Hello friends! It's been a while since I've done one of these. Many of the games I've listed this week are rather popular, so some of you may have already played most of these, but I figured they all deserved to be mentioned.
Also, just a heads up, if you enjoyed Momodora which I mentioned a few blogs ago, they've since created a sequel, Momodora II
. It's quite excellent, though very similar to the first game.
Anyway, let's get this thing started!
Hydorah by Locomalito
Yes, I've written about pretty much every Locomalito game now, I know. It's just... he's such a wonderful developer, and he represents everything that I love about the indie game world. I also said I wasn't going to write about Hydorah until I'd beaten it. Well, I lied. But I've played this game so much now that I feel confident in recommending it, even though I may never actually beat it. Hydorah is a horizontal shoot-'em-up which is heavily influenced by classic shoot-'em-ups from the '80s. The game seems to be aimed at the most hardcore fans of the genre, and as such is extremely difficult. Levels are relatively short, although they are packed with enemies and attacks flying from every direction. One hit means death (unless you have a shield), so you must be very careful and precise in your flying while being sure to take down most of the enemies in your path. There are various power-ups that you can find by killing enemies, and every defeated boss gives you a new weapon. When selecting a level to play, you also select which weapons you would like to use in that level, so you can't use all of your weapons at once. You also have a limited number of saves, so use them wisely! The game is all about learning from your deaths, so don't be afraid to die, but also try not to be too reckless. The game's graphics and soundtrack are both phenomenal, with colorful, interesting enemy designs, strange and beautiful landscapes, and an absolutely awesome soundtrack! The difficulty level may be discouraging for some, but somehow I just keep coming back to try it again. I love a challenging game!
Umbrella Adventure by HiVE
Umbrella Adventure is a beautifully hand-drawn and hand-animated adventure platforming game. It offers a massive world to explore, as you take control of a gopher in his journey to recover all of his stolen cakes. Your only tool to help you on this journey is an umbrella, which can be used in many different ways, from floating on water, to gliding through the air, to hanging off of hooks and warding off pesky insects. New skills are learned as the game progresses. The game features many challenging platforming and puzzle-solving elements, as well as a few mini-games. Trying to collect every cake adds to the game's longevity, although it's not required. I really enjoyed the game's charming humor and strange cast of characters, and I especially enjoyed the game's ending, it was very heartwarming. The graphics are really the defining feature of this game; all of the hand-drawn, black and white art is beautiful and very impressive! The original soundtrack is excellent as well. The only drawback is that many of the areas look very similar to each other, so it's sometimes easy to get lost. Although considering how much work must have went into drawing all of the scenery, I definitely don't blame them for reusing many of the same background elements for different areas.
Saut by Mabi Games
Saut is a platformer where your only means of movement is jumping. It was created in a week for GameJolt's Minimal Contest held in 2009, but has since been tweaked and remade to fix some of the problems it experienced due to its short development period. It's similar to the popular browser game Canabalt in many ways, although it's different enough to not seem like a copycat. The goal of the game is to make your way to the end of each level solely by jumping, and try to do so with as few deaths as possible. Timing and rhythm is key to successfully traversing the platforms. You can stop moving at any time to catch your breath and think about your next move, although sometimes it's best to keep up your momentum. The game is played with only one button (which can be any button you choose to use, by the way) to make your character jump. Holding down the button results in longer jumps, while tapping the button gives you shorter jumps. The game contains 15 levels divided into three different areas, and many different obstacles are introduced with each level. The graphics and settings are very beautiful and imaginative, consisting of silhouettes against various colored skies, and the jazzy soundtrack is quite excellent! The platforming could be difficult for some, but if you keep at it you should be able to finish the game in no time at all.
Within a Deep Forest by Nifflas
Within a Deep Forest is a platformer set in a world very similar to Knytt, its successor which I've mentioned previously (actually, you can see the Knytt's village in the tutorial level!) You play as a ball (yep, a ball), which is the only thing capable of stopping a bomb set by Dr. Cliché, a bomb which will freeze the entire world rendering it devoid of life (best story ever?). You must track down Dr. Cliché's underwater laboratory, which you can do by traveling the world and finding various new ball types with special abilities. The ball's movement mechanics make for some very interesting and challenging platforming. Luckily, you don't roll around as much as you would expect a ball to, but rather you must control the ball's bouncing to reach high platforms and maneuver through obstacles. You'll come across different ball types, such as the rubber ball which can bounce very high, the glass ball which is fast but fragile, the iron ball which is heavy, and more. Each time you die, you'll return to the last checkpoint and can choose which type of ball you'd like to be, or you can press spacebar to pop yourself if you want to choose a new type of ball right away. The graphics are very charming, with beautiful landscapes and strange creatures around every corner. The soothing soundtrack and great sound effects are also very nice. If you enjoyed Knytt and haven't played this one yet, you should definitely check it out!
Seiklus by cly5m
Seiklus is perhaps the oldest indie game that I've written about, released in 2003, and has been quite influential in the indie game world (Nifflas [see above] has cited it as influence for his games, for example). The game's story is very subtle. You take control of a man who has just been separated from his lover by a falling meteor, and you must somehow make your way back to her. You are tasked with collecting various colored wisps and treasures as you explore the vast, colorful landscapes. The game is a platformer, but to me it was more about exploration. The platforming never presented much of a problem, although some areas of the game required some puzzle-solving skills in order to progress. You can't really die in Seiklus. There are a few areas with hostile creatures, but if you come in contact with them, you are just brought back to the entrance of the area, so it's never really much of a setback. The graphics are very simplistic, but offer a very interesting and beautiful world to explore, full of many surprises and hidden areas to discover. The soundtrack is fun, but at times seemed a little out of place to me. For example, the track played throughout the underground cavern and sea areas just didn't fit very well with the setting, in my opinion. That's only a minor problem, of course. The game as a whole is very relaxing, although at times you might find yourself wandering around aimlessly. It takes a while to figure out exactly what the game is all about, but it's worth it in the end.
And there we have it! I hope you enjoy these games. See you next time!