Indie Game News Roundup: Too Many Humble Sales, iOS Games Launch For Android, And Darkwood's Developers Anger The Backer Community (Twice)

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 16 May 2014
Category: News Comments View Comments


In this update learn more about new ports from iOS to Android; get some help keeping track of what's going on at Humble; and find out what happens when developers change fundamental aspects of a crowd-funded game that were the entire reason people backed the project.

Indie Game News Roundup: Too Many Humble Sales, iOS Games Launch For Android, And Darkwood's Developers Anger The Backer Community (Twice)

Humble Update
As usual, we kick off with an update on what's happening in the world of Humble. Right now there are all sorts of sales going on, including daily offers and The Humble Store Spring Sale, and it's becoming impossible to keep track if you don't know where to look.

Indie Game News Roundup: The Humble Store Spring Sale

The Humble Store Spring Sale has been running since 6 May and will continue until 21 May 2014. It comprises constantly refreshing offers in The Humble Store, some of which last for about a day and others of which only exist for a few hours as a flash sale. The best way to keep track of what's being highlighted is to keep a regular eye on either the store's home page or the Twitter account, which has been blasting the offer announcements.

Meanwhile, the Humble home page has been offering The Humble Daily Bundle, new one-day-only bundles, since 13 May and will be running until 26 May (14 days). Again, the best way to deal with it is to check the home page once a day to keep track of what's happening.

Monument Valley Is Now Available For Android
The hit iOS puzzle game Monument Valley, which has been garnering great reviews since it was released last month, is now available via the Google Play store or Amazon Apps for Android 2.3.3+ users.

[ YouTube link ]

The most recent Google Play version of the game, version, which fixes a few minor issues, was uploaded on 14 May 2014 and is 123 MB so you'll need a Wi-Fi connection to grab it.

While critics have been raving about it, the gaming community is split, with many feeling that the price is too high for something that currently only comprises 10 levels and which can be played in an hour or two. It'll have to be up to individual gamers to decide but the developers have said that more levels will be added. Besides a "gorgeous" gaming experience, the game features a cloud-saving ability so that you can synchronise your progress across multiple devices, support for both tablets and phones, and an immersive sound experience that reacts to your actions in the game.

Disco Zoo Teasers And An Android Release
Another iOS game that is now available for Android devices is Disco Zoo, the delightful zoo-management game by Milkbag Games, the development duo of Owen Goss and Matt Rix. As with Monument Valley, the Disco Zoo port requires Android 2.3.3 or higher. The most recent update for this version of the game, version 1.1.1, was posted on 22 April 2014 and includes minor fixes to the original.

In terms of gameplay mechanics and visual design the Android version is exactly the same as the iOS version (including the addition of the Easter egg game Funky Bus, an amusing Flappy Bird clone that's more entertaining). The only difference is that some of the graphics (such as the size and shape of the enclosures) have been adapted to fit smartphone screen sizes.

As for the core game, there's no ETA on a new update yet (iOS players have had a bit of a wait while the game was being ported to Android) but the team is working on it and Owen Goss has said that it's going to be big. He also posted a teaser to show an art tweak (above) so not only are we likely to see more animals but also some updates to existing content.

In related news, Matt Rix posted on Twitter that Keiran Flanigan, AKA @aeliox, has released a game inspired by Funky Bus called Interstellar Boundary Dodger. The game is free and features retro-pixel graphics and interstellar arcade action.

Darkwood Drama
Not too long after Acid Wizard Studio, the Polish developers behind the Indiegogo-funded horror game Darkwood, had posted a long blog post about how the team had figured out how to incorporate permadeath and roguelike elements, one of the game's key features, into a story-driven game, it dropped a bombshell: no more permadeath.

[ YouTube link ]

Unsurprisingly, many backers were incredibly upset about this development as a large percentage had backed the game based on this being one of the key gameplay features and now they feel that they are not going to get the game that they were expecting. After a large outcry Acid Wizard Studio posted an addendum to say there would be no more permadeath "except for the most hardcore of players" (in other words, in some tougher game mode) but the backtrack "compromise" was hardly in the spirit of what had originally been promised.

Removing permadeath is a major design change and changes the gameplay style from roguelike to narrative. Many backed the game specifically because it was roguelike (in a horror environment) and not narrative based (a horror game). Ironically, the roguelike scenario, where choices the gamer makes have to be considered very carefully because death ends everything and you have to start again, actually heightens the horror experience. In the narrative game that Acid Wizard Studio is now making the horror experience is likely to be diluted because you can just load the saved game, go back to where you were, and try again.

[ YouTube link ]

Soon after the team dropped another (cleverly hidden) bombshell: the original Indiegogo pitch said the game was being developed for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux (and the game's home page still says this). In an update to Indiegogo backers the team mentioned setting up a FAQ page for the game on its web site. Buried in the FAQ is this gem:

"On what platforms will Darkwood be available on?[sic]
Currently we only support PC. We hope to add OS X and Linux support soon, but can't name any specific dates yet."

A number of backers backed the game precisely for these operating systems and voiced their frustration in the Indiegogo campaign page's comments section. Gustaw Stachaszewski, of Acid Wizard Studio and the game's coder, was quick to reply with: "Sorry you're upset - the game will support OSX and Linux, but it may happen that it won't be from day 1 of Early Access. There is still some time to the release though, so it's also possible that these platforms will be available from the start, but I can't promise anything."

However the backers are furious that they seem to have taken a back seat in favour of Windows users. As one commenter put it, "PC [personal computer] is a platform, not an operating system".

In happier news, the game will be released on Steam Early Access in June. This was a comforting announcement for backers who were beginning to wonder if, with all the drama and lots of silence in the months before, there ever would be a game at all.

[ YouTube link ]

All the backers will be given codes to access the game but, of course, they're pretty useless to people who don't use Steam or who are - more importantly - Darkwood's Mac OS and Linux backers....

Acid Wizard Studio: Official Site

Flappy Zuma Launches For iOS
Here's a fun little story with a South African development angle: a casual game featuring the country's controversial president. In the game, which was developed by Go Life Mobile Technologies, you have to tap-tap Jacob Zuma to help him avoid shower heads.

Indie Game News Roundup: Flappy Zuma

Some people are complaining that it's a clone of the Flash game ZoomFly but since both are already clones of Flappy Bird it probably doesn't really matter.

Either way, they're both amusing pieces of nonsense for whiling away time in Home Affairs queues (and other nefarious government entities).

Go Life Mobile Technologies: Official Site, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
Get The Game: Flappy Zuma: iTunes App Store

Rebuild: Gangs Of Deadsville Is Now In Beta
Earlier this week we posted a news story on how Sarah Northway's zombie-survival/city-building game Rebuild: Gangs Of Deadsville is progressing, a little bit about the soundtrack, and that, notably, it is being launched on Steam Early Access today.

Fans who pre-ordered the game via Humble have also just received an email to say that the game is officially in beta and can be downloaded from there. A 58 MB DRM-free Windows version and a 62 MB DRM-free Mac OS version have been made available, plus Steam keys. Those who pre-ordered the deluxe Rebuild: Gangs Of Deadsville Survivalist Edition can now also download desktop versions of Rebuild 1 and Rebuild 2.

Northway also said that the Android version and the art book still needs some love, so they aren't yet available, but the desktops versions will be updated "at least once a month".

Northway Games: Official Site, Twitter
Rebuild: Gangs Of Deadsville: Official Site, Forums, Soundtrack, Wiki, Facebook, Kickstarter

Shovel Knight Has Shipped
Los Angeles-based developer Yacht Club Games very excitedly announced on Saturday that it had created a gold master candidate of Shovel Knight, its platform action-adventure game that features pixel art and a protagonist who wields a shovel.

Indie Game News Roundup: Shovel Knight

This potentially finished version of the game is being used for submission and verification purposes for the various platforms that the game is releasing on (Windows, Mac OS, Linux, via Humble and Steam; PlayStation Vita; Nintendo 3DS; and Wii U). The game will be independently tested and certified on these platforms in preparation for being released in their respective digital stores. Although there is still no confirmed release date yet, this means it's very, very close.

If you missed the Kickstarter project and still want a copy of the game, you can pre-order via a Humble widget on its home page.

In related news, Shovel Knight is appearing in another Kickstarter project, Pop Middle Ages: "authentic historical pieces from the awesome middle ages (no verified information)". In other words, pop culture themes and characters, from both indie gaming and 90s television, that have been turned into medieval-style prints.

Other pop-culture references appearing in the project include characters from He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It's a very cool idea and the art is bright and fun.

You can pledge until 13 June 2014.

Yacht Club Games: Official Site, Twitch, Twitter
Shovel Knight: Kickstarter

Tags: #games, #horror, #zombies

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