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I sit on the side of I-5, the main highway running between Seattle and Portland. It’s nearly 19:00, the sun is quickly setting, and the wind has taken a sinister chill. My car sits, hazards flashing, on the shoulder in front of me. I’m flipping between tabs on my phone: my bank account, nearby mechanics, and quotes for towing companies to get me and the car back to my friend’s place. The bank account is thinner than I’d like, the mechanics are all closed, and the tow is going to drain me of the rest of my funds regardless of who does it. With a stiff gust breaking on my back, my hair flung into my face, I realize that this whole ordeal has a striking resemblance to my time spent with Jalopy.

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Genre fusion is something of a mainstay in the indie scene as of late, after all, what better way to revitalize a now-defunct style of game than injecting it with some vigor from another genre? Most prominent is the trend of rogue-ifying something; platformers, FPS, RPGs, and so on. But before this was ever cool, there was the 1990 now-cult-classic ActRaiser. Featuring a blend between action platforming stages a la Castlevania as well as god-game style simulation like that of Populous, players were treated to a unique SNES title that threaded a line between frenetic, fast-paced gameplay and much slower, thoughtful creation and town planning.

Enter SolSeraph, ACE Team’s (@theACETeam) 2019 ActRaiser inspired action-platforming tower defense god-game. It’s important to note the addition of “tower defense” to that concoction; while SolSeraph follows in the footsteps of its sister game, offering a balance between 2.5D side scrolling segments and isometric/top-down city creation, it also lavishes the player with waves of enemies attacking your city. This new mechanic drastically changes the game as a whole and makes it stand out from its predecessor, offering more than a simple retreading of the ground ActRaiser has already well covered.

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Welcome, youngling
Rubeki’s HATCH

A cracking sound penetrates the calm atmosphere and gentle darkness, a ray of hazy blue light breaks through the shell’s newformed gaps. Your fledgling eyes adjust to an ancient world, and a wise elder gazes on in sympathy with a small word of advice.

With no bearings, only an inner yearning to explore the horizon, you embark on your blurry-eyed journey. It will be tiresome, a test of your patience, but worry not young and weary traveler: life is both harder and easier than it seems.

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“Now where did I leave those damn keys…”

You hear something out of the ordinary from the hallway, or rather, you hear nothing – definitely not ordinary. Thank God you were in the kitchen when you didn’t hear it; with a blade fast at hand and a veritable lifetime of experience chopping vegetables, you head out into the mansion to see what’s making all that silence

These are the first few tentative steps into the beautiful nightmare that is Phantom Rose, a procedural turn-based adventure card game by developer makaroll. If my flawless riffle shuffle and love of Lisa: The Painful are any indication, there are two easy ways to win my heart: card games and complicated but rewarding status effect systems, both of which Phantom Rose provides in droves.

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Oh dear, 1000 Followers on Twitter. It may not seem like a huge benchmark to many sites, but it is the main metric by which we have measured our work for the past year.

RE:BIND started as a gentle homage to Indie Critique greats of the past decade, and an experiment in alternative media. With the challenges facing indie coverage in today’s industry, we asked what would be the most effective means of adapting to the ever transforming and intimidating landscape:

Finally, we have our answer.

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Harken back, to the era of floppy disks and shareware, when a gallon of gas only cost you a $1! Hear me, and yearn again for the days of billboard sprites, the fidelity of 16-bit graphics! Be whisked to the golden year of 1996, and imagine (if you can) a game built on id Tech 1; the original Doom engine, hacked and slashed to serve the needs of a FPS/RPG hybrid. In this fantasy, picture it being… I don’t know, perhaps, high fantasy meets low tech? And behold! You are picturing Strife!

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Bryce Bucher & Ayden Machajewski‘s “1Boss1Battle1Button” came out of nowhere, a visually striking reminder of a long lost era in once cutting edge graphic design. Built for the Game Maker’s Toolkit 2019 Jam, the dynamic duo set out to put a fresh rhythm twist on the competition’s theme of “Only One”.

The result is a passionately clever minimalist platformer that stirs the imagination and demands a reflection on the bold stylings of a design trend known as “Factory Pomo“.

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Over the last few years, we’ve been seeing a surge of interest in the rendering styles of late-90’s consoles: the PlayStation, Saturn, Nintendo 64. It provides a framework that allows for lo-fi titles to come across as more polished rather than seeming lazy, doing wonders for plenty of solo developers out there. Low poly counts, tiny textures meant to stretch and blur to accomodate CRTs, leading to smaller, self-contained games that allow for a greater breadth of artistic expression to reach fruition. From this, dozens of microindies have emerged making a name for themselves as trailblazers of this new frontier of visual nostalgia.

Enter James Wragg (@LovelyHellplace) and their latest release, Penitent Dead, made for the Haunted PSX Gamejam. Unlike a lot of the other entries, this title is not so much an out-right horror game or thriller, but more so an exploration of space and time.

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