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Ben Davis avatar 2:05 PM on 06.26.2011  (server time)
5 Freeware Indie Games You Should Play: Batch #9

Hello friends! It's been about a month, but I've finally got another batch of free indie games for you! I decided to take a break for awhile, and during that break I graduated from college and have since been trying to find a job somewhere. I'm currently waiting to hear back from a local newspaper which might let me write video game reviews for them! It would be a great opportunity, so I hope it works out.

Anyway, without further ado, let's begin!

Iji by Daniel Remar

Iji is a wonderfully detailed action/adventure/platformer game. The story centers around a girl named Iji, whose body is injected with nanotechnology to give her superhuman abilities so that she can defend her home from the Tasen, an invading alien force. The story becomes very complex and developed, with lots of twists and turns and tons of dialogue and short cutscenes. Iji also has a very nice system of weapons and upgrades. There are eight basic weapons which you can find, although you need to level up certain stats in order to be able to use them. You can also combine weapons to make even more powerful ones, resulting in a total of sixteen available weapons. There are several stats you can upgrade throughout the game, such as the strength of Iji's kick, her ability to crack codes and hack into things, the power of her weapons, her health bar, etc. You can choose which upgrades you want at various computer consoles spread throughout each level. The game is very interesting in the that story adapts to how you play, so depending on your actions throughout the game, certain events, dialogue or cutscenes might change. The game features some nice 2D graphics and very cool enemy designs, a pretty badass soundtrack, and lots of stuff to unlock. The reading can get a bit heavy at times, especially if you want to read all of the journal entries and computers scattered throughout each level, but it can be worth it just to experience the incredibly detailed world that Daniel Remar has created. Iji is a pretty wonderful character, and an excellent example of a strong female protagonist. I love the comments and battle cries she makes whenever she kills an enemy, although they probably change depending on how you play the game. I'm going to need to play this again as a pacifist.

City of Doom by SharkArm Studios

City of Doom is a re-envisioning of an Action 52 game of the same name. While the original was rather lame, this newer version is actually really cool! You must climb a tall, decrepit tower, maneuvering around debris and broken architecture while fighting off swarms of alien bugs to reach the top of the tower and defeat the alien overlord. You start off with a machine gun with unlimited ammo, but there are two other nifty weapons you can find along the way. You can rotate around the four sides of the building if your path ever gets blocked or if you need to flee from enemies. There are also hidden ammo boxes and extra lives (the people that appear to be doing half-assed jumping jacks) that you can find if you care to explore the building. The game features monochromatic, Game Boy-style graphics, very interesting character and enemy designs, some odd but fitting retro sound effects, and an awesome soundtrack provided by pgil. It's not a very long game and there isn't a save option, but once you defeat a boss you can continue from that point on the main menu.

Super Puzzle Platformer by Andrew Morrish

Super Puzzle Platformer is a very charming and addictive game which, as the title would suggest, combines puzzle and platformer elements. It plays sort of like the Mr. Driller games but in reverse. Your goal is to get the highest score possible by shooting and destroying the colored blocks that are falling all around you, while trying to stay on top of them. If multiple blocks of the same color are touching, you can destroy all of them at once to get a combo bonus. The game compliments you on your destruction with words of praise, such as "smokin'!" or "jazzy!" depending on the number of blocks you destroy at once. Destroying blocks will cause coins to appear, which will slowly upgrade your weapon upon collection. If a block falls on top of you, your weapon will be downgraded. The game becomes more and more hectic the longer you stay alive, and ends when you either fall onto the spikes under the first row of blocks or jump onto a spike block. The only drawback to this game is that it can run kind of slowly on some computers, but even though it seemed a bit slow for me I still had a lot of fun with it.

Swarm Racer by Lexaloffle

Swarm Racer is a very interesting and unique racing game. You control a small swarm of insects, and must collect all of the jewels in each level as quickly as possible. You can spread your swarm out into a wide circle to collect more jewels at once, or regroup into a tight cluster to get through obstacles easily. Levels contain various obstacles which may speed up your swarm, slow them down, stop them temporarily or cause them to bounce backwards. If you move too quickly through the levels, you may lose some members of your swarm, but sometimes this is necessary to beat the level within a certain amount of time. Completing a level quickly may earn you a bronze, silver or gold trophy. I find it a little strange that there's no music playing while you're racing, but it's not too big of a deal.

Teleportower by Kaho

Teleportower is a very unique and challenging puzzle platformer. The game is split into two screens, and you can teleport between the two screens, utilizing the platforms and other obstacles from each screen to make your way to the jewel. The game contains 100 levels divided between 10 different towers. The first five towers each introduce a new mechanic, while the last five towers, known as the challenge towers, test your teleportation skills once you have become comfortable with the mechanics. Some of the challenge tower levels can be quite difficult, and may take a bit of thinking before you can even begin to try and solve them. The graphics and soundtrack are quite charming, and the gameplay mechanics and level design are rather ingenious. There are often certain obstacles strewn about the levels that don't actually help you achieve your goal and seem to exist only to distract you, so you have to keep in mind where you're trying to get to and use the parts of the level that will help you get there. If you enjoy challenging puzzle platformers, such as the Portal games (only without the story), then you'll probably enjoy this one!

That's all for this week. I hope you enjoy the games!

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