Android versions coming soon after.

School 26 follows Kate, a student whose nomadic family has made it difficult for her to maintain long-term friendships. As she enrolls at her 26th new school, she and her parents strike a deal: if Kate makes good friends here, the family will stay put. Now the player must help Kate use intuition, empathy, and strategy to build friendships and navigate the moral dilemmas of high school. These dilemmas range from power struggles to peer pressure, from romance to betrayal, from alienation to acceptance -- real and relevant situations teens face every day.

School 26 is inspired by academic research that identifies social engineering as a prominent element in the lives of teenaged girls. In the game, Kate must get to know her new classmates' personalities, resolve their issues, and strengthen her connections to them. These objectives are met through various types of gameplay including dialogues during which players pick up on social cues and select appropriate emotional responses, quizzes that provide insights into other characters' (and the player's) personalities, and a card matching game with shifting rules that reflect the evolving social dynamic among the School 26 crew.

While Silicon Sisters ultimately plans to develop games for all age ranges and demographics, the company decided to lead with School 26 after considering where they could make the biggest impact. "With the workplace shifting to knowledge-based industries and women leading in university enrollments and professional degrees, today's teen girls are poised for better success than any other generation," says Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, Silicon Sisters' CEO. "By highlighting and rewarding the social activities girls engage in every day, School 26 legitimizes 'soft skills' such as communication, empathy, and networking. Girls need to understand that these skills will give them a competitive advantage not only in high school, but also later in life."



Upon its release, School 26 will cost $2.99 for iPhone / iPod Touch and $4.99 for iPad (HD version). To learn more about the game visit the official School 26 website at http://www.school26.ca.


About Silicon Sisters Interactive
Silicon Sisters Interactive is the first female owned and run video game studio in Canada. Founded and staffed by industry veterans with decades of hands-on experience, the company is committed to developing high quality, inspirational games with a decidedly female focus -- games made by women and girls, for women and girls. Silicon Sisters' development relies heavily on the analysis of data and studies that disseminate gender differences in video gaming, with the development team building innovative gameplay mechanics around themes and activities that research identifies as relevant to women. School 26, a social engineering game for tween and teen girls, is coming soon for iOS, PC, Mac, and Android. A second project is also under development. For more information, please visit the corporate website at http://www.siliconsisters.ca.

MangaPage - Monthly Development Diary Video

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Frogames announces its new payment system PAY WHAT YOU WANT

Reims, FRANCE – March, 30 2011 – Frogames, an independent video game developer, brings the Pay-What-You-Want payment system for its game MiniOne Racing on the website www.frogames.com

The Pay-What-You-Want system is simple : you decide what is the price for our game MiniOne Racing, a funny, colorful and exciting racing game.

This payment system has been successfully proven by others independent developers: we adopt this solution... and we add something more! The more you pay, the more rewards you receive. 

You can also get the development document of MiniOne Racing (for minimum $8) + the game Penguins Arena-Sedna’s world (*)(for minimum $15) + beta access to the next Frogames games (for minimum $30) + a MiniOne Racing mug (for minimum $60) and an unique pencil sketch especially made for you (for minimum $150)!

(*) Penguins Arena-Sedna’s world took first place at the Intel Game Demo Contest 2007

Frogames was created with a corporate social responsibility philosophy in 2005. So naturally our Pay-What-You-Want system integrates the sustainable development: the more you pay, the more Frogames makes micro-credit loans (from 5% to 20% of the price you chose).
Ever since november 2008 Frogames makes loans to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world attempting to lift themselves out of poverty: we use 5% of our profits from www.frogames.comwww.frogames.net. With this new system and a rate up to 20% Frogames hopes to lend even more... thanks to you!

the Pay What You Want page:  
http://www.frogames.com/minione_racing/


About Frogames
Frogames are independent games developers who pride themselves on being free from the control of other people’s money. As a result, all of their products and ideas are self-funded, self-published and limited only by their imagination.
www.frogames.com
Frogames also provides licensable technical resources that speed up game production so other developers can savor the freedom of creating world-class games quickly and efficiently.

 

 

Gravital Rescue released by Illusionware Games

Illusionware Games, an indie development team from Columbia, have just released "Gravital Rescue", a retro flash game.  Simple controls don't always mean the game's easy!!  The physics are pretty brutal, but you get used to it.
Brief Game Description: 
In this game you take control of a rocket that has to rescue escape pods and arrive to it's destination. The game simulates planets with atraction according to their size, and also features black holes and asteroids. 20 fun packed and challenging levels.

You can play it at:
http://illusionwaregames.com/gravital-rescue/

Controls:
Left and Right arrows to direct the rocket.
Up arrow to thrust the rocket.
R to restart the level.
Space bar to pause the game
Trailer:



(I love the fact that the trailer gives you the advice "Try not to die too much"!!)

Jolly Rover to be released on the MacApp Store

Adventure game Jolly Rover will be in the MacApp Store from 15th April 2011.

Also, Brawsome's in-development game MacGuffin’s Curse now has a development blog.  They're heading towards a prototype build in April for PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad.

See also:

CaptainD Interviews Steven Peeler of Soldak Entertainment

I kept seeing my post about Din's Curse at or near the top of this blog's most popular posts every week, so I decided that I wanted to interview the person behind the game.  This turned out to be Steven Peeler of Soldak Entertainment, another indie game developer who was happy to be interviewed.


Well, I think he was happy about it...


1/ When was Soldak formed?

I essentially started Soldak shortly after leaving Ritual Entertainment in late 2004. I didn’t actually bother to official form the company until mid 2006 though.

2/ Din's Curse isn't the first RPG you've made, is it?

No, we have made two other RPGs called Depths of Peril and Kivi’s underworld.

Depths of Peril is a single player action RPG (role playing game) with strong strategy elements.  You play as a faction leader protecting the barbarian city, Jorvik, by destroying threatening monsters and completing quests. At the same time, you compete with rival factions to see who will rule the city. Barbarians choose their leaders by fighting to the death!

Kivi's Underworld is a casual, hack and slash game. Explore the mysterious underworld as a mighty Warrior battling opponents toe to toe, rain down fire on your enemies with the dangerous Fire Mage, sneak disguised with stealth to confound your foes as a Scout, unleash the fury of the Berserker, or adventure with any of the other numerous playable characters. You leave the safety of the underground cities to rebuild the lost city of Defiance to defeat a growing dark elf threat, before they destroy your homeland.

3/ What's the reaction been like to Din's Curse?  (The announcement about it being released is consistently one of the most viewed posts in indiegamenews.com.  Din's Curse is a single player and co-op multiplayer action RPG for PC and Mac.)

I think the reaction to Din’s Curse has been pretty good. We have a few detractors that complain that the game doesn’t look as good as other RPGs that have 10 to 100 times more people working on the game. Other than that most people seem to really enjoy a game where the world constantly changes based on the player’s, monsters’, and npcs’ actions.

4/ What would you say is the most challenging part of making an RPG?

The most challenging part of making an RPG is that they are, internally at least, very complex games. Of course for Din’s Curse and Depths of Peril we had to go and add a dynamic world and lots of environmental interaction that makes them even more complex.

5/ And the easiest part?

I’m not sure there is anything that falls into the easy category for an RPG. J

6/ Is there anything that makes Din's Curse stand out as different among the many RPGs out there?

Oh, yeah, but I’ll focus on just three of the differences: dynamic world, environment interaction, and hybrid classes.

First off the world is completely dynamic. In most RPGs if there is an uprising of Orcs in an area, that’s all there is. The uprising will sit there and do nothing until you decide to go kill them and claim your reward. Personally I think that is just boring. In Din’s Curse though an uprising of Orcs is exactly what it sounds like. There are a bunch of Orcs that are organized and looking for ways to get into trouble. This can be something not directly a threat like declaring war on the Torvas, a major threat like launching an attack on the town you have been sent to protect, or many other possibilities. The longer you take to deal with them, the more likely they will cause more and more trouble.

In most RPGs the environment is just something that looks pretty. In Din’s Curse it tends to be dangerous. There are many traps that can harm you. There are weak parts of the cave like cracks, gas leaks, and areas held up by support beams. Be careful in these areas because cave-ins are possible and very deadly. There can even be pools of water, oil, alcohol, acid, and other liquids that impact you in different ways. Although most of these are dangerous to the player, they can also be used to your advantage. A Lich standing in the middle of a bunch of barrels can be easily dealt with by throwing some flaming oil into the barrels and starting a roaring fire.

And finally most RPGs have a low number of classes. In Din’s Curse you can play one of the 6 (7 with the expansion) full classes or you can play a hybrid class. The idea is that each class has 3 specialties. With a hybrid class you can choose any 2 specialties. You lose out on one specialty compared to a full class, but you can choose any combination you want, even strange combos like a Paladin/Necromancer. With hybrids there are 141 different combinations (196 with the expansion).

7/ Has your first expansion pack to Din's Curse (Demon War) made any difference to sales of the main game?

Yes, Demon War has boosted the sales of the base Din’s Curse quite a bit. We have many new gamers that come in and buy both of them at the same time.

8/ Any plans at present for further expansion packs / new games?

We are basically just in the initial planning phase of what we are going to do next, so no real news on this front quite yet.

9/  What advice could you give to aspiring indie game developers?

My advice to aspiring devs is to make what you love and talk about it as much as possible.

10/ What mistake(s) do you wish you hadn't made when it comes to being an indie game developer?

I think my biggest mistake has been and still is simply not talking about our games enough. For an indie word of mouth starts with the developers themselves, if they don’t talk about their products why should anyone else? For me the problem is that I’m naturally pretty quiet.

11/ About indie games - what do you think the future hold in store?  Any trends you expect to see panning out?

I think in general there will be more and more opportunities for indies in areas like mobile phones, consoles, and social platforms. I just hope we don’t lose too much control in the process.

Curse of Slate Rock Manor - Official Website Launch

Red Panda Games have launched an official website for Curse of Slate Rock Manor, a visual novel currently in development.

They are also offering exclusive access to the beta for those who contribute $5 or more to the project, and a 50% discount to those who perchase the first version of the game (v1.0) - less then 3 weeks less on that offer, so if you're interested head over to that website!

Finally, there's a new video trailer for the game:

Code Redman Releases Thumbat HD for iPad

UK based Code Redman today announces Thumbat HD 1.3, exclusively on the iPad. Thumbat is an advanced bat and ball game with an industrial theme. In Thumbat the player or players take control of two recycling trash cans, the bats, and tries to keep the steel air purifier, the sky ball, in the air. Various "poison" particles in the air have an effect on the ball as it sweeps through, requiring the player to react quickly. The player has one sky ball and only one chance.

Thumbat - Pong for the 21st century - Code Redman

Bristol, United Kingdom - Code Redman announces today the availability of Thumbat HD, their fifth major release exclusively on the iPad. Thumbat HD is an advanced bat and ball game with an industrial theme.

In Thumbat HD the player takes control of two recycling trash cans, the bats, and tries to keep the steel air purifier, the sky ball, in the air. Various "poison" particles in the air have an effect on the ball as it sweeps through, requiring the player to react quickly. The player has one sky ball and only one chance. The sky darkens, the game quickens and the effects get more pronounced as time passes. The players task is to last as long as possible.

Thumbat HD has a second mode, "Versus". In Versus, two players play the game on one iPad each taking control of one bat. There are separate scores and penalty points for missing. The players combined score is submitted to Game Center so there is also an element of collaboration.

"We are very pleased with Thumbat HD, we've incorporated some suggestions from players of the iPhone version of the game." said Chris Redman, founder of Code Redman. "Extending to the iPad was actually one of the suggestions. The game was originally developed for the smaller form factor of the iPhone, but it works great on the larger screen, particularly in Versus mode. After 23 years of working on internal PC based business systems in the financial industry, Chris has recently switched to the Apple platform and is forging ahead independently. "It's a risk but an exciting opportunity in a world-wide market." Chris said.

Thumbat HD Device Requirements:
* Compatible with iPad and iPad 2
* Requires iOS 3.0 or later
* 6.4 Mb



Pricing and Availability:
Thumbat HD 1.3 is now available world-wide in the Apple App Store and via iTunes for $1.99 (USD) in the U.S. and is priced accordingly in other regions.

Thumbat - Pong for the 21st century - Code Redman

Code Redman is the trading name of Chris Redman, an independent software developer specialising in Apple mobile device software.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

PC Indie Puzzle Game Review - Purify Puzzle

Purify Puzzle is a Match-3 game by Paper Child Studios – don’t groan, this game puts a new spin on the idea. You get to choose what you throw onto the game board next – though you can’t just indiscriminately use this, keep swapping around and your options will reduce. There’s an extra layer of strategy therefore, making it a little more interesting than your average Match-3 game. In addition there are different game modes – Arcade (where you play 30 levels of increasing difficulty, with a storyline told in cut scenes between the levels); Time Attack (where you play against the clock) and Survival (well, just try not to die, okay?!). These game styles have a bit of a different feel to them even though obviously the basic game mechanics are the same.



I found it did take a while to feel comfortable with the controls – which is a bit sad of me considering how few control keys there actually are! You can move left and right, send up a skull (hey, matching skulls is a recognised pastime isn’t it?), swap the skull you’re going to throw, or rotate the available skulls. When you rotate the skulls a different coloured one is available to transfer to your throwing hand, but you lose that skull of the swapping ring (thus you can’t simply swap repeatedly, in the end you only have one option, and thus must use your swaps wisely). If your skulls go above the line and you lose; achieve the required objective and you beat the level.

The game has bright, appealing, cartoony graphics and a nice soundtrack, and the game plays well. There are online high scores to add to the fun, and a tutorial mode if you need it. There are a number of trophies you can be awarded for achieving different things in the game. I haven’t mentioned the best part of the game though – the vs mode. You can play against a local opponent or over a network – obviously most games are more fun against a human opponent, and Purify Puzzle is no exception.

Overall Purify Puzzle is a solid puzzle game, with enough non-standard features to make it stand out. The artwork is very stylish and it sounds great too. If you really dislike Match-3 games I’m not convinced this will change your mind, but if you like puzzle games and in particular like the idea of being able to compete locally or across a network, there’s plenty for you to enjoy here.

Purify Puzzle is available from Blitz1Up

Official Purify Puzzle Website

Purify Puzzle Official Trailer:

Black Chicken Studios Announces the Release of College Durand: Hope's Shield Endures!, The Seventh DLC for Academagia: The Making of Mages

San Diego, CA – March 28, 2011 – Black Chicken Studios is delighted to present our seventh free DLC for Academagia: The Making of Mages, Hope's Shield Endures!

King Durand was first to the battlefield, and the last to leave it: his courage, fortitude and eternal hope in the face of despair were legendary. When called by his people to face the Dragons, he was the only of the nine Kings to be wholly without fear or doubt. And when the Dragons fled from his armies, it was Durand who gave chase.

But can courage become foolishness and hope turn to folly?

This DLC includes:
·         7 new Adventures, set around the College of Durand: the Academagia has more than one test of courage!
·         20+ new Events, dealing with the bravery and trials of the Students of Durand
·         1 new Skill, many Items, and lots of new Abilities, Actions, Locations and Spells for new ways to establish your Character in Elumia

Additionally, Mod Tools are available so that players can create their own stories, mysteries and magic!

Academagia: The Making of Mages retails for $24.95 and includes all the fun and adventure of the original game with all new content from College Durand: Hope's Shield Endures! as well as our six previous free content releases. It is available from www.academagia.com as well as through digital distribution at Beamdog, GamersGate and Impulse.

Want to try before you buy? Check out a free demo of Academagia: The Making of Mages at www.spoon.net/Academagia.

About Academagia
Academagia is a 2D life simulation PC game for audiences ages 9+, and is parent and child friendly. Our game rewards relationship building, research and knowledge, and encourages the player to create their own individual story each time they play. Role-playing, thoughtful choices and a bit of whimsy permeate game play, and is intended to provide a refreshing alternative to the more violent, destructive and derivative titles in the marketplace.

About Black Chicken Studios
Black Chicken Studios, Inc, was formed in 2007 to provide interesting and novel alternatives to mainstream games, offering experiences which promote creativity, reward knowledge and inspire imagination. It is especially our goal to create games wherein challenges can be overcome by study, diplomacy and character. Our company has an inclusive content philosophy, and makes a practice of incorporating as much work as possible from independent writers and artists.
***

Recent PC Indie Game Reviews

PC INDIE GAME REVIEW - KING OF FIRE



Monday, 28 March 2011

CaptainD Interviews Darren Spencer of Utopian Games

I interviewed Darren Spencer of Utopian Games, creators of Tumble Jumble.I asked them about that game, their future plans, and the direction they've taken to concentrate on iOS development.

Tumble Jumble - Clickgamer.com



1/ Tumble Jumble is the most common search term that brings people to Indie Game News, so I'm guessing you've had a lot of interest in the game?

We originally made Tumble Jumble for iPhone and published via Chillingo, it became a moderate hit on iPhone so we decided to make it for the PC where we then picked up retail deals for both the UK and the US...it's available in most good shops including Wal-Mart in the US.

2/ Tell us a bit about Tumble Jumble.

Tumble Jumble is best described as a cross between Tetris and Topple.

Tumble Jumble : Intergalactic Rodent Removals is a fantastic new physics-based puzzle game from Utopian Games. As an employee of the Intergalactic Rodent Removal Company, you must rotate and drop a specified number of block-shaped rodents into containers while avoiding a variety of obstacles, including lasers and evil platforms.

3/ You've stopped developing for the PC to concentrate soley on iPhone development - what led you to that decision?

As an Indie, I felt that unless we made a hidden object/adventure type game for PC it would be very hard to generate sales.  We submitted TJ to a lot of game portals like BigFishGames, and the feedback was all the same...make a hidden object/adventure.

We feel we can make games we want to make for iPhone and iPad, but ironically our next iPad game is an adventure :P

4/ Tell us about "Game Salad"

GameSalad is a really cool engine to develop iPhone, iPad and Mac games, it's very similar to drag and drop engine like GameMaker from Yoyo games.

5/ What are your future plans?

We will still develop games for the Apple platform but recently we have found success developing GS Tools and Templates for GameSalad as a 3rd party and not in conjuntion with the company, although they are aware and praise our work no deal with the company has been made and we do these solely from self funding.  Check out www.deepblueapps.com to see our work.

6/ In terms of the indie game scene, what do you think the future holds?

If you develop for the PC its VERY hard to make games that sell unless you go down the route of Adventure like most of the casual portals now carry.

If you want to make money while making games YOU want to make i would advise the apple platform.

7/ What are your own favourite indie games?

Of course World of Goo and Braid stand out, but to be honest I never really get time to play...We enjoyed making our other PC game Bumps which again has gone into retail and can be found on various games portals.

8/ What advice would you give to aspiring indie game developers?

The usual really, start with a small project, don't quit your day job until you have at least 3 years worth of money saved, make sure you finish what you start (I read over 90% of games started get abandoned),.Work hard and listen to feedback as every game you make should be better than the last.


Thanks Darren for the interview and all the best with Utopian Games' future developments (whether you ever come back to the PC or not! :-D)



See also the posts: Indie Game News: Tumble Jumble - now on PC! and Tumble Jumble Popularity?!

Ball Pit 2.0 - Free 3D game uniquely utilizes iPhone 4's Gyroscope


California based independent developer Terry Weissman announced that his innovative 3D game, Ball Pit 2.0, is now available for free. Ball Pit is best played standing up, so you can easily spin around to see everything that happens around you. Your iPhone 4 or 4th generation iPod touch acts as a window between you and the world of Ball Pit. Version 2.0 builds on the game's popularity by improving game play, with the addition of a thrust button, power-ups, Game Center integration, and more.


Mountain View, California - Ball Pit, version 2.0, a unique 3D game developed by Terry Weissman is now available for free. Ball Pit is best played standing up, so you can easily spin around to see everything that happens around you. Your iPhone 4 or 4th generation iPod touch acts as a window between you and the world of Ball Pit.

Version 1.0 of Ball Pit earned a solid 5 stars in the App Store. Now, version 2.0 builds on it by improving game play, with the addition of a thrust button, power-ups, Game Center integration, and improved graphics.

Reviews of version 1 from the App store said:

* "This game is great!  The gyroscope is 100% accurate, leaving you with the impression that your iPhone has turned into a virtual eye, showing you nothing but the Pit."

* "A dream come true. One of the best games I have ever played!"

* "Best game on my iPod."

* "By far the best game on my iPhone. Watch out Angry Birds, Doodlejump, ... This game is going to the top!"

* "Most innovative game interaction I've ever seen."

* "The iPhone stops being the thing on which you play the game and turns into a window you are holding to look into another world."

* "This app defines the iPod's gyroscope."

* "Incredible game! Off the hook!"

Device Requirements:
* iPhone 4, 4G iPod touch
* iPad 2 Wi-Fi, and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G
* Requires iOS 4.3 or later
* 3.6 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Ball Pit 2.0 is free with unobtrusive banner ads and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. Advertisements can be removed with a $1.99 in-app purchase.

Ball Pit 2.0: http://www.ballpitgame.com/
Download From iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/app/ball-pit/id416816752


Located in Mountain View, California, Terry Weissman writes iPhone games in his spare time, when not working at his more conventional job for Pixazza, inc. His previous conventional employers include Netscape, TellMe, and SGI. Terry is probably best known as the original developer of the Bugzilla bug-tracking system. Ball Pit is his first iPhone game.

Jungool for iOS - Physics Based Platform Adventure with Puzzle Solving

Team Jungool has just updated their latest game Jungool, and reduced the price. Jungool is a physics based platform action game with puzzle solving elements that takes place in various world locations across 30 levels. Players take on the role of Wagga, a bouncing ball shaped critter. Wagga is guided by his village Shaman around the world in an effort to retrieve the stolen masks and to ultimately bring back order to the jungle. Plenty of gems to collect and bonus levels to unlock.

Jungool - Headsoft

Perth, Australia - Team Jungool have just updated and reduced the price of their latest game called Jungool. Jungool has been in development for over a year by a team of four who have worked together previously on Nintendo DS classics such as 'Manic Miner in the Lost Levels' and 'Warhawk DS'. This is their first commercially published title.

Jungool is a physics based platform action game with puzzle solving elements and takes place in various world locations across 30 levels. Players take on the role of a bouncing ball shaped critter called 'Wagga', whom is guided by his village Shaman around the world in an effort to retrieve the stolen masks and to ultimately bring back order to the jungle.

Various enemies such as ferocious Hunters, Demi-Gods and natural obstacles will threaten Wagga on his quest. Other animals and masks scattered around the world will aid wagga on his journey until the real mastermind behind this terrible malady is discovered and ultimately defeated.

Features:
* 30 gorgeous levels and locations
* Thought provoking quests and puzzles to solve
* Several unique obstables and enemies to avoid - beware of the Hunters
* Gamepad style controls
* Gems to collect and bonus levels to unlock
* OpenFeint and Game Center support
* Objectives, achievements and leaderboards
* Amazing graphics and animation
* Pumping jungle inspired soundtrack
* Retina support

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
* Requires iOS 3.1 or later
* 132 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Jungool 1.1 has reduced it's price to $3.99 US exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.

Jungool - Headsoft

Apple Mac App Store New and Noteworthy Feature - GlitchSoft's Bar Star

GlitchSoft's casual time management game, Bar Star HD, has caught the eye of Apple and is currently featured on the front page as New and Noteworthy. Players transform a bar from a dump into a dream while they mix, serve, and upgrade their way to success. Tips are used to hire new staff including bouncers and DJ's. Bar Star HD players mix high fashion drinks, serve celebrity guests, and stylize the bar with upgrades and improvements.


GlitchSoft

Ottawa, Canada - GlitchSoft's casual time management game, Bar Star HD, has caught the eye of Apple and is currently featured on the front page as New and Noteworthy. The original iOS version of Bar Star was a Top 25 hit in the iTunes App Store and received and outstanding 4 star average rating from reviewers! New players and fans can now enjoy exciting Bar Star action in full screen on their Mac computers!



A top game in the casual time management crowd, Bar Star HD 1.1.3 offers one of the Mac App Store's most exciting gaming experiences. In the action packed role of a new bar owner, Bar Star HD players mix high fashion drinks, serve celebrity guests, and stylize their bar with upgrades and improvements!

Bar Star HD is a true pick-up and play game that features stunning full screen graphics, intuitive controls, and super addictive gameplay! Fun for all, the team at GlitchSoft has done an excellent job of tuning the game so it is easy to learn and a true challenge to master.

In the game, players control a dynamic Sister and Brother duo, Chase and Artie, and help them to transform their run down bar into the best upscale lounge! They earn valuable tips as they mix, serve, and upgrade their way through 50 exciting levels! Tips are then used to hire new staff including bouncers and DJ's, and improve the style of their bar including drink selection, the dance floor, and decor. The upgrading is so much fun! Up to 16 different customers plus 4 celebrity guests will visit their bar - players should impress them all in order to earn the maximum amount of tips.



Bar Star HD for the Mac features:
* 50 exciting levels including a Zombie Takeover
* 16 unique customers and 4 guest stars
* Mix and pour all types of delicious drinks
* Upgrades for you're bar including a dance floor, disco ball, plants, and drinks
* Grow your staff
* Serve customers different types of draft beer, wines and mixed cocktails
* Earn points to enhance your bartending skills
* True HD graphics
* Multiple player profiles, time attack Mode and replayable missions

GlitchSoft is busy working on their next awesome game, Destructopus! For an exclusive sneak peek at this upcoming game drop glitchSoft an email and be sure to connect on Facebook or Twitter.

System Requirements:
* Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
* Intel
* 34.6 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Bar Star HD 1.1.3 is $6.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Games category.

GlitchSoft

GlitchSoft is an independent studio in the business of building mobile games. Founded in late 2009 by a passionate and dedicated team of mobile game industry veterans, GlitchSoft creates cool original content for Apples iPhone, iPod touch, iPad platform, and Mac OSX platforms. The studio's goal is simple: deliver fun, exciting and innovative products that everyone can enjoy.

PC Indie Game Review - King of Fire

King of Fire is an indie puzzle game for the PC. It features a simple fantasy storyline, and a large number of puzzles spread into different levels, with each one culminating in a boss. Each level consists of 10 map areas, each with 3 chests – each chest a puzzle. For each area there is a binary puzzle, a pathway puzzle, and a match pairs memory game. The bosses are beaten by solving a sliding puzzle – you collect the pieces for this puzzle by completing the other puzzles.

In all there are 8 bosses to beat, making a whopping 248 puzzles in all (including the sliding picture puzzles). If you like these kinds of puzzle, you will be playing this for quite a while. The puzzles were hand-picked, not randomly generated, and the extra features that pop up as you progress through the game, such as hints and collecting money for extra points, help to keep things interesting. Personally I found the binary puzzles very easy (after *ahem* finding out what they actually were via the tutorial!!), the pathway puzzles rather challenging, the memory matching reasonably easy (thanks to it not punishing repeated errors! :-D), and finally the sliding puzzles... well I’ve always been hopeless at them, and I am still hopeless!

Whether you’ll like the game boils down entirely to whether you like logic puzzles. If you don’t there’s not much for you in King of Fire, if you do then you’ll get plenty of enjoyment from it. Graphically it’s nicely presented and the interface works well – it is worth having a quick scan through the tutorial to make sure you understand things first, however. The music is nice enough, though I found it rather repetitive. It’s attractively priced and the fantasy storyline and tilesets give it a little extra atmosphere compared to playing similar games on paper / online in standard format. It will certainly take even the most ardent puzzle fan quite a while to complete. Personally I felt it would have benefited from more variety, but as it is, King of Fire is a very solid puzzle game.

King of Fire Screenshots:








A Valley Without Wind: Interiors, Lighting, Crafting, New Regions, Character Stats, And Perma-Death (And Much More!) -- Arcen Games

Arcen Games is downright ecstatic to share the latest updates, screens and video footage for its procedurally-generated action adventure title A Valley Without Wind. We haven't shared in a few weeks, so there's a ton of new stuff to show and tell including interiors, lighting, crafting, playable/NPC Skelebots, lava and desert regions, perma-death implementation and lots more.

Interiors -- the last remaining world building focus for the game -- have been added, though at the moment we'll be needing the proper time to populate them. These structures don't have any electrical power, making most indoor exploring pretty dark. This is where lighting comes into play, as several darker areas both interior and exterior can be lit by various spells and objects to grant better visibility and ease the search.

There's been plenty of character focus this past update as well: Perma-death and crafting in their basic forms are now in place, along with a working system for producing a unique set of stats for each individual character. A neutral Skelebot that works as both playable character and as a non-hostile NPC, a dynamic character name generator, and NPC dialog have also been thrown into the mix.

New music, regions, improvements to shadows and particle effects, a new lamp object, and two new spells: "shrink" and "flash of light," round out the sizable list of update highlights. Check out the latest gameplay video showing off everything mentioned and more here (in HD): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24qWu6TPdpE&hd=1

17 new screenshots can be found on the AVWW feature page: http://www.arcengames.com/w/index.php/games/avww-features

And to make up for the lengthy radio silence, we have three new developer journals available. A breakdown of the video as well as a detailed explanation of the aforementioned features, additions and improvements: http://christophermpark.blogspot.com/2011/03/valley-without-wind-pre-alpha-7.html

Arcen head Chris Park goes into his approach to the design process of AVWW as compared with past works: http://christophermpark.blogspot.com/2011/03/a-valley-without-wind-design-process.html

Lastly, Chris discusses horizontal versus vertical game development phases, and wonders why indies can't explore the latter as much as they do the former: http://christophermpark.blogspot.com/2011/03/horizontal-vs-vertical-game-development.html

That's all for this process improvement focused update. Come back next time for an update heavier on the art advancement. A Valley Without Wind is currently set for official release on PC and Mac later this year, with a playable Alpha build available to customers who pre-order coming in April.


About Arcen Games


Arcen Games entered the PC indie scene in 2009 with their cult classic AI War: Fleet Command, which was named the 40th best-reviewed PC game of the year by MetaCritic. Their second year was a busy one, seeing the release of The Zenith Remnant, the first full expansion for AI War; Tidalis, an innovative block-based puzzle with casual appeal and hardcore depth; and Children of Neinzul, a micro-expansion for AI War with all profits benefiting the Child's Play charity, of which Arcen is a platinum sponsor.


AI War's third and largest expansion Light of the Spire marked Arcen's first release of 2011, and now the company has shifted its focus and excitement to the development of A Valley Without Wind. Originally a one-man shop, Arcen Games has grown to have half a dozen part-time or fulltime contributors to its various titles.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Crazybone Hop Preview Trailer

Crazybone Hop is a game in development by Liquid Pig Studios. It combines perhaps the strangest plot of any indie game I've yet seen (you have to defeat your granny while riding a unicycle... well I suppose that's not so strange, is it?!?!) and the weirdest soundtrack (listen to the video!). While all means it should be good fun! :-D  A demo is planned for release in early April 2011.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

HiVE release Pragmatica

Pragmatica is a logic and programming puzzle game by indie studio HiVE. The player uses a simplified pictorial system to command robots to solve tasks such as navigating mazes, moving storage crates, and arranging industrial 'accidents' in a dystopian industrial near-future. The game includes a full MapMaker, hand-drawn graphics, and high-quality sounds and OST.

Pragmatica Download Page


Pragmatica Trailer:



Pragmatica Screenshots: