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IndieGames.com is presented by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, which runs the Independent Games Festival & Summit every year at Game Developers Conference. The company (producer of the Game Developers Conference series, Gamasutra.com and Game Developer magazine) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers.

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Archive For January, 2007

Top 10 Freeware Platformers 2006

January 28, 2007 9:18 AM | Tim W.

A list of the best freeware platformers released last year, in (more or less) alphabetical order. Click on title for permalink. Instructions on how to unzip .RAR and .LZH files can be found in this FAQ.

- Cave Story was released in 2004, translated in 2005 (sorry, guys)

1. A Game with a Kitty 2: Darkside Adventures
2. Gambare Natsuki-San
3. Goonies 20th Anniversary, The
4. Lyle in Cube Sector
5. Knytt/Within a Deep Forest
6. Noitu Love and the Army of Grinning Darns
7. Painajainen
8. Poyo
9. Spud's Quest
10. Treasure Tower
11. La-Mulana (special mention)

For the sake of completeness: Satan Sam, Vivid Conceptions, ... (Suggest/comment)

Reviews



1. A Game with a Kitty 2: Darkside Adventures

A Game with a Kitty 2: Darkside Adventures is the latest platformer release by Bernie, featuring a much improved gameplay engine and plenty of secret locations to discover. You take on the role of an Arch-Chancellor on a quest to retrieve the lost crown, which equates to plenty of jumping and throwing stuff around.

The protagonist of the story can use the stars collected as weapons, but his inventory capacity will only allow up to thirty of them to be stuffed into his deep pockets. Special skills are awarded for surviving boss encounters, though certain jumps are pretty difficult to execute properly. Only four major locations in total, with an average of four to five short levels assigned to each.

There are several tough puzzles to figure out but nothing too perplexing with a bit of thought. Needless to say, a recommended download for fans of classic NES titles especially the Mario series.

Name: A Game with a Kitty 2: Darkside Adventures
Developer: Bernie
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC
Size: 14.7 MB
Difficulty: 4/5
Rating: 9
Direct download link: http://www.origamihero.com/agwak2da.exe
Other platformers by Bernie: Skyhammer, A Game with a Kitty

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2. Gambare Natsuki-San

Gambare Natsuki-San is an excellent puzzle platformer by Alpha Secret Base, borrowing a few elements from an obscure PSX game called Umihara Kawase Shun. The rope has been replaced with a metal gadget, able to extend and grab on to walls and ceilings.

Press the Z key to activate it, and use the directional keys to move around while holding down the same button. Jump using the X key, and tap the C key to bring up the pause window. Selecting the third option from the main menu will take you to the tutorial, complete with demonstration regarding controls and advanced techniques.

The objective of the game is to collect all food items, while avoiding water and contact with spikes. It's entirely possible to finish all fifty levels in one sitting. Very addictive and highly recommended.

Name: Gambare Natsuki-San
Developer: Alpha Secret Base
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC
Size: 9.41 MB
Difficulty: 3/5
Rating: 8
Direct download link: Click here

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3. Goonies 20th Anniversary, The

The Goonies 20th Anniversary is an excellent remake of the console classic by Retro Remakes competition veterans. Your quest involves saving a group of local kids trapped in an underground cave, and perhaps stealing a bit of loot while you're at it. You can punch at the enemies to protect yourself and collect vitality drinks to restore health.

Like most platformers, there are a number of keys to collect in each stage though your character can only carry one at any time. A save function can be accessed from the main menu by pressing the k and control key at the same time. OSX and Linux versions are available as well.

Name: Goonies 20th Anniversary, The
Developer: Brain Games
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux
Size: 11.6 MB
Difficulty: 2/5
Rating: 7
Direct download link: http://goonies.jorito.net/download/theGoonies.zip

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4. Lyle in Cube Sector

Lyle in Cube Sector is a platformer that is reminiscent of the classic Metroid series in more than a few ways. Exploration is a key element in this game, as you seek out the culprit responsible for the kidnapping of Lyle's lovable kitten.

The protagonist starts off with no possession or special skills, but will soon acquire the ability to pick up blocks and use it to eliminate enemies or jump twice as high. Things begin to unravel pretty quickly once you have learnt a trick or two, plus there are many rooms to explore and secrets to discover.

Don't be put off by the retro graphics, this is one quality effort that fans of classic platform games should not miss.

Name: Lyle in Cube Sector
Developer: Bogosoft
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC
Size: 1.14 MB
Difficulty: 4/5
Rating: 8
Download page: http://www.sitesled.com/members/bogo/lyle.html

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5. Knytt/Within a Deep Forest

The story of Knytt begins with an abduction and a crash landing on some unfamiliar planet, which means plenty of land to explore although there's hardly any interaction with other creatures. Save points are easily accessible, Knytt will glow red when in danger, and the shining beam of light will assist your search for the necessary repair items.

There's about sixty screens worth of adventure which equals to roughly an hour or two of play. Of course, this isn't a Nifflas production without several unlockables and secrets to reward the curious.

In Within a Deep Forest, you control a bouncing ball made out of different materials which is always in perpetual motion throughout the entire game. Starting off with the basic blue, your jump height will change depending on the type of ball in use. A comprehensive tutorial provides all the information you need, while solutions to most puzzles can be found in the forums. Press F1 to play in full screen mode.

Name: Knytt/Within a Deep Forest
Developer: Nifflas
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC
Size: 20 MB (each)
Difficulty: 3 and 5 respectively
Rating: 7
Direct download link: Knytt, Within a Deep Forest

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6. Noitu Love and the Army of Grinning Darns

Controls in Noitu Love and the Army of Grinning Darns are stripped down to basics, featuring the standard punch and jump plus two more attack variations assigned to both the left control and shift key. Much like Capcom's Mega Man series, you get to utilize certain devices to change form and access special powers. The first few levels may seem repetitive but the game does get better after the second stage.

Most of the highlights occur during boss battles, where each leader has to be defeated using different strategies. The final boss encounter is simply amazing, even when compared to other platformers freeware or otherwise. A word of advice, you'll miss out on quite a bit if the easy difficulty setting is chosen. Press alt-Enter to play in full screen mode.

Name: Noitu Love and the Army of Grinning Darns
Developer: Joakim Sandberg
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC
Size: 7.58 MB
Difficulty: 4/5
Rating: 8
Direct download link: http://www.konjak.org/noitulove.zip

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7. Painajainen

The developers of Painajainen had noted that this platformer was partly inspired by both of autofish's earlier efforts, namely seiklus and velella. Made in two weeks for a Finnish game competition, it chronicles the story of a boy trapped in his own dream.

Finding and getting butterflies to follow your character grants you special powers, with subtle hints on each ability provided on the same screen. Press enter to access the map and a progress chart. A few bugs exist but can easily be solved by pressing the E key for a quick return to the starting point. The save game area is located just next to it.

Name: Painajainen
Developer: Virtanen Games
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC
Size: 5.09 MB
Difficulty: 1/5
Rating: 7
Direct download link: http://koti.mbnet.fi/erkkavir/Painajainen.zip

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8. Poyo

From the wonderful world of Game Maker comes Poyo, a new platforming adventure which took Lazrael only one month to complete. You control the main character using the arrow keys, but most of the puzzles in the game can only be solved by figuring out the proper way to utilize your warp ability. Tap the X key to jump and use the Z key in conjunction with a directional arrow key to dash past traps or activate switches.

Press the down arrow key while standing in front of another creature to start a conversation. Instructions are printed on a text file which can be found in the zip package.

The F4 key can be used to switch between windowed and full screen mode. Features forty-five levels and six boss encounters.

Name: Poyo
Developer: Lazrael
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC
Size: 4.22 MB
Difficulty: 3/5
Rating: 8
Direct download link: http://lazrael.avalanchestudios.net/crap/Poyo_Official_1.zip
Other games by Lazrael: Super Haunted Insomnia Tower, Starlit Zone Fighter, Pozzo - Jello Crusade, Flapper

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9. Spud's Quest

Dizzy has had it's fair share of halfhearted remakes. With Spud's Quest, fans no longer need to endure such indignity though our lovable egg has now been replaced with a protagonist named Spud. You can only carry three items at any time, so expect a lot of backtracking in this game.

Name: Spud's Quest
Developer: Chris Davis
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC
Size: 4.04 MB
Difficulty: 4/5
Rating: 7
Direct download link: http://total-klik.net/file.asp?action=dload&file=16

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10. Treasure Tower

Treasure Tower is a game by David Newton that mixes a bit of WarioWare gameplay with platforming elements. Guide a noble knight through twenty rooms to reach the top of a tower and collect the treasure.

Most of the actions available to you can be carried out by using the arrow keys. Press up to enter doors or activate switches. Tap the left shift key to jump. Run over items to collect them.

You begin each game with 36 seconds on the clock, which can only be replenished by collecting food. Running into obstacles such as spikes or ghosts will cause you to lose valuable seconds.

Name: Treasure Tower
Developer: David Newton
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC
Size: 4.29 MB
Difficulty: 3/5
Rating: 7
Direct download link: http://wired.st-and.ac.uk/~wong/treasuretower/treasuretower.zip
Other platformers by David Newton: Special Agent

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11. La-Mulana (special mention)

La-Mulana is a freeware free-roaming platformer game designed to look, sound, and play like a classic MSX game. It's heavily influenced by the classic Konami MSX game 'The Maze of Galious' and anyone who has played that title will probably recognize the similarities very quickly. You play the whip-wielding Indiana Jones-esque archaeologist Lemeza Kosugi as he investigates the ancient ruins of La-Mulana in an attempt to find its treasure and one-up his father, who is trying to get the same treasure as well.

The game is huge, with many different areas to explore and dozens of items and weapons to find. Each area has a large variety of puzzles and traps and you need to solve the puzzles in each area to discover the Ankhs and Ankh Jewels, which allow you to fight the eight Guardians of the ruins. To solve the puzzles you'll need to be able to read the tablets scattered throughout the ruins, which will require a Hand Scanner and translation software for the portable MSX that Lemeza has brought along on the adventure. Your Hand Scanner will also allow you to find items and search the bones of less fortunate adventurers.

Name: La-Mulana
Developer: GR3 Project
Release: 2005 (translation - 2007)
Type: Freeware
Platform: PC
Size: 6.11 MB
Difficulty: 6/5
Rating: 9
Direct download link: http://agtp.romhack.net/extra/LA-MULANA.zip
Translation patch: http://agtp.romhack.net/download/la-mulana-patch.zip

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Soccer Cards 2

January 27, 2007 9:18 AM | Tim W.

Lead your team to the top of the premiership using strategy and cunning in this unique card-based football game.

Soccer Cards 2 is a football game quite unlike any other. An addictive game of chance that you influence with your skill. Choose your match cards revealing a situation in play, such as a goal, shot, pass, tackle, penalty, etc. Use your strategy options to increase your scoring chances and thwart your opponents.

Name: Soccer Cards 2
Developer: Michael Douglas
Category: Sports
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB

La-Mulana

January 27, 2007 9:08 AM | Tim W.

La-Mulana is a freeware free-roaming platformer game designed to look, sound, and play like a classic MSX game. It's heavily influenced by the classic Konami MSX game 'The Maze of Galious' and anyone who has played that title will probably recognize the similarities very quickly. You play the whip-wielding Indiana Jones-esque archaeologist Lemeza Kosugi as he investigates the ancient ruins of La-Mulana in an attempt to find its treasure and one-up his father, who is trying to get the same treasure as well.

The game is huge, with many different areas to explore and dozens of items and weapons to find. Each area has a large variety of puzzles and traps and you need to solve the puzzles in each area to discover the Ankhs and Ankh Jewels, which allow you to fight the eight Guardians of the ruins. To solve the puzzles you'll need to be able to read the tablets scattered throughout the ruins, which will require a Hand Scanner and translation software for the portable MSX that Lemeza has brought along on the adventure. Your Hand Scanner will also allow you to find items and search the bones of less fortunate adventurers.

Name: La-Mulana
Developer: GR3 Project
Category: Platform
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB

News

January 25, 2007 10:18 AM | Tim W.

Shooter

A screenshot from Ishisoft's upcoming Skywaymen was recently posted. [Clockwiser, Pushover review]

The new Shoot the Core is up.

Typhoon 2001 updated with configurable controls. [Typhoon 2001 review]

cactus announces a new shooter entitled Clean Asia. [Space, The Design, Unholy Stage, Decontrologic, Ad Nauseam, God Came to the Cave, Illegal Communication, Retro Future, Precision, Retro II review]

oddbob announces Beast Invaders 3; wraps up production of G-Force with two sets of screenshots on both his site and the Retro Remakes forum thread. [direct download link, G-Force, Beast Invaders 2 review]

New screenshots from Excellent Bifurcation added. [Excellent Bifurcation review]

News

January 25, 2007 10:08 AM | Tim W.

Platformer

Riva RunsThe translation patch for La-Mulana is out. [La-Mulana walkthrough and maps]

We've got a mention on OMEGA's diary! [OMEGA's download page, INO-vation, Marble, Twintower review]

New screenshots from Riva Runs added to Crobasoft's web site.

Adventure

The Forgotten Element has a new web site.

New version of The Marionette now available. [The Marionette review]

Walkthrough for Yahtzee's 5 Days a Stranger, 7 Days a Skeptic, Trilby's Notes and 6 Days a Sacrifice can be found here. [Yahtzee's past projects]

Puzzler

Riva RunsBlocksum replays in .dat file format can be downloaded by clicking on the numbered rankings on this page.

Place any of these in Blocksum's replay folder, then select a file from the replay menu option to watch. [Blocksum review]

It is also possible to watch the replays in-game by going to the high score menu, selecting a high score, and press the download details option. [thanks zzmann!]

Mr. Blocko: Super Tournament Edition updated.

Miscellaneous

3Punge results are out. [FileFront mirror, Santaro, Round and Round review]

Trouble In CloudLand

January 25, 2007 9:18 AM | Tim W.

Trouble In CloudLand is a 2D game that features star-shooting mayhem and powerup collecting goodness. Conquer three unique worlds populated by troops of loveable but devious foes. Simple controls put you right in the action, while allowing for multiple play styles. Evolving gameplay will challenge even the most experienced of players.

Trouble In CloudLand was developed over four months by Joshua and Jony. It was programmed using Python, Pygame, and Eclipse.

Name: Trouble In CloudLand
Developer: Battle Zero
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB

Speed

January 25, 2007 9:08 AM | Tim W.

Speed is an alright card game by the creator of Dice Wars, in which the player has to discard all cards in hand before the computer AI does. This is achieved by placing a card which is sequential on specially marked areas. Each stage introduces increasing difficulty.

Name: Speed
Developer: GameDesign
Category: Puzzle
Type: Flash
Size: 1MB

Excellent Bifurcation

January 23, 2007 9:18 AM | Tim W.

In Excellent Bifurcation, the aliens have attacked and their ability to exist in either or both of their world and ours has given them an almost unsurpassable advantage. Take command of a special fighter craft capable of existing in both realities at once and drive them back!

The form your fighter takes on the left has double fast-firing cannons and can charge to release up to eight seekers. It is ideal for destroying small and weak but numerous enemies. The right-hand form has a single powerful cannon which fires slowly but does far more damage, and is more suited to taking out larger enemies. It can charge up to release a wave which passes through things, damaging them as it goes. You can switch them between the worlds depending on what kind of firepower you need where.

The only vulnerable parts of your ship are the white parts at the centre. This means that the small form is much better at dodging than the large one. The only dangerous parts of bullets are the brightest (yellow or white) parts. Also, if you are shot down the form which was hit emits a green shockwave instead of a yellow one.

Press the Z key to shoot, X key to charge the special weapon, and C key to switch between two forms. Use the A key to activate autofire. You can change settings, like windowed vs fullscreen and whether it uses vsync, by editing init.txt.

Name: Excellent Bifurcation
Developer: Linley Henzell
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB

Doctor Who and The Daleks

January 23, 2007 9:08 AM | Tim W.

Doctor Who and The Daleks is a remake of and loving tribute to the classic console game Daleks. The game begins with the Doctor materialised on the surface of Skaro, homeworld of the terrifying Daleks. You control the Doctor, moving him with the number pad or the keyboard. Pressing S or five on the numpad is considered a pass move, where the Doctor stands still and the Daleks move.

Every time the Doctor moves, the Daleks move closer as well. However, the Dalek troops aren't quite as smart as the Doctor. In their bloodlust they will collide with each other, leaving behind a pile of radioactive debris which other Daleks may collide with as well. So you'll want to make your moves carefully and try to lure the Daleks into each other.

You are aided in your struggle by the Tardis, the Doctor's travelling machine through time and space. You can use the Tardis to instantly transport yourself to another place on the battlefield. Unfortunately, the Tardis is still an unpredictable beast, so you can't control where you'll appear. A teleportation counts as a regular move, so if you land next to a Dalek, bad luck there.

Use the function keys to change the size of the game.

Name: Doctor Who and The Daleks
Developer: Dream Codex
Category: Puzzle
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB

Sam and Max Season 1 – Episode 3: The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball

January 22, 2007 9:18 AM | Tim W.

Reviewed by the Gnome (Gnome's Lair)

Ahh, episodic gaming, point-and-click fun, lovely absurdism and an exercise in alliteration. You just got to love the newest (can you believe it’s the third one released, already?) Sam and Max Episode: The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball. It’s funny, it’s well directed, it’s excellently written, it’s self-contained, it’s slightly psychotic, it must definitely be the cheapest just-released game in whole wide web and it’s the sole proof mankind ever needed to prove how perky and alive adventure gaming still is.

Then again, it’s also far too easy and quite a bit on the short side, but guess I can live with these things. Especially when this is the only Sam and Max game ever to feature a hilarious, brilliant and jazzy Mafia song. Oh, and admittedly it does feature a whack-the-rat style minigame that’ll make Hit the Road veterans cry. And a great driving mini-game. And an amazing variety of puzzle types, which might not be tough, but are always entertaining.

Anyway, back to the Mafia as, well, it’s quite central to the plot, for it’s the Mafia and Ted E. Bear’s Mafia-Free Playland and Casino you’ll be unleashing the investigating duo upon. In a search of a mole no less. Still, that’s all you’re getting out of me… Them Spoiler-dudes have already given me two warnings… I’m confident there won’t be a third.

My lips are sealed. You, on the other hand, have to play this game. Now. It will hit worldwide audiences at the 8th of February.

Name: Sam and Max Episode: The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball
Developer: Telltale Games
Category: Adventure

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