Indie Links Round-Up: Light Up The Depths

In today’s Indie Links: DEATH!  Well, its role in games, anyway.  Also, free-to-play games, games for the iPad, and the academic study of game design.

SpyParty Isn’t Done. But This Guy Has Reviewed It. (Kotaku)
“We think the game’s shaping up well, but we won’t review it until it’s done some time later this century. Jacob Tierney, a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times and a participant in SpyParty‘s ongoing beta, however, will review this game… because he is that excited about it.”

Portabliss: Nihilumbra (iOS) (Joystiq)
Nihilumbra does its best to make you feel pretty worthless. As a black, undulating, vaguely human figure, you glide across the landscape, attempting to find meaning while also outrunning the void. As Nihilumbra reminds you consistently, you are part of the void, and you will be part of it again no matter how hard you try to outrun it.”

Darkside (PixelProspector)
Darkside is an arena shooter in which you fly around big asteroids, while collecting powerups and blasting away lots of enemies and other objects.”

Ask IndieGames: What Makes A Good Free-To-Play Game? (IndieGames)
“This month’s topic is free-to-play (F2P) games. Love them or loathe them, F2P games are gradually taking the video game industry by storm, in the web browser, on mobile devices and now even on home consoles. What elements should indie developers look to include or avoid when building a F2P game? What can indie developers do differently?”

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Oliver&Spike (Joystiq)
“Indie developers are the starving artists of the video-game world, often brilliant and innovative, but also misunderstood, underfunded and more prone to writing free-form poetry on their LiveJournals. We believe they deserve a wider audience with the Joystiq Indie Pitch: This week, Norway’s Rock Pocket Games explores the universe in different dimensions through the eyes of a boy and his dog, with Oliver&Spike: Dimension Jumpers.”

A Complicated Relationship: Doug Wilson (Electron Dance)
“Two weeks ago, Dan Pinchbeck said that academics are able to make games that define the bleeding edge as, in the academic world, failure is just as valuable a teacher as success. Yet Wilson made the decision to leave that world to join indie studio Die Gute Fabrik, where he continues to work on Joust and other titles such as Beacons of Hope and Mutazione (with Gute Fabrik partner Nils Deneken). In this week’s interview, Wilson explains why.

Mulling Mode 7 Man’s Management-Centric Maia (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“Simon Roth is best known as the newest recruit to Frozen Synapse creators Mode 7, but he’s also one of the most veteran developers in the entire history of the world, if my research is correct. And he’s moonlighting on a side-project all of his own, the Bullfrog/early Maxis-inspired sci-fi management game Maia. This isn’t a matter of keeping colonists happy with space ice cream and zero-grav toilets – we’re promised the likes of ‘up to 2KM X 2KM X 2KM of procedural world’, water and lava simulation, defensive structures to fend off hostile wildlife, bipolar robots and a first-person mode.”

Review: In Spelunky, Death Makes Life Worth Playing (Ars Technica)
“Every step you take down Spelunky‘s sixteen cavernous levels is filled with the tension of knowing that a single mistake can send all your careful progress crashing down around you. You start each game with four “hearts” of energy that you have to jealously guard against a wide variety of inventive enemies and traps, using only a whip and whatever other weapons and items you can buy with the gold you find scattered around. Most of these individual enemies are pretty simple to handle in isolation, but when you’re only allowed four mistakes, even simple encounters suddenly become quite a bit more fraught.”


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