Monthly Archives: April 2014

Indie Early Access Land: 0RBITALIS

Mark the day on your calendar, Indie Wonderland readers: today is the day I officially sold out. Because when I found myself interested in 0RBITALIS, the minimalistic gravity-based puzzle game by Alan Zucconi that has recently opened up to Early Access, what did I do? Did I pay the money and take the gamble like every other interested prospective player? No, I used my contacts in the games industry to get a copy for free.

Okay, maybe I do consider Ashton Raze to be more of an online friend than a ‘contact’. And maybe I didn’t so much ‘request a copy’ as that I made grumbling jokes about failing at a contest. Listen, it matters not: east is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet, and free games from industry insiders are free games from industry insiders and never again shall I regain my indie reviewing cred. I might as well go full sellout, then.

What, what… oh god, there’s a Mountain Dew can on my desk right now. I don’t… I don’t remember buying that? How long has it been here? Has it always been here? EAT DORIT-

But yeah, anyway: 0RBITALIS. As an fairly recent early access game, I will not review 0RBITALIS in traditional Indie Wonderland style. Rather, this write-up will be a bit of a first look. 0RBITALIS-as-it-currently-is, if you will.

After the break: 0RBITALIS, as it currently is. If you will

Indie Wonderland: Volt

Some games, I look out to for weeks, carefully tracking their development and their progress through the labyrinthine process that is Steam Greenlight. Some games, I buy on a whim because I think they look neat. Volt, a game by the uniquely colour-coordinated Quantized Bit, sharply falls in the latter category. It… it looks neat, okay! I don’t have to defend my game choices to you!

Also it’s a game about a motile battery striking out to make it big. Just ponder that for a moment.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, absolutely nothing. Mechanical, *possibly* absolutely everything?)

After the break: will Volt… *shock* me? Also, how many more god-awful electricity puns will I make?

Indie Wonderland: Creeper World 3

Those of you who regularly listen to the Diecast, over at Shamus Young’s place of e-residence, may recall that last week — in between rambling about Goat Simulator and under-representing Netrunner — I briefly mentioned playing a game called Creeper World 3. The third game in a series by developer Knuckle Cracker — the third game by Knuckle Cracker, period — Creeper World 3 was recommended to me by Blues-friend Varewulf.

I was a little standoffish with regard to Creeper World 3, initially: I disliked the idea of jumping into the third game in a series with no prior knowledge, and the low-fi graphics certainly didn’t sell me on the idea. But Varewulf did, and got me to download and try the freely available demo. My brief exposure to which not only alleviated my worries, but actually got me fairly interested in the game at large.

I put off buying Creeper World 3 at the time because I opted to wait for its (then-already-imminent) Steam release. And as that happened two weeks ago, hey! Here we are.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, high.)

After the break: Is Creeper World 3 filled with creeps, or is this more of a Zerg Creep situation?

Talk of the Ninja: Depression Quest

If you’ve been following me for awhile then you probably already know this, but just to make sure everyone is on the same page: I’ve been struggling with depression for yearsI’ve written about my experiences with it on my personal blog, most notably in my two-part retelling of my suicide attempt (part 1; part 2). So I was very interested last year when I heard about Depression Quest, a Twine-made text-adventure-type-thing that purported to convey what it’s like to suffer from depression. But I was afraid it would trigger me, so I put off playing it until just a few weeks ago.

Now I’m really glad I played it, and I’m kind of angry at myself for not doing so sooner. Depression Quest is fantastic. It’s written and designed so well that not only does it give non-depressive people insight into what depression is like, it can also give depressed people like me a sense of comfort and hope. The game uses the capabilities of Twine creatively and masterfully. I want to discuss how and why, but first I want to put up a little spoiler warning.

SPOILER WARNING. Depression Quest is an excellent game, it’s free, and it shouldn’t take more than two hours to complete. Click here to play it.

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Indie Shortieland: Goat Simulator

You know… I was going to write a serious review about Goat Simulator, I really was. Sure, Coffee Stain Studio‘s inexplicably farm-animal-themed simulator game seems, in all aspects, to be a straight continuation of the theme started by this one weird Farm Simulator 2013 fan video. But like Farm Simulator 2013, it’s entirely possible that there is an actual game, living up to the given title, under over that overlaid-dubstep-nonsense-jokes madness. That Goat Simulator is, in fact, a game that accurately simulates the daily experience of being a goat, and that the aggressively silly marketing campaign was just having fun with the referential concept a little. That’s not unreasonable at all to assume, is it?

…Is it?

After the break: It is.