Bundles Of Sun: Indie Royale With RPGs

By Adam Smith on July 24th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

The latest Indie Royale Bundle is a horrific reminder of boats filled with people made out of money floating down a river in the rain. It’s called the July Jubilee Bundle you see, but even though I’m loathe to be reminded of that drizzly decadence, I’m quite excited by these games. The standout, for me, is the Geneforge Saga. Five excellent Spiderweb RPGs, normally quite pricey, available for a tiny sum. There’s also Unepic, Puzzle Agent, Oniken, Mutant Storm Reloaded and Swift Stitch.

Oniken does look neat and I’ve always meant to give Unepic another try after somewhat bouncing off its sense of humour originally.

The Geneforge Saga for a (current) minimum of £3.31 though? Bargain.

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  1. Phantoon says:

    Eh. I’ve not had any luck with the Indie Royales in the past, making them wastes of money (even at such a low price!)

    I’m gonna give this one a pass too.

    • dE says:

      You’d be missing out on the one with the real gems in it (Unepic and Geneforge Saga). But yeh, Indie Royale has been mostly no hit all miss for me.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        One of the IR had Hard Reset. That alone is a great redeemer.

      • Shadowcat says:

        You guys clearly missed out on IR’s Digital Eel bundle.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      Not my feeling at all.

      They have been, while probably the most numerous of indie bundles, also amongst the most reliable indie bundles quality-wise.

      There’s been great stuff like defense grid, towns, hard reset, nightsky, sanctum, noitu love, escape goat, zeno clash, the journey down, the void and laser cat, just to name a few of my personal favourites!

      Maybe not in the humble indie bundle league, but arguably more in a real indie sense

  2. Vinraith says:

    “Five excellent Spiderweb RPGs, normally quite pricey”

    It’s $20 on Steam for all 5 games. In what universe is that “quite pricey?” Frankly, that’s absurdly cheap.

    Honestly, this crap will be the death of non-fluff indies. $5 or $6 for 500 hours of game is simply not a sustainable model.

    • dE says:

      It’s perma-discounted on Steam. The normal price is more like 45$ for the Geneforge Saga. (Dev Website). The Devs had some reasoning behind that move, but I can’t find their Blog Entry about it at the moment.

      /edit:
      Found it:
      http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.ch/2011/10/why-all-our-games-are-now-cheaper.html

      • Baines says:

        Hrm, he also argued in favor of charging wildly different prices based on store and platform.

        People go to your website? Because they are more likely to want your game, charge them twice as much as the people who see it on Steam. People are buying for a phone? Give them the same game as the PC version, but for a fraction of the cost.

        • Vinraith says:

          Yeah, I recall that discussion really putting me off buying his games at all. I’d much rather directly support the developer for an indie game, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to stomach 4x the price. A developer creating discrepancies of that sort largely convinces me not to buy their games at all.

          • Shuck says:

            Unfortunately this kind of inconsistent pricing is kind of necessary – the “race to the bottom” in terms of (indie) game pricing has hit some platforms/markets more than others. You can’t really afford to sell at the lowest of those prices, but you also can’t get any sales with reasonable prices everywhere. I despair for the future of indie game development – there’s a lot of unsustainable practices.

          • dE says:

            Personally, and I know some people will eat me alive for writing it, but personally, I don’t think Indies can actually compete on the normal market. An idealist would pay much larger sums for a game, because of that persons views and ethics. A nice dev, someone utilizing something I call the “know the guy” phenomena can create a pull of idealists to buy the games. Because they feel like they can relate to that person and sympathize. The opposite is true as well, the stuff I’ve read from some Devs made me stay clear from their games – or only ever consider them during bundles.

            But for an average gamer, the decision probably isn’t whether to buy that game for 10€. It’s rather, what else could they be getting for those 10€? They could get Company of Heroes, maybe the longest journey? They could get Beyond good and evil or Painkiller? (just quick browsing off Steam, other sites will have other great offers too). It’s not the listed games that are important here, it’s the argument that at that point, the Indie is competing with countless great older games. But they’re a featherweight boxer in a ring full off super heavy champions.

            To compete in that market, Indies need crazy amounts of idealists – or hype. My argument as it stands: The price isn’t the relevant point here, it’s simply the wrong market (in my opinion). Or the wrong business model. I’m afraid I don’t know a better business model though. Although personally, I’ve been a friend of Donationware. But I must admit, that’s not reliable enough – unless you once again have that crazy hype going on.

          • malkav11 says:

            I dunno. To me, it makes perfect sense. It’s not like people who can buy off the developer’s website don’t know about Steam or can’t buy there. If they don’t want to pay the higher price directly, they don’t have to. I suspect most people will opt not to. But they’re really great games, and I personally have purchased every single one, many of them multiple times, without hesitating. Which is to say, I bought CD copies years ago and then have rebought them when they turned up cheaply on Steam, though there’s a couple that haven’t hit Steam at all yet like Nethergate and the first Avernum Trilogy. Also, Avadon I originally picked up with terrible, gamebreaking DRM at Direct2Drive and when Vogel was kind enough to give me a DRM free copy to remedy that, I went ahead and picked it up on Steam too when that happened.

    • Trelow says:

      In the world that up till very recently they $20 eaches.

    • Kaira- says:

      Geneforge 1-5 is 15$ on GOG. Quite a steal for good games like that.

      • Vinraith says:

        Yeah, I hadn’t notice that but needless to say, that’s even better. Cheaper than Steam without having to put up with Steam? Awesome.

    • El_Emmental says:

      $5 or $6 for 500 hours, too cheap ?

      Time is the most expensive good nowadays, my backlog (even bigger now thanks to Steam sales) is probably at 3000-to-5000 hours for just one playthrough for each game (and I’m not counting the crapwares included in some packs). Only kids have enough time (and not enough money) on their hands to be game-less.

      If I’m ever going to play an indie game more than 50 hours, I’ll gladly pay $30 for it. More than $100 hours ? $50 is okay for me. To raise my contribution I just buy more copies and offer it to friends (who would have never bought it in the first place).

      Also, regarding indie games, if we pay $20 for each game, we will simply buy less games, and we won’t buy the “best” ones, just the ones we stumble upon and think they would be great by the screenshots/videos. Information is not perfect, and expectations never meets reality, especially regarding video games.

      Most of the indie games I bought cost me less than $10 each. But I bought truckload of them, because for the same $20 I would get x4 more games, greatly reducing the risk of buying an unfunny/boring/average/not-for-me game.

      And now when I try an indie game I previously bought, I’m not afraid of having burned my money on an unfunny piece of code. It’s just “oh crap, this one is just bad, let’s try another”.

      Examples:

      – got Hammerfight in a bundle. It wasn’t so fun at the beginning but I carried on, then it became awesome (and I had an excellent time playing it), then the campaign bifurcated and I chose the “wrong” way (= ended up in the almost impossible-to-pass part). I stopped there, and played something else. I might replay it later. No regret.

      – got The Ship for the cheap, tried it. Wasn’t fun until I understood it was a “sprint – look at the map – sprint – look at the map – murder your target – camp in front of a camera”. So it became funny and I had a great time playing it. Then bugs and design flaws showed up, and ruined the experience for me. What a shame, but no regret.

      – got AI War (and some of the DLCs) during sales, realized I was a complete newbie at RTS, put it on hold. No regret regarding my purchase.

      – got Magicka for the cheap, never found e-friends to play it with (and my irl friends stopped playing video games the same year). No regret regarding that purchase.

      – got the two Serious Sam HD during sales, didn’t like the feeling (much prefer the original look). Not much regret.

      And the list goes on and on. Some hits, some misses. The mutualization of risk, thanks to bundles and sales, allowed me to go ahead and buy many games I wouldn’t have bought in the first place.

    • El_Emmental says:

      In a perfect world (for the type of consumer I am), I would be able to try a game for X hours for free, then pay $5 to get a Y hours version (that get recharged each 3 months)(with an unlocker ready and tested, released in case of platform shutdown), then pay more dollars to get an unlimited hours version.

      Depending on each games (small indie SP games would get a demo rather than the full game for free for X hours), X or Y values would change, the key idea being: test the game (first impression), try the game (first quarter of the experience), play the game (full game).

      But devs aren’t ready for this, publishers will inevitably try to milk us by selling less and less hours for each games, making DLCs exclusive/affordable to unlimited-hours version, keeping the funny/interesting part after the Y hours milestone, artificially lengthening games even more, etc… basically, abusing the system.

      But the market (at least the “I have money but no time” one) needs such system: this is why many of us are yaaring games before buying them, why many of us wait for a bundle or a special sale.

      Imagine this:
      – “hey, Payday is a great game, you should try it with us !”
      – “hm yeah, I’m downloading it, ready in 4 hours”
      => and that’s it, you’re now able to experience the game and see if it’s that good. Enjoyed it ? pay for the higher time-limited tier or directly for the full game. Didn’t like it ? Oh well, it’s just not for me.

      How much the consumer pays should be related to how much fun/entertainment/interesting experience (s)he felt thanks to that game. In my opinion, a time/experience-based system (the test-try-play tiers) *without any abuses by publishers* would be great (at least for the some-money-but-no-time people).

    • codename_bloodfist says:

      Implying you’ll actually spend 500 hours on them.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      It seems to me you underestimate the awareness/marketing factor.

      Its no good at all if there are ten epic, really worth the money indie titles out there if they catch the attention of 10 people.

      If however a sale at 25% of their lowest price to date generates ten times as many new sales, voila.

      Steam’s research showed as much going by that RP article we had on that, so why bash bargains and low, low prices?

      Don’t forget the cases where people hear of the games via sales the first time, somehow fumble buying them, but now, having heard of them, will just get them “normal” because now they are curious. Or exploring other products now that they got the one cheap one. Etc.
      I think you are simply viewing this in a too reduced fashion.

  3. aliksy says:

    I think the geneforge games are worth the ~$5. Not heard of the others. I’ll check it out.

  4. Inglourious Badger says:

    Mmm, this IS a tasty bundle

  5. BloonerNL says:

    Unepic is a great game. Ok, it’s sense of humour isn’t for everybody, but underneath that is an amazing gaming experience, regardless of whether you like the funny bits.

    • Premium User Badge

      aego says:

      I second this. Regardless of Geneforge, this bundle is worth the price for Unepic alone.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I love fart and piss jokes and I swear up a storm on Sundays, but Unepic left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It feels like it was written by a mentally diminished thirty-year-old basement dweller who’s prime entertainment consists of scat porn, comic books, and Star Trek. The entire game is just a digital derivative of every stereotypical geek obsession in existence, and not in a good way.

      I can see why Steam is staying far away from it.

  6. Tuco says:

    Unepic is an amazing “metroidvania” game.

  7. Premium User Badge

    JoeyJungle says:

    So because of this and other bundles I now have all of the Jeff Vogel RPGs on Steam, but have yet to play any. Which one should I start with? Are they like Bladur’s Gate and Planescape where your characters are part of the story or like Icewind Dale where you make your characters?

  8. Bloodoflamb says:

    Are the Geneforge Saga games all that different than Avernum: Escape From the Pit? I finished that a couple of months ago, and am not particularly interested in playing a game with nearly identical mechanics.

    • Veracity says:

      Very. They’re cheap looking and there’s something about the interface that makes you wish it’d been churned through a focus group or six, so they have that in common, but they’re loosely Vogel doing Fallout, rather than Vogel doing Ultima with (latterly, it seems) shades of early Bioware. Less open world, though. More emphasis on dialogue and player decisions about which variously unpleasant faction to support. Trajkov (in the first one, won’t take you long to get to) is one of my favourite Grand Foozles. Getting around still involves quite a lot of picking your way carefully through corridors dressed up as mazes full of things that want you dead and using numbers to make them dead first – that’s the basics in everything he does.

      Tempted by this just for the two Geneforges I don’t already have, but sort of feel I ought to buy them at something resembling a reasonable price for vinraith ranty reasons if I really intend to play them.

    • jdyer says:

      There are no tiles. (One could say: Baldur’s Gate style rather than Ultima 5 style.) That alone makes me enjoy the Geneforge games more. I paid full price for Geneforge 1-4 when they came out ($25 each) and don’t regret it at all.

      They’re true science fiction, in that they set up a premise (in this case, biological robots) and run the implications to the hilt.

      If you’re still unsure, pick the demo off of Vogel’s site and let that help you decide.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      Yeah, they are way different. As others have said they play more like Fallout. Plus social skills matter and the later games (3-5) have a workable stealth system.

  9. Premium User Badge

    RobF says:

    Swift*Stitch is absolutely brilliant. It doesn’t look much but it’s deceptively cracking indeed.

    And of course, Mutant Storm is a stone cold classic and still the best of the PomPom bunch all these years on.

    Don’t really care about the rest. Too beardy.

    • Gabe McGrath says:

      Too beardy for the beardy Bobbatron?
      Or too beardy for the beatboxin’ Beardyman?

    • djbriandamage says:

      Mutant Storm is incredibly good. Buy the bundle for this and let the rest of the goodies trickle into your Steam account for free.

    • Premium User Badge

      phlebas says:

      As a beardy man, The reason I’m not sure whether to get this bundle is because I’ve got too many of the games already.
      But I will second that Swift*Stitch is really ace.

  10. Kuschelwampe says:

    Instant buy! For the Geneforge games alone it’s worth it. Bought Unepic just yesterday for €6,5. Don’t regret that, now I’m getting 100 Credits extra plus that ring.
    Indie Royale are Number 2 after HIB, by far. The latest bundles were great selections of games!

  11. Bhazor says:

    So something thats been bugging me.

    Is there no way to give the different devs a seperate cut. I’m sorry to seem tight but it seems in every bundle there is a game that just drags the lot down and I hate the thought of them nabbing money from the developers I care about.

    • Premium User Badge

      phlebas says:

      Pay a minimal price for the bundle and then just give some money to the developer/charity of your choice?

  12. Duke of Chutney says:

    Ive played a demo for Oniken, or some sort of pre release level. Its good for the nostagia trip, hard as nails of course.

  13. Hulk Handsome says:

    Great bundle! Geneforge is worth it on its own, but SWIFT*STITCH is also great and all the games are good fun too.

  14. RegisteredUser says:

    I tried to get into Unepic, then spent 5 minutes looking at Dungeons of Dredmore instead(not the same thing, I know, but my mind sorts them as “small, quick to get into, slow to get away from indie games you can approach casually, quirky rpgish somethingsomething with humor attempts”).

    14 hours play later I can safely say DoD is the thing I want. :P
    Well, and a 5 times larger inventory.

    Its still a great bundle if you even like a single game out of it all though.
    As always.

  15. RegisteredUser says:

    Edit:

    Just saw that the Unepic guy commented in the thread itself.

    Unepic now no longer seems to require online activation or serial. At the very least, the bundle version should not.

    franfistro:
    “No CD-KEY is needed. The game is DRM-Free.
    There is a serial you can OPTIONALY use for registering and exchange credits for special items, but not needed to play the whole game. It is just an extra thing.”

    • Premium User Badge

      Dare_Wreck says:

      I was just logging in to mention that and ask what in the world you were going on about. Glad you sorted that out.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        Just 2-3 months ago, everything I wrote was spot on. There was a FADE like game ruining mechanism and an online activation requirement. I included the link to the relevant discussion => that’s what I was on about.

  16. wererogue says:

    That’s quite a good deal.

    I find it way easier to say “not this time” to non-humble bundles. The linux ports make me buy HIB every time, even if I already have the games. My main gaming machine is a Windows one, but I end up playing the more lightweight games like Cave Story +, VVVVVV, Voxatron, Edge etc. on my EEE900A, which runs Linux Mint, and some of the ones with more interesting stories, like Aquaria and Bastion get played on our HTPC, which runs Ubuntu.

    That said, with Valve throwing their oar in for Linux, I’m considering junking the gaming rig and just upgrading the HTPC next time around, with a small Windows partition to make sure I can still play the Windows holdout games. In the utopian Linux-gaming future that I imagine Steam on ‘nix will herald. In my head.