Category Archives: Indie Spotlight

Lessons in Prehistoric Love & Game Jams

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I’ll start off this article by pre-empting your question with an answer – “Game Jam”. Usually comprised of several teams of 2 or 3 people, the Game Jam typically occurs over an intense weekend where programmers, artists, designers and coffee collaborate to build a game from scratch.

The purpose of Game Jams varies. Some are organized by big-name studios to foster the design process of their creative teams, allowing members a chance to develop their own ideas while still having access to top-of-the-line equipment. Others function on a local level, fostering the game development community, providing indie developers, students and artists alike a chance to network (provided they can bring their own computer). Read the rest of this entry

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Vancouver Developers Collaborate For ‘Full Indie Summit’ Later This Month

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A few years ago, Vancouver played host to GDC Canada; it had a lot of potential, but didn’t attain the success it needed to continue every year. Thankfully the indie gaming community, including Vancouver developers will collaborate for ‘Full Indie Summit’ later this month. Organized by VBlank Entertainment’s Brian Provinciano (Retro City Rampage), Full Indie Summit is a not-for-profit event that will host a number of talks from game developers around the country.

Hit the jump for more info on Full Indie Summit. Read the rest of this entry

Indie Spotlight – The Bridge (2012 PAX 10 Winner)

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Can you imagine? A title that started out as a master’s degree project turned into one of the most creative and unique PC games to come in years. I’m of course talking about Ty Taylor’s The Bridge, winner of the PAX 10, and a beautiful, hand-drawn adventure puzzle game that disorients your notions of physics and perspective.

Part Echochrome, part Limbo, and full of interesting ways to solve puzzles, The Bridge is one of those games that engage you both visually and mentally. Built from the ground up to appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers, The Bridge asks you to solve each of it’s thought-provoking puzzles by taking a number of elements into effect. You’ll have to deal with gravity, sloped surfaces, physics, plays on perspective, time, and even enemies as you proceed to solve each room puzzle.

More about The Bridge (PC) after the break. Read the rest of this entry

Indie Spotlight – Whispering Willows (For OUYA and PC)

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If there are any genres I just can’t get enough of, it’s horror and puzzlers. Classic survival horror titles like the original Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Alone in the Dark, and Penumbra: Overture merged these two genres together to create unforgettable experiences that relied more on players thought processes rather than their itchy trigger fingers; an art-form that’s about to disappear if the modern horror experience trend is to continue.

Thankfully, there are games like Night Light Interactive’s Whispering Willows that dare to challenge modern genre staples, focusing instead on bringing horror back to its roots in puzzle solving, deep, emotional characterization, and atmospheric tension throughout an adventure that spans five chapters.

Learn more about Whispering Willows (for OUYA and PC) after the break. Read the rest of this entry

Indie Spotlight – DLC Quest (Xbox Live Indie)

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A lot of people dismiss the Xbox Live Indie storefront as a place to find cheap Minecraft knockoffs, but if you actually dig deeper, you’ll find unique and fun indie games like the Ottawa-based Going Loud Studios’ DLC quest; an 8-bit platformer that satires the game industry’s most enduring hot-topics, questionable DLC practices.

For 80 Microsoft Points (MSP), you’ll find a short but funny game with tight, platforming action and an incredibly addictive chiptune soundtrack. To be perfectly honest, I think DLC Quest is more worthy of your precious Microsoft Points compared to many of the add-on DLC’s currently available for some of the industry’s biggest games. It may be short, but I appreciated the satirical look at one of the gaming industry’s most talked-about issues.

Find out more about the Canadian-developed indie DLC Quest after the break. Read the rest of this entry

Indie Spotlight -1916: Der Unbekannte Krieg (A War You Never Knew)

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Imagine yourself a lone survivor in the dank, dark trenches of World War 1; left alone as your friends and comrades lay dying, you thank your lucky stars to have survived one war, only to find yourself in a much more dangerous fight for survival. This is 1916: Der Unbekannte Krieg, a free-to-play independent horror game for the PC.

Not only is 1916 creepy, it never gives you time to breathe within its claustrophobic and hopeless atmosphere. And similar to Slender, there’s a relentless prehistoric hunter out to get you throughout the entire adventure. You’ll have to rely on your reflexes, adaptability, and will in order to survive this hell.

Learn more about 1916: Der Unbekannte Krieg (The War You Never Knew) for your PC after the break. Read the rest of this entry

Indie Spotlight – Slender Rising (iOS)

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There’s no doubt that Slender was a bonafide indie PC hit. It’s a simple game that scared its players through effective use of atmosphere, tension, and an inescapable evil. There was no escaping Slender Man.

Hoping to cash in on its success, developers all over the world rushed to build on the Slender formula with varying quality. There’s definitely a large number of horrible Slender rip-offs, but once in a while talented indie developers get it right and create their own version that at times, surpasses the original. For example, Xbox Live Indie has White Noise, Android users have Slender Man: Episode 1 Alone, and finally iOS users have Slender Rising.

In many ways, I think Slender Rising is a much better game than the original Slender for the PC. Built on the Unreal Engine, it’s got the same terrifying atmosphere, tension, and creepy antagonist; however it also brings a lot of new and welcome additions to the formula. This includes the tight first person controls that’s unique to the touch-screen platforms, day and night modes, a creepy-as-hell night vision mode, and unique other game modes to keep each playthrough interesting.

Learn more about Slender Rising after the break. Read the rest of this entry

Indie Spotlight – Paranormal (PC Game)

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Inspired by the Paranormal Activity film franchise, Paranormal (PC Game) is a “fully dynamic haunting-simulator” played in the first person perspective. Like Slender, White Noise, and other indie horror titles before it, Paranormal scares the pants off players by slowly introducing creepy hauntings; chairs moving by themselves, unsettling sights and sounds, and even creepy mannequins creeping up behind you for those oh-so-mortifying boo scares. Gradually, these scares intensify to a point where you realize your life is in danger and you’ll have to brave horrors in order to unravel the mystery behind your haunted house. (And perhaps put a stop to it in the process.)

Learn more about Matt Cohen’s Paranormal after the break. Read the rest of this entry

2012: The Year of the Canadian Indie

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2012 was a banner year for the Canadian videogame industry. From groundbreaking indies to benchmarking triple A titles, there was no shortage of top-quality, Canadian-developed games. And in the year when the full-game download and digital distribution became an industry standard, the gaming community in general was introduced to a number of talented indie development teams through their creative, fun, and genre-bridging games.

What’s interesting about the new indie scene is that games are available not just on PC anymore like it used to be; gamers can now purchase and download indie games on their dedicated handheld systems, their favourite game consoles, and even on their smartphones and tablets. It just shows that the modern gamer isn’t just interested in the triple-A blockbuster, but they’re also willing to play smaller, yet equally – if not moreso – playable productions.

Check out six of 2012’s best Canadian indie developers and their groundbreaking games after the break.

Read the rest of this entry

Indie Spotlight – Primordia Preview

Christmas is coming early for fans of the classic adventure game genre.

“The world man built was perfect. A perfect machine built of a million imperfect parts…” begins Horatio Nullbuilt version 5, the protagonist of Primorida. If the world was perfect before, it certainly isn’t now.

I had the chance to try out a demo of Primorida, a joint release from Wadjet Eye and Wormwood Studios, and DAYUM am I looking forward to finding out the rest of this story.

Find out more about Primordia after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry

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