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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 December, 2011

3DSWare Review: VVVVVV (Terry Cavanagh, Nicalis)

December 29, 2011 4:00 PM | John Polson

VVVVVV 3DS.jpg

Gravitational switching platformer VVVVVV began 2010 with a bang, and it looks to end 2011 in a similar fashion for 3DS owners. IndieGames has an in-depth review of Terry Cavanagh's VVVVVV already, so this will focus on Nicalis' 3DS port and its options.

Most notable is the use of the two screens, with the bottom screen conveying helpful information such as missing crew, player stats, and a big map I used often. Controls feel spot on, and players can use the analog or digital pad to steer Captain Viridian. VVVVVV on the 3DS also has some considerate accessibility options, where players can toggle on or off backgrounds, screen shakes and flashes, invincibility and a slowdown mode.

The 3DS version also includes time trials, easy access to the intermission levels, a no death mode (seriously?), a flip mode, and the secret lab (which contains the bounce and avoid survival stage "Super Gravitron"). All of these play modes can be unlocked early, without paying one of those pesky DLC fees or in-app purchases that many games require.

Microsoft Honors Minecraft Clones, Lacrosse Sims In Best Of 2011: Indie Games Feature

December 29, 2011 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

111228_totalminer.jpgMicrosoft has chosen ten Xbox Live Indie Games as honorees in a promotional feature highlighting standout retail and downloadable titles for the Xbox 360.

The list, however, does a poor job of representing the XBLIG service as a whole. Among the chosen titles are four Minecraft clones (including two different versions of CastleMiner), two lacrosse simulators, and two online role-playing games featuring user-created Xbox 360 Avatars.

The list notably excludes current top-rated titles like BloodyCheckers and Dead Pixels. Overall sales figures to date also played no role in the selection process. Instead, titles appear to have been chosen based on first-week sales numbers, as Gamasutra's Frank Cifaldi discovered.

XBLIG developers criticized Microsoft's most recent Xbox 360 dashboard update, which obscured and limited the Xbox Marketplace's Indie Games category. The new interface was recently parodied in Mommy's Best Games' XBLIG shoot-'em-up Game Type.

[via @werezompire]

Sugar Cube Making the World Sweeter, One Photo at a Time

December 29, 2011 6:20 AM | John Polson

South Korean team Turtle Cream's 2D platformer Sugar Cube not only won the judges' hearts at IGF China 2010, netting the Best Game award, it's also been winning over fans spanning across USA, Australia, Asia, and Europe. As is evident in the above video collection of photos, the confectioner cube has been travelling with many fans to well-known landmarks and lesser-known hideaways.

While the "Travels of Sugar Cube 2011" photos suggest otherwise, in the upcoming game Sugar Cube is still fighting to be free of the factory that confines him and that wants him to become nothing more than an ingredient in a cookie.

The gameplay offers a different take on the exploratory platformer, where players must flip the background panels to find ways to traverse and complete the stage. Some panels will be helpful, whereas others will be harmful.

There is an old downloadable version, but the new Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory will be a full game coming soon for PC, with 5 factory themes containing 90 levels and 2 endings. The IGF 2012 trailer is after the jump.

Demo: SARCIA (Michael Lavoie)

December 28, 2011 11:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

sarcia.jpg

When we first covered SARCIA sometime back, many expressed concerns about things like the usage of music from a certain notable animated film and the lack of gameplay footage. Well, guess what? You can now find out if your worries had been justified. In conjunction with the recent Yuletide holidays, SARCIA's developers recently released a free demo of their game. Sadly, it only consists of the introduction and the tutorial level but why look a gift horse in the mouth?

Thanks to travel woes, I haven't been able to check out the demo myself but it appears as though fans of LucasArt's Loom and ThatGameCompany's Journey might find something quite enticing here. According to the development log, 'everything in Sarcia will be about learning new words to sing and to combine in order to progress'. And as you might have guessed already, none of those words will be anything we're familiar with - they're all derived from a language one of the developers spent two years constructing.

In case you're disinclined towards trying the game out yourself, there's a video review (not ours!) of the game below the cut. Those interested in downloading the SARCIA demo should head through this link.

Minicraft 2 In Development

December 28, 2011 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

111227_minicraft.jpg

Minecraft developer Notch announced that he's currently working on a sequel to his Ludum Dare 22 entry Minicraft, a top-down, browser-based Minecraft adaptation that was created in under 48 hours.

Why? "For no good reason," Notch claims.

Notch has issued no word as to whether Minicraft 2 will be developed in a similarly short timeframe, or if the project will be a more fleshed-out venture. He revealed, however, that he aims to create an "action roguelike with crafting and modifiable terrain," and notes that he's currently searching for a better title.

[via Joystiq]

Indie Game Links: Steampunk Fighting

December 28, 2011 3:00 PM | John Polson

jolly corpse.jpgToday's collection of independent game links includes more indie game news, interviews, and developer announcements from around the 'net. (image source)

Kiritsu Games: Chaotic Vortex
"Instead of the more common enemy blasting action of your average shooter, in Chaotic Vortex you can't fire a single bullet. You'll have to keep a cool head while steering away from dozens of enemies coming at you!"

Temple of the Roguelike: Ascii Dreams Roguelike of the Year 2011 winners!
"Voting for best roguelike games at Ascii Dreams has finished today. This time almost three thousand people have voted! Undisputed winner is: Tales of Maj'Eyal."

a jolly corpse: Mapping the World of Wyv and Keep
"Taking a few hints from other great games (Yoshi Island), we have designed a visually interesting and detailed level select function for when players want to try to improve their personal bests on any one level, or just replay portions of the game freely."

Experimental Gamedev Podcast Show: Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix & Her Nightmare is now on iPhone/iPad
"Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix & Her Nightmare, the game that won "Best Game Design" in the IndiePub contest last year...is now on the iPhone/iPad."

Joystiq Indie Pitch: Unity of Command
"There are more explosions per minute than in any other strategy game you've ever played."

Shoryuken: Independent Fighting Game Gilden Tide Gets Teaser Trailer
"Hot on the heels of Skullgirls, CircGeo Studios have announced Gilden Tide, a steampunk influenced fighter currently in development."

Bonte Games: [Browser Game Pick] Where is 2012?
"Help Santa find the new year in the end of year game from PastelGames: where is 2012?"

Browser Game Pick: William and Sly 2 (Lucas Paakh)

December 28, 2011 3:00 AM | John Polson

william and sly 2.jpg

Gamers are sure to find something visually striking in developer Lucas Paakh's William and Sly 2, a sequel to the first title IndieGames covered two and a half years ago.

William and Sly 2 is still an exploratory platformer. Sly the fox is uncovering hidden caves by hugging the tricky terrain, gathering mushrooms, powering up, and collecting 25 pages to William's journal, which the animal can apparently read. Added to all that, Sly will find keys, bombs, frozen pixies, fairyflies, and other surprises not worth spoiling.

In addition to the very gorgeous visual upgrade and added man-beef, the gameplay has been switched up some. Players are destroying far less from the beginning, in favor of more metroidvania style platforming, discovery, and puzzle/riddle solving.

Much like the original, expect Sly 2 to take up more than a few minutes of your time. William and Sly 2 is available on Kongregate now.

Dropple Creator Releases Dream.Build.Play 2010 Winner Lumi For iPhone, iPad

December 27, 2011 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Foundation Mobile, creator of the hit App Store puzzler Dropple, has released the Dream.Build.Play 2010 grand prize winner Lumi for iOS devices.

In addition to possessing the standard moveset you'd expect from a platformer star, Lumi has the ability to traverse each level by manipulating magnetic polarity; players can flick Lumi in any direction, and can orbit surrounding magnetic fields. I also picked up a LocoRoco-ish vibe from the trailer above, thanks in no small part to the fast-paced sequences in which Lumi rides flowing gusts of wind.

Lumi is priced at $1.99; an iPad version is also available for $2.99. The original XNA version of Lumi can be purchased via the Xbox Live Indie Games service for 240 Microsoft points ($3).

iThingie Game Pick: Walkabout Journeys (Lucid Dreams)

December 27, 2011 6:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

walkaboutjourney.jpg

The discovery of Lucid Dreams' debut production was a rather fortunate stroke of serendipity for me. Though far from the most ingenious thing to have ever landed on the App Store, Walkabout Journeys is, however, probably one of the loveliest.

The premise is a simple one. There's a group of strange little people out on a stroll in a gorgeous, watercolor world. Unfortunately for them, they're incapable of doing anything but walking in the direction they're facing. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be a bad thing but as it stands, their world is infested with random dangers. Your role here,as you might have already guessed, is to get them to safety. In spite of how complex the levels can get, the whole game is a rather meditative experience.

You can purchase the game here for 0.99

Release Trailer: Lexiv (Andrew Gaubatz)

December 27, 2011 3:00 PM | John Polson

Andrew Gaubatz has recently released Lexiv, a semi-finalist in 2011's Dream.Build.Play competition, onto the Xbox Live Indie Games market for 240 MS points. Lexiv is a word game and city builder: players create a city by spelling out words, and different parts of speech add different parts of the city's needs.

While the trailer may go through some things a bit quickly, Lexiv has a neat interactive site to explain some of the core elements of the game. Nouns add houses and increase the population. Verbs not only create jobs for people, they also increase the rate at which players produce new letters.

Gaubatz informed IndieGames that a Windows version is definitely in the works. He also said, "Other platforms will be more of a development challenge, but certainly can't be ruled out." Lexiv looks like a great fit for a tablet game.

Those on the fence can grab Lexiv's free trial now.

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