GDC 2012 Indie Game Highlights
Posted on Tuesday, March 13 @ 10:04:39 PST by Josh_Laddin
Holy crap. Playing this four-player co-op adventure game without prior experience is like getting thrown into the deep end of the pool, if that pool was also home to a school of piranhas and the sharks from Deep Blue Sea. I also use the term “co-op” very loosely, as it’s incredibly easy to screw over your fellow fragile chibi-Indiana Jones explorers with a misplaced whip or bomb.
Dead players stick around on the screen and exist mostly to screw over the remaining players by blowing gusts of air that can knock them around into monsters or hazards The competitive mode embraces all these things by pitting the four of you in a small arena where you all try to murder each other in rapid-fire matches that usually only last a few seconds. Though it’s been out on PC for years, Spelunky will finally see release on XBLA soon.
Good for a quick fix of fun and high score challenges, Wonderputt is an 18-hole minigolf browser game that sends you putting all around a ridiculous, logic-defying course with rockets, weather changers, glass tubes, elevators, forcefields, and even a giant skull stuck in a wall. On top of shooting for minimum strokes, collectible pickups on each hole increase your score if you manage to snag them along the way. It only takes 10 minutes or less to finish a round, after which you get a detailed breakdown of your performance and score as incentive to go back and try to improve upon it. Wonderputt is available to play for free on Kongregate.
This simple 2D stealth platformer engrossed me longer than any other game on display. Playing a spy in a trenchcoat who can leap as well as any ninja, you have to make your way to the computer in each level to download… secret spy data, I guess, all while avoiding getting shot by patrolling security guards. You can cling to ceilings and walls and drop down on unsuspecting guards to knock them out, and sometimes trick them by making noise in certain directions or flipping off the lights and forcing them to walk over to the light switch to turn them back on.
Later, you can buy new gadgets that let you do spiffy spy things like rewire switches to activate other devices to help you get at that precious data that become more and more heavily guarded. No word yet on when Gunpoint will be released (PC only for now), but the website at http://www.gunpointgame.com has a release date of “Later than May 2012”. Way to be facetious about it.
Besides being hard to pronounce, Botanicula is a point-'n'-click adventure game, which always have the peculiar effect of releasing nostalgia endorphins into my brain that put me in a dreamlike state, as all those memories of classic LucasArts games come flooding in. But this one’s also got a trippy art style involving… fuzzy forest bugs, I guess? It’s hard to say, really, but it's weird, fascinating, and funny all at the same time.
Like the theme and the art style, it’s hard to tell what the goal of Botanicula is exactly, other than navigating the forest environment in order to not get eaten by bigger, scarier things. Teaser trailers are available at http://botanicula.net, and the game is scheduled for an early 2012 release.
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