34 articles Articles posted in Indie games


Yes, Sieger by WarSpark is so blatant a copy of Crush The Castle, they’ve actually had to put Crush The Castle in the credits.

But in the absence of an actual Crush The Castle 3, who’d turn down this sequel-in-all-but-name? Especially when Sieger has thunk itself up a simple but welcome twist – they’ve flung away the catapult. So no more bothersome messing about with scrolling the screen about, and picking the precise moment to let loose your log. Now you just pick your spot at leisure, and watch as the splintering battlements make the little soldiers go all screaming and dying.

Sieger veers from hypnotisingly easy (when you win the day in one shot by accident) to mouse-throttingly hard (when invisible flying wall chunks instantly amputate the innocent bystanders). But you’ll keep clicking, all the way to the end.

And the title music! It’s like being in Gladiator. Play Sieger (Flash)

AVOIDAL / You MIGHT Get Nervous

AVOIDAL by Hybrid Mind Studios

So both these games have two things in common. One: uppercase letters. Two: a finely-balanced sense of how to test your hand-eye coordination to breaking point.

AVOIDAL by Hybrid Mind Studios is another of those 200-odd Ludum Dare 18 games, and clearly there can’t be that many people playing it because I’ve managed to claw my way up to #6 in the high score table. You’re a robot, and you have to destroy mines by triggering nearby rockets and floaty red homing blobs to smash into them. Simple as that.

If I had one complaint – and it’s the nitpicky complaint of someone who’s clearly spent far too long playing the damn thing – it’s that the mines only take out one blob at a time, when common sense tells you they should obliterate everything in the vicinity. Otherwise, AVOIDAL just feels right, gets thrillingly hectic, and gives you the feeling that, attempt by attempt, you’re getting that little bit better. Pretty impressive for a game coded in 48 hours. Play AVOIDAL (Flash)

And then there’s You MIGHT Get Nervous by Lubos Lenco, which was probably coded in 48 minutes. It’s not really a game so much as a primitive test of the ambidextrous skills you’ve built up over years of playing videogames. As blocks swim all over the screen, your right hand’s doing one thing, your left hand is simultaneously doing two other things, everything moves faster and faster, and your eyes and brain try to keep track of everything at once before eventually catching fire and exploding.

You MIGHT Get Nervous

Honestly, it’ll put your face into the same involuntary hyper-concentrated grimace you see on people defusing bombs in movies. Play You MIGHT Get Nervous (Flash)

Treadmillasaurus Rex

Treadmillasaurus Rex by jmtb02

John Cooney – aka jmtb02 – can do no wrong in my book. He has the strange, wizard-like ability to invent the world’s most laughably primitive games and then do… something that makes them not only top fun, but also funny, infuriating, endearing, and completely un-leave-alone-able.

And look! Here comes his latest, Treadmillasaurus Rex, to prove my point. You’re going to play it just because of the name anyway, right? But pay special attention to how it starts out as a crushingly dull jumping game, and then – by throwing in a big colourful Wheel Of Fortune, confetti, a direction-switching conveyor belt, a ‘calories burned’ meter, flashing lights and very silly hats – somehow makes you play it at least 23 times.

A silly hatA very silly hat

It’s even funnier if you imagine you’re watching the pilot for a new gameshow. Play Treadmillasaurus Rex (Flash)

(And if this is the first you’ve heard of jmtb02, go and play Achievement Unlocked, I Love Traffic and – my favourite – Run Elephant Run.)

Dance Dance Dance

Dance Dance Dance

Here’s another Ludum Dare 18 gem – and by the way I’ve played through over 100 entries so far so you don’t have to, and my eyes are starting to fuzz over.

Dance Dance Dance from Nyarla (of the nightmare-inducing Magnetic Shaving Derby on iPhone) is a pixelated ‘dancing’ competition. You don’t really dance: you twirl. And you don’t really compete: you smash your rivals’ faces in by catapulting your partner towards them, steal other women’s men, and knock waiters to the floor so that they die. It’s fun.

It’s a genuinely challenging game, and the little pixelated hearts go some way to helping you forget all the stupefyingly poor sportmanship displayed by these tiny dancers. It also unlocks the reminiscence compartment in my brain containing 1984 Konami coin-op Mikie, which is no bad thing at all. Play Dance Dance Dance (Flash)


Metagun by Notch

Gah – I’m just off to bed and the really awesome Ludum Dare 18 competition entries are starting to arrive. Curse the rotation of the Earth causing the staggered arrival of sunrise and sunset around the globe!

Anyway, didn’t want to go to sleep without highlighting Notch‘s superb Metagun. Seems pretty cute when you stumble across pint-size enemies firing their adorable little guns at you. Becomes fairly amazing when you pick up a ‘grenade’ launcher where the ‘grenades’ are actually those same enemies. Suddenly you’re looking an action-puzzler where you fire your own adversaries out of a gun, then position yourself so that those angry little basts destroy the very blocks that are blocking your escape path.

Also: you get your fedora knocked off if you’re shot. You will mystify both yourself and students of human psychology and motivation by actually caring about your missing hat, and always going back to fetch it.*

This is all exactly the kind of madness you’d expect from a man who’s been live-streaming a video of the actual creation of the game. And it is 100% guaranteed to make you smile as you sprinkle a room with scores of pistol-toting pixel-men. They might want you dead, but they really are quite cute. Play Metagun (Java)

*Update: ‘Course, turns out the fedora works like Ghosts ‘n Goblins’ armour – lose it, and you’re vulnerable. Neat.