September 2, 2012 7:00 AM | Staff
[Guest reviewer Colin Brown profiles each game in The Getaway Bundle, now available at IndieGames' co-created site: Indie Royale.]
If you've been pining for the next instalment of the Indie Royale Alpha Collection, MiniFlake is here to fill that unfinished hole in your heart. The quirky alpha release is very clearly far from being finished, and doesn't offer up much as of yet beyond a whole bunch of tech demo elements, but this is one to watch. Essentially, MiniFlake is like taking a roguelike, porting it to the Game Boy, waiting fifteen years and then playing it on an emulator. It's an odd experience, but the core framework is there for a truly interesting game.
It seems like there's no way a Game Boy roguelike could work, but somehow MiniFlake does just that. Indeed, I almost wish developer Wolfgame was around in Nintendo's grey boxy heyday, because they certainly know how to pull off an elegant control scheme on the system's limited control scheme. In a world where roguelikes use every key on the board, MiniFlake limits things to the Z key to interact and pick up treasure, while the X key manages the inventory. Holding X and using left and right lets you select the item, while releasing it lets you equip, examine or drop it. The control scheme accuracy is mirrored by the graphics, which manage to be rather detailed despite the self imposed challenges.
Granted, there's not a terribly large list of things to do just yet. The town is empty, the proper dungeon building algorithm has yet to be implemented, gear is pointless, experience doesn't quite work yet and there are a few nasty bugs kicking around. But aside from the unfinished bits, there's wonderful glimpses of the game that could be in there.
For instance, a nifty fishing minigame crops up in town that is just a bit of polish away from being a fantastic distraction, while the customizable classes seem tuned to offer up quite a variety in play styles. Better still is the regular updates, each of which add a ton of features. It's nowhere near finished, but every update has been a step closer and, from the looks of it, Wolfgames has no plans to stop anytime soon.
It's absolutely fascinating to see a developer challenge themselves by sticking to old hardware conventions, and the sheer commitment to the Game Boy authenticity shows off some clever design skills under a delightfully nostalgic framework. It might not be all that much just yet, but MiniFlake is a game to watch.
[MiniFlake, Super Amazing Wagon Adventure, Da New Guys, Shattered Horizon, and two other games are available in The Getaway Bundle at IndieGames' co-created site: Indie Royale.]