A FISTFUL OF INDIES: JULY 2015


7.6.2015

Brandon Boyer

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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 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.

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Splatoon

Developer: Nintendo | Platform: Wii U | Get it: Here

“…a game I’ve done a complete about-face on from the time it was announced to it’s actual release — it’s completely won me over. For a game that’s ostensibly an online shooter, it’s the most positive and inclusive and friendly games I’ve ever played with strangers.

It’s one of those forward-thinking first-party Nintendo games we get once every year or two now, where it feels so much less drenched in its own conservative past & feels surprisingly ‘cool’ as hell, even actually fashionable.”

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Affordable Space Adventures

Developer: KnapNok Games & Nifflas | Platform: Wii U | Get it: eShop

“…designed in part by Nifflas — who you might know for games like Night Sky and Knytt & will recognize as a master of quiet atmosphere — that’s basically what this is, as well: a journey through a ruined, abandoned planet…

The twist is that you’re piloting this ship here — and by piloting, I mean you’ve literally got a touchscreen panel that controls your engines, your scanners, your landing gear — all of which you’ve either got to multitask yourself, to maneuver past the planet’s defense systems, or which you can task out to a bunch of your friends and all work together, sort of like a less metaphorical version of Spaceteam…”

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Dolly

Developer: Blake Wood | Platform: Windows | Get it: itch.io

“…for a first game it’s super clear that its developer has already got some super strong sensibilities… the game pulls a bit from Super Meat Boy mixed with touches of Shadow of the Colossus and graphic designers like Olly Moss…

This’ll take you about 10 minutes to play through, but it’s very well worth it…”

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Strawberry Cubes

Developer: Loren Schmidt | Platform: Windows | Get it: itch.io

“…a beautifully glitched-out half-remembered dream of a platformer, there’s an incredible amount of good things happening here which reveal themselves to you the further you press yourself into them…”

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Her Story

Developer: Sam Barlow | Platform: Windows/Mac/iOS | Get it: Steam / App Store

“…at its core it’s a murder-mystery desktop simulator game, where you piece together a story 20-30 seconds at a time, by keyword-searching through about an hour of interrogation footage.

The clips in turn give you ideas for new search terms and keywords, and you essentially fall face-first down a non-linear rabbithole of a story that you’re keeping together entirely in your own head, with a number of twists and turns along the way that are enormously rewarding to stumble into.

This is absolutely the most interesting game I’ve played so far in 2015, and one of my highest recommendations for absolutely anyone. …”

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Aisle

Developer: Sam Barlow | Platform: Web | Play it: Here

“…and actually, as a bonus game — while the creator of Her Story is best known for his work on Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, if you loved Her Story, go seek out this interactive fiction game he did all the way back in 1999, which features as unique an approach to storytelling.

The basic premise is that you’re in a grocery store, about to pick up a package of pasta, when you notice a woman down the aisle who for some reason feels familiar. From there you’ve got one move you can make to tease more out of the story, whether that’s talking to the woman, or looking at your inventory, or picking up the pasta, or turning around and walking away.

At that point the game is over and starts again, so the only way to piece this scenario together is to play that one move out over and over — it’s a great, small piece of experimental fiction…”