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.
Hey there, ladies and gents! This week, I'll be covering Vanish, a survival horror game created by 3DrunkMen. As an added bonus, I've also included a gameplay video. It's a new thing I'm trying now that I've a twitch channel set up. I figure it'll augment what I'm saying here - after all, it's one thing to hear me babble on about a game, and another altogether to actually see me play it. Warning: this installment contains strong language.
Anyway, let's talk about Vanish.
You wake up in front of a massive, sealed iron door. In front of you, you can see a set of iron bars which appear to have been forcibly torn open towards the bottom. The area is lit only by two searchlights; beyond is nothing more than a labyrinthine expanse of brick-and-mortar tunnels. Who you are, where you are, and why you're there don't really come up - your character can't really seem to remember.
Thus, there's only one way to go - forward, in hopes that you can find your way out of this hellhole (or at least figure out why you're here). As you fumble your way along the dark passages, you'll find notes left by the guys who (were) working down there. Who you are, where you are, and why you're there don't really come up - your character can't really seem to remember.
Full disclosure: Hank is a terrible person who likely has a drinking problem and everything bad that's happened in these tunnels is probably his fault in some way.
Anyway, in case you hadn't guessed yet, Vanish is a game designed in the spirit of Slender and its ilk. As you scamper frantically through the stench-filled tunnel system, a creature that looks like a plague doctor caught in Chernobyl will be stalking you through the tunnels, trying to bring you to an untimely end.
Stopping to think about it, there may be more than one of this thing stalking about through the undergound. That, or the one can teleport. I'm not really sure which is more unnerving.
Additionally, Vanish makes very light use of scripted events. Most of the time, where and when the creature appears is entirely random. It might be directly in front of you as you turn a corner. It might be in the opposite direction of where you need to go, or it might just be standing at the only way forward from a dead-end. That's distressing enough without factoring in the fact that you only have one life.
See, there are no save points or checkpoints in Vanish that I'm aware of - get caught even once, and you're back at square one. Factor in that the tunnels appear to constantly warp and shift positions and that nothing seems to stay in one place between playthroughs (or maybe I just have a horrific sense of direction), and Vanish becomes a tense, anxious, and desperate affair.
Vanish might still be in alpha at the moment, but it's already a promising game, and more frightening than the majority of titles that call themselves 'horror' these days. Pick it up on IndieDB if you want to give it a try - it's free.
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.