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April 2009 Indie Game Round-up 31

Joseph Lieberman writes with Gametunnel's monthly round-up of quality independent games. Taking the top honors this month is Caster, a fast-paced shooter with weapon upgrades and a partially destructible environment. "The weapons are a nice variety: homing, stun, and charge lasers, along with two lasers that create chasms and mountains in the environment. The last two are personal favorites of mine (screwing with the terrain is great fun). Fighting is sweet, sweet pandemonium, but it can be slightly overwhelming at first. By the second or third level, though, you'll be blasting the baddies like a pro." Also scoring high were Zeno Clash, a fighting game with elements of a shooter, and Geneforge 5: Overthrow (the last in the series of Geneforge games), a point-and-click RPG with turn-based combat.
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April 2009 Indie Game Round-up

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  • How about The Maw? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BikeHelmet ( 1437881 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:43AM (#27827605) Journal

    Does it qualify as indy? Or is a ~10 person company too much?

    http://www.mawgame.com/ [mawgame.com]

    I'm surprised Caster made it into this review. I first heard about it sometime in 2008.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

      Indie is a really undefined term that orginally meant "not published by the major publishers" but nowadays noone's really sure what's indie and what's not. Is it indie to get published by Valve? Does indie just require funding your own development (again Valve or maybe The Conduit could apply here)?

      However this is just about the games released in April, The Maw got released in January or so on XBLA.

      • So an Indie Game is just a game created by a small company? (ok, what is "small"? less than 10 people? less than 15 people?) What is the origin of the term?
        • by noundi ( 1044080 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @04:19AM (#27827787)
          Indie comes from independent, as in not controlled by a major publisher. It would be the opposite of mainstream. Also mind you that the creating process is not the essential here, the distribution is, as the distributer (producer) generally controlls and funds the project. That's the best definition I can give you. But as everything there are grayzones.
    • by Svartalf ( 2997 )

      That's because he didn't ship it until this year.

      Linux, iPhone, Pandora ports are either shipping or are in progress.

    • The Maw was accepted into the 2009 Independent Games Festival, so yes, it's generally considered an indie title.

  • Be a King (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @04:28AM (#27827831)

    Be a King sounds interesting, but confusing. They call it a RTS, but the description makes it sound more like a Sim in the style of Settlers or Caesar or something.

    When I hear RTS, I think Dune2 rip-off.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

      I guess Settlers can be considered an RTS since it's really about building up a war economy and crushing the opposition, never mind the more recent derailings the franchise got... Maybe many people just don't know about games like Settlers? The genre hasn't seen much attention lately.

      • I guess Settlers can be considered an RTS since it's really about building up a war economy and crushing the opposition, never mind the more recent derailings the franchise got... Maybe many people just don't know about games like Settlers? The genre hasn't seen much attention lately.

        The original Settlers, up to Settlers 4, are great games. A more recent game in the same genre that I enjoy is Anno 1701 [wikipedia.org]

        • At one point in the original I managed to trigger a bug where one of the enemy's "road flags" was literally on our border, and I found I could join my road to it.

          My peasants went and stole everything he had lying around. :)

          I loved that game, partly because on the Amiga you could do two-player multiplayer with two mice in splitscreen.

    • Be a King is fun game. I tried the demo and didn't stop till I beat it. It reminds me of Majesty, but a lot less frustrating.

  • The Path (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'm surprised The Path [tale-of-tales.com] didn't make the list; it's been getting pretty good reviews lately. It may be short, but I found it to be quite a unique, refreshing experience.

    Although, I must admit that I hadn't even heard of, let alone played, half of the games in that list. =|

  • Tried these two; Caster's play control is atrocious and the art is... ugh. Be a King won't run under Wine on Jaunty (where I ran both games.)

    • What do you mean by the play control == poop?

      If it's mouse responsiveness for the direction, you might want to set the camera sensitivity higher. Moreover, while it works under WINE well enough, it works nicer under the native client... ;-)

      • Nah, the jumping & movement just feels really inconsistent. While I'm badmouthing the game, the performance is also pretty bad. I get better frame rates in half-life 2. Again, all this is under Wine (as I mentioned above) so if it isn't performant because it's running under Wine... I don't care, because I'm a Linux user :P

        (Mod me down if you find the view of a Linux gamer irrelevant or whatever, right?)

        • by Svartalf ( 2997 )

          Oh, I don't find it irrelevant. I find it kind of important, actually. However, one should consider WINE a poor substitute for doing the real thing- if it's not got a native Linux version, perhaps you shouldn't be using it under WINE... (If you're wondering, this is the position I've held for a while- and I am actively doing something about that... :-D) unless you're like me and trying to find new titles to move from Windows to Linux.

          Jumping and movement's not inconsistent with the native version (Well,

  • by FictionPimp ( 712802 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @07:55AM (#27828647) Homepage

    I'm so glad I read this article. Typically I don't read gaming articles because they are windows only. But now I found 2 new mac games to try: Geneforge and Caster.

  • Zeno Clash. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by juuri ( 7678 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:10PM (#27832245) Homepage

    Zeno Clash is an interesting take on the fighting genre as it is entirely first person and done in the HL2 engine (it appears). There are some weapons but using them is intentionally clunky as to push the fighting control. While the game oozes with style and has an absolutely outstanding new world filled with things you have never seen before... I can't help but feel the game just doesn't work for two reasons.

    First) The control with the keyboard sometimes borders on frustrating. All the keys make sense and the placement seems logical but as they game moves quite fast in sections you really feel limited compared to a traditional fighter. Perhaps with a joypad it works more smoothly?

    Second) The difficulty ramp is insane. You'll find yourself getting past the first encounter easily enough as it is there to introduce the game to you. However very early on you encounter a battle that is easily 10 times harder... we are talking like 5 minutes later here. You don't get a chance to get really used to the engine and as it is pretty easy to die when fighting multiple foes because of the first person perspective (you can't easily tell where everyone is or damage is coming from) it can just be... frustrating and one must really want to play to get over this hump.

    Fortunately each of these issues is fixable and I'd expect a patch or the next iteration to play much better.

The absent ones are always at fault.