[The following is a guest review of Wyv and Keep by The Backlog Journey's Colin Brown. Wyv and Keep is currently available in Indie Royale's Alpha Collection.]

Wyv and Keep is the third game for this Royale, and it's also probably the lowest profile game in the package. However, it's definitely the most content complete game on the list, with a lot of polish and amusement already packed into the game. Wyv and Keep is a two player puzzle platformer much in the vein of the Lost Vikings games or perhaps a side scrolling Sokoban, but with a cool retro pixel graphic style, good writing and a great soundtrack (which is also a pack-in bonus with the Indie Royale).

Wyv and Keep tells the story of two treasure hunters on an expedition to a long lost temple, but like any good ancient video game temple, this one is filled with danger and box pushing puzzles. Using both characters, you need to shuffle around your crates to activate a floor switch, then reach the exit with either character to move on deeper to the mysterious Golden Idol. The puzzles start out very easy to work around, but as Wyv and Keep reach new chapters deeper in the temple, the puzzles start to get more and more challenging. Most of them rely on the fact that Wyv and Keep will actually collide with the boxes and each other, so you need to use your characters as gap fillers and platforms for extra height. As things go on, the game gets pretty good at throwing puzzles at you that need clever use of both players.

I should probably clarify that the game is completely playable in single player; I've noticed a lot of confusion around the internet about that, but it works both ways. You can buddy up with a friend using the WASD keys to control Keep, and the arrow keys for Wyv, making for a very interesting co-op experience. If you're one of those forever alone types, pressing shift will swap the character you're controlling, allowing for single player co-op puzzle goodness. There are also medals to earn in each level revolving around time, amount of treasure and number of deaths. Luckily the game is lenient enough that it's perfectly possible to get these in single player as well.

The best part about Wyv and Keep in my opinion is the dynamic between the two characters. They bicker and banter between levels, and also whenever they find one of the exploration journal pages that serve as the game's tutorials. The dialogue is a cut above the average writing quality in most indie puzzle games, with jokes and barbs that are actually pretty amusing and cute to read. Even the graphics serve to bring out the relationship dynamic; it's adorably heartbreaking to see one of the pair die, because the other bursts into tears before the level resets. Again, I feel like drawing a comparison to the Lost Vikings is appropriate because the style of dialogue and character relationships in both titles are very similar in style. It's amusing and beyond the expectations for a puzzle game.

The alpha part of the game seems to come into play due to the stability. On my main computer, the game wouldn't run likely due to an outdated installation of one of the required dependencies. On an older laptop I borrowed it worked great, except for one crash as I exited the game. Overall it seems more or less bug free, but it seems there are just a few things left to work out before the game becomes a full release. However, I did want to thank a jolly corpse (@wyvandkeep on Twitter) and the lead programmer @uvTwitch for their very quick responses to my installation woes. Good support is always appreciated, so props to them.

Interested in Wyv and Keep? Head on over to Indie Royale's page to pick this up and two more great Alphas for a steal.