Little Indie Games Worth Playing


Not sure if anyone bought Under the Ocean on Steam, the developer is still working on it btw. He is also giving out a free key for his current game A Fist Full of Gun to owners of Under the Ocean as a thanks for not asking for a refund on it.


Ha, this debacle is still ongoing? I think he’ll be working on Under the Ocean for eternity.

He’s restarted the game what, 3 times now since 2012? He ran out of money early this year and then the programmer quit, so he removed the game from Steam while learning to program himself. There’s a ‘very early alpha’ available that says ‘not yet playable’.

I might grab the free key though, if only to throw it into the Giveaway thread.


Skyshine’s Bedlam looks pretty cool. It’s a Mobius-inspired post-apocalyptic FTL running on the Banner Saga engine. Releasing in September.


Just a friendly reminder about the Probably Thread for the eleventy million indie games that look sweet and will be released in a few months.

Anyone played any non-derivative indies lately? I’m always looking for something unique with deep mechanics.


Oh, people. I am super-enjoying RONIN.

If you liked Gunpoint (and who played Gunpoint and didn’t like it??), you will definitely like RONIN. It’s basically melee-gunpoint. It goes back and forth between real-time running, jumping, and hiding and turn-based slicing and dicing. In the turn-based combat, you can plan out your next move–jump, shoot your grappling hook into the ceiling, chop the dude next to you–and see the aim-lines of the enemies’ guns, which fire when the turn is done. Most of the time you have enough information to keep yourself safe, but the trick is to get in striking range AND have misled the enemies shooting at you enough that once you kill that guy next to you, you won’t just fall into the line of fire.

There are stealth bits, civilians you don’t want to kill, and some pretty cool boss sequences. The civilians and sneaking around is somewhat optional–if you get through a level without setting off an alarm or killing a civilian, you earn a skill point. Those are spent to get special skills like the ability to throw (and later recall from a distance) your katana, to place a decoy, or to throw stunning shuriken at everyone in the room.

There are some rough edges. The game was made by one guy. Sometimes the transitions between real-time and turn-based are sketchy. A few levels can get very frustrating if you’re trying to 100% all the optional objectives and get the skill point. The story is rudimentary, but appropriate to the gameplay.

Overall, highly recommended.


Sorry about that. I’ll use the other thread in the future.


Stumbled upon this free browser game about the migrant crisis in Europe and it’s worth a play (the music is a bit ‘poor’ so tune your volume a bit lower first!):

And here is a gamasutra article talking a bit about why the game was made:


It’s an interesting idea. But the problem is that for it to work, the player needs to read the passenger bios, which is a lot of work compared to just checking the nice highlighted amount they are willing to pay. There needs to be a mechanical reason for reading this stuff, not just a thematic justification. There should be people or combinations of people I want to carry or not carry. In three trips I never got an event that looked in any way to be related to the passengers, just random stuff happening at sea. It’s as if the game is getting the reverse of the intended effect; it doesn’t matter who these people are, only whether they’ve got at least 350 units of cash.


I think that’s the point. Mechanically, there’s no reason for a trafficker to check who his merchandise are neither. The game is asking you to care, but it’s not giving you a reason except that it’s humane to. Giving a mechanical reason would undermine the strength of the game, imho.

From, the article, quoting the devs:

We built the game as a set of open rules around this, the generated migrants characters and “bio” you see in the second screen. We wanted simple, factual stories. Some are sad, some are hopeful. We didn’t want to bring any judgment or moral justification in the game. We just let you decide what you will do as the smuggler, with this terrible power over these people. That is the main point of the game. Everything else is a combination of rules around these stories : the boat, the bribe, the difficulty of the journey, its length, the number of people on the boat… it all affects the odds of the outcomes in various ways.

It’s similar to the train game (the mechanics are the same whether or not you know what you are doing).


It’s interesting that we read the same article and come to the opposite conclusions :-) Even for the paragraph you quoted, I wasn’t thinking that “the main point of the game” was referring to “you decide” but “simple, factual stories”. It seems clear that their specific goal was to humanize (undehumanize?) the migrants. Make the player think about their stories individually, rather than as a faceless mass. The smuggler is just a blank slate, the passengers are the main character. Quotes from the article:

He was really surprised on how migrants stay “unnamed”, unknown.

… migrants are considered as a threatening tide of poverty, not as people with different stories, different characters, different goals …

The less you show, the more you suggest, the more people will fill the gap with their own vision and understanding. Talk about a drug dealer singing lullabies to a child and show a 5 pixel-height character with a 1 pixel-height beard and 3 pixel-height red shirt : people will create his story, draw his picture, imagine his future.

Some players will refuse the passage of people with children because it’s too dangerous (but then what happens to them), some will try to squeeze as much money as possible from “bad” jobs or sullen attitudes, some will even only bring drug dealers so that if the ship sink, well…

I could definitely be misinterpreting it. But it’s just… A game that can get me to read 50 or 100 small bios, think about them, and maybe affect my reading of the next tragic newspaper article would be pretty interesting. One that intentionally and explicitly tries to make me ignore the stories by making them irrelevant seems more like an attempt to make me feel like a bad person. “Why do you care about making the artificial progress indicator go up? You should care about the artificial randomly generated text snippets instead! Not that we’re here to moralize, of course. If you want to a sociopath, that’s fine”. AARGH, how infuriating! So I’d like to think that this was just a failed attempt at something interesting, rather than an attempt to be intentionally annoying.


Yeah, I think its an attempt to show how easy it is to be a bad person if you didn’t struggle to care. That’s the tragedy of inmigration, people not wanting to care (because there’s no obvious benefit to caring -for the carer- except the humanity of the act itself). It makes you think about the stories (you yourself wrote about them) by making the not care, while if they were mechanically tied we might focus too much on the mechanical side of the stories and not their humane side.

The lack of a mechanic tied to a feature is a mechanic in itself. Otherwise there would be no feature there.

Again, the train game, context bringing meaning to otherwise dettached mechanics. They are not saying if you want to be a psychopath so be it, they might not be judging, but by bringing realistic stories, they are certainly taking a stance on one side of the issue, showing the human side of the tragedy (and not just the statistical, mechanical one).


I’m with Juan’s interpretation on this. It’s about the money, not the people and their struggles. That is after all the only thing a smuggler that sinks a boat of 200 people (women and children too!) can be thinking about right?


I’ve been playing Hadean Lands. It’s a text adventure* set on a broken/crashed alchemical starship. It’s got weird yet (so far) intuitive alchemy puzzles. It’s also got modern conveniences like moving directly to known locations and tracking where you last saw inventory items.

*Interactive Fiction, if you like more pretentious names.


Worth noting, Hadean Lands is from Andrew Plotkin (aka zarf), who’s one of the most acclaimed IF authors around.


I’m going through my “infinite time” backlog and noticed I had Axiom Verge on there. Has anyone played it? Is it actually good beyond nostalgia and pixel art? From watching gameplay videos, I realized I love the structure of Metroid-style games, but I don’t actually care for Metroid-specific gameplay anymore in 2015. The vertical platforming, art design, boss fights, and ranged weapons are kind of blah to me. Is it skippable if I’m on the fence?


All I can say is that I’ve heard people raving about it.


I can imagine. But most people love Metroid, whereas I’m not sure I’d ever want to go back.


Axiom Verge is actually at the top of my wishlist, which supposedly means that it will be the first game I buy after I clear my backlog. LOL. It’s sitting there because of all the great reviews, and that it’s made by just one person, so it’s truly a labour of love. There’s supposed to be an unusual ‘glitch’ mechanic, but I don’t know how revolutionary it is.


Its out today. Tempted.


I was hoping to see some impressions of game play here