Every year we’re seeing a dramatic increase in indie video games releases but this awesome news also come with a downside, a lot of great concepts are getting trampled by the rockslide of titles. Games developed out of love for the concept tend to undermine marketing and advertising. As a gamer, you have the right to find out about those amazing concepts that with a little support could give us what we love the most, hours upon hours of fun.
In this article, you’ll find short reviews about each game and all the information you need to try it out and support the project. I was able to get in touch with most of the developing teams and I’ll give you the highlight of each interview.
All the demos I tried are available for free download from itch.io so don’t hesitate to check them out.
1. Piko Piko
Reviewed on Windows. Also Supported by Mac
Genre: 2D platformer
Developer: Marquet Games
Piko Piko is a fun visual novel about a cute blacksmith girl with a heart hammer that has to go through a 2D platformer adventure to rescue her sensei. Cute and creative artwork, varied attacks, and very original enemies. Marquet Games is working hard to tell us a cool new story in a very creative way.
To advance through the levels you’ll have to face different enemies, relying on a pretty convenient hammer that also shoots energy balls and turns into a drill… the main fighting mechanic is the stun, diving into an enemy’s head with your hammer will literally leave it seeing stars for a few seconds, while stunned enemies will receive three times more damage so it’s open season.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge while developing Piko Piko?
A: The biggest challenge is how to make the characters have personality.
It’s really hard to describe, its when you look at a picture and you can imagine all the universe behind it, and part of you tries to think “this is real”. I think everyone has this type of feeling while watching a good fantasy movie in theaters.
After completing the demo I would recommend for them to do a little bit of work in the user interface, the pause menu is solid, it even lets you configure the controls, but navigating it’s a little tedious; Also shooting attack lets you stay in the air too long, it’s easy to just jump out of range and snipe the enemies and takes away value for the other awesome attacks.
How can you help the guys at Marquet Games develop Piko Piko?
They are running a live crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo where you can preorder the game, get an NPC designed after you, or if you have the cash and are really serious about helping Marquet upgrade her equipment, they’ll make you into a fully animated boss with your own voice and the lore of your choosing.
Too broke to support?
Nevermind that, the guys at Marquet Games get it, you can still help them out by following and sharing Piko Piko with your friends and social media followers.
2. Dark Medival Times (Alpha Demo)
Reviewed on PC.
Genre: 2D RPG.
Developer: Darkenauts Studios
Twitter: https: https://twitter.com/Darkenauts
Dark Medieval Times is a pretty clear description of Darkenauts Studio’s current project. Playing as a skeleton, you’ll be part of a very interactive horror history, well, it won’t be that scary for you, who doesn’t feel brave while armed to the teeth?… The way they play with the lights against the creepy environment artwork will immerse you in a new dark realm.
The term RPG has been thrown around quite loosely, Dark Medival Times takes it’s genre very seriously. All the different weapons, spells, and attributes you can play around with will bring back the complete RPG experience to this project; Plus a gathering and crafting systems give Dark Medival Times a subtle sandbox feel.
Q: Why Dark Medival Times? What made you choose this concept?
A: We are huge fans of Souls-like, MediEvil, and complex games so we decided to create a fusion of all the things we love.
After trying out their Alpha Demo version II, I would recommend they worked a little bit more on the UI esthetics. Dark Medival Times has a very interactive world, which means a lot of UI, they have a great thing going with the conceptual artwork for the game, but the UI is boxy, with a digital feel that is a little out of place; The combat is action base, fresh and fun, but the regular enemies are too dumb in my opinion, they address this by giving them a huge damage output, but when you get used to the controls combat gets kind of one-sided.
How can you help the guys at Darkenauts Studio develop Dark Medival Times?
The Franch Brothers are pretty set, they are developing this awesome game out of passion, and they’re asking for just one thing, share their work with all your gamer friends and social media followers. Give them a shout out on twitter!
3. Desert Kill
Reviewed on Windows.
Developer: Io Gamess
Minecraft meets Call of Duty in this rogue-like low poly shooter by Io Gamess. The most remarkable thing about this version of the game is the number of different weapons you can use to try to settle a conflict created by an oil crisis. I’m not really sure how killing everything that moves could “restore peace on this land” but it’s certainly pretty fun to try.
Combat is pretty straightforward and the different weapons, with individual functionalities, makes it very engaging. Your goal is to blow up heavily guarded points on the map, to achieve it you’ll have to use a combination of strategy, stealth and a lot of lead.
They make it clear that anything in this version might change, I would recommend introducing a simple cover mechanic to further differentiate the weapon’s functionality, especially on the enemies. Right now whether they have a knife, shotgun or rifle, enemies run straight towards you with no stop. Simple enemy strategic positioning would seriously reinforce the shooter experience.
How can you help the guys at Io Gamess develop Desert Kill?
I haven’t found them on social media and they’re not running any crowdfunding campaigns at the moment. They’ll certainly appreciate for you to share their alpha with all your gamer friends.
4. Guardian of Andra
Reviewed on PC.
Genre: 3D RPG Adventure.
Developer: Douglas Lima and Ligia Assis
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OnionRider | https://twitter.com/ailaghast
On your quest to protect your people from the dangers of Andra, a small archipelago where monsters and humans fight for survival. “Guardian of Andra” by Douglas Lima and Ligia Assis is a 3D RPG adventure that will take you through very detailed and colorful maps where you’ll fight enemies, and gather crystals to upgrade your character’s skills.
The story behind the world of Andra is creative and really helps you get in the context of your role, with a spirit guide to let you know the secrets behind the temple of guardians, you end up immersed in the plot. Will you be the chosen guardian to find the secrets of the origins of Andra, protect your people and save your brother?
Q: Could you tell me a little about your development process?
A: We first decide what we want to add to the game: a new monster, a new mechanic, a new character, etc.
Then we iterate, on paper, the many ways this could be done, what could go wrong, what could go right, and how it would work best within the game.
That being done, we then set out to make what needs to be done to make the new idea happen: prototyping with code, making the 2D design, modeling and/or sculpting in 3D, creating texture, animating, etc.
After this, it’s ready for the phase where everything goes wrong: the tests inside the engine. It’s when we fix everything and make it work with what we already have.
The concept of “Guardian of Andra” is pretty complete. They do need to sand out a few rough spots. Controls need a tune-up, and there are a few problems with the implementation of the maps, the most notable being when the character is falling, tries to grab the border of a platform to pull himself up, I’m sure you’ll notice when you try out their demo.
How can you help Douglas and Ligia develop Guardian of Andra?
This game started as a project for university PUC-SP. However, these guys fell in love with the concept, this is evident from the level of detail in both story and graphics. So they decided to publish their demo and start a crowdsourcing campaign on Patreon to fund the development of a full version.
Reviewed on Windows.
Genre: 2D RPG Adventure.
Developer: Paper Castle Games.
If you’re a gamer you’d probably had your share of fun murdering minions to fight bosses and rescue princesses, the guys at Paper Castle Games are telling a very different story. Inspired by Paper Mario, Underhero will let you experience the other side of the Hero/Villan relationship. What happens at those evil hideouts? while the Hero is still going around in circles following the main storyline… Let me tell you, it gets pretty funny.
Q: Why Underhero? What motivated the concept?
A: The concept of Underhero was inspired by the enemy interactions and portrayal in Paper Mario. Prior to that game, enemies were just obstacles to be defeated and nothing else. Paper Mario (and other games of course, like Super Mario RPG for example) treated enemy NPCs as just normal residents of that world, they had wishes, desires, personality, a life.
We wanted to make a game from the perspective of these characters, minions of a big baddie whose only objective is to kidnap a princess and defeat the hero.
And then we went one step ahead and asked ourselves: What would happen if one of those minions had to become the new hero?
I’m not going into details about the tutorial other than, definitively try it out! After that, you, a clueless (and a bit greedy) evil minion, end up with the magical hilt, the weapon of the mighty hero. If a little abusive, Elisabeth the IV will try to shape you up into a real hero, motivating you with offers of riches at the end of the quest.
These guys really have something going with their fighting mechanics, turn-based combat without turns? Crazy right? Well, it works great, It’s all about timing your attacks and dodges correctly during the encounter. They call it “timing-based” combat and Elisabeth will explain or more accurately bark out sarcastically, all you need to know about it.
My favorite part of Underhero without a doubt is the story, they really got into the minds of the enemy and came up with a hilarious plot. A lot of twists and turns and for those who love the game and are dedicated explorers there might be a few “threats” hidden on remote corners of the map.
It’s very hard to find noteworthy flaws in the content or implementation, the only problem with the game is in their marketing, they lack crowdsourcing campaigns. After asking them about this they told me that a while ago they had an unsuccessful Indiegogo campaign. Now, this is no reason to give up on funding, I would suggest looking into Patreon.
How can you help Paper Castle Games develop Underhero?
As you know they’re not currently running any crowdfunding campaigns. But they still need your support, follow them on twitter @underherodevs and wishlist the game on steam! You can also join a discord server and chat with them about anything!
This concludes my list of Indie Games currently in development, I hope you have a good time trying them out. Don’t forget to support your favorite developers!
If you’re developing a game and would like me to take a look for future publications send me a DM on twitter @DanielR46 with the link to the site.