Indie Game Lookout for August 18, 2016

indie game lookout

The hunt for great upcoming indie games continued this week thanks to a few more suggestions. As always, these are the three games I found or was tipped off to that I really feel good about. If you know of any great indie games that you would like me to check out, let me know via Twitter.

The Incredible Journey of You and I

Developer: Shy Kids Club

Platform: PC, Mac, Linux

Release Date: 2017

Available via: Developer Website

Yes, this is a twin-stick shooter, and I know I said I would limit myself on those. But The Incredible Journey of You and I is far from your average twin-stick shooter.

The mechanics are simple enough. You control a ship made of two distinct parts: a pink “air” ship and a blue ”water” ship. As you maneuver around, you can control which ship shoots. The color of the shooting ship is important. The bullets it fires are the same color, and certain enemies can only be defeated by a certain bullet color. The mechanic is very similar to Ikaruga, only more adorable.

And I really do mean adorable. The game looks like something ripped out of a children’s show. Everything is cute and colorful, except for the enemies. The story is that party monsters have invaded your world, and you have to get rid of them. Some may be actively shooting you; some may be attacking other NPCs. All of them must be dispatched.

There was no gameplay demo of this game, but its aesthetic won me over. The game promises single player and local co-op where you both control one part of the ship. Maybe my male friends won’t be hyped about this game with me, but my daughter sure as hell will!

The Incredible Journey of You and I breezed through Steam Greenlight. Shy Kids Club is currently working on a mid-2017 release. I’m really looking forward to trying this game out.

The Mystery of Wooley Mountain

Developer: James Lightfoot

Platform: PC, Mac

Release Date: October 2017

Available via: Developer Website

Last week’s column re-introduced me to the point-and-click adventure game. I used to love playing them on my PC ages ago, but I fell off. Games like The Mystery of Woolley Mountain are pulling me back in.

You play as a group of five scientists that are trying to save a town of children who were kidnapped by a witch and taken to the eponymous Woolley Mountain. The short demo has you playing as VanDamme Laudenkleer. He reaches Woolley Mountain alone but is quickly captured. The main protagonist, Garland Vanderbilt, learns of Mr. Laudenkleer’s actions and sets off to find him and the children.

Playing the demo reminded me how much I loved playing games like Maniac Mansion and Sam & Max Hit the Road. All the standbys of those games are present here. The point-and-click interface has you investigate and interact with objects around you. You can combine objects in your inventory in order to solve puzzles. All of this is presented in a very detailed and colorful 2D world. The character’s dialogue promises to be family-appropriate, so no swearing, but it has some nice, light humor to it. The whole presentation is top-notch.

I really liked everything about this game. Its Kickstarter is almost up, but there is still a bit of time if you would like to check out more info or back it.

Ethos: It Begins Again

Developer: Old Dead One Productions

Platform: PC

Release Date: TBD

Available via: Developer Website

I typically don’t look at indie games powered by Unreal Engine too much. It’s not that I dislike them. I personally have not had a great history with Unreal-powered indie games. Plus, I usually get pulled in by games with more of a gimmicky feel. Ethos: It Begins Again, however, grabbed me with one important aspect: it looks and plays a lot like Dark Souls. And I like me some Dark Souls.

Once I got past the Dark Souls look, though, I found that Ethos: It Begins Again has a bit more depth to it. The arena-style gladiatorial combat is only one of four promised modules, called Immortals. This module is all about creating a gladiator and fighting Dark Souls-style through the ranks in ARPG combat. The second module is called Monarch, and it has players set up their own empire and stable of Immortals. You build a roster of gladiators and send them out to do battle. It’s looks to be stat-driven like fantasy sports, and allows players to be a manager instead of a fighter.

Vendor is the third module, and it is a business sim. Players run a shop and try to keep it in business. They can run it themselves, choosing a profession like blacksmith and learning how to craft your wares.  Or they can have an NPC run it while they go out and acquire raw materials. The last module is Sandbox, and it’s more about exploring the world and socializing as well as fighting.

The game looks as you would expect from a Dark Souls-style game. While fighting, the opponents all have their differing fighting styles and attacks. The key is to learn their attacks, dodge them, and look for openings of your own. Everything looks very detailed, and the animations all look great.

On their Kickstarter page, the non-fighting aspects of the modules are more described than shown. Immortals is the base module, and they are currently looking to fund that part. The other modules are stretch goals. While I personally believe that the base game is good enough to stand alone, the other planned modules would make the game more interesting. Seeing gladiatorial combat from different perspectives would be awesome.

Their Kickstarter has recently started for anyone who is interested in backing this project. I think it’s worthwhile, and will back it myself.

He has been playing video games for longer than he would like to admit, and is passionate about all retro games and systems. He also goes to bars with an NES controller hoping that entering the Konami code will give him thirty chances with the drunk chick at the bar. His interests include vodka, old-school games, women, vodka, and women gamers who drink vodka.

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