Category Archives: indie

Critical About Gaming: Where Do You Draw the Line?

I’ve never killed a man. Not once. Not even accidentally. I’ve hurt people, sometimes intentionally, physically, and emotionally. I make mistakes. I have no desire to hurt even a misogynistic misanthrope like Trump.

My Steam library approaches five hundred titles of which I will play only a portion, but some not ever. Certainly there isn’t enough time in the day to get to them all, even if I were employed gainfully to do so. No, when it comes down to I choose not to be part of certain scenarios and character behaviours.

In my youth I gave death no thought; in Doom demons were slain; in Duke Nukem, mutant cops and aliens; Quake, monsters, and notably, other players. Friends and associates. Capture the flag, shoot anyone who tries to stop you from running away with it. A fair description for a game? Continue reading

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Audiosurf 2 – “Width of a Pixel”

Vitals
Developed/Published by: Dylan Fitterer
Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac
Available via: Steam ($16.99) -|- Direct from Publisher ($14.99 USD)
Consider also: Audiosurf ($10 CDN)

We’ve been down this road before, but it was bumpier, a little jittery, and underpowered. Acceleration was poor and the brakes squealed, but it was our first ride. We’d paid for it with our own money and no one could tell us where we could go or what we allowed to listen to. Continue reading

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Chroma Squad – “Little, Pixely, Fun”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Behold Studios
Platform(s): Windows, Linux & Mac. To Be Announced for XBox One, Playstation 3/4 and Vita
Steam for $14.99 CDN -|- GOG.com for $14.99 USD (DRM Free)
Consider also: Chroma Squad Soundtrack on Steam or Bandcamp

Power Rangers, Saban’s imitation of the sentai hero genre in Japan, is a formative experience for most of us in the 1990s and have continued to this very day. Over a dozen variants of the rainbow spectrum suited warriors have left an indelible mark on western culture. Chroma Squad captures that nostalgia with an imperfect experience, but memorable gameplay and undeniable warmth of heart. Continue reading

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The Swapper – “Illumination by Imitation”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Facepalm Games – Link
Platform(s): XBox 360, Playstation 3/4/Vita and PC (Windows)
Retails via Digital Download
Retails via:
Steam
($14.99 CDN) -|- Direct from Developer $14.99 (CDN) -|-
GOG.com for $14.99 -|- XBox Marketplace for $14.99
Playstation Network for $14.99 – Search Results

I crept more than jumped at the chance to play The Swapper. Moody, dark, lonely games aren’t my usual fare. I prefer stories of hope with dramatic events. You are the unnamed and not so intrepid space suit bound adventurer unraveling an abandoned mining project. Did Theseus dig too deep? What has become of the crew? Continue reading

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Fez – “Forgiving Perception”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Polytron Coporation / Trapdoor
Platform(s): Xbox 360, Playstation 3/4 and Vita, Windows, Linux & Mac
Retails via Digital Download and Your Local Gaming Retailer
Steam
for $10.99 (CDN) -|- GOG.com for $9.99 (USD/CDN)
Playstation Network for $12.99 or Demo (Free) – Search Results

Indie developed titles and can be rewarding in their diversion from the mainstream. Gomez, the protagonist of Fez, is a charmer represented by a few handfuls of pixels and plenty of affection. Its colorful palette and masterful execution invites you to explore and check your stress at the door. Continue reading

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Nitronic Rush – “Core Performance”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Team Nitronic
Platform(s): (PC) Windows
Retails via Digital Download
Developer for Free -|- Consider also Distance for $20.00 (Standard) or $30.00 (Deluxe)

Until I was about sixteen I had a body numbing fear of speed. Even virtual presentations of moving rapidly would arrest my senses and cause me to feel panicky at the lack of control. Over time, I realized, the source was the cure. Nitronic Rush, like driving a real vehicle, confronts such anxiety directly with every assurance of control over your actions. Continue reading

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Audiosurf – “Freedom from Everything”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Dylan Fitterer
Platform: (PC) Windows
Retails via Digital Download
Developer’s Site
for $9.99 (USD) -|- Steam for $10.99 (CDN)
Consider also: Audiosurf 2 (my review) for $16.99 CDN via Steam or Direct for $14.99 USD

This heavily stylized ride puts you on an electronic superhighway generated by any piece of music you feed it. Threading through colored blocks to collect matching sequences while avoiding others contributes to a score which is immediately posted online to integrated leaderboards.  Released on Steam in 2008, Dylan Fitterer’s AudioSurf has crested on the PC to the pleasure of many rhythm game enthusiasts. Continue reading

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Starseed Pilgrim – “The Art of Pruning”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Drogen’s Games
Platform: PC (Windows)
Retails via Digital Download
Developer’s Site
for $6.00 (USD) -|- Steam for $6.49 (CDN)

Indie developers pride themselves on breaking our expectations of game mechanics by flat-out doing things differently. Sometimes it works, too. However, there are occasions when the function of design contribute to the value and purpose of the subject. Instructions are integrated with the level design and after several sessions I was able to make just the barest sense of them. Continue reading

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Dust: An Elysian Tail – “Sincerity and Ideals”

Vitals
Published by Microsoft Studios
Platform(s): XBox 360/One, Playstation 4, Windows, Linux & Mac
Developed by Humble Hearts
Retails via Digital Download
Steam
for $16.99 (CDN) -|- XBox Marketplace for $14.99 (USD)

This top rated action platformer stands head and shoulders above its competition and peers. While there are role-playing mechanics, there are no story affecting choices to be made here. Dean Dodrill has taken the only risk that matters: Stating the truth. Represented by races of anthropomorphic characters, this is a tale of war and choices. Continue reading

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