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Ben Davis avatar 1:40 PM on 05.30.2011  (server time)
5 Freeware Indie Games You Should Play: Batch #8

Hello friends! Welcome back to my freeware indie game series! This week's games are all rather short, but very fun. They're perfect for playing when you have an hour or two to spare. Also, just a heads up but I might not be doing another one of these for a while, because graduation is coming up in about two weeks. I'll be focused on finishing up my classes, preparing for graduation, trying to find a job and whatnot. It's all a little nerve-wracking. I don't really feel like I'm ready to be done with college yet. Hopefully all goes well. But in the meantime, here are five more games for you to play!

Here we go!

Ikachan by Daisuke 'Pixel' Amaya

As you should probably all know by now, I'm a huge fan of games that take place underwater. In Ikachan, the predecessor to Pixel's monumental indie game, Cave Story, you control a little squid named Ikachan, who must help the members of a small underwater ecosystem which is under the control of a huge tyrant fish named Ironhead. Due to several earthquakes, the ecosystem has been cut off from the rest of the ocean, and food is beginning to run low. Ikachan must interact with various creatures (mostly what appear to be anemones) in order to obtain items and progress the story. You move by propelling yourself in a certain direction, and you can attack enemies once you find the spike hat. Attacking enemies and eating fish food (the small blue immobile fish) will increase your experience, and leveling up will increase your health and attack power. The game is MUCH shorter compared to Cave Story, but it's still a lot of fun. I really enjoy the theme song and Pixel's stylistic retro graphics. Plus, you get to play as an adorable little squid! That was definitely a selling point for me, haha. Oh, and there is a starfish character who shares my name!

Momodora by rdein

Speaking of Pixel, Momodora is an awesome platformer which was heavily inspired by Pixel's Cave Story. In Momodora, you play as an orphan girl named Isadora whose mother has been sacrificed. She enters a labyrinth in search of a sacred item which will bring her mother back to life. Equipped with a magical leaf, Isadora must fight her way through the labyrinth, battling a plethora of bug-eyed enemies and collecting items and new weapons. You can find several awesome guns as well as a boomerang and a shield, although the leaf remains my favorite weapon. The graphics and level design are clearly inspired by Pixel's games, and are quite charming. I really like the character and enemy designs especially. The soundtrack is also quite excellent. The game isn't terribly long, but it's a lot of fun and I've played through it several times. I still haven't managed to find every item in the game though. It may be inspired by Cave Story, but it can definitely hold it's own as a great indie game!

Sombreros by Dustin Gunn

Sombreros is a pretty badass and humorous Western-themed shooter game. You play as a Mexican gunslinger with infinite ammo and an awesome sombrero, in a quest to take down a corrupt politician. During the game, you can call upon the powers of your sombrero to freeze time and select up to six targets for a round of quick shots. You can replenish your sombrero's power by collecting your fallen enemies' sombreros. The game is heavily Mexican-themed, with piņata checkpoints, annoying chihuahuas, fiery habanero peppers, an awesome Western-influenced soundtrack, and other things you might find in a stereotypical Mexican setting. This game can be quite difficult at first, since you can only take one hit before you die. It took me awhile before I could get comfortable shooting down all of the enemies. Luckily, you respawn very quickly to your last checkpoint, so death is more of a minor annoyance. I also found the game to be very humorous. I loved the little cutscenes before each of the standoffs, and the dialogue was very funny, although oftentimes in a subtle way. The game definitely has a lot of personality!

Don't Look Back by Terry Cavanagh

Don't Look Back is an earlier title by the guy who brought you the excellent indie game, VVVVVV. Based on the story of Orpheus and Eurydice from ancient Greek mythology, Don't Look Back is a short platformer which follows the story of a man who has recently lost his lover. You must lead him away from her gravestone, tackling obstacles and fighting enemies along the way, and never turning back. The gameplay changes frequently to keep things interesting, and there are a few boss battles and difficult obstacles. Like in VVVVVV, whenever you die, you quickly respawn back to the screen you died on (although sometimes it will take you back a few screens). The game has very simple retro graphics with a red color palette which adds to the dark mood of the game, and the soundtrack is rather haunting. The meaning of the game's title changes periodically throughout the game, which I found to be very interesting. It shouldn't take too long to beat, and you can play it in a browser or download it to your desktop. Definitely give it a try!

A Game with a Kitty by Bernie

Another platformer, I guess there are a lot of platformers this time around. In A Game with a Kitty, you play as a fat, lazy, and somewhat stupid (but still adorable) kitty named Kittey, wearing what looks like King Dedede's hat. The village elder asks you to investigate a mysterious tower that has appeared on the outskirts of the village, leading Kittey on his quest. You can jump on enemies to kill them, collect coins and discover several new abilities along the way, including the ability to charge forward or use your hat as a parachute. This is another rather short game, but it can become quite challenging towards the end. The retro graphics are beautiful, and remind me of a very mystical Mario game. The game is humorous and adorable, and definitely worth a try if you love old school platformers.

That wraps it up for this week's batch of indie games! Let me know what you think, and be sure to donate to the developers if you have a few bucks to spare. I hope you enjoy these games!

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