Fun and Games: A Brief Look at Three Indie Games

It seems like it’s been some time since I did an in depth review of a game I’ve been playing. The only problem is that I don’t feel I’ve played any game thoroughly enough to do a proper review (Translation: I’m still trying to get used to the new work schedule and just haven’t had the energy to do a proper playthrough).

So instead, I’ve decided to take a quick look at a few games that have held my attention lately. I may revisit them for a proper review later, but I hope that for now, this will have piqued a few interested minds.

Amazing Princess Sarah

“Sure, I’m burning the flesh off my hands holding her, but don’t I look awesome.”
Source Indie DB

You would think that a game where the focus is on an impossibly well-endowed female protagonist would set off my knee-jerk feminist alarms. But I had to play this when I heard that the main gameplay mechanic involved using the bodies of your defeated enemies as slapstick weapons.

Surprisingly, for a game predominantly occupied by ridiculously proportioned ladies, Amazing Princess Sarah is quite forward thinking. It subverts the classic Knight/Princess/Knave story by making the “damsel in distress” a man (your father the king, no less) and making both the hero and villain female, showing how women are just as equally capable of great good and terrible evil as men. It’s a rare example of true gender equality.

Gender politics aside, I love the mechanic of using fallen enemies and environmental objects as thrown weapons – each with different effects that encourage you to plan how you use them lest you be forced to rely on your painfully weak sword.

Sadly, the game feels unfinished. The character sprites are roughly animated, movement controls feel stiff, the music cuts out at odd moments, and the difficulty curve climbs at an almost unfair pace.

Still, it might be worth playing just to say that you role-played as a medieval European cousin of Wonder Woman who can toss a fire elemental away like a dirty Kleenex.

Robocraft

Wait, are you sure that’s a ‘robot’ and not a mobile docking station.
Source: Robocraftgame.com

If you ever wondered what the Gummi Ship sequences in Kingdom Hearts would be like with multi-player, this might be the game for you.

Robocraft is one part territory control themed shooter and one part creativity toy. Fighting against other players online will earn you various types of currency to build better robots and research new parts for them. There are plenty of choices for robots that roll like tanks or fly like drones.

One interesting mechanic was the choice to have localized damage on the robots. You can chip away at chunks of an enemy’s armored chassis, knock out its turrets, or disable its propulsion to make it an easy target. This was an unexpected breath of strategy in what could have been a standard shooter.

The only trouble is trying to build a robot that works exactly like you want it to. You’ll likely spend hours tinkering with designs and going back and forth between building and testing until you have a tank that doesn’t roll over when you turn or an aircraft that doesn’t filp around uncontrollably.

I still think this game has loads of potential and I look forward to playing it some more in the future.

Mark of the Ninja

It may not be the focus, but it wouldn’t be a ninja simulator without the occasional assassination.
Source: ingame.de

The problem with ninjas in video games is that they rarely act like the masters of stealth that history made them famous for being. Thank goodness then for the nameless hero in Mark of the Ninja.

This game is based entirely around stealth, subterfuge, and infiltration. In fact, the game rewards you for not going on a Stallone/Schwarzenegger murder spree by giving huge point bonuses for not killing enemies (this is a rare game where the points actually matter) and punishes you for leaving bodies behind to give away your presence.

The animated cut-scenes are beautifully done. One of my corespondents called it’s smoothness and grittiness reminiscent of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack.

Unfortunately – as is the case with many stealth-centric games – if you get spotted, you may as well just reset from the last checkpoint because you wont survive. And even if you do survive, you’ll wish you hadn’t since you just ruined your score.

This is probably my favorite of the listed games here and possibly one of the best stealth games ever made.

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