Indie Gala 2 – Quick Overview

I grabbed my bundle of shiny new indie games from the Indie Gala 2 yesterday, adding Greed Corp, Roboblitz, Critical Mass, Fortix 2 and Bunch of Heroes to my Steam library, and to my ever-expanding backlog!  So on to trying them out, in no particular order..

Fortix 2 is a reverse turret defense game by Nemesys Games, an indie developer from Hungary.  The aim of the game is to capture the castle by capturing the land bit by bit, while avoiding the dragons, cannons, and other monsters..

I tried out the Fortix 2 demo a while ago, and found the gameplay rather easy.. maybe too easy.  At the time I resisted buying the game in part due to that, but also because of the backlog.. so I was rather glad to see it in the bundle and have a bit more of an excuse to get it 😉

I’m happy to note that the full game includes more difficult enemies, including Blood Bats which travel along the base line, meaning nowhere is safe!  Maps start to contain hazards such as bat caves, which when captured release more bats to plague you.. the added challenge was certainly appreciated!

One small niggle, though.. the game takes your name from your Steam profile, with no option for renaming.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t care, but with a character limit in place, it trimmed my name to “Sir CoffeeScam”!

Vanguard GamesGreed Corp is a turn based strategy, where you need to find the balance between harvesting the land for resources and preserving it. Each hexagon of terrain has a number of layers which collapse as you harvest the land.. these can also be strategically destroyed to throw enemy units and buildings into the abyss!

Combat between walkers is simple.. the larger force on each hexagon wins.. but when it comes to the buildings, you need to look at the layout of the map before doing anything!  Harvesters can be built on any land you own, then on each turn they generate resources out of the terrain they are on, as well as those around them.  However, this erodes a layer as well..

You can use these to sabotage your enemy by destroying the land under them; when a hexagon falls, any buildings or units on it fall too!

I only took a quick look at this game, playing through the tutorial to see how it all works.. I’ll be coming back to this one later, and maybe trying out the multiplayer: you can take on up to three other players across a range of maps 🙂

Bunch of Heroes was next: a four-player co-op shooter by NGD Studios.  Aliens are invading Earth, and summoning a Zombie army to assist them.. and the Bunch of Heroes are our last line of defense! 🙂

There are four playable characters in the Bunch, each with a different special attack:  El Comandante, the Cuban Commander, throws exploding cigars, while Jared Joe, the Quarterback, can make a touchdown for his special move.  Captain Smith, the Duke, can call in a bombing run to assist him, and Agent Liu, the spy, can set enemies on fire!  To use the special attack, you need to kill enemies and pick up the energy they drop.

There are three modes: Campaign, Survival and Timed Mode, with a few different scenarios.  Campaign mode consists of simple missions such as clearing enemies from an area, defending a point for a short time, and rescuing cheerleaders.  I found the cheerleader rescue rather funny, as you have to sling her over your shoulder and carry her..

Aside from screaming when you pick her up or put her down, the cheerleader dances at intermittent points while not being carried.  At one point I died while carrying her, and found it rather funny when she almost instantly started dancing at my corpse’s feet! 😀

The game is designed for four players, and as there are no AI bots, playing by yourself means being somewhat swamped.  After trying the first Campaign, I tried out Survival.. my first attempt was rather brief.. 😉

Roboblitz, by Naked Sky Entertainment, is a puzzle platform shooter featuring a little robot technician who lives aboard a Space Cannon Facility.  The Facility comes under attack from pirate robots led by the MegaNOAD, and Blitz has to get all systems up and running in order to fire the Space Cannon while fending off attacks from the various invading pirate robots.

You start off with only your grabby arms and a spin attack, which is fine for dealing with the Pirate Scouts, but ineffective on larger enemies.  Blitz can also gather collectible Upgradium, which can be used to purchase new weapons: the first of these is the EMP gun, which stuns enemies for a short time, but other weapons are able to destroy them.

I liked the variety of puzzles, spread across different areas which you can access at will, but I found the controls and movement occasionally quite poor.

Blitz’s item handling wasn’t as accurate as I’d have liked, and in getting close enough to pick some items up, I found myself bumping them away instead.  More frustrating was the jumping: in particular, I found jumping into one certain pipe in the Coolant Tower was more miss than hit, with a miss causing Blitz to get stuck on the edge, holding on by the arms.  After a few misses in the fan room, and having to go back to try again, this annoyed me enough that I decided to move on to the final game in the bundle..

Critical Mass, a 3d action puzzler by Manic Games Studios!  There are four modes: Classic, Survival, Meditation and Rush, but the core gameplay is the same in each.. destroy the mass by creating colour combos of four or more blocks.  Simple to understand, but difficult to master! 🙂

I tried Classic first, and quickly realised that this has the makings of an addictive game.. winning a level means proceeding to the next, slightly more difficult level, while defeat means retrying the level.  In this mode, the camera zooms in during play until the whole structure shakes and destroys itself.. producing a combo pushes the camera back and gives you just a little more time, while Survival ‘rewards’ a combo by throwing more blocks into the fray.  Rush mode times your efforts, with the object to clear the mass as quickly as possible, and Meditation is the calm, thoughtful mode where you can aim for the biggest combos on the board, without distraction.

The bundle came with music as well, and I have to note I don’t really listen to game music outside of the games themselves.  However, games without music wouldn’t be the same, so it’s good to see some support for indie music too 🙂

Geomon

Geomon is a role-playing game for the iPhone or iPod featuring collectible spirit-creatures called Espers, which you need to fight to capture.  You play the part of an Agent in the EsperCorp company, charged with capturing the Espers to study.  Espers can be found at different locations around the world, and the game uses geolocation to determine which Espers appear for you.  Some also only appear at night, or when it’s raining.. so collecting them all may be impossible.. I’ll have to see.

A friend was involved in the creature design for this game, so despite my initial resistance to a game which can track my location, I decided to take a look.  The game is currently free.. I’m not sure if some elements will turn out to be paid, or if the company have a plan for merchandising later on.

Anyway.. I started the game up, and was asked to choose an Esper from a small collection.  Each has different stats, strengths and weaknesses.. such as the ability to use toxins or fire, or being weak to physical attacks.  I chose the shadow wolf Varg..

The Varg’s strength lies in Shadow: sneaking and debilitating attacks, and whose weakness is light.

This is where the info falls a little short, or at least relies too heavily on game-genre knowledge.. which I don’t really have!  The information I get here tells me that Espers using light rely on healing and shielding.. but tells me nothing of what the weakness would be.  Does the Varg have less healing?  Will he be less able to penetrate an enemy’s shield?  Guess we’ll see! 🙂

After choosing and naming my new pet, I was given a radar screen, with little blips showing me nearby Espers.  Clicking on any blip allows inspection of the Esper, which tells me what the Esper is, as well as providing a difficulty rating.  All the Espers on my first screen were rated as “fair” difficulty.. I’m guessing that harder fights are left until you’ve passed the first few levels and know what you’re doing.

The fights are very easy: you choose an attack, which is applied to the enemy before they take a turn at you, and so on until you defeat the enemy.  The Varg’s special ability at this point is a Curse, which in addition to taking away some HP, also has a chance to apply “Afraid”, which I guess makes the enemy miss a turn, or fail to attack.

After the second fight I found an item.. a Flawed Quartz.  Crystals can be used to capture other Espers, when you fight and weaken them first.. and so I collected my second Esper!

So now I have two Espers in my party, which can contain up to five.  I’m guessing they can all come to fight at the same time too, maybe with the option to select two to send out, though I’ll have to capture more to see 🙂

To collect more, I can fight everything I see, or even trade with people, assuming they have different Espers.  I believe this is all very similar to the Pokemon games.. but I’ve not played that for myself so I’m only going off what I’ve been told.. for now.. 😉