Not-So-Humble Indie Bundle

I would pay two hundred dollars to play a game with all these characters.

7 days left to get possibly the best indie bundle I’ve ever seen.

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:

I've always found the Grizzled Boor's tiny weenie profoundly disturbing.

An impromptu concert in the Caucasus Mountains.

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.

Stole this screenshot from some nameless XBawks site. Thanks, nameless XBawks site!

LIMBO’s nameless protagonist completes some jumping puzzles.

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.

Part of that has to do with my lifelong fear of rocking chairs, though.

I’m already scared.

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.

Well... kinda.

It makes total sense in context.

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:

Here shown running towards the monster.

The Kid runs from a monster.

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.

Lone Survivor screenshots always make me want to learn needlepoint.

You (that’s his name) shoots a thinman.

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.

Also: stalking, the atom bomb, the nature of memories, solipsism, and how to rewind time to solve the puzzle at hand.

Tim contemplates petty morality.

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 remember this level. Not fondly.

The replay system, which lets you see all your previous attempts at once.

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Ooo, that IS a good deal. I already have a few of these. I’ve had Braid forever, and I got Lone Survivor on your recommendation, but i haven’t played it yet. I think I’ll pick this up right away.

  2. digitalpariah76

    WHY ARE YOU READING THIS AND NOT BUYING THE BUNDLE?!!!?

    GO BUY!

  3. I like Necco wafers. Especially the white ones.

  4. I endorse this bundle. If I didn’t already own them all (except for LIMBO, which I don’t think I’d care for) I’d get it in a heartbeat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: