There has been a trend developing recently in the indie game world. A lot of people have been giving certain developers flak for what they view as ‘being uncreative’, and making games with a similar style to countless other recent games. For starters, recently there have been a lot of ‘silhouette’ games, in terms of graphical presentation, and many players view this art direction as a sign of a lazy developer, particularly given how popular the style is becoming in some recent indie titles. This ‘oversimplification’ applies not just to the visual presentation of some of these games, but also to the user interface, game play, and various other elements of the game. However, some of these games are completely, utterly unique in many ways, and are often viewed as a cross between game and art. Let’s take a look at a couple from European developers Boss Baddie.
I’ve been waiting to post this one.
I’m sure many of you have already played Seiklus (pronounced ‘sāke loose’). If you haven’t, you absolutely should. While Seiklus doesn’t seem to be all that entertaining from the screenshots, it reveals incredible creativity and depth once you jump in.
The premise of the game is simple, if strange. It begins with two amorphous characters, a male and female couple, are standing on a cliff above the clouds watching a meteor shower. By chance, a single meteorite strikes the cliff, knocking the male character off into the depths. The entire game follows you playing as this character trying to make his way back to his lover above the clouds. Silly, but a wonderful experience.
The game world is divided up into a variety of clearly defined regions. You’ll go from a surreal grassy area, to silent snowy lands, and into the belly of a sea beast, to name a few. The graphics are colorful, and while simple, this adds to the appeal of the game. No other control input besides the keyboard is supported, but because of the simplicity of the game’s controls, this isn’t an issue.
In large part, the music in Seiklus is incredible. Even though it was all added in as an afterthought by the developer, the music sets the tone of the game perfectly, no matter which area you’re in. The game simply must be played with audio enabled. There is no dialogue, and few sound effects to speak of, but they’re simply not needed.
Seiklus is available as freeware as hosted by the developer here, so you have absolutely no excuse for not playing it. It’s an absolutely beautiful experience, and one of my personal favorites.
Out of games to play? Looking for a deal? Me too!
This is the first in a continuing set of (hopefully) weekly posts by me, where I’ll introduce you all to some great indie games for as cheap as possible.
This week’s game: Octopede
Octopede is a reinvention of the basic principles of the classic Snake with a neat digital twist. The player can move in eight directions around the play area, collecting data that is used to lengthen the Octopede’s tail. Every eight segments of tail can be ‘cached’, which increases the score multiplier, but means that those tail pieces can no longer be used as extra health when taking damage. As well, there are various weapons and abilities that need to have ‘ammunition’ collected first, or they will remove an un-cached segment of your tail.
The game takes place on a single, rectangular stage, as shown above. However, as you play the game, new elements are added, and the board is cleared, rebuilt, cleared, and rebuilt again. The game starts out pretty slow but starts throwing new things at you pretty quickly. You’ll be dealing with viruses that chase you outright, firewalls that are best avoided, and all sorts of other enemies and bosses that will corrupt your data if they get their way.
It’s actually a pretty engaging experience; trying to balance your remaining health pieces and cached multiplier can get pretty intense if you’re going for the high score. The game has nice, computer-y graphics, and an awesome (if limited) chiptune soundtrack that doesn’t get on your nerves even after a 20 minute run.
As far as the controls go, they might take some getting used to, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll be zipping all over the place. Of note is that the game also supports a gamepad input, which can make it easier to play.
The game is available as ‘pay-what-you-want’ over at Indievania, with a minimum of a $1.00 purchase. And it’s absolutely worth it.