This Week’s Schedule

Hey everyone, this week’s schedule is going to be a little different from usual thanks to me getting sick over the weekend and a few other things which got in the way. First of all, the streaming part of the schedule will remain unchanged; I’ll be streaming a bunch of stuff over at at 9:00 PM EST on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. There won’t be a new main article this week though and instead the Salt and Sanctuary article which was planned for Friday of last week will be releasing this Wednesday and there will be a new mini article on Friday. I think this works out as the best way to ensure that the schedule gets back on track for next week and I also plan to use Sunday to catch up on one or two things which have fallen by the wayside.

Thanks for stopping by!

4 Ludum Dare 40 Games

Ludum Dare 40 recently wrapped up, which means the Internet has been flooded with all sorts of weird, experimental little indie games! This time around the theme was “The more you have, the worse it is”. It’s one of the stranger themes I’ve seen for this game jam and I have mixed feelings about it. I like how unusual this theme is and how open it is to interpretation. However, in execution many of the participants ended up making games based on one of two specific interpretations. A huge chunk of the entries either revolve around the game becoming gradually tougher as you get more points or your character becoming slower as you’re weighed down by money/treasure. Even the more polished entries I’ve found tend to fall back on one of these two interpretations and the former is basically just the standard formula for any sort of score-based arcade game.

Though this jam’s theme has fallen slightly flat, there are still plenty of good games. Let’s take a look at four of the best Ludum Dare 40 games I’ve come across!

Salt and Sanctuary

Steam Page || Developer’s Site

There are a whole lot of games out there which, to one degree or another, can be described as “indie Dark Souls” and, to their credit, a surprising number of them are quite good. But none are as deserving of that title as Salt and Sanctuary. The methodical combat, the perpetual gloom, asynchronous multiplayer elements, and just about everything else is all right here. Ska Studios doesn’t just stick with the familiar though as this action RPG takes full advantage of its 2D perspective with plenty of platforming. Various other original touches, such as a rather literal skill tree, blend together with familiar features to create one of the best indie games out there.

Indie Game Grab Bag: Fall 2017 Edition #1

Catsby || Don’t open the doors! || Star Waker || From Shadows || Xenia || DashBored

Welcome to the first of many Indie Game Grab Bag articles! Impressions and rankings are based solely upon the roughly 15-30 minutes of gameplay per indie game which you can see in the above video.

We have six games to look at in this edition over Indie Game Grab Bag and many of them are surprisingly solid. Let’s get started!

Each game is listed followed by its rank, video timestamp, and price in USD.

Revamping First Impression Articles!

First Impression articles were meant to go hand-in-hand with Grab Bag streams. The idea was to play a bunch of games for a few minutes each and then write about them.

This felt like a good way to share my thoughts on games which I might not get around to finishing and/or which weren’t up to the standard I expect of games which I write full articles about. While this technically worked, these First Impression articles often ended up being just as long as the standard, featured articles and it quickly became very difficult to write about every game from every Grab Bag stream.

So, the streams are remaining the same, but the articles are getting revamped! Here are the three main ways these articles are changing for the better:

1) Every game in a Grab Bag stream will be written about within the same article. This ties the games more closely to the stream itself and ensures that they all get written about in a timely manner.

2) There will be a lot less writing for each game. I’m not setting a word limit, but there will be a limit of two three paragraphs per game. The idea is to give a quick, general impression of the game which complements the video while also serving as an alternative for those who can’t or don’t want to watch the stream recording itself. While I love to analyze games, lengthy First Impression articles ended up taking more time to read than just watching the video and much of the content would have been painfully redundant for any games I went on to write featured articles about.

3) Scores are gone and replaced with rankings. Giving scores to games in First Impression articles always felt a bit strange, but I thought they were necessary due to the wildly varying qualities while writing about games individually. Rankings solve this problem by killing two birds with one stone. They serve as a way of further tying the games to each other and to the video and they also make for a nice alternative to a more absolute scoring system.

In short, these changes primarily serve as a way of trying all the games from a Grab Bag more closely together. Ditching scores and tightening up the writing to give snappier, more general impressions of each game are added bonuses.

Considering all these changes, names for future articles will also be changing from First Impression articles to Indie Game Grab Bag articles to glue them to the video content as firmly as possible. Gaming Grab Bag is a catchier title, but I’ve opted for Indie Game Grab Bag in favor of a little more clarity.

Last of all, the most recent Indie Game Grab Bag stream was last night, so the very first of these revamped articles will be ready within the next few hours!