Indie Game

Ooblets… As if farming simulators weren’t cute enough!

From the team of two developers over at Gumberland, published by the guys at Double Fine, comes the exciting new farming simulator hybrid, Ooblets.  Noted by the developers as taking its inspiration from Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon and Pokemon, they appear to have successfully taken cute, timesed it by adorable and divided by charming to create this absolute gem. The game sees you not only farm your land but manage your household, run your own store and explore the land of Oob, all with the help of your Ooblets. Ooblets being the little creatures that you befriend and battle with, that’s where the Pokemon comes in. As expected the game has a whole range of customizable features for your character and farm.

The art style of the game is truly charming, using pastel colours to bring out a sense of harmony and tranquillity to your farming life. The creatures themselves are original in design, friendly creations that will make the farming simulator a true all-round original and creative gaming experience.

Ooblet is set to become available in early 2018 on PC and Xbox One. Being a must have for the new year, Ooblet is one to put on the calender.

Indie Game

Shu – Caverns of the Nightjars

It has been a year since the release of the hugely successful Shu Caverns of the Nighjars , yet when I think of the most recent kick-ass platforms, it still appears to be right up there at the top of the list! From the amazing developers that brought you the hilarious Gang Beats and a number of brilliant Samsung VR titles, Coatsink Studies pulled it out of the bag yet again and produced a truly stunning platforming experience with one the best soundtracks of the last 12 months.

You play as Shu, whose village has been destroyed by a terrible storm. On your journey of survival, you will explore and conquer your way through  5 diverse lands in 15 huge and gorgeous levels, finding an abundance of collectables and stumbling across an original cast of 10 characters, all of which have their own unique powers.

Shu is yet another example of how indie platformers can be hugely successful on a console as well as helping to introduce an alternative gaming experience to those console gamers that confine themselves to AAA games.

If you haven’t already checked it out, Shu is available now on PC and PS4 and coming soon to PSVITA. I myself am really looking forward to the PSVITA release, the console is still lacking in decent indie titles and I feel this will be a great addition.

JB

Indie Game

Reigns: Her Majesty… Long live the Queen!

Following the huge success of Reigns last year, Devolver Digital announced earlier this year that they are working on a exciting follow up, Reigns: Her Majesty.

Reigns: Her Majesty, similar to its predecessor, see’s you trying to maintain a balance between the powerful factions within your kingdom. You must navigate through the treacherous world of politics, forming friendships, rivalries and making use of mystical items to aid on your journey through a brand new fantasy medieval kingdom.

As Queen, you must exploit and outwit those unfortunate souls that wish to depose you and your King. You will get Royal Challenges thrown your way, creating specific goals to help you unlock new cards and directions for your story. All of which can be done by simply swiping left or right. Simple game mechanics delivering a complex and dynamic story.

If this follow up is anything like its predecessor, it’s going to be a royal riot. Available on IOS, Android, PC and Mac later this year.

JB

Indie Game

Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark

Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is a turn based tactical RPG currently in development by Florida based 6Eyes Studio. Taking inspiration and design elements from both steampunk on JRPG titles, Fell Seal fits perfectly into the genre without feeling too familiar.

Both in look and feel, Fell Seal is a love letter to Final Fantasy Tactics and the Disgaea series, bringing in extensive character customisation, abilities and lush fantasy settings that fans of these titles have grown to know and love. Like the previously mentioned titles. Fell Seal has an in depth character management and class system, allowing each player to experience a unique journey within the game. The map designs are well throughout and full of treasure, bringing further strategic elements to the game.  The game is story driven , including both cut scenes and story driving characters that will accompany you on your journey.

With such lush design, smooth thoughtful gameplay and an original score, it is evident that the production value is sky high for this title.

We highly recommend getting hands on with the demo which is available now on Itch.io and Gamejolt. If you love the game as much as we did, why not support its development on kickstarter and receive the game upon its release in June 2018 for as little as $20.

JB

Comic/Graphic Novel

Digby is a Wizard… Hilarious and Heart Wrenching

‘It’s quite normal to have hopes and dreams fill our heads with bubbly excitement from time to time. It’s also quite normal for those moments to inexplicably lead us down dark paths and exploding bathrooms’ Digby is a Wizard – Joe Latham

Having spotted the Kickstarter campaign, Digby is a Wizard is the first comic that we have managed to get our hands on from the awesomely talented Joe Latham, founder of Lookhappydesign.com. It so happens that it was one of the first projects we backed as Indieventure, making it quiet a momentous backing, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on our digital copy.

It certainly did not disappoint. Digby is a Wizard tells the story of a wizard with big dreams who experiences some rather odd and unfortunate events while on a quest to a job interview. The art style invites you straight in, the small 6 drawings per page make the comic an effortless read that you will almost certainly not put down until you finish it. The wording is simple, as the art is more than expressive enough. Having briefly sampled some of Joe’s other works, The Fox in particular, it is evident that Joe does not need words to portray a story, his art style expresses all that needs to be expressed in order to engage the readers emotion. Having said that, the wording in Digby is both hilarious and heart wrenching at times. The clever one liners progress the story at a perfect pace.

The story will leave you laughing, crying and asking questions of yourself, and for me at least, encouraged self reflection. It touches on the difficult subject of depression and the importance of understanding your support system, that your friends and family are there to support you, just as Digbys are there to support him.

Having read Digby is a Wizard I found that Joe has published 3 other comics, The Fox, The Wolf and The Woodsman as well as a graphic novel Loosing Sleep, a collaboration with the equally talented Bristol based creator Luke Hyde. All of which are available on his website Lookhappydesign.com. We will definitely be checking these out!

Please also check out lukehyde.co.uk for his awesome works, and to show your support for independent artists and comic makers.

JB

P.S Apologies for bad spelling

 

 

 

Indie Game

Regions Of Ruin!

Earlier today an exiting new project Regions of Ruin was released on Steam Early Access. Created by Australian developers Vox Games. Regions of Ruin is a 2D side scrolling town building RPG set in a rich fantasy world.  You must fight, explore, complete challenges and build your way through an epic side scrolling pixel art open world creating settlements along the way. Failing to succeeded could lead the Dwarven race into extinction!

Alongside settlement building, the games RPG elements allow you to unlock hero skills as well as gear up your character for hack and slash combat against all kinds of menacing enemies, including big ass bosses!

This may not be the first game of its genre, but the original fantasy setting and rich settlement building definitely give it an edge. The 2D pixel art lends itself perfectly to the look and feel of the game, without making the open world feel small.

If you fancy giving Regions of Ruins a punt, its available on Windows, Mac and Linux through Humble Bundle and Steam for around £13. We expect great things from this title and are excited to see what gamers think of it!

JB

Indie Game

Frost Punk… Are you Ready?

Do you have it in you to become the leader of a steam powered city in a world that is completely frozen?

Poland based developers; 11 Bit Studios latest project ‘Frost Punk‘, this is the challenge that you are faced with.  In this mixture of survival, city building society simulation, you must manage resources as well as oversee the well-being of your people to ensure their survival in the beautifully crafted frozen wasteland.  As you would expect from 11 bit studios, as leader, your must make difficult choices that pitch your ambitions against your emotions in order to keep your city and it’s people alive.

If that pressure wasn’t already enough, you will be made responsible for the creation of laws and customs that will either shape or oppose your society’s beliefs. This, alongside resource management is surely going to test even the most seasoned tactically player.

For those that feel tied down with my too much strategy and decision making, ‘Frost Punk‘ encourages the player to get out and explore beyond the city walls to enjoy the deep lore of the land and to learn how it got into such a desperate state.

Front Punk‘ is truly a first in this mash up of genres and we can’t wait for the responsibility to be thrust upon our shoulders later is year.

JB

Indie Game

Pyre…My first cross-genre crush

Since its release in July 2017, Pyre has been a massive success and received critical acclaim from all of the major review platforms. Being the 3rd game to come from Supergiant Games, the fans expectations were high, and rightly so, both Bastian and Transistor have been huge successes and been a driving force in bringing indie games to the console platform. Pyre was no exception. Set in a rich high fantasy world, Pyre sets a new bar when it comes to cross genres as it combines fantasy RPG with sports, sports! The mash up of hefty RPG storylines with sports like gameplay brings back fond memories of playing blitzball in Final Fantasy 10.

As a member of ‘Triumvirate’ The Nightwings, you play as ‘the reader”, whose purpose is to guide your team to compete in rites in order to gain each of your companions liberation and freedom from the ‘Downside’ so that they may return to the fantasy homeland of ‘The Commonwealth’. The game introduces a variety of characters that have been as beautifully and lovingly crafted as the game itself. The villains as particularly brutal, making kicking their arse in the rites all that more satisfying.

When given the opportunity to liberate my first companion I felt both excited by the idea that I was freeing a soul from the dammed downside , but also heartache in the fact that I was losing a character that, despite the short play time, I had become somewhat attached too. My first choice was the demon Jodariel, a giant horned warrior. Now, when you consider the fact that she had the biggest aura when conducting a rite, as well as her unique techniques, this was tactically probably the worst choice that I could have made. But I didn’t care about that, she had been in the downside the longest, despite her tough exterior the game made me see through that to the character that longed to be free. Now when a game successfully influences a tactical decision with emotion, you know then, that you are well and truly hooked.

Visually the game is nothing short of beautiful. Your surroundings in the ‘Downside’ change and shift as you continue on your journey, with each area being as rich in fantasy as the next, making you want to continue on your journey all that much more.

I don’t want to spoil the game so if you haven’t already and want to check out Pyre, it is available on PS4, PC and Mac for around £15. Well worth it considering its limitless play time. This flawless cross genre gem is well and truly my first cross genre crush, I feel only a hardcore-dating-casual-racing-city building simulator could maybe top it.  

JB

Industry

Huddersfield, the Indie Game Hub of the UK?

Famous for being the birthplace of rugby league, John Smiths Bitter, Sir Patrick Stewart and the industrial revolution. Alongside its socialist views and anti establishment attitudes, Huddersfield has always been known as a city of innovation. But could these be the reasons why it has now turned into a thriving hub of indie game developers? We think It definitely has something to do with it.

Now, with studio’s dotted around the city employing some of the UK’s youngest and brightest industry talent. Studio’s such as RedKite Games, the developers of Transgalactic Tournament,  Sumo Digital, famous for their work on Hitman Episode 5 and Crackdown 3, Hypersloth, the small indie game studio that developed Dream and Canalside Studios, the developers of numerous mobile games. Fallen Idol Games are another small indie game studio based in Huddersfield that are currently working on an exciting new project TyperDrive.  These amazing studios are what make Huddersfield a force to be reckoned with within the indie gaming community.

Alongside this, The University of Huddersfield’s internationally recognised Computer Game Design and ‘Computer Games Programming‘ courses, has meant that the city is getting first dibs on all the fresh young talent looking at joining the industry.

Speaking of awesome talent, I have to mention GAMAYO. GAMAYO is a ‘free and informal network of people that make videogames in Yorkshire and the North of England’ run by Game Republic. They host awesome events twice yearly to help developers showcase, play test and just as important, network. If you haven’t already been to a GAMAYO event we highly recommend checking one out soon!

Huddersfield is sticking it to the man and giving the AAA gaming industry a run for its money. Now if I’m looking for an opportunity to get into the industry,  I would get my arse down to Huddersfield so fast that the three peaks will be nothing but a blur.

JB

Uncategorized

The Upcoming Mona Lisa’s of Indie Games!

Now, as we all know, independently produced video games, in their own right, are works of art. But ever so often you get the Mona Lisa’s of video games. These are a couple of our favourite upcoming indie games that, to us, are true works of art.

Selling Sunlight (CoseBelle)

Selling Sunlight is a beautifully hand drawn narrative RPG currently in development by Italian developers CoseBelle. The game sets you as a wandering merchant whose face has been stolen (yes, your face has been stolen) by the sun. You must travel across the elegantly hand drawn environments to explore, meet new characters and haggle with fellow merchants. My first impressions are that the game is visually elegant, helping to create it’s rich and inviting fantasy world, enhanced again by its original soundtrack. We can’t wait to delve elbow deep into Selling Sunlight upon it’s release in 2019.

If you’re interested in supporting the development of Selling Sunlight, you can check out their Kickstarter campaign here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cosebelle/selling-sunlight-a-wandering-merchant-rpg

Cuphead (Studio MDHR)

Run and gun games are usually not my ‘cup of tea’ but this has the exception. Due for release later this week, Cuphead is a run and gun side scrolling platformer developed by Studio MDHR. The first thing to be said about Cuphead, is that it’s stylish as hell. The 1930’s cartoon style graphics makes the game look almost nothing like a game.

With the tagline, ‘Don’t Deal With The Devil’, the game sees players take the role of Cuphead as he tries to repay the bet he made with the devil, fighting hilarious and inventive bosses, through a number of colorful and diverse backdrops. The game is going to be a huge hit when it releases on PC and Xbox later this week and we can’t wait to get our hands on it. 

Gorogoa (Jason Roberts)

Gorogoa is a hand draw puzzler developed by Jason Roberts and is due for release on iOS, Android and PC in 2017. The game has been in development since 2011 and is a combination of Robert’s love for both art and video games. The game has the player move Robert’s beautiful illustrations and animations around a grid in order to complete the puzzle. The players is then taken through the then 3D completed scene to move through the story and onwards to the next puzzle.

The gameplay creates a completely unique and captivating experience for the player. We think it’s going to be a huge hit for both casual and hardcore puzzlers alike. This is a true labour of love and we look forward to playing it.  

JB