Not-So-Humble Indie Bundle
I’m supposed to be finishing up a complainy article on Max Payne 3, but that’s just going to have to get pushed back to tomorrow, because this news is a time-bomb—a piñata time-bomb, filled with delicious joy and the good candies—like Arcor fruit candies, and no Necco Wafers in sight.
It’s the fifth Humble Indie Bundle, and it would behoove you to check it out and give them some money. You can pay basically any amount to get four incredible games, or pay above the average (about eight bucks) to get eight awesome indie games that will amaze and astound you. Five soundtracks (two of which I know personally to be fantastic) are included, and you get to choose (via sliders—everyone loves sliders!) how much of your contribution goes to the developers, the Humble Bundle site itself (for maintenance and such), and to two great charities—The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a non-profit group that works to defend digital rights, and the well-known Child’s Play has probably helped out a children’s hospital near you (if in doubt, you can take a gander at their map). If that sounds great, get to it: you have seven days left to be a part of this great bundle.
No reason to read beyond this unless you want a brief introduction to the games on display.
First up, the four games that you can get for basically any price:
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery: EP, described as an adventure yarn with a stoner twist, is a musical tour of the mystical Caucasus. The soundtrack makes for great mellow background noise. I wrote about this one here.
LIMBO is a game that I’ve meant to write on, but I played it while on vacation and didn’t take any screenshots, and even if I had my laptop screen was too small to make them look good. Anyway, I believe it’s best experienced exactly once. It’s a minimalist take about a silhouette boy in a silhouette world, and his goal to travel to the right. Oh, there’s more than that, but I can’t talk about it without getting into spoiler territory.
My impression (and the gist of my theoretical article) is this: the first half of LIMBO is a supreme experience. It merges Lord of the Flies with a childish fear of spiders and shadows to send chills down your back and turn your tongue to cotton. The second half is more traditional run’n’jump puzzle fare, but the whole game is so short (2-3 hours at most) that it’s forgivable. I enjoyed LIMBO quite a bit, and would have given it a favorable, if not perfect, review.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is supposedly one of the most atmospheric and terrifying games ever made. I can attest to that even though I’ve only played it for forty minutes (because it was so atmospheric and terrifying). It’s one of the few games out there that makes you hide when a monster appears, rather than giving you a handgun and sending you on your way with a slap to the buttocks and a thumbs-up.
If you’re in need for something lighter, then Psychonauts might be just the ticket. It’s famous for its good humor, and for good reason—if you want a quick laugh, I’d recommend this Psychonauts-fueled take on Inception.
Heh. Sorry, I just had to watch that again. Anyway, Psychonauts is the story of psychically-gifted child Raz, and his visit to the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp. It’s everything you wished summer camp could have been, but wasn’t, and it contains some of PC gaming’s most iconic levels, including a trip into the strategy-obsessed mind of Napoleon Bonaparte, a paranoid’s view of an American suburb, and an inversion of Godzilla’s perspective as a giant you smashes tiny Lungfishopolis.
Now, those are the games that you get for basically any price. If you want to just kick a couple bucks towards this Bundle, I’d recommend you stop here, because:
Because Bastion alone is worth quite a few of your dollars. Set in a tragic broken world, this is the absurdly well-orchestrated and well-narrated tale of The Kid and his quest to bring something whole and fine back into existence. It’s one of the most stirring games I’ve ever played—which is one of the reasons I haven’t written about it. Whenever I try, my talents feel pathetically limited to the task.
I’m surprised to see the inclusion of Lone Survivor in this bundle, not only because it’s such a new game, but because it’s so good. I wrote about it here, gave it a very favorable report, and have nothing left to add except to say that it’s my indie game of the year so far.
Braid creator Jonathan Blow has been in the news lately, which has sparked a pretty interesting debate about whether games are “dumb.” I’ve considered writing my own two cents on the issue (I mean: games usually are), but in the end I’ll probably just write about Diablo III or something.
Regardless of that debate, Braid is distinctly not dumb. I’m not convinced it’s the Grapes of Wrath of gaming, but it does have a few neat things to say not only about gaming tropes, but about the way two people can see the same event completely differently. The final level was perhaps one of my favorite in all of gaming—though of course, you’ll have to get there first.
I’ve described Super Meat Boy as the Zen of gaming. Why? Well, because it’s about self-obliteration. It’s not just about reaching the end of the level, but learning through trial and error to rely on muscle memory and an eventual sense of detachment. If practiced ideally, the level will play you.
Okay, so it’s hard. Lots of people don’t like it. But I love it, because each and every level is a chance for accomplishment.
So there we have it. I recommend you get this bundle. There are eight amazing games on display here, each and every one of them exemplars of what’s coming out of the indie scene right now.
Posted on June 7, 2012, in Indie and tagged Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Braid, Capy, Double Fine, Frictional Games, Humble Bundle, Indie, Jim Guthrie, LIMBO, Lone Survivor, Music in Games, Number None, Playdead, Psychonauts, Super Meat Boy, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Superflat Games, Team Meat. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.