Sunday, 7 August 2011

Humble Indie Bundle 3

Very rarely do we as gamers get to publicly feel good about the medium in which we invest so much of our time. Everywhere you look you see the knuckle dragging half-wits of the right wing media panning games for, allegedly, trying to sub-consciously convince us to go outside and stab each other in the eyeballs. It's for this reason that when such wonderful projects as the Humble Indie Bundle come around, we should all as a community get involved.

The Humble Indie Bundle, now in it's third iteration, consists of 6 shining examples of the bustling indie games scene, paid for with the donation of your choice. A portion of this donation (or all of it if you so wish) goes to help the great work of the Child's Play Fund, providing toys and games to sick children throughout the world. A very worthwhile cause I'm sure you'll agree. What then (apart from that gooey feeling of a good deed)  does the bundle include?

Viridian and his outer space scaffolding.
VVVVVV is a charming sci-fi puzzle platformer set in deep reaches of a 1980's adaption of outer-space. You play as Captain Viridian, who after a 'dimensional interference' must evacuate the crew of his ship. However, during the evacuation the ship's teleporter, that was presumably running on Windows Vista, craps out and scatters the crew throughout the VVVVVV dimension, leaving Viridian to mop up the mess and track down his missing crew mates.

Crayon Physics
Issac Newton even makes a cameo.
Second up in the bundle is the 'does what it says on the tin' Crayon Physics. Set in a world of a child's drawing, you must work a ball towards a star using doodles you draw with the mouse. the physics puzzles work fantastically here with pivots, bridges, see-saws and many others all depending on your child like scribblings. Finishing a level using a make-shift trampoline and a badly drawn elephant is unbelievably satisfying, and frankly, any game that allows you to complete it's levels with such variety is definitely worth a look.

Steel Storm - Burning Retribution
Not your average cross-channel affair
Next in the bundle is Kot-in-Action's, two part, Steel Storm - Burning Retribution. In this intriguing 'hovercraft-em-up' you zoom around various locations collecting power-ups, completing objectives, and mostly zapping anything that moves. Part one is strictly single player, but part two includes both LAN and online multiplayer allowing you to blast it out with up to sixteen hovercraft bound friends. I can't help but think that cross-channel hovercraft would still be in business if the reality was like this.

And Yet it Moves
Indiana Jones, the construction paper sequel.
Possibly my favourite game of the package, And Yet it Moves is a puzzle platformer where you find yourself playing as a paper cut-out of what is presumably an anthropomorphised pineapple, attempting to reunite himself with the scraps of paper he was originally cut from. And Yet it Moves employs one of the most interesting art styles I've ever seen, with everything looking like it was ripped straight from the pages of National Geographic. pineapple man also has the power to move the world around 90 degrees at a time leading to gameplay that's a weird mix of Super Mario meets a Rubix Cube.

Do you want to power a steampunk tank? of course you do.
If you ever imagined what a Christmas-cracker slider puzzle was like during the Industrial Revolution, 'Cogs', is probably the closest example you'll be able to find in an easily downloadable format. Simply, you must slide cogs to power a motor. As levels progress the complexities of the puzzles increase and new elements, such as bell ringing and rotating puzzles are introduced. A fantastic little game, especially for OCD puzzle heads who love a bit of a challenge.

Never mess with an axe wielding spaceship.

Last, but by no means least, is Kranx Productions Hammerfight. Gameplay will be instantly recognisable to anyone who played conkers as a child. With your hover vehicle, you fly around levels smashing up anything that looks at you funny with a massive hammer, obviously a winning formula. The Centripetal force based physics work remarkably well and landing a killing blow is always a satisfying experience. Safety goggles definitely not required.

All in all, the Humble Indie Bundle is a joy to pay for and a joy to play. Considering the package now comes with the second Humble Indie Bundle included (with the likes of Braid and Machinarium) only one question remains, why don't you have it yet?

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