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RE:BIND

Browsing category: Indienoculars

Consider a video game, in the abstract. Knowing nothing of it, save for that it is, in fact, a video game, what inference can be made about the player’s objective? At this level, the constant is, approximately, invert some transistors somewhere. Nothing between the player and those transistors is yet implied; the imposition of artistic will or complex structure is not yet given. What we can say, however, is that a game implies play, and we do happen to be dealing with a game. To quote:

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.

Carl Jung, Psychological Types, CW vol 6. #197


This is as good a place to mention it as any: This piece is really best read after Part 1, so feel free to click here if you need to catch up.


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Of course it has a level editor, but we’ll get to that.

DROD is, at every turn, a hard sell. Mind, this is not for lack of ingenious, deceptively simple design, of boundless character and charm, nor of literal hundreds of hours of play across its main story. No, it has all of those in spades; rather, it is as World’s Greatest Salesman Danforth Strout freely admits:

Can confirm personally, on both fronts.

Gushing about DROD to any coherent effect is worse than trying to get someone into your favourite obscure band, or, in other terms, it’s as tortuously difficult as the game itself. How, then, shall we do this legacy, spanning across 28 years at time of writing, justice? Where, oh where, dear reader, shall we start? Per the wisdom of Maria von Trapp, why, where else than the very beginning?

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Yesterday we launched the first part (which you can find here) of our three part interview series on the brilliant mastermind behind New Blood Interactive‘s not-so-retro cult-busting shooter.

We’ll be discussing some of the finer points of the production process, (@DuskDev) David’s unusual favorite genres, and then following it up the next day with an exhaustive overview of his favorite video game levels in Part III.

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New Blood’s DUSK is a bit of a perplexingly pleasant paradox, often read as an effort to remake the shooters of yore. Quake, Blood, and numerous other influences have been attributed to it’s lineage since release, but despite familiar low-poly trappings and iterations of fondly remembered design, DUSK both stands out and holds its own as something entirely new.

There are numerous publications out there that can tell you the ways in which DUSK is spectacularly incredible, and it’s most definitely deserving of such high praise, however, REBIND is here to show you a peek behind the curtain, to give you a glimpse into the unspeakable cosmic terror responsible for the game that is currently disguised as the cheerful flesh vessel named David Szymanski:

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Funny, I thought I saw a dog with vampire teeth running around here somewhere.

Cyborg Seppuku is a delightful game vignette in the vein of old LucasArts adventure point-n-click titles by Malte Burup’s Outerzone Studio. A quick introduction sequence sets up the premise: you’re in the shoes of a man out to find his wife by ejecting his implanted augments through various clever puzzles. The game offers roughly half an hour of cyber-sleuthing set to a Vangelis style soundtrack without resorting to many combine-the-trout-with-the-monkey-wrench shenanigans. Now, speaking of suspicious red herring adjacent maritime life…

Cyberpunk is a complicated genre for me, it’s an effective literary approach that, when wielded gracefully, cuts through reflexive denial of criticism via an offset critique of contemporary trends we passively accept every day. When over-used, it begins to shift further towards a meaningless neon pastiche, a self-indulgent crying out for the present that never was instead of a call to build a better future.

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Deep within the ancient stone walls of Castle Örebro in Närke Sweden, Philip Johannson‘s (@thatsnillet on twitter) forged “Wake Up” in the flames of creativity, a surrealist Hitchcockian thriller experience inspired by the works of David Lynch and classic survival horror fare.

The game is an experience that feels like getting splashed in the face with ice cold seltzer water, shocking but oddly refreshing. Every aspect of the experience permeates your senses, taking you down a stark maze of riddles and impossible architecture that evokes 90s experimental CGI adventure titles and liminal spaces found in custom maps from obscure half-life mods.

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You open your eyes and the first thing that fades into view is a small white fox. Before you can react to this fluffy sight it spots you, fleeing in fear. You now find yourself alone in a pale landscape dotted with abandoned structures with no sense of direction or memory of how you got here, so you turn to the oldest navigation aid known to man, The Sun. When you look up for it, an alarming realization sets in as you finally notice the impossible… the life-giving Sun slowly orbiting a small pillar right next to you, smaller than ever.

You look down to where the fox was and find a note with an introduction and your first clue. It seems you and the elusive critter share a goal: Finding a way to escape.

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Long ago, Nvidia’s new GPU brought us physics engine acceleration and with it we were promised a golden era of new exciting titles that would feature destructibility, fluid simulation, and heavy usage of particles that reacted to their environments. Few, if any, of these came to pass, but one game prominently featured in a popular tech demo was an indie title called Cryostasis: Sleep Of Reason by the small Ukranian Studio, Action Forms.

There was so much more to Cryostasis than water physics, but unfortunately, despite the positive PR brought on by the tech demo video it suffocated by the high expectations it had set. With high technical requirements that had befallen other games of note, like Crysis, combined with poor optimization, it was another release from a small publisher that became lost in the noise of the industry, falling into relative obscurity to the point that it is no longer even available on steam due to lapsed licensing agreements.

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