January 26, 2012 5:00 PM | John Polson
[This review of the Indie Royale bundle we co-run with Desura was originally written by Colin Brown on Backlog Journey.]
The only iPhone game in the Serious Sam indie series, now on PC. Let's get the obvious comment out of the way: yes, it's an iOS title so yes, it is fairly simple and casual. It's still quite fun. You take on the role of one of those "headless freaks" and run towards Sam, who's running through Egypt blissfully unaware of his impending doom. It's a Canabalt style clone, except one with an end goal and the ability to attack, kicking forward to deflect and destroy obstacles. Attack too often however, and your headless avatar gets overexcited and explodes.
The real addicting elements come from the bonus objectives found in each level (usually revolving around destroying so many obstacles) and also the slow trickle of upgrades you get following each victory. Another excellent touch is the graphics, which look beautifully shaded with colour pencils. It's too simple to call it a full game, but there's a lot of content and fun to be had in this little diversion.
The Greek Encounter is billed as a bonus, and rightly so. It's a commissioned piece from Eric Ruth, the guy behind many brilliant NES demakes of current games like Left 4 Dead, Halo and the tragically ceased and desisted DJ Hero. While I'm sure the Serious Sam series is rife with possibilities for demakes, this release feels... well, not lazy but possibly rushed. The brilliance of the other Ruth games are that they were built according to the specifications of the NES, but Greek Encounter cheats a lot; it's little things, like the way that Sam's sprite can fully rotate and the fact that twin stick shooters are not a very retro genre. The enemies are all taken from the Sam canon, but there's not a lot of differences between them besides how many bullets they can take, while the levels themselves are very repetitive and hard to navigate. It's mindless fun for a few rounds, making it a fine bonus, but don't expect amazing things.
So here we are at the end, and not one "seriously good deal" joke. I'm proud of myself. If you're new to the Serious Sam games and these sound great to you, there's never been a better chance to jump in. If you're an old fan there's plenty of fun to be had with the indie titles, which are absolutely full of glorious fanservice. It's a great pack if you're into old school over the top shooters, so why not check out the Indie Royale page to pick up your own bundle.