Kayarath’s Adventures in More Indie Games

Posted on Jan 26 2017


Too Many Games, too little time. Between the cosplay, the guests, the marketplace, and everything else, it’s quite easy to miss the games of Too Many Games. One subquest of Too Many Games is to give the scrappy indie developer a chance to showcase their creations to the world. Let me tell you about them.

The one game I just had to try was Starship Horizons. It’s a star ship bridge simulator where you can have Star Trek like adventures with four fellow officers. Funny, I thought Artemis already filled that niche? I guess the galaxy is big enough for at least three bridge simulators (there also an actual Star Trek themed one coming out). I was told that Horizons Starships differentiates itself by having five crew members (compared to Artemis’ six) and by going for a harder/more accurate simulation. I had no idea how accurate the gameplay was because I took the captain’s chair! To sit in the captain’s chair is truly an honor and a privilege. It is also a duty and responsibility. I attempted to project the gravitas expected of a captain but perhaps I lacked the caution a captain needs.

The first mission was to retrieve some lost cargo. We quickly warped to the location and dispatched shuttles to gather the cargo. Complications arose when enemy raiders appeared and targeted our shuttles. I ordered coms to hail the enemy ships in an attempt to resolve the conflict peacefully. My attempt at diplomacy was returned with a declaration of hostility. I gave a depressed sigh as I ordered red alert. We were unable to save our shuttles because they were too far away and were eliminated before we could intercept. The raiders were easily destroyed but it was a cold comfort. Luckily, we had one shuttle remaining and it was able to complete the mission. Sadly, after we retrieved the cargo we were unable to confirm success with Starbase. Game bugs can and do happen. On the the bright side, we had enough time for another mission.

The second mission was to respond to a distress signal from two settler craft fearing assault. Sadly, those fears were true as they were under under assault by the time we reached them. Once again, my diplomatic hails were met with hostile retorts. You know, not every scenario in Star Trek was meant to be solved by violence. I would have preferred a non violent solution because it would not be an easy fight. Facing two enemy ships at once is enough to challenge any crew. The situation grew quite intense as we exchanged fire.

Indie developers work harder then ever to get noticed.

Indie developers work harder then ever to get noticed.

To my surprise, helmsman elected to make a strategic withdraw when our shields were depleted. I can respect a person’s desire for self-preservation but I’m the frakin’ captain! He didn’t even ask for permission; he just went up and left. Not as in physically leave; but as in steering the ship away from where we were. I considered just going off on him for a second but refrained. I did set the culture of allowing crew members a great deal of autonomy in fulfilling their duties. I also took into the consideration the ad hoc nature of our crew. However, the settlers were eliminated while the shields were recharging. We did return to destroy the raiders but that doesn’t bring the settlers back.

My time upon Starship Horizons was simply too brief. It was my pleasure to serve star command. After that, I had trouble figuring out what to do next. The Too Many Games convention literally has too many games. There’s like thirty game studios here vying for for attention and I don’t know where to begin. It’s quite hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

One game that did caught my eye was Treasure Adventure World. It’s a pirate themed adventure platformer crafted by a lone developer for years in isolation. Well the developer eventually got other people to do the art and music but not everyone can be a one man development team! I messed around with it for a few minutes and all I can say that it worked. It controlled fine, took the effort to develop a story and world, and the art style works on a functional level (though it didn’t appeal to me on a personal level). This isn’t the type of game that you can play for just five minutes. It’s sort of like Cave Story in that you’ll have to actually play it for a while for it to really get going. It’s one man’s vision made reality brick by brick. It’s the type of thing I have to respect. Also, I feel it’s worth mentioning because it’s more then a prototype; it’s actually coming out some time in 2017. Soon we can actually buy it and I’ll either be vindicated or rebutted for praising it.

After that, I basically checked up on people I already knew. I’m familiar with yyrGames so I walked up to him and said, “show me what you got.” I was presented with his new game Multitasking. I wasn’t expecting much since yyrGames is basically a one man shop spitting out Atari-flavored arcade games; but Multitasking really surprised me. It’s basically playing a bunch of mini games; but at the same time. You could be playing a tennis game while you’re shooting a gun while you’re flying a plane while you’re building a house all at once! I dare say it’s original and maybe even unique! This is a game that I put would put on Extra Credits’ “Games You Might Not Have Tried.”

I would say you could get these games on Xbox Live Indie Games but that’s closing down. yyrGames is currently in the process of porting their library to smart phones/Steam/where ever. While the Atari grade graphics may be underwhelming compared to many things you can find on Steam; the competent gameplay also surpasses many things you can find on Steam.

Games incased in a physical object?  What is this madness?!?

Games incased in a physical object? What is this madness?!?

After that I visited 64kb Games. You know, the guy who makes new 8 and 16 bit games I interviewed a few years ago? Well he finally got himself a website. You can now download roms of the games he made and purchase physical copies of his stuff too! That’s moving on up! The game he brought this year was Humiliation Nation; a Smash TV platformer. I found the jump to be too floaty but it works fine. I guess it just takes a few minutes to get used to it. If I had a Genesis I could buy my own copy and put the game to its paces. Maybe next year’s title will be more my thing.

What was really my thing was RPG Arcade. RPG Arcade is a mobile “hero clicker” (to use Angry Joe’s words) where you control a squad fighting another squad by clicking or tapping with your fingers. It’s a lot like combat from classic RPG video games. The developer is Island Officials, whom I interviewed some years ago. They were developing the platformer Pixel Lincoln, but it got scrapped because it was gonna turn out as well as Hillary’s presidential campaign. I agree with them on that move and am glad they decided to make RPG Arcade instead.

I really liked RPG Arcade. Active Time Battle fits on smart phones like fishing fits into Final Fantasy XV. I’m surprised it’s there yet I know I shouldn’t be. It evokes combat like Final Fantasy 5 or 6 except instead of going trough menus you just click on dudes and icons to make them do stuff. RPG Arcade does have a quicker pace since you can always spam basic attacks if you run out of special moves. That’s a good thing since you don’t just want to wait around in a mobile game. I should also mention that the art is good too. It may just be sprites but pretty sprites beat low grade polygons in many cases. It also helps reinforce the old school RPG feel.

Will you find this cute picture on the offfical Island Officials website? Noooooo.

The combat is good but the game is still under development. For one, there’s a slight delay when switching between characters. On the technical sense, it’s a small detail, but it messed me up when I frantically trying to spam attacks as fast as possible. The other thing is that nothing has been shown about the management part yet. You know, all the stuff outside of combat like sorting loot, equipment, and characters. The menu screen if you will. And we can only hope the monetization respects us rather then manipulates us. I do have a real beef with the game though. While it is hyped up on Twitter, nothing about the game is mentioned on Island Officials’ actual website. Nitpicks aside, I am looking forward to it.

There were a ton of other games to look at during Too Many Games. The convention does live to its name and then some. Too Many Games is so big that developers will travel from Indiana to eastern Pennsylvania just to to showcase their games; and you can end overlooking them! I own you a review Hive Mind Studios!

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