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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, 2012

Indie Games Are Magic: Fans Develop My Little Pony Kart Racer

January 30, 2012 5:00 AM | Danny Cowan

A team of developers that describes itself as "a mess of people from around the internet who like ponies and want to make a game with them" has released a teaser trailer for Pony Kart, a fan game based on Hasbro's popular animated series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

Development is still in alpha stage, but the track shown in the trailer is quite colorful, and seems to be expansive enough to accommodate plenty of competitive pony hijinks. The team is currently looking for new members, and is accepting applications at its website.

Metagolf, an Ambitious Golf Platformer (Michaël Lievens)

January 30, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson

Michaël Lievens is preparing his rather clever golf platformer, Metagolf, for a public beta soon and will eventually release it on Windows, Mac, and Linux in English and French. Whereas Pirate Golf Adventure had a stationary golfer while some invisible force hit the ball, the golfer in Metagolf walks, jumps, and climbs, with the added ability of swinging a golf club. Players can drag the ball with their feet or by using the stage in any way, while the game only counts the actual strokes taken towards the players' par score.

Up to 4 players can compete on the same screen, sharing the same golf ball and the same goal. Another gameplay video after the break shows that players can putt a spiked ball at their competition, making them spawn again at the last checkpoint. Metagolf will feature a level editor that allows players to change the game rules and even the behavior of the physics system.

I really dig watching how almost everything interacts with the golf ball, including snails, fish, and birds. That said, I wonder if it will becoming annoying when actually playing it. While I find a lot of the pixel work to be pleasing overall, the playable character's design reminds me somewhat of those from major Facebook social games. The character's standing animation, involving some kind of shoulder sway, also could use some naturalization.

As has been the challenge of many platformer designs, Metagolf's underwater mechanics don't quite seem as polished as its dry counterparts. In the tutorial videos after the jump, I didn't notice much of a change to the the player upon entering the water. For a game wanting realistic physics, I hope putting a ball and moving fully submerged is harder than it is on land.

Screenshots of The Other Brothers

January 29, 2012 4:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

otherbrothers1.jpg Are you sick and tired of Mario and his cadre of friends? Do you think that it is high time for another set of grime-encrusted siblings to take center stage in the hearts of the public? Great. Meet The Other Brothers. As far as we can tell so far, The Other Brothers is going to be a 'pixelated family fun adventure of running, jumping, collecting, racing against the clock' .. with a twist. We're not really sure what that twist is just yet but we'll let you know. For now, however, I'm happy with the fact that it looks like we'll be seeing zombies, old-school mobsters with violin cases and people who see boxes as legitimate components of their wardrobe.

Currently, the official website's somewhat bereft of information but I would recommend bookmarking it anyway because it appears as though 'freakishly fast development' is the name of the game with this three-man team. Until we find out more, enjoy the screenshots we have so far.

Trailer: Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape (Secret Base)

January 29, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

Secret Base is bringing Tobe and his friends to the iOS early this year in an updated version of Hookshot Escape. This retro endless platformer is a "return to arcade high score madness and a love letter to our childhood," says Secret Base.

Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape boasts different play styles for each character: hookshot, hammer, dragon punch and feather cape. The game also contains 4 different themes, where each character has its own pixelated world, along with its own chip tune. Essentially, iOS users get 4x the content of last year's Hookshot Escape release (in which Tobe was sadly without friends).

Action-Focused Roguelike Hack, Slash, Loot Debuts For PC Platforms

January 29, 2012 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Following up on a well-received demo version released last year, developer David Williamson has released the full version of his action-oriented roguelike Hack, Slash, Loot.

Hack, Slash, Loot is unique in that the game is fully playable with mouse movement and left-clicks; the design boils down roguelike mechanics so that gameplay focuses on combat, though players can also expect lots of exploration and equipment juggling between battles.

Williamson notes that gameplay has been significantly refined since last year's demo release, and Hack, Slash, Loot now includes six quests, hundreds of monsters, and a variety of special abilities and companion characters. While a permanent save feature is not included (death is permanent, as is standard in the genre), note that the game quicksaves current progress upon exit.

Hack, Slash, Loot is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, and is priced at $10.

Browser Game Pick - The Several Journeys of Reemus : Beastly Blackhole of Bureaucracy (Jay Ziebarth)

January 28, 2012 4:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

reemus.jpg Unassuming hero? Check. Wise-cracking sidekick? Check. Epic quest? Check. Bureaucratic nightmare inhibiting the completion of your quest? Check and doublecheck. Beastly Blackhole of Bureaucracy is a cheeky, facepalm-inducing point & click adventure that will have you taking on Reemus and Liam's most formidable foe: The Danricus Department of Heroes.

You see, in order to vanquish an unrelenting wave of Death Slugs, these two must first acquire permission from the department. To do so, they can either wait for all eternity or produce three heroic references and a 'danger' sample before submitting their quest application online. Yes, it's as silly as it sounds but that's not a bad thing now, is it?

Those interested in checking out the game should try this link here.

Freeware Game Pick: The Fourth Wall (Team Pig Trigger)

January 28, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

Team Pig Trigger from the Digipen Institute of Technology has released its clever Indie Game Challenge finalist puzzle platformer, The Fourth Wall. Its 16 stages involve more than just creating clever screen wrapping situations for the controllable character. Players manipulate movable platforms, creatures, keys, and lasers (those you can walk on and those you can die from) to reach the exit. A timely placed "fourth wall" can also create an artificial ground at the bottom of the screen to run across.

The game did freeze on me a couple times, as I navigated back and forth to write this article. The developer fixed the save issue for me which works great now, but optimization remained an issue on the build I played, taking up 1GB of RAM. The team also has a newer announcement trailer, but I chose the teaser since it is representative of the great in-game tunes provided by Jordan Hemenway.

For more on the The Fourth Wall and its developers, read our rather thoughtful two-part interview. It also involves another IGF entry, Eyez, where the two set to dispel the differences between their games (despite having a similar blue wall that denotes a screen wrapping mechanic).

If you enjoy your experience with The Fourth Wall, downloadable here, the developers would certainly appreciate you voting for it to win IGC's Gamer's Choice Award.

Europe-Exclusive Terraria: Collector's Edition To Hit Retail In March

January 28, 2012 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

terrariacollectorsed599px.jpg

Re-Logic has partnered with publishers Merge Games and Headup Games to bring its hit sandbox adventure game Terraria to retail stores in Europe this March.

The Collector's Edition package includes a copy of Terraria, an exclusive in-game item (not yet named), a poster, a pickaxe keyring, and a batch of trading cards, all of which can be seen above. I want that pickaxe!

In addition to giving hardcore players a bunch of neat trinkets, the release is also particularly valuable for those wishing to play Terraria in another language, as Headup Games notes that "the retail version will for the first time since launch be localized into further languages besides English."

Terraria: Collector's Edition will be priced at £19.95, and will hit store shelves March 16th.

Get a job: Rockstar, LucasArts, others hiring now on the Gamasutra jobs board

January 27, 2012 11:00 PM | Eric Caoili

In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles in every major discipline, including opportunities at Rockstar, LucasArts, Blizzard Entertainment, and others.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across Gamasutra's network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Magic Pixel Games Generalist Programmer: Tools Focus:
"Magic Pixel Games was founded in 2010 by the core members that developed the award-winning Steven Spielberg's Boom Blox. Much of our team has worked together for almost a decade, and we've now struck out on our own to continue our tradition of creating extraordinary games. Our first product was launched in 2011: Carnival Island, developed with Sony Santa Monica Studio.

We're now building a team as we ramp up for our second project, which again, strives to break new ground - but is significantly different from our first in all ways - tone, target audience and style...we're excited!"

Blizzard Entertainment: Professions Designer:
"Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft and the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo series, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry's most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard's track record includes thirteen #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company's online-gaming service, Battle.net, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players."

Browser Game Pick - RPG Shooter: Starwish

January 27, 2012 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Developer xdanond successfully merges two disparate genres in Starwish, a horizontally scrolling "RPG shooter" playable for free at Kongregate.

Starwish's power-up mechanics and level design exude a strong Gradius vibe, while the RPG elements put a fun spin on the formula; each destroyed enemy awards the player with money and experience points, and new weapons and ship parts can be purchased between levels. Interestingly, weapons can be switched on the fly via a mouse-driven menu during gameplay -- an unusual design choice that works better than expected thanks to autofire being an option.

The game also features a strong narrative element (even going so far as to resemble a dating sim at times), and probes the player with a barrage of personal questions before gameplay begins. These sequences can be skipped, however, for those who prefer to jump straight into the action.

The game's catchy soundtrack is available for free streaming via a YouTube playlist.

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