Little Indie Games Worth Knowing About (Probably)


you cannot make me

My girlfriend and I met ABK years ago when he was at the Eurogamer Expo promoting Nelly Cootalot. I’m pretty sure he told us it started as a surprise for his girlfriend but then… got out of hand. He seemed like a lovely bloke. Then… oh, wow, on top of game development he’s a really talented comedian, actor and animator as well.

(There are loads of great sketches, but the Tenet gag got me. I’ll never get that time back.)

Haha, those are great. Thanks!

Wow, that is pretty impressive!

I’m just starting the final episode, so hopefully I’ll make it through. I died once in the final fight of the 3rd episode. I thought I was going to die more after my first attempt, but it went well on my second.

This has been a fun game. I’m glad it’s short (2.7 hours so far), because they would need to shake things up more to keep me wanting more. What’s here has been great, both game play and atmosphere, but I don’t need this to be a 20+ hour game. It feels especially nice having a smaller game after finishing Baldur’s Gate 3!

That last battle was definitely a step up but not unduly so. I died 8 times on the level, 3 or 4 were on that last battle. It was a fun little game. I don’t think I’ll spend much time in arena mode but I’ll probably take a little look at it.

Oh nice! Glad you’ve been enjoying it. I believe they tuned the final encounter difficulty down sightly since I played it which sounds fair because there were a lot of elites, captains and duelists to contend with alongside the boss!

You know, I think I might have enjoyed my time with the arena mode more, gameplay-wise at least (I did love all the story and character bits from the campaign). The perk system really spices things up, particularly when you start stacking them. Add to that the single life you get and it’s a fun challenge to dip into between other things. It felt like a greatest hits to me!

The Chants of Sennaar demo is short but good. Seems like it’s the first 15-20 minutes of the game. The game looks very nice–it has that kind of Mobius look that the game Sable also has. But the camera is basically fixed in an overhead, single-angle view. The music in this game is great!

The way the game works is that you encounter word-glyphs either wirtten down/carved in walls or when characters speak to you. This puts them in your dictionary of terms. You can type out a guess at what a word means at any time. Then periodically your character opens a book and there will be three or four pictures. You can slot the word-glyphs in to the pictures and if you get them all right, then it confirms those words for you. One time I got one wrong and it called out two of the words. I think the message was: “One of these words (or both?) is wrong.” I fixed one and then all four words were confirmed.

There are simple adventure game puzzles–switches, doors, and inventory items. Usually language is part of the process of figuring out how to solve them. And in the demo there was one stealth sequence. Basically a very obvious distract-the-guard puzzle, with a simple timing window to hit. There’s a nice little system to show you what areas you can move to and not be spotted.

There were a few words in the demo I never figured out.

Pretty tempted to just get this, even though my gaming plate is pretty full. The way these games work, I barrel through them pretty quickly once I start them, because they’re so snackable.

Steam reviews are basically raving about this right now.

Yeah, I just tried the demo, and it is pretty good! But also very short!

A friend recommended Venba a while back, adding that it’s about 90 minutes long and on Game Pass. 90 minutes, swoon!

I finally managed to sit down and play it with my girlfriend tonight and, wow, this was a wonderful experience in so many ways. We tried playing Dordogne a few weeks back and it just felt like work. I even bounced off Florence. Venba was a joy, however, and beautiful in more ways than one, deftly handling some complex issues in a very grounded and human way. I love Indian cuisine and the food is so lovingly rendered here (with some delicious sound effects) that I wanted to eat it all. The music was also fantastic. I put it in the same company as Wide Ocean Big Jacket because it just felt so honest and real or down to earth, which is always refreshing in games.

I liked Venba, too. By the end, I kinda wished they’d done a little more with their mechanics, but I would never begrudge an indie team for making the game they wanted to, no matter how limited.

Boggled that Florence didn’t work for you. It’s one of my all-timers.

I kind of wish I’d put my thoughts about it down somewhere because I don’t remember specifically what didn’t work for me. Come to think of it, I don’t remember much about it to be honest! I know my girlfriend often listens to the soundtrack. Maybe I’ll give it another spin at some point. Perhaps I wasn’t in the right mood at the time or something.

You should! Luckily, it’s a single-sitting game, so this isn’t like me not jiving with Titanfall 2 or something. :)

Been awhile since I replayed it, but I think it has perfect interactivity for mobile (you didn’t try playing it on PC, did you? I can’t imagine…) and just a lot of nicely modulated moments, neither over- nor under-stated.

Hahah, no definitely not! I learnt not to do that with Sword & Sworcery EP many years ago. I mean, that wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t ideal either with a mouse!

Oh wow, the sound track is by Kevin Penkin. He’s basically the Taylor Swift of OST’s.

Ember Knights has left early access on Steam.

I’ve started this earlier today - it’s very cool looking. I like it a lot.

The game feels more hand-off, bunch of UX annoyances, but some incremental random fun.

So Heretic’s Fork is a tower defense game, from the look of the trailer? I do love those. But I also stay many miles away from any deckbuilding games. So I’m out!

Fading Afternoon releases on Steam in about 20 minutes. On the strength of the dev’s previous River City Ransom-style brawler, The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa, I’ve been following its development for the last couple of years. The creator, YEO, is a pixel art master. While the combat isn’t as intricate as, say, Tribute Games recent stuff, his games have lots of soul/personality.

Ringo Ishikawa was an impressive side-scrolling open-world time-management brawler… thing. I just wish I could have gotten any traction on it whatsoever. I might have just needed to practice the fighting more, because I remember getting beat up all the time. I think I would probably like this if it were a little less quirky than Ringo, but that YEO’s fans are probably looking for the opposite.