Indie Game News Roundup: Zombies, Cannibals, And A Funky Bus

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 11 April 2014
Category: News Comments View Comments


In this update you're on your own, on an island, with cannibals; Sarah Northway talks about developing a tech tree for her zombie-survival game Rebirth: Gangs Of Deadsville; there's a Funky Bus terrorising a highway near the Disco Zoo; Monument Valley is a hit; and learn about some really great games you should be backing on crowd-funding sites.

Indie Game News Roundup: Zombies, Cannibals, And A Funky Bus

Humble Update
The current Humble Bundle offer, Humble Bundle: PC And Android 9, ends on Sunday so act fast if you haven't grabbed it already. The bundle includes Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror and Ravensword Shadowlands, as well as Kingdom Rush (see below), Snyder Arcade, and Savant - Ascent if you pay above the average.

One of the bonus games, Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition by Paradox Games, comes with an additional end-user licence agreement (EULA), as noted by Humble. The EULA is long and has some suspect terms, including "the Software Product is licensed, not sold, to you by Paradox for use only under the terms and conditions of this EULA" and "Paradox shall have the right to collect End User's personal and technical information, including but not limited to age, country of residence, IP address, computer configuration and software usage, which is gathered periodically to facilitate the provision of software updates, product support and other services related to the Software Product. Paradox may use this information to improve its products or to provide services or technologies to End User. Such information shall not be sold or transferred to any third parties without the previous consent of End User".

Keep this in mind before you jump in. The system requirements for all the games can be found here.

This week's Humble Weekly Sale is a collection of games selected by YouTube star PewDiePie, including Guacamelee! Gold Edition and Surgeon Simulator 2013, both of which were recently featured in Humble Bundles, and a few other games that are only unlocked at high payment tiers, including the open-world zombie game State Of Decay.

Last-Minute Crowd Funding
Here are some brief highlights of indie games that are about to end their funding period, so you'll need to grab them quickly if you're interested.

Indie Game News Roundup: Zombies, Cannibals, And A Funky Bus
Earthlock: Festival Of Magic, by Snowcastle Games in Oslo, Norway, is a turn-based role-playing game set on a planet called Umbra, which stopped spinning, turning half the planet into an uninhabitable inferno and the other into perpetual winter. Consequently, almost everyone lives in a small area in between. You begin the game as Amon (there is a second playable character later in the game) who gets caught in the middle of a brewing conflict that forces him to travel the world "to unlock the secrets of Umbra's mysterious, catastrophic past". The game is intended to be the first in a series and will be available for Windows and Mac OS, and the Wii U, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Pledge here on Kickstarter. You have a couple of hours to go.

[ YouTube link ]

Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today is by four-man team Fictiorama from Madrid, Spain, and is also intended to be the first in a series. The game is a point-and-click 2D graphic horror adventure set in a dystopian future. You play as the protagonist Michael, who has lost his memory and is navigating a world filled with "the Dissolved", people afflicted by a pandemic that gives them supernatural cognitive abilities but which also leads to their gruesome death. The game will be made available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux initially with an iOS version to follow. Pledge here on Kickstarter. You have less than one day left.

Indie Game News Roundup: Zombies, Cannibals, And A Funky Bus
Chaos Reborn is a reworking of developer Julian Gollop's Chaos for the ZX Spectrum, which was published in 1985. This version is being spearheaded by Gollop, who now lives in Sophia, Bulgaria, and a core team of five developers. Chaos Reborn is a turn-based role-playing game in which you start out as an apprentice wizard and, over time, build your spells and equipment to become, ultimately, a god. It features both a single player campaign and multiplayer support and will be available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Pledge here on Kickstarter. You have less than a week left.

Indie Game News Roundup: Zombies, Cannibals, And A Funky Bus
Hex Heroes, which is being developed in Unity by Prismatic Games, is a multiplayer real-time strategy Wii U party game for one to five players that's designed to take advantage of the GamePad. The TV players will harvest resources, build structures, explore, and fight enemies while the GamePad player will manage resources and organise the team members (or take control of the monsters to try to thwart the other players in one of the other game modes). There will also be a PC version (seemingly meaning Windows, Mac OS, and Linux) that, for the full experience, will require at least two computers so that gamers can play with their friends, although there will also be a single-player mode, as with the Wii U version. The game features cameo appearances by characters from other indie games, such as the Shovel Knight from Shovel Knight, Juan from Guacamelee!, and the Drifter from Hyper Light Drifter, in the form of costume swaps. Pledge here on Kickstarter. You have a week left.

Rebuild: Gangs Of Deadsville's Tech Tree
Rebuild: Gangs Of Deadsville (popularly known as Rebuild 3) is a cross between zombie survival and Sim City in that survivors have to reclaim land and buildings, scavenge for supplies, farm food, maintain and manage resources, and build upon their knowledge in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, in which zombies still roam freely and threaten the survival of the human race.

Indie Game News Roundup: Zombies, Cannibals, And A Funky Bus
The game was successfully funded on Kickstarter last year due in part to the high regard that gamers have for the first two games in the series, both of which started out as browser-based game and the first of which was just a prototype experiment by developer Sarah Northway that proved to be very popular, spawning the second, which was so successful that it was re-released as a mobile game for Android and iOS. The third game promises to be much bigger and the team has grown to include two artists and a writer to accommodate all the extra work.

Over the weekend Northway wrote a blog post about the tech tree that she is developing for Rebuild: Gangs Of Deadsville. Engineers (rather than scientists) will be tasked with conducting research on everything from irrigation to electric fences, pesticides, bunker construction, and paramedic training. The blog post runs through some prototype visual designs and development ideas for tech, as well as Northway's thoughts on this tech tree versus the ones she designed for the previous games.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, Northway posted in the game's development forum asking for feedback from the alpha-release testers regarding balancing the game. The conversation, which spanned two months, offers some teasers for mechanics that may ultimately end up in the game.

Play Online: Rebuild, Rebuild 2

More Teasers For The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth
Edward McMillen continues to answer fan questions regarding his upcoming titles The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth and Mew-Genics on his Tumblr account, which remains interesting reading for anyone fascinated by game development (and the occasional stupid questions that people seem determined to ask).

McMillen has also posted two more teasers for items and enemies that players can expect to find in The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth. One is the Champion Belt, an item that Isaac can purchase from the store that raises the chance that a champion enemy will appear in a room but which also raises the damage that Isaac will take. There are more champion enemies in this version of the game, including an invisible one, and, when killed, they drop a larger variety of objects.

Indie Game News Roundup: Zombies, Cannibals, And A Funky Bus
Another enemy is the Nest (pictured above), which is similar to the Hive, an enemy that fans of the original game, The Binding Of Isaac, are familiar with. The Nest, which is covered in puss-filled spider bites, spawns spiders and other small enemies. In the picture above Isaac has been modified with the Brimstone and Third Eye pickups, which is why he looks like a three-eyed devil.

The Game Jam That Turned Into A Disastrous, Expensive Mess
Journalist Jared Rosen wrote a piece for the web site Indie Statik on the mess that was the YouTube-based reality-series-slash-game-jam GAME_JAM, which saw YouTube personalities and indie game developers working in four-person teams to develop a game while watched by a live Internet audience.

By the time the event started it had already morphed into a corporate-sponsorship-fuelled mess but the participants kept going for the sake of the original intention, to publicise indie games development - that is, until Matti Leshem, the CEO of Protagonist, who was a go-between between the production and PepsiCo, got in the middle of everything, started ordering people around, instituting ridiculous rules to protect and promote the brand identity of Mountain Dew, and tried to stir up controversy by asking members of the only two teams that had a female participant "Do you think you're at an advantage because you have a pretty girl on your team?".

It was all downhill from there for what was already a precarious event that had lost its way due to production decisions and corporate interference.

Afterwards Adriel Wallick and Zoe Quinn, the two female developers targetted by the misogynistic line of questioning and Leshem's general poor behaviour, posted about the day (although Quinn signed away certain rights via the event's contract so her report is a bit more cautiously worded). Both are worth reading as complements to Rosen's report, as is a post by Robin Arnott, one of the other participants in the event. The entire story reads like a horrific soap opera.

Creepy Survival Horror Coming To Steam Early Access In May
Endnight Games has announced that the alpha version of The Forest will be released on Steam on 22 May. The Forest is a survival-horror game for Windows that will be taking advantage of the immersive 3D experience provided by the Oculus Rift 3D head-mounted virtual-reality display - for those who have the stomach and fortitude.

[ YouTube link ]

Either way, the open-world game features the gamer playing as the only survivor of a plane that has crashed on an island. The survivor has to explore and build a shelter and weapons to defend himself against a cannibalistic tribe that already lives there. Endnight Games hopes that some of the survival decisions that the gamer has to make will encourage players to assess their moral standpoints and the nature of humanity.

The game is being developed in Unity 4 and graphics developer David Miranda, who conducted graphics technology research and development for the game, has posted on his blog about the work he did on skin rendering, for those interested in creating more realistic human characters.

Kingdom Rush: A(nother) New Campaign
Ironhide Game Studio has launched another new campaign, called Fungal Forest, on Steam for its tower defence game Kingdom Rush. The update includes a new boss fight, a new stage (the Fungal Forest), a new hero, some Easter eggs, new achievements, and bug fixes.

Kingdom Rush is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux on Steam and through the Humble Store or you can try the free version on Kongregate. There is also an Android version that you can get via the current Humble Bundle offer (see above) and an iOS version of both Kingdom Rush and Kingdom Rush Frontiers.

YouTube link

More Information: Ironhide Game Studio
Get The Game: Kingdom Rush: Humble Store, iTunes App Store, Steam
Get The Game: Kingdom Rush Frontiers: iTunes App Store

Escher-esque Puzzle Game Monument Valley Has Been Released
The highly anticipated puzzle game Monument Valley, which is currently only available for iOS, was released last week to high acclaim from both critics and gamers, though many gamers, in particular, have commented that Monument Valley is much too short.

[ YouTube link ]

In the game, which was developed by Ustwo, you control Princess Ida through puzzle-filled mazes and the visual design has been compared to artworks by MC Escher and the indie game Fez, among others.

Get The Game: iTunes App Store

Disco Zoo's Secret Funky Bus
In our previous indie-game-news update we mentioned that an update for Disco Zoo had just been released in the iTunes App Store. That update included a secret Easter egg game that was revealed via a cryptic message in the game's updated description on its store page. If you look closely you will see that there are only a handful of capital letters in Disco Zookeeper Sue's log and, when put together, they spell "FUNKYBUS".

Some gamers were quick to discover the message, and others were quick to discover the game by accident, but it took a few days of collective effort before people figured out what the message meant and how to access the secret game.

The secret mini game is called Funky Bus and it can be accessed by tapping the bus in the parking lot next to the zoo office nine times (not too fast) and then waiting for a short period before the game automatically pops up on screen.

Funky Bus is an homage to Flappy Bird but more exciting and difficult to play. The premise is that the zoo animals have stolen a bus and taken it on a joyride on the highway and your job is to guide them safely through 10 lanes of traffic. You score a point for every car you pass successfully. It's a bit macabre, if you think about it, because the only certainty in each attempt is that you will crash eventually.

As you can see above, gamers who have progressed further in Disco Zoo discovered that there is even a secret mode in the secret game. To access it you have to have achieved diamond status with all your animals.

Get The Game: iTunes App Store

Tags: #games, #horror, #zombies

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