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Five Indie Games You Need To Try

You owe it to yourself to give these games a shot.

Evil Quest

Chaosoft Games / XBLIG, PC / 80 MSP, $1.99 / Recommended by: Esteban Cuevas

In the vein of the NES classic Crystalis, Evil Quest is a top down third person action RPG retro fans will adore. A twist from your standard hero tale, you play as Galvis as he travels to take revenge on those who betrayed him and conquer the world. Your quest will take you across various old school landscapes and temples, all done with pixel graphics and a soundtrack reminiscent of classic RPGs from the 16-bit era, in order to break four seals to access an ancient power.

There are a lot of independently made titles that try to replicate the quality of games from twenty years ago but fail. Evil Quest doesn't fall into this category because the game is extremely polished. The controls in the game are tight and responsive, which makes running around stabbing snakes, snow creatures and various other enemies a lot of fun. Touches like the ability to charge your melee attack into a projectile and a regenerating magic bar keep the game interesting and accessible. Various upgrades earned on your quest will allow you to return to older areas and explore places previously inaccessible.

You'll take part in the standard RPG fair of gaining levels, visiting towns to shop, and learning new spells. Like in old school RPGs, where you need to go isn't exactly spelled out, but it's easy to figure out by talking with the townsfolk. The title also has charm in its extensive back story and a grin inducing opening sequence that looks like an evil version of an amalgamation of the original Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The evil motif is always present in the crude, but entertaining script. Galvis speaks like every pompous villain you've seen in movies without the slightest bit of sarcasm and the "colorful" dialogue is delightful cheesy.

Evil Quest replicates a classic early 90s RPG extremely well and it's a great blast from the past. Fans of this lost style of game will be happy to have a new adventure to go through. If you enjoy the Ys franchise, Secret of Mana or the usually forgotten Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, you'll adore Evil Quest. It's just good old school fun.

Gravity Bone

Blendo Games / PC / Free / Recommended by: Travis Hawks

Sometimes stories extend beyond their primitive mediums.  Deep emotions can be summoned through a pencil sketch just as cinematic beauty can be achieved with the Quake II engine. Gravity Bone uses its blocky characters and garbled voice work to create a first-person adventure tale more vibrant than many of the big budget games out there, and it all happens in less than fifteen minutes.

As you descend in an old fashioned elevator into a bustling high society cocktail party, no gun is thrust out in your hand, and no HUD clutters your view.  A card of instructions suddenly appears in front of you and reads: “Go to the FURNACE ROOM.” Thus starts your first mission and your journey to discover who you are and what you’re doing.  It’s a story that is strangely immersive despite a look that comes across as simply bare bones at first. 

The game eventually brings in some conventional on-screen tips to show you how to select between inventory, but it’s always kept to a minimum.  At most, you will be carrying three items (none of which is ever a gun) and use them to complete the unusual tasks assigned to you by a group called Teletran Seven.  In a way, it is a point-and-click adventure game, but its speedy pace and jumping bits keep it from falling into those tropes.

What Gravity Bone definitely is, is a story where you feel like you’re really living it.  Amazingly enough, the sense of being there seems to be intensified by the rudimentary graphics and presentation.  And that immersion makes the game’s greatest moment – its conclusion – that much more of an amazing feat.  Blendo just recently made the game available free on their website, leaving no excuse not to indulge in this tasty morsel of a story.

Septipus: Tentacle Apocalypse

Soulfire Software / XBLIG / 80 MSP / Recommended by: Travis Hawks

Aficionados of the strange have a treat waiting for them in Septipus:  Tentacle Apocalypse with its odd story and visual design.  The narrative is told through a pastiche of stain glass windows and misshapen still cartoons that feel appropriately discordant with the rest of the game’s steam punk feel.  Throw in the operatic original soundtrack and the unusual package somehow feels right. 

Set up as a series of single-screen levels that require your circular avatar to locate the stairs to the next floor, Septipus satisfies an old-school arcade void without resorting to retro graphics and sound.  Each level is a maze to some degree, with only a small band of light emitted from your avatar.  Limiting the field of view keeps the experience from being a simple stroll from point A to point B.  A variety of hazards like spikes and zombies are waiting in the shadows and help keep it nice and challenging.

A hefty number of lives at the start should allow most gamers to complete the game in one go.  Even though it gets a little sticky at points, most should be able to persevere without starting over.  The floaty momentum-driven physics of your avatar take some adjusting to, but once you’re used to it, it’s a lot of fun.   

For a buck, you’d be hard pressed to find a better game on your Xbox than Septipus:  Tentacle Apocalypse.   As long as you enjoy that old school, single-screen level gameplay, you’ve got to check out this strange, satisfying concoction.

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05/30/2012 at 12:35 PM

Independant ,small and unknown's still can put out fun and some time's better games that don't have the big monnies  

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