Sunday, 11 January 2009

Didn't know that Sundays could be useful after all...

It's a Sunday morning and i have 3000 words of essay to pummel out of my caffeine-turgid brain. "What better time to champion some of my favourite independent games?", i think to myself, "No better time!".

I'll start with some oldies (but goodies)...oh, and they're all free by the way...

Ben There Dan That is that rarest of things: A well written and genuinely humorous indie game. Scratch that, the fact that it's well written and humorous makes it unusual amongst most games, be they indie or not. It's a point-and-clicker in the vein of such classics as Sam and Max Hit the Road and Monkey Island, and if you can get past the somewhat messy graphical style (I like it, personally) then there's a good few hours of fun to be had with this one. The dialogue is gold.

Chalk is one of the few SCHMUPs (see R-Type or Galaxian) that I've actually played and enjoyed. It leaves behind the generic space setting in favour of something much more abstract and interesting. The mechanic is novel and genuinely interesting. I'd hate to spoil the pleasure of playing it for the first time by explaining it. You know what to do.

Ah, Cave Story how is it that thou art so good and age so well? What is your secret?
The hushed, reverent tones that accompany any Cave Story discussion should be indication enough of its quality. It's a cult classic which plays similar to the metroid games and is being ported to wiiware soon. Get it while it's still free.

Iji may take itself a little too seriously, story-wise, but it has a genuinely unique blend of pseudo-3D graphics, action, stealth and role-playing elements. Again, similar to the metroid series but at the same time nothing like them at all. The graphics work brilliantly and are really hard to describe, but they make every action uniquely satisfying.

Every single one of Nifflas' games (this includes Knytt, Knytt Stories and Within A Deep Forest). They're nearly as revered among indie gamers as Cave Story. They're all somewhat akin to an environmental tone-poem; Pixel dreamscapes, ambient electronic music (the music is actually superb) and (by and large) a complete lack of fighting. The gaming equivalent of herbal tea and Enya.

If you like pulpy, trashy comic books as much as i do play Masq. It's an interactive, decision-based graphic novel, which also happens to be rather well drawn and written. I can't say much about it for lack of experience (stemming from a lack of time), but from what I've played it's a unique experience.

TRILBY: The Art Of Theft does stealth right, which makes for a nice change. It's akin to a simplified, arcadey Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell, but it's much more fun than either of those games. It was made by Yahtzee, famous for his Zero Punctuation videos. It turns out he's a very accomplished games designer.

I Fell In Love With The Majesty of Colours is a short-form game (seriously, it takes about five minutes to complete) that i played for the first time this morning. It's worth it for the initial revelation alone, and it requires very little skill/effort. It's an interesting study in moral choices.

I hope they give you as many hours of enjoyment (and procrastination) as they have me. Something to occupy a lazy Sunday afternoon with at any rate.

I'm in the midst of a fully-featured guide to indie games for The London Student, so expect a more comprehensive post on the topic in the near future.

Now I'm going to try really hard not to link to this...damn.

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