Every month, as part of the regular monthly meetings of JUEGOS RANCHEROS, we do a very casual & chatty rundown of the ten or so games from the previous month for the audience, to give people — especially those curious onlookers from outside the indie community itself — a look at what they may have missed. The featured games are both local and global, and both indie and, on occasion, a bit-bigger-budget — what binds them together is simply that they’re all amazing.
In keeping with the tongue-in-tobacco-packed-cheek tone, we call these run-downs A Fistful of Indies, which are presented here for your reference, each fully annotated & linked up for your pleasure.
Retro Game Crunch
Developer: Retro Game Crunch | Platform: Windows/Mac | Get it: Here
“…co-created right here in Austin, inside are seven 8-bit Nintendo flavored games that were put together as part of a Kickstarter throughout 2013, all super clever, fun & nicely diverse….”
Developer: Coffee Stain Studios | Platform: Windows | Get it: Here
“…a game that disallows you from being cynical about it — once you play it, there’s basically no denying it. A totally unapologetically idiotic game jam game where you wander around & headbutt things & make cars explode & fling things around with your stupid tongue, it knows exactly what it is and wants to be and that’s what makes it basically perfect…ly stupid.”
Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball
Developer: Nintendo | Platform: Nintendo 3DS | Get it: Here
“… a ‘free to play’ game full of in-app-purchasable baseball-themed minigames, the trick here is that you can haggle with this downtrodden shop owner to lower the price: you can actually buy all them for four real world dollars each, or you can talk him down to giving it to you for like half price.
It’s basically Nintendo themselves nakedly coming to grips with the idea of free to play and paid DLC after resisting it for years, wrapped in a REALLY well written, clever totally self-aware framework. This is the super smart & experimental Nintendo that we all kind of miss.”
Earth Defense Force 2025
Developer: Sandlot | Platform: PS3/Xbox 360 | Get it: Here
“…the premise here, for the uninitiated, is you are an army dude or lady, and you choose two different guns, and then you go into a city and the game spits like 30,000 stock-model giant insects at you, and your job is to shoot them and kill them.
That’s more or less all there is, and it is TOTALLY AMAZING. It’s basically exactly what Space Invaders was meant to look like 35 years later — a perfect B-movie of a game.”
“…the updated deluxe version of the local multiplayer game, there’s not much to say about this other than it’s incredibly smart & perfectly paced/designed, and it’s a super necessary addition next to your copy of Samurai Gunn & Nidhogg, as part of an amazing past few months for multiplayer games.”
FTL: Faster than Light
Developer: Subset Games | Platform: iPad | Get it: App Store
“…you’ve again almost definitely played this before or seen it featured here, only now, as of last night, it’s also on your iPad, which is sort of where it’s always meant to be all along. If you already own it on PC, it’s also just been updated there with a bunch of content, so either way it’s time to get back into its super amazing procedurally generated space strategy.”
Developer: Devine Lu Linvega and Rekka Bellum | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store
“…basically as close as you’ll get to a videogame as an alien artifact — outside the familiar touch-interface and perspective, the game gives you nothing in the way of instructions or tutorial.
You’re just tossed into this tiny world where people speak in seemingly indecipherable pictograms, and you wander until bang your head against the wall, until suddenly everything starts to begin to make sense and the game starts unfurling in front of you. It took me a few false starts to really wrap my head around this, but it was very worth the effort…”
Developer: James Kochalka & Pixeljam | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store
“…created in conjunction with comic book artist James Kochalka, it’s a game that’s a bit like Space Invaders or Galaga, only everything is super squishy and sort of loosey-goosey, right down to its idea of how ‘menus’ and ‘levels’ work and are distinguished from each other. It’s very close to just straight up playing a comic book, and is about the most charming thing you’ll have played in a while….”
“…a 2D dogfighting game that lets you customize your weapon and engine and body in like a hundred thousand different combinations, and, like most Vlambeer games, just feels really really good in your hands, even as everything’s going really really wrong. Even if you don’t think you like dogfighting type action games, you might be surprised at how perfectly arcade-y this feels.”
Developer: Ustwo | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store
“…honestly is one of the most beautiful games i’ve played in a while, it’s a bit Escher and a bit Echochrome, and maybe even a little bit of Fez… A perfect little jewel box of a game, it’s super intricately constructed and over before you’re ready for it to be, but delightful enough that you’re just happy you got to spend time in it at all.”