Each week our resident Indie Gamer Nicholas takes a look at a different Indie Game that you may or may not have heard about. Join him on his adventures as he sifts through the rubbish to find The Indie Game of the Week.
A lot of people might say that Adventure games went through their golden era back in the early days of the games industry. Sierra's point and clicks, coupled with titles like Myst, were the titans of their time. Heavy on atmosphere and relatively light on game-play (at least, by standards at the time), these games emphasized problem-solving (and extremely lateral thinking) above anything else. The death of Sierra's adventure franchises coupled with the general lack of mainstream appeal most of these games possessed meant the franchise would eventually fade into obscurity as gaming moved on to bigger and better things.
Lately, these games have been enjoying a resurgence, with incredible titles like The Walking Dead, Machinarium, and To The Moon. Better graphics make for more immersive environments, and Daedalic Games' Deponia is a part of this grand new pedigree.
In Deponia, you take the role of Rufus. Full disclosure: he's not a nice person. Quite the contrary; Rufus is a clueless, self-absorbed egomaniac who also happens to be an idiot savant inventor. He's obsessed with getting out of the junk-filled town of Kovaq, which he attempts to do through increasingly outlandish means. Something always goes wrong, of course, and his efforts usually wind up with him severely injured and something (or several somethings) exploding.
Understandably, people in Kovaq don't really like him much (though he, of course, doesn't realize this).
That isn't to say that the residents of the town are particularly pleasant, either. Most of them have eccentricities of their own, ranging from severe laziness to mind-boggling stupidity to arrogance that rivals even Rufus's. Combine that with the fact that Kovaq is situated on the trash-covered world of Deponia (essentially, a planet-sized trash heap for the affluent orbital society of Elysium), and it's understandable why someone would want to escape.
Eventually, one of his attempts - which nearly succeeds - ends with an Elysium woman named Goal crashing down into Kovaq, and Rufus once again half-conscious in a pile of junk.
What follows is an entertaining comedy-of-errors, as Rufus desperately tries to return Goal home (in hopes, of course, that she'll take him with her). Rufus, while he's a bumbling idiot, has an odd sort of cunning, and somehow manages to be comical whether he's succeeding or failing.
Gameplay-wise, Deponis is a pretty traditional point-and-click. Mercifully enough, most of the solutions to the game's various puzzles don't come straight out of left field, meaning you can work them out with a bit of logical and creative thinking. There's a few fun little mini-games, as well.
My biggest problem with Deponia is the quality of the voice-acting. Don't get me wrong, the actors they employed are all fairly decent, it's just that the sound design on the acting...isn't. More than once, I found myself cringing at the sound quality (Toni, Rufus's ex, is particularly bad for this).
That's a minor quirk, though. Aside from that, Deponia is pretty awesome. Even if you're not a fan of adventure games, I'd recommend giving this one a try, if only for its off-color sense of humor.
Indie Game Of The Week: Magicka
This week, I'm revisiting an old favorite of mine - and one that I desperately hope you've heard of. Magicka tells the tale of one to four homicidal, sociopathic wizards, their not-vampire instructor, and an eldritch abomination that threatens to destroy the whole world. Did I mention you can blow up pretty near anything you've a mind to?
Indie Game of The Week: Huntsman: The Orphanage
This week, I'll be taking a look at Huntsman: The Orphanage; a rather fresh take on the horror genre that manages to convey fear and anxiety without any violence or gore whatsoever. It's actually pretty impressive.
Indie Game of The Week: Outlast
This week, we'll be taking a look at Outlast, a horror game that tosses you into the shoes of independent journalist Miles Upshur as he explores the sinister Mount Massive Asylum. Spoiler alert: it doesn't go so well for dear Miles.
Indie Game Of The Week: The Bridge
This week, we're going to take a look at puzzle platformer "The Bridge," a rather esoteric game about a mad scientist, impossible geometry, and a reckless disregard for the laws of time, space, physics, and gravity. Shall we get started?
Indie Game Of The Week: Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs
For those of you who've been living under a rock, I've some news: Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs has finally released. It's about as terrifying as everyone expected it to be, but for entirely different reasons.
Indie Game of The Week: Orion: Dino Horde
This week, I'll be playing Orion: Dino Horde. It's a squad-based shooter with dinosaurs. Really, what more do you need to know?
Indie Game Of The Week: Gone Home
We've become pretty obsessed with the idea of violence as a method for storytelling - enough so that we often tend to forget that there are other ways. In order to be a worthwhile experience, a game need neither be couched in a driven narrative nor require a bloodbath. Gone Home is proof of this.
Indie Game of The Week: Bloodlust: Vampire Shadowhunter
This week, we'll be taking a look at Bloodlust: Vampire Shadowhunter. Developed by WRF Studios, Bloodlust is a classic action-RPG that puts you in the shoes of a vampire (or half-vampire) who's somehow managed to find their way into a vast underground city. Although it's still not officially released, what we've seen so far is very promising indeed.
Indie Game of the Week: Shadowrun Returns
This week, I'm going to be covering something a little better-known than my usual stuff. Shadowrun Returns is the product of indie developer Harebrained Schemes, and marks the resurgence of both the Shadowrun tabletop game and that of the top-down isometric RPG. It's also got an awesome campaign editor!
Indie Game of the Week: Retro City Rampage
Ever wondered what Grand Theft Auto might look like as an 8-bit Nintendo game? Wonder no more. This week's indie game, Retro City Rampage, takes the GTA series, makes it old-school, and peppers it with a million different pop culture references.