GEEK 2017 Indie Roundup

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In a world of Call of Duty clones and asset flips flooding the now defunct ‘Steam Greenlight’ it is a refreshing to see a number of original titles being produced by up and coming developers.

Indie development has certainly garnered a lot of attention over the years. Where in the distant past development relied entirely on now-how and the passion of a handful of dedicated gamers; in modern times it has blossomed into the springboard for creators to get their names out into the industry.

I visited the veteran gaming convention ‘GEEK’ on Friday and had the pleasure of discussing the process of indie development and of course got some hands on time with some brand new titles.

Passion was certainly the watchword of the day whilst visiting the many booths. Myself being a sucker for interesting art direction, I was not disappointed by the variety of differing motifs on display.

Of those games I encountered I shall now list a few that particularly stood out:

Chameleon Swing

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Mobile games are often a mixed bag to say the least. Some might dominate your free time or become the primary reason that you take a poo four to five times a day, but others last as long as the time they took to download before hastily being removed.

Not all mobile games can reach to the dizzying heights of simplistic fun of your Angry Birds or Threes. Sincerely however I have found myself rather enamoured with this particular title.

Chameleon Swing is a simplistic game with a simple goal, namely, do not be eaten by the crocodile or the eagle. A goal that I just about manage in my day to day life at time of writing. The mechanic of the game is to use your chameleon’s tongue to swing from branch to branch ala the ninja rope from the Worms franchise. This simple mechanic is fairly addictive as you progress through the game; currently the aim is to survive as long as you can by travelling as far to the right as possible before being devoured.

In addition to the swinging mechanic, players roll a die before the beginning of play to determine a power up for the preceding session. One might get armour that protects them from a fall or animal assault or perhaps a bouncy tail that let’s them survive falling three times. It’s a nice addition all told, but it seemed to me a little tacked on at present, perhaps in later versions these power ups will add more to the game play.

The standout feature of the title is its art direction. Each character model and background has been painstakingly drawn by the game’s artist using multicoloured biros. This particular choice gives the game a certain ‘doodle’ look which adds to its particular charm.

Currently in beta on the Google Play store, I’d recommend a download for anyone fond of runners or reflex based games.

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More information on this title, go to http://www.FireTwin.com or follow the Twitter: @firetwingames

Balls

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Balls is an endless puzzle game for mobiles where you have to bounce a ball along a continuous path, avoiding spikes that dot the sides but also risking them in order collect coins for points.

The game play of Balls is addictive and the perfect time-killing app for the long train journey or again the particularly long toilet trip. The game itself is reminiscent of Flappy Bird or perhaps the classic Copter games and their clones in that the main challenge of the game is to balance your ‘ball’ along the path without losing control and hitting the side.

Currently set for release in July this year, Balls is currently in testing for Android phones.

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For more information on this title, go to jasontuyengames.gitlab.io, follow the @xanjos Twitter handle or join the JasonTuyenGames Facebook group.

Space Toads: Mayhem

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Space Toads: Mayhem is a top-down arcade space-ship shooter in the style of Galaga and Truxton with a strong focus on a booming soundtrack and reflex game play.

I have always had a place in my heart for space shooters due to the amount simply occurring on the screen. Being able to dodge and shoot down wave after wave of enemies whilst stylishly weaving across the map certainly makes you feel like an ace pilot, and most importantly is surprisingly addictive.

Game play is very much the same of all top down space-ship arcade shooters. Enemies flow down from the top of the screen in waves and it is the job of the player to shoot them down or to dodge them. The ‘toads’ main form of attack is to ram your vessel and this attack becomes more and more difficult to dodge as more enemies begin to spawn and as levels progress. Power ups allow you to clear the screen of enemies to help you survive the round, but picking them up involves potentially putting yourself in harms way.

I found myself enjoying this particular title especially due to its soundtrack and sound effects. Reminiscent of classic arcade titles of the 80’s and early 90’s the game is a refreshing experience in a sea of pixel-art clones. Also, killing flying toads is a particularly therapeutic time well spent!

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Find out more about Space Toads: Mayhem at SpaceToadsMayhem.com, on Twitter at @SpaceToadsGame or on Facebook at SpaceToadsMayhem.

 

MaoMao Castle

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MaoMao Castle is a game that puts you in control of ‘MaoMao’ a ginger ‘cat-dragon’ that you need to guide across the screen avoiding obstacles and collecting rainbows. An activity that is usually confined to my experiments with snorting Amazonian vine powders or a little too much energy drink and Rainbow Drops…

The game is instantly reminiscent of the Space Harrier series of games, a catchy soundtrack with obstacles flowing towards you from down the range which you can either avoid by moving across the screen or by speed-dashing through them. As the levels progress the game gets faster and faster and so it becomes progressively harder to avoid obstacles. The main conceit of the game becomes only speed-dashing if you can’t get past the various stumbling blocks as you go. The idea of the game is to collect as many rainbows as possible to rack up points.

Whilst playing at GEEK I used the LEAP motion controller that allows you to move across the screen using your open hand over a sensor bar. It’s certainly an experience, but personally I prefer using either mouse of touch screen to control ‘MaoMao’ as I am not particularly fond of motion controls or anything that could be classed as exercise in any stretch of the imagination.

MaoMao Castle is a fun game to play, with a catchy chip-tune soundtrack. The combination of a high and solid frame-rate with a pixel art theme has always been a favourite style of game for me, and this title does not disappoint.

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For more information on MaoMao Castle or to play the free demo, go to aso.bi/maomao/, follow the Twitter handle @asobitech or search Facebook for asobitech.

 

Bullion: The Curse of the Cutthroat Cattle

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A game consisting of pirates, plunder and cow-themed puns? Sign me up!

Bullion is a local multiplayer party brawling game pitting 2 – 4 players against each other on a small desert island, fighting over treasure chests that randomly spawn. Asides from each other, waves of skeletons will attack the players as well, keeping players on their toes whilst trying to make off with as much booty as possible.

The game is a lot of fun to play. Smashing opponents with your sword to keep them away from your chests or luring skeletons into the path of them instead, this seemingly simple game has a lot more to it as you rack up points collecting treasure.

The main strengths of this title at present lie in the games theme, the character model of Captain Long John Silverside being an obvious standout. I look forward to seeing more character models for this title that are currently being developed, as more variety  I feel will make the game even more of a standout.

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To see more of Bullion go to http://www.bullion-game.com/ or http://www.ledaentertainment.com. Also check out their Twitter at @ledaentertain or for Facebook search: Leda Entertainment.


One thought on “GEEK 2017 Indie Roundup

  1. Hey there 🙂

    This is Jason (developer of Balls). Just wanted to say thank you so much for mentioning my game in your GEEK round-up article. I really appreciate that (One thing I should clarify though: I actually consider the game to be more of an endless arcade/runner game rather than a puzzler if you see what I mean).

    Anyway, for anyone interested the link to sign up for the game’s Android closed beta is bit.ly/ballsandroidbeta.

    Jason Tuyen

    Like

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