Game-related ramblings.

Tag: Indie Platformer Marathon

Indie Platformer Marathon: BasketBelle

BasketBelle was something of a surprise. I remember seeing some screenshots and a trailer or two when it was released nearly a year ago, but I didn’t actually pick it up. I’d read that it was very short and rather odd. But then it showed up in the Indie Royale Harvest bundle a few months later, along with several other games I was interested in, so I picked up the pack. Deciding that a shorter game was just what I needed after the constantly exploding Explodemon!, I decided to slot it next in the Marathon.

And I’m glad I did, because BasketBelle is really something special.

Indie Platformer Marathon: Explodemon!

I’m back from vacation, and the Indie Platformer Marathon continues! Next up is Explodemon!, a game by Curve Studios, the same developers responsible for Stealth Bastard, which I’ve written about before (incidentally, Stealth Bastard recently got a brand new, for-sale Deluxe version which looks excellent, but probably won’t make it into this marathon due to time constraints). Explodemon! was actually released first, but spent quite some time as a Playstation Network exclusive, later being ported to PC, allowing me to play it since I don’t own a Playstation. Unfortunately, it’s more famous for some (false) controversy than for the game itself: just after announcing Explodemon!, the team discovered that another indie developer, Twisted Pixel, had independently come up with the same core idea, namely a protagonist with the ability to explode him/herself. Repeatedly. While the two teams were amiable about the coincidence (read an interesting blog post with the full story from Curve’s point of view here), Twisted Pixel’s game Splosion Man released first, and this ended up being bad news for Explodemon!. Suddenly everyone was calling Explodemon! a ripoff, even though it had actually started development before Splosion Man. This even prevented the team from securing publishing deals, forcing them to finish development with their own funding.

But finish it they did, and it’s a good thing too, because Explodemon! is well worth playing.

Indie Platformer Marathon: LogiGun

It’s inevitable that LogiGun will be compared to Portal. There are obvious similarities: the test-like puzzle rooms, an antagonist who constantly chimes in remotely, and guns that shoot puzzle-related things rather than bullets (although they do not shoot portals). LogiGun even has a female protagonist like Portal does, although it’s a sad reminder of the state of the games industry that simply having a female protagonist is noteworthy. Many people will likely take a quick look at LogiGun and dismiss it as a Portal ripoff, which is a shame, because LogiGun is actually an excellent game in its own right.

While Portal used the single mechanic of portal generation married with an expertly-designed (and often hilarious) narrative to create a short but brilliant game, Logigun instead embraces a myriad of puzzle mechanics, all of which intertwine to form some truly devious puzzles. LogiGun has not one, but four different guns, and each has plenty of versatility for puzzle-solving. When puzzles start featuring two of them at once, things get wonderfully complex.

Indie Platformer Marathon: Capsized

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The Indie Platformer Marathon was delayed by some non-game-related things, but now it’s back! Capsized is one of the oldest platformers in my backlog, purchased nearly two years ago. I had tried the demo, liked it, and decided to buy the full game, but then I got distracted by something else. Probably Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Anyway, the marathon seemed like the perfect time to finally play it.

The most important thing to know about Capsized is that it is not an exploration platformer. When it was released, many people saw the beautiful hand-drawn graphics depicting a lush, alien world, and hoped the game would feature a vast planet to explore. But that is not the case; Capsized is split into discrete levels, and while there is some exploration within these levels, the primary focus is on fast-paced action. Fortunately, that action is very, very good.

Indie Platformer Marathon: Celestial Mechanica

The third platformer on my list is Celestial Mechanica, which is the result of a collaboration between Roger Hicks, known for the game rComplex, and Paul Veer, who animated the excellent Super Crate Box. It originally came out sometime in 2011, I think, but I never got around to picking it up despite being intrigued by the footage I’d seen. Then, not long ago, it was released for free, which finally convinced me to grab it and check it out.

It’s a fitting third entry to the marathon; since I’ve already covered a super-hard platformer and a puzzle platformer, it’s time for another extremely popular subgenre: the exploration platformer.

Indie Platformer Marathon: Thomas Was Alone

After finishing with Dustforce, the next platformer on my list was Thomas Was Alone, which has been getting rave reviews from pretty much everyone. It’s a puzzle platformer, which is a very popular sub-genre these days, especially amongst indie developers. Players take control of Thomas, a small red rectangle, and his quadrilateral friends as they work to escape the strange platforming environments they’ve founds themselves in. Each character, in addition to having a different shape, behaves differently: some can jump quite high while others have special abilities such as being able to float in water. To escape the various levels, players must use each character’s unique abilities to help everyone reach the exit points.

All of this adds up to an interesting little puzzle game, but Thomas Was Alone becomes much more than that due to some top-notch writing. Delivered primarily through excellent narration by Danny Wallace, it imbues those little rectangles with distinct personalities, quirks, motivations, and worries. I found myself caring more for the abstract shapes in Thomas Was Alone than I have for nearly any other game character I could name.

Indie Platformer Marathon: Dustforce

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I’ve been writing about a lot of indie games lately, but most have been small, quick games that I messed around with whilst playing through something bigger, like Dishonored. This means I’ve been collecting quite a few medium- to long-length indie games that I haven’t been getting to. Looking through my disturbingly large backlog, I noticed that many of these indie games happen to be platformers. So, I decided I should just sit down and play through a whole bunch of them. How many indie platformers can I stand, before I need to play something else? We’re about to find out. First up is Dustforce, a game I am finally playing more than a year after I purchased it.

Dustforce is a game about kung fu janitors.

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