InsaneCakes’ Top 5 Indie Games!

Here at TeaBag or Die, we’re suckers for great indie games. We commend anyone who takes their time to make their own game(s), and there truly are some incredibly talented individuals out there making some fantastic indie titles, whether they are on XBL Indie Games, PC or mobile, there truly are some great success stories.

However, it can be tough to sift through the huge amounts of indie titles to find those which are worth your time (and money). Currently, there are fairly poor systems for finding the best indie games, especially on the notorious Indie Games section the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. So, I thought I’d do the hard work for you, because I’m nice like that.

In no particular order, here are my top 5 indie games. Currently, that is. With the endless supply of indie titles streaming in across all platforms there are bound to be more that pique my interest.

Game Dev Tycoon (PC, Linux, Mac)

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Game Dev Tycoon was developed by Greenheart Games, founded by brothers Patrick Klug and Daniel Klug. The game starts in the 80s and follows the evolution of gaming over a 30+ year period.

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You start out in your garage, with only the ability to develop simple games for a couple of platforms. You pick a topic and platform, then allocate the amount of time you wish to spend on each part of the game’s development and gain Design and Technology points based on this. Then the game gets reviewed and goes for sale. Over the course of the years, new systems are developed such as the TES (NES), Gamesphere (Gamecube) and the mBox (Xbox), and new research becomes available, which costs research points (earned whilst making games) and sometimes money, and you can move to a variety of offices and get employees. You can create your own game engines, featuring your researched things, which costs money but allows you to make better games. You earn fans from games and can attend the G3 convention (E3) which, like the marketing you can do, builds hype for your games.

My most successful game (so far), the aptly named Game Dev Tycoon 2, which gained me 316.6M in profit. *Victory dance*

My most successful game (so far), the aptly named Game Dev Tycoon 2, which gained me 316.6M in profit. *Victory dance*

The game is simple, addictive and fun. Occasionally the game can also feel slightly frustrating, but Greenheart are patching some of the issues with games you make that should be successful but fail, which will arrive when the Game Dev Tycoon comes to Steam later this year. Even still, when you make a successful game that scores great reviews and sells a lot it is an incredible feeling.

The game costs $7.99/£5.69(+VAT) and is well worth every penny. There’s also a free demo/trial, and people who bought the game (which is DRM-free) will get a Steam key later this year.

Thomas Was Alone (PC, Mac, PS3, PSVita)

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I won’t go into this one as much because Quim did a post on it awhile ago, but this game is a great platformer developed by Mike Bithell which follows on a group of different AI’s, which are coloured blocks. Each of the AI’s is the embodiment of a different human trait; for example, Claire, a large blue block worried about her weight but determined to be a superhero. Read Quim’s post for more.

Little Inferno (PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Wii U)

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Little Inferno is a simple game developed by Tomorrow Corporation (a team of 3 guys) that is set in a world where the temperature is constantly getting colder, and the only way to stay warm is to sit in front of your Little Inferno fireplace (made by the company Tomorrow Corporation in the game), buying things from catalogues and burning them. Burning them gives you more money than you spent, which you can use to buy more expensive things from the catalogues. Right.

 

 

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The game is almost hypnotic. There is no way to lose and no penalties. It has a tragic, yet beautiful story told through letters that people send to you as you attempt to work out what is going on with the world. The art style of the game is perfect, and the game’s soundtrack is truly magical. A true wonder for your indie collection.

Mount Your Friends (XBL Indie Games)

This game is about… This game is… This game surrounds… This… Just watch the trailer, okay?

 

Developed by Daniel Steger, who comprises the entirety of Stegersaurus Games, this XBLIG gem is absolutely hilarious to play, and endlessly fun – especially when playing in multiplayer. Essentially, the player has to climb higher than the last person in less than 60 seconds, using the A, B, X and Y buttons to control each limb separately to climb the tower of testosterone-rich individuals on top of a goat. I never thought I’d say that before.

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For just 80 Microsoft Points you really can’t go wrong. Go here and download the trial, you’ll soon see what I mean. Plus check out the other games Stegersaurus has made.

 

 

Fez (XBL Arcade, PC)

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Fez is a puzzle/platform game developed by Polytron, and released on XBLA in 2012 and PC earlier this year. Fez is somewhat unique in that it is set in a 3D world, but always presented in a 2D perspective that can be rotated anytime in 90 degree intervals. As of it’s first birthday Fez has sold more than 200,000 copies on XBLA, which is incredible. 

The game has charming visuals and a fitting soundtrack to play along to as you and Gomez, the magical-fez wearing character you play play as, progress through the game’s countless worlds. Fez is endlessly replayable and entertaining for hours, and his full of hidden secrets.

 

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Fez is another demonstration of just how far indie developers will go to make a game. The game took 5 years to develop and had to go through legal battles before release. Even after release it was subject to some controversies, as a patch that fixed some bugs caused some players’ (less than 1% according to Polytron) save files to read as corrupt. Polytron refused to fix the patch due to huge costs they’d need to pay Microsoft if they did. Ultimately this just shows how hostile the world can be to an indie developer, but it’s something that both Sony and Microsoft seem to be attempting to address, with Sony making indie self-publishing possible on the PS4 and Microsoft making patches free from now on. It’s about time.

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Either way, Fez is still a fantastic game, and new players will not be affected by the issue with the patch. It’s available on Steam, XBLA, through the Humble Store and GOG for $9.99 or 800 Microsoft Points. It’s also coming to Ouya, Mac and Linux. You should get it. Why? Because it’s awesome, that’s why. Plus Polytron announced a sequel to it at the Horizon Indie summit held at E3 this year. Be sure to keep an eye out for more here.

So there they are. My top 5 indie games. But I’m curious, what are your favourite indie games and why? Drop a comment below and let us know!

InsaneCakes

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Xbox One: To Kinect or Not to Kinect

In its first iteration, Kinect was a sorely underused and unnecessary peripheral, which seemed to be developed solely for children and fitness fanatics that didn’t mind flailing their arms in front of their television, and looking like a fool.

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Kinect’s only use for the average gamer – the one who sits there playing shooters, RPGs and any game that doesn’t involve movement, was its voice control… When it worked. Relatively few games were labelled “Better with Kinect”, and even fewer were truly better with the peripheral. The only example I feel being noteworthy for its voice control was Mass Effect 3, all other games that used it seemed to be gimmicky, or it was just plain easier and quicker to use your controller.

Microsoft announcing that Kinect 2.0 will be shipping with every single Xbox One (rather unsurprisingly) has stirred up quite a fuss in the gaming community. In fact, the majority of the Xbox Reveal did, but we’ll stick to Kinect.

Kinect 2.0 has evolved massively, technologically speaking. It now boasts a 1080p camera, increased FOV and processes 2Gb of data every second. But that isn’t what matters. Developers’ integration of Kinect into games and services will be the key to its success.Xbox-One-s-Kinect-Can-Be-Turned-Off-for-Complete-Privacy

On the plus side, developers will know that every single Xbox One user will have a Kinect. The fact that it currently isn’t exactly clear how many, say, Call of Duty players have a Kinect for the Xbox 360, limits its use in current gen. Why waste money and resources developing extra things for a game, if only a small percentage of users will use them? Now that is no longer an issue, and developers can add extra features like voice control with the knowledge that everyone can use it. That doesn’t mean to say everyone will, however. What is interesting is how developers will utilize the Kinect for their games in new and interesting ways, not just “x, move”. The only thing that is worrying is that perhaps the hardware has evolved, but the things Kinect can add to an experience have not.

The thing most gamers have on their mind is that the Xbox One is never truly ‘off’, is constantly connected to the cloud, and is plugged into the Kinect, which is constantly watching and listening. Microsoft have confirmed that Kinect can be turned off, but many people are still concerned about their privacy, and quite understandably so.

Many people are still very negative about Kinect from its lack of decent integration in the 360. Others, myself included, are optimistic that if developers use the Kinect well, it can be successful. All in all, the new mandatory Kinect does open a lot of doors and offers plenty of promise, but it remains to be seen if certain gamers can get past the always-connected Kinect and purchase the Xbox One in the first place.

Let us know what you think about Kinect 2.0 in the comments – are you optimistic or do you think Microsoft should abandon Kinect all together?

-InsaneCakes

@InsaneCakes