You have to love Instant Netflix. On those late nights where you can’t fall asleep, it just seems to know exactly what to recommend to you to help you pass the time. But this isn’t about Instant Netflix, though I do thank it for the recommendation. This is about Indie Game: The Movie.
Indie Game: The Movie takes place with three indie developers who are in three very different situations with their games. The men behind Braid, Super Meat Boy and Fez are all profiled in this documentary exploring the world of indie development and the trials associated with it.
Jonathan Blow talks about life after having a successful indie release with Braid and the effect it has had on him. Team Meat, a duo comprised of Edmund McMillen and Michael Refenes, are shown from midway through their development process until the release of Super Meat Boy on XBox Live. Finally, Phil Fish chronicles the trials and tribulations he went through in the extended development process of Fez.
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Alien Homonid was one of the most punishing games to come out for the Gamecube with an old school challenge behind it and it quickly put Behemoth on the map. They followed up with Castle Crashers which would go on to become the highest selling independent game up until Minecraft was released. With over $25 million in revenue from Castle Crashers, Behemoth would go on to reveal Battleblock Theater as their next project.
The first playable demo of Battleblock Theater was revealed in 2009 and has been updated for both Comic Con and PAX since but the game’s release date was kept close to the vest. Things look like they may be changing for a 2013 release though
Behemoth has opened registration for a closed beta for Battleblock Theater. The beta will feature 10,000 slots and is expected to take place between February or March. These 10,000 playtesters will be responsible for reporting any bugs or problems with the game that the developers can fix in time for commercial release.
While some betas for games like Resident Evil, Halo and Gears of War are more for commercial attention, a smaller studio like Behemoth can depend on this group to help their QA since their budgets can’t come close to matching Capcom, Microsoft and Epic respectively.
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Lawnmower Challenge, another selection for this year’s Boston Indie Showcase at PAX East, has done something interesting: it’s taken a chore that most consider a sweaty nuisance, and turned it into a mind-bending puzzle game.
In Lawnmower Challenge, your quest is simple: mow all the grass. However, these aren’t your average suburban lawns. There are locked gates that can only be unlocked with a key, unmowable sections that need planting, and gates that can only be opened from a certain direction. These all would be simple obstacles to overcome if you weren’t going for a perfect score, as your steps are counted and the fewer you take, the more stars you’ll earn.
Don’t let the simple controls and cute graphics fool you; it’ll take considerable planning to complete each level at three stars.
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Imagine being turned into a jumping bean by an evil wizard, and on top of all that having your girlfriend kidnapped. Worst day ever, right? That’s what our hero, Emilio, is faced with in Bean’s Quest, a bouncing 16-bit platformer included in the Boston Indie Showcase, which will be shown off this weekend at PAX East.
Using the touchscreen controls of your favorite iOS device, you control Emilio as he bounds, bounces, and boings his way through each level, collecting diamonds as well as his missing pet axolotls along the way. Emilio never stops jumping, so all you have to do is move him left or right, but simple controls don’t make this game a breeze.
The difficulty in Bean’s Quest lies not in completing each level, but completing each level under the required number of bounces to obtain a perfect rating. If you’re going for all the diamonds and axolotls as well, it gets even more difficult. I found myself repeating levels over and over to try to get a better score and collect all the goodies, and with 150 levels to traverse, replay level for Bean’s Quest is pretty high.
Bean’s Quest also features an original soundtrack, as well as Game Center integration.
The game is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It’s on sale right now, so jump on over to the iTunes Store and pick it up for $1.99, or check it out on the show floor this weekend at PAX.
The full version of little logic puzzler Girls Like Robots is not released quite yet, but I got a chance to check it out before it hits the show floor at PAX East this weekend.
The gameplay of Girls Like Robots is simple: make all the square people happy. Each level is a grid, with different amounts of spaces to place your square shaped friends in the right arrangement so that everyone plays nice. There’s the girls, who love being surrounded by robots. The nerds love being surrounded by girls, not other nerds. Girls won’t mind being around nerds if there’s some pie present, but the robots HATE pies.
It all sounds really cute and whimsical, but quickly you’ll realize that this little puzzle game is, well, a puzzler. It’s hard! Just like in real life, you can’t make everyone happy, and you won’t be able to in Girls Like Robots either. Depending on which squares you’re working with, you’ll have to decide which arrangement will maximize points and keep anyone from getting too angry with one another.
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