RE:BIND

Browsing category: Indienoculars

Approaching exit velocity, my tiny body spirals wildly as I desperately hope I can catch the orbit of the platform across the void. Mice have it rough out here in space, unable to travel the stars properly any longer, they resort to flinging themselves from destination to destination, floating the gaps alone. mouse sector has the player tackling the minutiae of this, showing the player a sliver of the galaxy that they can delve into, jam-packed with secrets.

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Oldest-looking version found, but bear in mind: this looked far less detailed, and was still the most fun a certain sort of kid could have.

Need For Madness is the brainchild of one-man Egyptian studio Radical Play (Omar Waly). Simply put, it’s a cartoonish driving game where every stage can be won as a race or as a demolition derby, at the player’s discretion. Its current iteration is grand and ambitious, a comprehensive single-executable package including the original game, the sequel, multiplayer functionality, car and stage designers, and updated graphics. This is all well and good, but today we’re focusing on what kicked this all off: the 2005 original, in all its low-poly, childhood-forming glory.

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Staring down the gargantuan beast, you only have one sliver of health left. You’ve gone through several phases now, but you aren’t sure how much longer it’s going to keep clinging to life. You bait the first attack, then the second; you roll in and go for the kill. Two swipes, and it starts winding up its next attack. Barely dodging out of the way, you land the final blow, and the monster falls. A victory chime sweeps over the scene, and you pump your fists into the air. It only took 16 tries, but you’ve finally overcome it.

This is the sense of accomplishment offered to you by FAR BLADE, a title currently in early access from solo dev @BcubedLabs. Presented as a boss rush, the game is controlled from an isometric perspective, allowing the player to sweep the camera 360º around the character, roll, block, and swing their blade. A small hub area gives grounding to the world, taunting you with several tantalizing routes to take, each one leading to a new monster for you to surmount. There seems to be a bit more to the exploration of the world than most boss rushes, allowing the player time to wander a somewhat expansive space between monsters.

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I never finished Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, much to the chiding of my social circle. Despite this, it was still a very memorable and formative experience for me. When other ImmSims and RPGs were showing me fantastical realities I had difficulty relating to, Bloodlines was different: a painfully familiar drama, full of petty street politics and demographic struggle I recognized from day-to-day life.

Parasocial relationships are a hot topic right now, but something we don’t discuss is how we often form those relationships with some setting. We are very fond of taking a fetishistic snapshot of a city’s culture, gleaned through second-hand anecdotes or romantic portrayals in media. More than just a fan tribute to bloodlines, Santa Monica By Night, made by Outstar and 8bitmemories for the Vampire Jam, is a meditation on this concept.

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Home to myriad experimental interactive pieces, the PS3 served as fertile ground for developers looking to stretch their legs in a different direction than AAA had typically allowed. Microsoft and Sony went back and forth, cultivating marketplaces stuffed with interesting and unique titles, courting small teams and individuals to produce content exclusively for either platform. In the case of Sony, some of these endeavors veered into territory fairly unknown for mainstream audiences.

Enter Linger in Shadows. Developed by Polish group Plastic, the title was adamantly touted as “not a game” by senior producer Rusty Buchert. Despite interactivity and trophy support, Linger in Shadows was positioned as a piece of interactive digital art. While only $3, games journalism at large rebuffed it, baffled as to why such a short-form experience would cost money in the first place, much less be pushed by Sony themselves.

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Nearing an extinction event unlike any we’ve ever experienced, humanity veers closer to collapse on a daily basis. Rising sea levels, record-breaking heat, and vanishing biodiversity are the hallmarks of modernity. Regardless of having reached a point of no return, life on Earth has been drastically and irreversibly blighted by the forward march of industrialization. Given the opportunity, mankind destroys without remorse, and for the most part, without concern for the future. Protection of ecosystems and sustaining life longterm become priorities for societies, should they wish to avoid crumbling.

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Every now and then I sift through the Itch.io catalog and find a little gem that reminds me how sublime game design can be. It isn’t that the games are always spectacular or particularly innovative; rather, some have a nice finish like a perfectly brewed cup of tea.

Out Of Darkness is one of those games, brought to us by micro-indie @oldmanofthefire (I highly advise you give the game a go).

As of late in games criticism, there’s a lot of discourse around accessibility, without really ever defining what that means. A lot of that debate is beyond the scope of this article, but something I find sorely overlooked in the discussion is how accessibility also matters with regard to reaching a broader audience, and how a good UI can make or break game feel.

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