Category Archives: Indie Games
Awhile ago, back in July of 2011 to be specific, I found out that River City Ransom 2 was in production and was set to be released later that summer in Japan and sometime in 2012 here in the states. Well it’s the spring of 2013 now and it looks like the game has been put on hold indefinitely. *sigh*
About a month ago, indie game developers, Combit Studios, fellow fans of River City Ransom, announced that they will be making an official follow-up to River City Ransom. *rejoicing*They will be working closely with Million Co., publishers of 2004′s River City Ransom EX for the Game Boy Advance.
Set to release summer 2014, there really isn’t much to say or show yet as the game has only just begun the early stages of development. However, if you share the same eternal love for the River City Ransom that I do, you can sign up on the coming soon RCR site for email updates,
I know this isn’t the biggest typo in the world and not nearly as huge as Resident Evil: Revelaitons or Nartuo, but I still enjoy pointing out when people screw up. On the back of the PS3 version of Bioshock Infinite, you will notice that “forced to” has been combined into one word. It’s weird that it it only happened on the PS3 version but the other version on 360 and PC are typo free. Hey, why doesn’t someone hire me to be the editor?
Capcom hasn’t entirely forsaken their Mega Man fans. Many were pretty upset when they pulled the plug on the Mega Man Legends game for the 3DS. But now they bring us, in my opinion, a far more scrumtrulescent addition to the Mega Man universe, a clash of my two favorite Capcom franchises – Street Fighter X Mega Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (there aren’t enough exclamation points in the world to express how awesome this is, so I’ll just stop right there).
This project was officially backed by Capcom, so it’s no mere level hack with new sprites. From the ground up, this is essentially a whole new installment in the Mega Man series. It’s everything you love from an 8-bit Mega Man game complete with 8 bosses, weapon upgrades, top-notch platforming action, and a soundtrack that feels perfectly in step with what you’d expect.
The best part is that it’s totally free to download. However, at the time of this writing, it’s PC only. I honestly don’t ever see this becoming an XBLA or PSN download, and as such, since we’re relegated to playing it on PC, a keyboard just doesn’t cut it for the precision required to adequately perform in a Mega Man game. If you don’t already have one, get yourself a standard gamepad for your computer. I recommend RetroZone if you want to get that authentic NES gameplay feel.
So what the hell are you waiting for? Go download this now! Who knows if they’ll keep it up forever? Just click on the picture up top.
At the time of this writing, I’ve played through nearly all of X-COM: Enemy Unknown so I feel that, aside for maybe a few things that happen at the end that are yet unknown to me, I am hopefully pretty accurate with this info. I’m not here to review the game; you can read about that anywhere considering this is a pretty high profile game. I am here to discuss the differences between the new Firaxis developed reboot and the original strategy masterpiece by Microprose. First and foremost, I know most people are saying they’re dumbed the game game. I don’t know if I really agree with that sentiment per se. Streamlined, definitely, but not necessarily dumbed down. Many of the micromanagement facets of the game that might have bogged down gameplay have been cut or changed and what remains is a sound strategy game where they leave you to focus more on the tactics of combat.
However, most of the things they removed are things that I liked. My list of grievances is as follows:
- Having multiple bases is gone. It’s not something that would be required the way the new mechanics are set up, but I enjoyed this level of management.
- Your soldiers level progression is predetermined. No longer are their stats determined by how you outfit them and method of play.
- Rockets have been nerfed. Heavies can only carry 1 rocket per mission (2 with an upgrade). There are no inventory slots to take extra rockets and incendiary rockets are gone completely.
- Aircraft options are limited. Hybrid craft are non-existent (to my knowledge) which means that shooting down a craft and mopping up afterwards can no longer be a simultaneous affair.
- Interceptors cannot be sent out in multiples. You can only send out one at a time and hope for the best.
- Selling items is limited to only what is salvaged from aliens on a mission. You can no longer sell weapons, gear, items, etc, from your own stores.
Then there are some things that I’m mostly indifferent about. I acknowledge their change, and I can see why they did it, but either way would have been fine with me. Gone now are the different types of shots. Aimed shot, snap shot, auto shots are all gone leaving everyone with just a generic fire mode. But Time Units are gone as well, so the amount of time each soldier used to line up a shot is irrelevant now anyway. TUs have been replaced with each soldier simply being granted 2 action points a turn, which allows them to move and then have 1 action or spend the entire turn running. Though this leaves less flexibility with what each character can do per turn, that also makes you think harder about what they must do. Setting up your soldiers personal inventory has been simplified, making it easier to just jump into a mission, but it also limits what they are able to carry, but that again makes you think harder about what to do with what you’re given.
Some changes they made are definitely logical choices that made the game better:
- Movement is far more fluid. Climbing, getting into cover, ducking, etc, happens automatically and doesn’t require a specific button press from the command icons.
- Soldier classes. I know I said i don’t like that you can’t customize your soldiers as much, but having classes is great. Each class gets specific abilities that help further personalize them and add a new element to leveling up rather than just increased stats and researching new weapons.
- New armor. All over the place. A handful of new armor types that have nifty functions like cloaking and grappling hooks.
- By far the best – and by today’s standards, necessary change – is the addition of multiplayer, complete with leaderboards and customizable teams. The only thing I could hope for there would be some kind of co-op mode, but I won’t cry about it.
You can say this game has been dumbed down, but it’s really just a different type of game. They wanted to take the focus off micromanagement and base development and put it more into the action and combat experience. Much of the tedium from the original game has been broken down, though I enjoyed parts of that tedium. Yes, they did simplify a lot, but the quality Firaxis put into X-Com: Enemy Unknown stands up on its own against the original. Plus, this is the most intelligent and tactically sound game that has been released on a console in years
For those of you who do actually come to this blog and follow it to any degree, I apologize for it’s rather lacklusterness lately. I’ve been super busy trying to buy a house, trying to get a new car, looking for a better and more fulfilling career (partly because I never saw the job I have now as a career). If anyone knows of any job opportunities around the southern NH area, seriously, let me know. I’d be willing to do nearly anything as long as it gets me out of my current situation. That being said, the car and house part of my time consumption are almost taken care of and once that’s squared away, I can get back into some serious gaming.
Over a year ago, I did a small piece on the game here, and finally, after years of waiting, it’s out! Notice the release date on the banner? Yeah, been waiting a long time.
Now the sad part – I haven’t received my download code yet! I had this thing pre-ordered forever ago. I was supposed to get a steam code, but I haven’t gotten it yet! I’m so friggin anxious to play this game, I’m about to just pay for the damn thing again and download it right away.
Tribute Games , the team that brought us Wizorb, and more importantly, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game, has a new upcoming Kickstarter-funded project in the works. Mercenary Kings will be a 2D platformer that looks like an absolutely bombastic, kill-spree, weapon-fest…. with very cute animation. It’s like if Contra and Metal Slug had a chibi wedding with Hello Kitty. The thing I’m most interested in is their gun crafting mechanic. Apparently every part of your weapon is customizable, allowing you to make all sorts of (hopefully very wacky and ludicrous) gun bastardizations. The game boasts 4 player local co-op, and will be available on a number of platformers including PC and the upcoming OUYA. Now if they could only get Anamanaguchi to do the soundtrack for them…
Anyway, I really don’t have much else to say about the game that you can’t read for yourself on their own page. So go there, check it out, watch their video, and get excited dammit!
There are many that feel that the only true RPGs are the classic, turn based, sprite infused, Japanese style RPGs. Now J-RPG is almost a dirty word since a vast majority of them that come out of Japan are piss-poor, terrible, games. Sorry, but it’s true. Star Ocean: The Last Hope doesn’t hold a candle to Mass Effect. But as much as I do love Mass Effect, it’s just not the RPG I want. It’s a great game, but I would never put it at the top of my favorite “RPG” list. Lost Odyssey was a good shot, but what’s that, 1 game? 1 good true RPG for an entire console generation. One answer to this problem has been RPG Maker.
RPG Maker has been around for quite awhile now and I just wanted to introduce everyone to the library of community built games out there. I’m not talking about the RPG Maker games that were available for PS1 and PS2. Those were cool ideas, but since the internet wasn’t readily available to those systems, those programs could never reach their true potential since you couldn’t really share this information with a widespread audience.
I was first introduced to RPG Maker with RPG Maker 2000. This fantastic program made it very easy to create your own 16 bit RPG. It came with a ton of preset tiles, characters, sprites, sound effects, music, etc. and a bunch of tools to help you create your own. Plus fan made websites began sprouting up with full games they made you could download for free, or extra tools or tips you could use to build your own game. RPG Maker VX is the current iteration of the series, which is no longer free unfortunately. Actually, I’m not sure if RPGM2k was ever free, I just remember i didn’t pay for it. Anyway, if you want to get the older version, it’s still available and easy to find. If you want the most recent version, you can get it from the official RPG MAKER website. They do at least give you a trial period if you just want to check it out.
All that said, here’s a list of games I feel are most notable:
First Fantasy: Endless Nova
This is the game that introduced me to RPG Maker. I don’t remember the specifics, but I know I was doing a search for Final Fantasy stuff and I stumbled across this. “What’s this?!” I exclaimed, and frantically located where I could download both the game and the program to run it. Endless Nova really has nothing to do with the franchise, other than that its creator thought the game they were making was worthy of sharing the Final Fantasy title. Honestly, it’s a pretty damn good game that could easily follow in the footsteps of its SNES brethren. It is of course much shorter, has some spelling errors, and doesn’t have the privilege of being touched by Nobuo Uematsu. However, the intro screen has a midi version of the Serial Experiments Lain theme song. Not that I’d compare that to Uematsu. Abandonia everything you need to play it HERE.
Barkley, Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa
Yes, this is the title and yes, the game is as awesome as the title. By far my favorite on this list. First, a quick lesson; Gaiden translates into english as “tale” or “side-story”, usually used when a story has a spin-off from its original but not necessarily a sequel. For example, Joanie Loves Chachi, a spin-off from Happy Days, could alternatively be called Happy Days Gaiden. Also, saying the word as “GAY-dun” is wrong. The appropriate pronunciation is “GUY-den”, so please correct yourself. If it sounds like I’m being pushy, I am. We Americans have been saying Ninja Gaiden wrong for over 20 years now. It’s time to make a change. But I digress… Barkley, Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden follows the story of Charles Barkley and his son, Hoopz, years after basketball has been outlawed due to the catastrophic Chaos Dunk, a “jam so powerful its mere existence threatens the balance of chaos and order”. His former fellow pro B-baller, Michael Jordan, is now part of B-Ball Removal Department, and where they were once rivals on the court, their rivalry now threatens the life of Charles and his son.
If this all sounds insane, that’s because it is… INSANELY AWESOME! Don’t let the ridiculous premise fool you. It’s not all just jokes and silliness. this is a very well put together game. Tales of Games Studios is responsible for this instant classic and it’s obtainable HERE
The following can all be obtained from the RPG Maker VX Community:
Unlike the rest of the games mentioned today, this one isn’t free. It’s not too expensive, only $14.99, but still a bit much for an indie game (there is a free trial at least). Why isn’t this one free you ask? You’ll see once you play it. The level of production that went into this game far exceeds any others and they used way more than the tools that are supplied with the program. All of the main characters are created from scratch. It has a well written storyline set in a Steampunk universe. I think this game could have easily been a console original.
A Japanese only Square Enix production for the Super Famicom. Radical Dreamers was a side story for Chrono Trigger and served as the inspiration for Chrono Cross. Much of the music and characters featured in Radical Dreamers appear in Chrono Cross. Although there was never an official English release, translated roms are available. So if there’s a translated rom for it, then why did someone make a version with RPG Maker? That’s because it’s a text based game that kind of reads like a choose your own adventure book. The goal of this project is to capture the feel of a true Chrono Trigger sequel as much as possible. It’s too bad that it’s never been completed. Or if it has, then I am painfully unaware and somebody, PLEASE, send me in the direction where I can find it.
These are notable enough for at least a quick mention:
Tales of the Drunken Paladin – This is your classic 16 bit, turn based, fantasy RPG, only it’s not. It plays like one and looks like one, but doesn’t have the sensibility of one. Absurd character names, contemporary dialogue with a silly tone, and a story where the main character is a cross between Joxer from Xena and Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. That may not be entirely accurate, he’s a better fighter than Joxer.
Kingdom Maker - Interesting program used to make something apart from an RPG. Part tower defense, part city builder. I don’t know if this game is technically complete or not though, but it seemed kind of bland. Liked the concept though.
Ghostbusters – Too awesome not to check out. The developer used a lot of art from the comic books and did a good job of doctoring the sprites. Battles are fought Dragon Quest style.
The Silmarillion – Nirnaeth Arnoeidad – As far as I know, there has never been a game about The Silmarillion. As a Lord of the Rings fan, I was very curious about this one. I’ve never read The Silmarillion in its entirety so I really don’t know how accurate the game is. It’s an interesting story though if you’re a fan. Lots of backstory about what happened many, MANY years before Sauron became the all powerful dark lord. Only downside of this game is that the backgrounds are extremely bland and makes it feel incomplete.
Valhalla – A card battle game. Wasn’t really my cup o’ tea, but it was interesting to see someone make a card game out of an RPG mechanic.
I too had my own RPG years ago,simply titled, Mr. T’s Adventure. You played as Mr. T and one morning you awaken to find that your gold chains have been stolen by some fiend. Mr. T roars in anger, chugs a whole carton of milk and throws it on the floor shattering it (yes, shattered a carton, for Mr. T is such a man of brute force, and his rage so furious, that he can shatter cartons), gets in his van and then the adventure begins. Months into its creation, my computer broke down and I was unable to recover the data from my hard drive. I did have back up files, but somehow they had become corrupt. I guess the universe didn’t want this game to exist. I was too heartbroken to ever remake it, thus this adventure never came to fruition.
At first I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about the OUYA, but it’s starting to look like a pretty legit system. What’s OUYA? So glad you asked. It’s a console in the making that breaks away from “The Big 3″, using an android based, digital download format, that will be playable on your TV.
I’m still a little conflicted though. I suppose it really depends on where the video game market goes and how well they execute their format. Will this be a commercial success? I really don’t know. But I wouldn’t necessarily want it to be either. A “commercial success” can often feel soulless and cheapened. It also kind of feels like they’re trying to sell us something that we already have. It runs on android. If I really wanted to I could hook up my android tablet to my TV and a controller to that. Granted not all games could work this way, but this is one of their main boasts. Well I can already do this. I’m also not the biggest fan of digital download. I prefer to own a physical item. If they’re going to be selling console class gaming, I’m sure they’ll be more expensive than your typical app store game. And then you’re locked in. No returning it, no selling it when you’re done, no lending it out to a friend.
On the other hand, Brian Fargo is absolutely right. Console gaming is where REAL games are (I totally agree. I’ll be the first person to tell you iPhone games are trash), however, you need to be a big name to make any sort of money. Actually forget that. You need to be a big name to even be considered for making a game for a console. Unless your game is going to make $4mil in it’s opening week, EA and Activision don’t want to know you. And this is why I most certainly will be getting an OUYA. Indie developers of all kinds will have easy access to releasing their games on the OUYA format. And since it’s a console you play on your TV with a controller, not a clumsy, on-screen, touch-sensitive pad, it will feel more like a real gaming experience.
Most recently OnLive and more importantly, Square Enix have jumped on board. That was the moment I was sold (trying so hard not to be a Square Enix fanboy). I had already put my backing into the project, but it was when I got this news that I no longer felt like it might have been an iffy decision. They’ll have available at launch, a remake of Final Fantasy III. Not the American III, which is really VI. But the one that was only released on the Japanese Famicom and had the DS remake back in 2009. Don’t expect a straight port either. Apparently it will be a full HD console remake from the ground up.
You don’t have much more time to get in on the ground floor. They have about a week left for backers to get on board. It’s only $99 for the console and a controller when it releases. They’re already well over their goal, so this is happening. The OUYA could very well change the face of the console gaming market. We’ll see what happens.
OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console <—– The OUYA Kickstarter page
Bit of War
Bit of War is a free download for your PC, made by Holmade Games, who are also responsible for Pixel Whirled and Hurdle Turtle, both available on the Xbox Live indie arcade. But neither one of them are free, or as worthwhile as Bit of War, so I won’t get into them here. Bit of War follows the familiar story of Kratos defying the lords of Olympus, albeit in a side-scrolling, platformer fashion. A cherub-like Kratos wields his blades of chaos against 8-bit skeletons and minotaurs, with a soundtrack to match. They even have a Game and Watch version of God of War on the site, which is a fun diversion for a few minutes.
This one’s hard, even for a Mega Man game. You play as the boss robots from Mega Man fighting through remixed stages from Mega Man 2. After so many years of having the mega buster, not using it throws the whole dynamic of the gameplay off. It’s a challenge. Or Maybe it’s just me, maybe I suck. Playing as Gutsman is particularly tough because you can’t run with him, only jump, and his attacks are ponderously slow. They have a sequel in beta right now. This game comes from Fusion Fangaming and there’s a bunch of other stuff on there so be sure to check them out.
Spelunky is like the spiritual successor to the 1980s console game, Spelunker. Though that game never deserved any kind of sequel, we got one, and it’s pretty damn good. And if you’ve never played the original or don’t remember it, it was impossibly hard, like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde for NES. Even more obscure? Too bad. Anyway, Spenlunky is far more playable and follows many basic platformer principals, which I’m usually not a fan of but has enough of an adventure feel to make up for it. Armed like a mini Indiana Jones, with a whip, some rope, and a few explosives, your goal is to go relic hunting and find as much riches the bowels of the earth has to offer. This game has already been nominated for a number of awards and is available now for free to download on your PC and will be coming soon to XBLA. The xbox version however has traded its pixely aesthetic for a more polished, cartoonish look. Also, for you toy aficionados out there, they’ll be releasing a set of collectable Spelunky minis along with the game.
Click the links below to check out each games website
Wasteland, the George Washington of the Fallout series. Actually it’s more like Fallout was the spiritual successor of Wasteland. And I’m not talking about Fallout 3 and New Vegas – those are laughable mutations compared to what Fallout 1 & 2 brought us. Wasteland was THE sandbox game before that term was even used. It existed in an era when games with creativity could thrive and not be shadowed and forgotten because they didn’t sell 2 million copies the first month they’re out.
Why is this all relevant? Because Brian Fargo’s new development studio, inXile Entertainment, is going to bring us Wasteland 2! And this will truly be a game by gamers, for gamers. For starters, a handful of talent from the original Fallout team will be working on Wasteland2. Plus this will be a project free of big corporate publishers (oh how I wish EA never bought Bioware, but that’s another story), they are getting their funding through Kickstarter. They’ve actually already met their budget and will be officially funded on April 17, but if you want to get in on the ground floor, there’s still time to check it out. Besides, the more money they get, the more they can throw into the production of the game and the better it will be.
Maybe you’ve never played the original Fallout games. Maybe you’re first foray into the Fallout universe was Fallout 3. In which case, I feel bad for you. You like Fallout 3 you say, and can’t imagine it not being a first person shooter, and hated all the “useless” dialog in the game? Well then you might as well just forget you read any of this and go on with your life. But if you really want to experience a true open world classic RPG made by the masters of the craft, then do yourself a favor and check out the game.
I got this email update from them, plus you can just find it on their kickstarter page, and rather than paraphrasing it, I’ll just copy and paste the whole thing here:
All of the money we raise through Kickstarter is being spent on making the game. Most of the cost of development is in paying for the team to create the game. There will be a team of engine programmers, game-play programmers, UI engineers, character artists, environment artists, animators, effects artists, UI Artists, sound designers, composers, writers, game designers, systems designers, level scripters, and testers. Not to mention all the interns it will take to handle the mailing out of the physical goods. It is simple math that the bigger this budget gets, the more jobs it will create. The bigger the team, the deeper and bigger the game gets. If you want a deeper and larger game, and we think that you do, you want us to raise as much money as possible to spend on the game.
Did I just hear all 43,000+ of you say ‘How can we help?’
I am glad you asked!!
One thing you will notice in that list of potential jobs above is that nowhere in that list do you see ‘Marketing Lady’ or ‘PR Guy’. That is because we don’t have these positions, nor do we plan to hire them. We want to spend the money on the game, and only the game.
This is where you come in…
All 43,000+ of you are our marketing and PR team. We need your help to get the word out that the Kickstarter countdown is on.
• Post to your Facebook pages with links back to the Kickstarter.
• Follow @BrianFargo on twitter and retweet my Wasteland related tweets.
• Post it to forums where you think it is relevant.
• Send emails out to everyone you know.
• Go to our website and put our Doomsday countdown clock on your website.
• Get a friend or family member to buy in.
• Shout it from the rooftop.
• Do some early shopping for Christmas 2013!
If every person who has pledged manages to get one more person to buy in for $15, we will increase the budget by over $600,000. You can help the project in very tangible ways by helping us get the word out.
Lastly, I am very excited to release the first official piece of Wasteland 2 concept art. We asked the very talented Andree Wallin to help us establish the look and feel of the Desert Rangers. I think this image speaks for itself…
Hope you enjoy it,