Pinback Reviews Various Indie Games & Demos
January 26th, 2009 by Pinback

Over the past week or two, I’ve played quite a few indie games and demos. I will now give you some thoughts on these indie games and demos.


THOUGHTS: I would describe this as a mix of Galcon, Phyta, and the Little Prince. Artsy, abstract minimalist presentation features “asteroids” (circles) which you have to conquer with your “seedlings” (little mosquito-lookin’ guys that grow off trees on your asteroids). This is all set to a serene, new-age background score. It all makes for a somewhat hypnotic experience, and it’s artful presentation makes you forget at first that this is really just straight-ahead 4X, almost like Galcon in slow-mo. The lack of depth and languorous pacing hurt its replayability, but it’s definitely a new aesthetic take on 4X, and worth a look if you are a fan of the genre. TWO AND A HALF (**1/2) STARS

INDIE DEMO: Defense Grid: The Awakening

THOUGHTS: I am a veteran of the tower defense genre, in the sense that I have played almost all of the demos ever made for these games. I’ve never purchased one, or completed one, simply because by the end of the demo, I’ve pretty much had enough of it. I doubt that will change with Defense Grid: The Awakening, but if I was going to buy one, this would probably be the one. Nice graphics, good interface, and some actual quality, humorous voiceover work, which is unusual in the indie scene. But past that, you know what you’re getting. Set up towers. Kill baddies. Set up more towers. Kill more baddies. Upgrade towers. Wash, rinse, repeat. A “pleasant diversion”. THREE (***) STARS

INDIE GAME: Crayon Physics Deluxe

THOUGHTS: I saw the pre-release demo of this which gave you a little taste, and the taste I had made me think this would be the most amazing puzzle game I’d ever seen. Now the full version is out, and I’m not sure it isn’t. The goal is to get a ball to a star. Everything is drawn in crayon. And the way to get the ball to the star is to draw whatever you want in crayon, and everything you draw will behave according to Newtonion physics. You can draw a car, and it will roll down hills. Though there may not be limitless solutions to each puzzle, it sure as hell feels like there could be. You can draw anything you want! You don’t have to pick from a palette of doohickies, or pre-built mechanisms. If you can think up some contraption which will help get the ball to the star, you can just draw it, and it will behave like it should. This game might not be “in your face”, but this quiet little gem may just in fact be the most amazing puzzle game you’ll ever see. FOUR (****) STARS

INDIE GAME: Buccaneer: The Pursuit of Infamy

THOUGHTS: Let’s get this straight, I only got this because Pirates! stopped working on my machine. To call this “Pirates! Light” is getting close to it. It is Pirates!, minus the dancing and the swordplay, minus the few nods to realism that Pirates! gave you, and with the addition of some of the most obnoxious, ridiculous voice work you’ll ever hear. In the recording studio, I just imagine the producer yelling “NOT PIRATEY ENOUGH!” after every take, so the final product is so over the top and embarrassing that you just feel bad for everyone involved. And about that realism. At least Sid Meier put in things like wind, and different types of ammo, and stuff like that. None of this is on offer in Buccaneer, where you sail your ship like you’d drive a car. Including “reverse”. So it’s all very silly, and yet I’ve spent more time with this one that everything else on this list combined. I attribute this to the fact that I am just a sucker for this kind of gameplay, and Buccaneer manages to not quite be awful enough for me to not play. TWO (**) STARS FOR MOST, THREE AND A HALF (***1/2) STARS FOR ME.

5 Responses  
  • Ice Cream Jonsey writes:
    January 30th, 20092:35 amat

    OK, actually, the site layout fucking sickens me.

  • Confused writes:
    January 30th, 200912:02 pmat

    Who’s idea was THIS?!

  • Ice Cream Jonsey writes:
    January 30th, 200912:32 pmat

    I do love all the features that this theme has… like, for instance, you can remove the sidebar with a click (at least on Chrome and Firefox)…

    The colors are fairly garish, but I thought shooting for a “CGA PCjr game” would at least give it a bit of a unique feel. That being said, maybe it’s unique for a reason.

    (Actually, what I would love to do is let people click a radio button and either get the subdued, white theme I had for months or this one. I bet someone has coded that for WordPress.)

  • Confused writes:
    January 30th, 200912:38 pmat

    So, what, the Candy Land theme stays??

  • Ice Cream Jonsey writes:
    January 30th, 20092:00 pmat

    It’s, a, er, work in progress. Believe me, I’d like to mod it during lunch right now, but even having it on the screen is like blasting an obnoxious car alarm that says to everyone, “HEY, THIS GUY IS SCREWING AROUND RIGHT NOW!”

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