What the deuce has happened in the past month? There’s been a sudden explosion of indie-related bundles from places on the internet that you never thought existed! Anyone would think it was nearly Christmas or something.

Bundles of fun!

A little while ago it was the Indie Music Bundle to titillate your ears with fantastic vibes, but right now you have a choice of not one, or even two… but four different game bundles to check out – and they’re all asking you to pay as little or as much as you like! One is even completely free to download!

Since a couple of them are also supporting charity, now is a great time if you’re just starting to dip in to the world of indie games and are looking to snag some great deals at the same time as helping a good cause. While it’s possible to take the dimmer view that it’s an easy way for an organiser to make a quick buck, that would be pretty unfair – if you believe in the charitable roots behind a couple of these bundles then they’re doing a lot of good at a time of year when it matters the most. Even if a bundle doesn’t donate part of its proceeds to charity, it’s still a good way to get some games you might otherwise have overlooked for an excellent price. Stocking fillers ahoy!

Read on to see all of the currently running bundles that are clamouring for your attention…

Read more…

Dungeon DefendersIt’s been a long time coming, but the wait is finally coming to a close!

Developers Trendy Entertainment have had something of an epic journey in getting their hybrid 3PS / tower-defence / action-RPG game up and running. Initially created as an Unreal Development Kit prototype before games such as Sanctum or Orcs Must Die loomed large on our collective indie radars, the characterful Dungeon Defenders was slated for a release around this time last year. But suddenly… something happened. Something bad. Yep - Microsoft and a bankrupt third-party publisher happened, that’s what.

Fortunately the Trendy devs were able to keep their heads above water by releasing an iOS and Android miniversion – Dungeon Defenders: First Wave – while the console and PC side of things was being resolved. The wait has been a strain but now we can look forward to the action beginning later this month – on the 18th for PSN and the 19th for PC digital platforms like Steam, Impulse, D2D and GamersGate. No doubt this will bolster the already impressive-looking launch title lineup for Sony’s PSVita handheld, something they arguably need to make people forget the events of earlier in the year…

But I digress. I’m hyped again, even though I didn’t think I would be after having to wait this long (yes, I’m an impatient git who frequently demands instant gratification). Roll on the 19th!

Some people say that random levels suck. I say: You’re wrong. Be a good chap / chapess and toddle off back to playing <insert console FPS here>, would you? And don’t bother arguing about it because Forget-Me-Not will kick some proper indie-fuelled sense into you every time.

Once again it was The Gnome’s Lair that enlightened me with the knowledge of this particularly sparkly treasure, and I can safely say the game’s creator nyarlu labs (also known as brandon and, on Twitter, @cucumberoneye) has played an absolute blinder with this one.

Forget-Me-Not

This game is nuttier than an almond nutcake with cashew and pecan topping. For an unrelated sidenote, forget about the whole game aspect, it’s great fun to just leave running in the background for amusement purposes since it provides an excellent audio accompaniment to whatever you may be typing: As I write this, I am being serenaded by a beautifully bonkers selection of 8-bit noises upon each cursor key tap and each press of the WASD keys…

But, erm, yes. Read on after the break for some words that actually pertain to the gameplay!

Read more…

It was an extremely long time ago (coming up on three years, in fact) when, like a lot of other people, I first learned of Owlboy through a preview on the Indiegames blog. Although it stuck in my mind with its tremendously catchy music and pleasant, island-in-the-sky airscapes, to my shame I must admit that it only got filed into my “Follow With Vague Interest” folder instead of where it obviously should have been, the “Mash F5 On Homepage Until It Comes Out” folder.

Owlboy

Then, swooping through the internet with such speed and stealth that I only heard about it on a chance browse through Twitter, D-Pad Studios released a teasingly short but sweet demo a few weekends ago! Wonderful but frustrating, since I didn’t get chance to play it straight away – you can, though, by grabbing it right here. Lots of folks have since given it a shot and their views and critique have lead to the possibility that there may be a new, refined demo some time soon.

But rather than wait, I decided to go ahead and write this up anyway – how else can I preserve this blog’s true spirit of being weeks behind everyone else? :D Without any more blather, read on after the break to see how favourably the gameplay compares to the trailers.

Read more…

Eyewitnesses reported seeing several people fleeing from the Dedication Games Arena when a swarm of Coreplay-funded particles descended in their thousands and began causing significant brightness. All indications suggest that the surroundings quickly became too bright for the panicked arena patrons to tell what was going on, leading to overall confusion at the scene and complicating the task of emergency services once they arrived. ”The protective eyewear had no effect,” commented one disgruntled citizen shortly after being given a pair of sunglasses by a paramedic.

Ion Assault vs. Swarm Arena

Since they’ve been around since slightly before the dawn of time, particles aren’t especially a new phenomenon in gaming. However, over the last year or two, developers seem to have cottoned on to the fact that 3D graphics cards coupled with some clever coding can produce an environment where literally bazillions of the little devils can invade your screen at once – and what’s more, that they can actually be used as a proper gameplay element in their own right!

Enter the two most recent indie advocates of such thinking, Swarm Arena and Ion Assault. Both games wield an eye-watering amount of particles to make them look good and play good. But today, dear reader, I’m here to ask one thing: isn’t it all just a bit of a gimmick?

Read more…

You probably know by now that Qwak homepage Qwak is one of my all-time favourite retro platform games and is definitely a hidden gem of the internet. I try to spread the word about it as much as possible without becoming Mr. Spam of Spam Lane, Spammington – so here’s another shameless plug! :P

Jamie Woodhouse has followed in the trend set by World of Goo and Crayon Physics and decided to run a “Pay What You Want” special sale offer for Qwak. Whatever you decide to pay you’re going to get a lot of fun for your money! Don’t hang about, though… the deal ends on January the 22nd.

Normally you’d be paying £12.99 – still an excellent bargain – but for now you can purchase the PC or Mac version of Qwak for whatever you think it’s worth through Buy Qwak - pay what you want! this ordering page. Marvellous!

Since the IGF 2010 finalists were announced only the other day, the internet has been working it’s magic to produce a couple of related early bits and bobs that are worth perusing. Here are just a couple.

Many people who submitted their game for the competition this year have posted the feedback they received from the judges on the TIGForums, and some of it is pretty gasp-inducing. For an event that’s become so prestigous in recent years, to see that games might be accepted or cast aside based on a one-sentence critique is really quite an eye-opener. The gory details are right here – you might have to dig in a few pages, but it’s all a stimulating read.

Of course, there’s always another side to the coin – if you are curious to know a little more about how judging for the IGF really works then I’ve got just the article for you. Entitled “Demystifying the IGF Judging Process”, Jens Bergensten (of Harvest: Massive Encounter fame) offers a considerably detailed insight into the proceedings and includes a couple of alternative opinions from Alex May (Eufloria / Dyson) and Michael Rose (editor of IndieGames.com), all of whom are judges in this year’s contest.

To all you people who are crazy enough to read this blog regularly – and even to those who are just passing through – I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

I hope your holiday season went well. It’s been a pretty good year for indie games and I’m expecting another great list of titles in 2010. Stay tuned and I’ll try to give my usual sporadic coverage of yesterday’s boring news… today! ;) There’s a ton to look forward to – Fez and a deluxe version of Spelunky for XBLA, Night Sky and the much-hyped-and-might-arrive-soon Cave Story for Wii, and who knows what else there might be for PC gamers!

In any case, we can kick the year off the way we want it to continue with Terry Cavanagh‘s VVVVVV very soon – he’s announced that it’ll be released in just over a week on the 10th of January. It will be available from thelettervsixtim.es and will cost a mere $15 / £9.30ish. Or you can still preorder the game for just $10 (by donating with the Paypal link on the Distractionware blog) until January the 3rd. Great stuff!