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.
Ten long, hard years. That's how long it took developer Brian Provinciano to create Retro City Rampage. In that time, the project underwent a number of considerable changes. Whether he realized it or not, Provinciano's brainchild was evolving. What it eventually transformed into...
Well, we'll get to that in a moment.
Retro City Rampage was originally conceived as an 8-bit version of Grand Theft Auto III known as Grand Theftendo. The influences are definitely still there, but RCR has since become something much, much more.
On the very surface, it's an eight-bit, open-world sandbox. You can steal cars and modify them with new paint and weaponry. You can go on a killing spree with whatever weapons you've got at hand, picking up coins (and upping your score) for every person and object you bring down. You can get a haircut or change your hat (seriously). You can jump around like some sort of mad kangaroo, and drop-kick people in the head. As with many GTA titles, there are a number of different challenges scattered throughout the game world, many of which involve racking up ludicrous levels of carnage. A whole host of creative, entertaining minigames only further sweetens the deal.
You know what? That description doesn't really do RCR very much justice. Let's re-focus things a bit, shall we?
One of the best things about RCR is that it effectively feels like Provinciano has constructed an IV drip of pure nostalgia, and has done so in such a way that it doesn't detract from the experience. It's a living parody of everything that defined the 90s(and early 2000), if a loving one. What's more, many of the best references are built directly into the narrative of the game; during his time in Theftropolis, your character (named "Player") will knock boots with such renowned personalities as Doc Choc, The Jester, Chief O'Farva, The T-Squad, and Doctor Von Buttnik. As a result, Retro City Rampage plays like a wonderful walk down memory lane - if an extremely violent one. All this is backed up by a soundtrack which is, quite frankly, incredible.
Player's journey is an interesting one. He starts out as a hired thug for The Jester, who brings him along on a bank robbery. Things quickly go pear-shaped, and Player ends up stealing Bill and Ted's time machine. This sends him into the future, where he meets Doc Choc, and enlists the good doctor's help in repairing the device. What follows is a quest that takes him from one end of the city to the other, and even through time and space.
The game isn't perfect. The difficulty curve has some odd, irritating, and even downright infuriating spikes, and the checkpoint system used by the game is frankly awful., You may have to take a break every now and then, lest you throw a controller (or keyboard/mouse) out the window.
Aside from that, though? Retro City Rampage is simple, chaotic, and mindless fun, with more nostalgic references than I can adequately describe here. Have I mentioned that it's basically GTA as an 8-bit arcade game? That's nearly enough on its own.
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: Glare
This week we'll be taking a look at a recently-released platformer known as Glare. You're a being of pure light, tasked with saving a solar system from a race of parasites that are devouring the sun.
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!