Bundlemania IX: 15 Indie Games For $Notalot

By Alec Meer on August 28th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

And so the bundle war without end continues. Demonstrating the sort of timing that probably makes everyone involved want to carve WHY WHY WHY into the trunks of every tree they pass, today seems the release of two accidentally rivalrous indie bundles. Both contain games I am allowed to officially deem ‘rather good.’

Indie Royale’s latest includes the darkly compelling Analogue: A Hate Story, the frantically compelling Waves, shooter Shattered Horizon, wrestling-based adventure game Da New Guys, Oregon Trail homage Super Amazing Wagon Adventure and ’1-bit’ RPG MiniFlake (isn’t that part of the Cadbury’s Heroes range?), with its current minimum price being £3.11.

A slightly different take on things is Steam’s ‘Best Of British’ bundle, whose brinkmanship in containing seven games as opposed to Royale’s six is hopefully a mere coincidence. This isn’t a pay-what-you-want affair – Steam aren’t doing that sort of thing as yet – but instead has a set price of £8/$10 for the following right little crackers: Frozen Synapse (2 copies), DEFCON, Gratuitous Space Battles, Ben There, Dan That! and Time Gentlemen, Please! Double Pack, Eufloria and Revenge of the Titans. That is a fine, fine collection of games, and for my money has an edge over the Indie Royale pack.

Today is a very good day to buy indie games on the cheap. Though launching both bundles on the same day as Guild Wars 2 goes on general release probably wasn’t a genius move, eh?

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56 Comments »

  1. tlarn says:

    I choose…

    … Sandwich.

  2. Crimsoneer says:

    That Indie Royale is great value for money. Shattered Horizon is awesome, if usually pretty quiet, I’ve wanted Analogue for an age, Waves is incredible and underappreciated.

    • subedii says:

      Do people still play Shattered Horizon today?

    • Crimsoneer says:

      Sadly, it’s pretty quiet, but you can usually find a server or two last I checked, which was a couple of months ago. It also has a co-op survival mode that is good fun with friends.

      • Tacroy says:

        Shattered Horizon is basically the best space simulator combat game ever. Ignore the fact that you’re dudes in space suits – you can go dark and drift off into space, sniping people with the brilliant sun at your back making you hard to see. It’s just awesome, I don’t know why I don’t play it more. (which is probably why it’s hard to find matches actually..)

        • subedii says:

          The game was very tactical, even back when they just had the one all-purpose gun. Going dark was a legitimate tactit and the way it was implemented was pretty intelligent.

          Turn off all suit systems except life-support, and in the shadows or the void of space you’re almost undetectable. But you can’t hear anything (no ‘audio simulation’), and your control is very poor, so if you’re found, you’re dead.

          The whole thing just felt like an FPS take on Ender’s Game. It’s always helpful to orient yourself such that ‘the enemy’s gate is down’.

          • running fungus says:

            That sounds *amazing*

            update: purchased.

          • Vorrin says:

            damn Subedii, best comment ever, the comparison to ender’s game is spot one, I thought it had something familiar, but couldnt put my finger on it.

            unfortunately in these two days I’had it ,I only saw about 20 servers with bots only on them :/

      • Xocrates says:

        One can also play the regular modes with bots. They seem decent enough at it.

      • Sisco says:

        They borked it up a bit by forcing it DirectX10. That put a lot of people off on top of those who couldn´t play it due to hardware back at release.
        Challenging but very rewarding it´s a shame it didn´t take off further.

    • Sigh says:

      I loved Shattered Horizon. I was so happy that I purchased the game at release which allowed me to fully support Futuremark and play when the community was at its peak volume. That was some of the most fun and challenging FPS action I have ever experienced and the levels were so fascinating. Who wouldn’t want to fight amongst an asteroid belt and semi-abandoned space stations with copious tunnels and hiding spots?

      There are times when I wish SH had single player elements (beyond just bots). Going dark by turning off your non-essential suit systems was so atmospheric and compelling. You could just have emerged from a heated battle marked by chaos, light, and noise and then go dark and just drift off into the void of space hearing only your breathing and heartbeat. It was so peaceful and made for a very unique tempo to the matches. I frequently wished for a story/campaign that included moments of going dark and floating through eerie levels filled with nervous energy not knowing when to expect your next encounter.

      The game was brilliant, but the community dropped off sharply after a few months leaving only a handful of servers with hardcore players. I never tried the bot modes and I may just reinstall it to try them out. I miss the game so much, but mostly for the level exploration, the idiosyncrasies, and the wonder of it.

      • Eophasmus says:

        I couldn’t agree more. I loved SH but found it extremely difficult as I think the servers had already emptied of other less experienced players; trying to learn the zero-G movement was not very forgiving in that hardcore environment. A story-fuelled single player mode would have kept it firmly on my hard drive for quite some time.

  3. quamper says:

    Indiegala also launched their bundle #8 today but I doubt anyone cares about it. I’m honestly surprised they are still kicking around.

    • Jools says:

      Too many bundles and frankly not enough good indie games. And I don’t mean that as a knock against indie games, which I love, but the fact is that their crap-to-awesome ratio isn’t much different from anything else. We’re starting to reach a point where even $5 for 9 games is barely worth it because none of them are worth playing.

      That said, Indie Gala has Dangerous Waters in their bundle and that’s a legitimately good (if absurdly dated), super hardcore naval warfare sim. The fact that it’s dated is kind of irrelevant, though, since it’s not like super hardcore naval warfare sims are actually crawling out of the woodwork. In fact, I can’t think of any modern ones that don’t fall on the wargame/real-time strategy side of the fence. It’s worth $5 all on its own if you’re into that kind of thing.

      • Wisq says:

        Yes, +1 for Dangerous Waters, if only for the manual. I’ve got the printed spiral-bound 400-something page version.

      • malkav11 says:

        Also Ghost Master, which is a hugely, hugely enjoyable haunting sim, and Sacred Gold, which is a wonky European take on Diablo except with a massive open world and a hundred billion quests with a weird sense of humor. And Achtung Panzer’s sequel (Achtung Panzer being the very well-received extensively simulated real time wargame with dynamic campaign). You do have to beat the average to get most of the worthwhile stuff and Ghost Master and Sacred Gold have been very, very cheap on Steam before, but there’s some good stuff there.

    • Baines says:

      Indie Gala #8 was much more interesting to me than Indie Royale’s latest offering.

      Indie Gala might mostly stock second (or third rate) games and stuff that tend to have maximum requirements of a Pentium 1, but Indie Royale has been firing blanks for me for quite a while. Royale tends to have only one game I halfway care about, and it ends up being something I wouldn’t pay the then minimum price for. (The last Royale bundle I bought was the Graduation one, for The Void and Dead Pixels.)

      If Shattered Horizon had more of a single player experience, I might would go for it. But I’m not going to buy a mostly multiplayer game that has almost no multiplayer presence anymore. (If I did, I would have bought Section 8 Prejudice during one of the Steam Sales.)

      The Steam bundle was a bit of a surprisingly appealing deal. It may be the second time that Steam has put more than one game that I wanted (or didn’t already own) in a single bundle. (A few times Steam would put one game that I wanted, but at that point I figured I’d just buy the solo game and thus send most of the money straight to that one developer.)

  4. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Shattered Horizon simply was – however that’s possible – literally years ahead of it’s time. Disregarding conceptually revolutionary indie games, I believe that Shattered Horizon is what that 2K boss person meant when he said that thing about new genres only arriving with really good new graphics cards or something [sic probably].
    And, of course, because it was ahead of it’s time, it was tragically neglected.

    Also, a new Indiegala has gone live, but as always with their bundles… I don’t know what the hell is going on!

    • KDR_11k says:

      How’s Shattered Horizon a new genre? It’s just an FPS with 6DOF, while that hasn’t been too common it’s also not a new concept, Descent was a 6DOF FPS before Quake I was released (of course instead of spaceships and projectile weapons SH has dudes and hitscan weapons but that’s the modern trend in FPSes).

      • Optimaximal says:

        Possibly in the context of ‘community-driven multiplayer FPS’. The problem is the game was a killer to run well at release because the DirectX 10 hardware of the time was gash. That and it obviously didn’t work on XP at a time when Vista commanded about 10% of the Windows market that had capable hardware.

  5. Odexios says:

    If anyone cares about this, Analogue: A Hate Story works natively (and perfectly, as far as I can tell) on Linux. It seems to be light enough to be played on a netbook, too.

    • kalirion says:

      Considering its only options for resolution (internal rendering I assume since it stays at desktop res) are 1024×640 and 1024×600, I’m pretty sure it was created with Netbooks in mind.

  6. MondSemmel says:

    Release dates:
    November 2009 – Shattered Horizon
    November 2011 – Waves
    February 2012 – Da New Guys
    February 2012 – Analogue: A Hate Story
    August 2012 – Super Amazing Wagon Adventure (bundle exclusive)
    Unfinished – MiniFlake

    At least in the cases of Da New Guys and Analogue, I have no idea why they would want to participate in this bundle – it certainly doesn’t seem like a particularly sound financial decision. (I was surprised at the recent daily deal of Adventures of Shuggy, too – but at least that game was a port, i.e. it had already been released for some time on XBLA.)
    And IndieRoyale doesn’t allow customers to customize their contributions to the various devs. Does every bundle participant therefore receive the same amount of money? That would make it even more insane to participate in such a bundle with a recently released game…
    Bundle madness indeed.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Wagon Adventure was originally released on XBLIG, not that anybody cares about that service.

      I’d guess the bundle participation is being done for publicity, not straight profit.

      • Bonedwarf says:

        Beg to differ. Some of the best stuff on Xbox is hiding there.

        The big problem is MS’ appalling Metro interface on there now has made it very hard to get noticed, but there are some absolute gems in there. “Dead Pixels” is one of the best Indie games I’ve played.

    • Dr I am a Doctor says:

      lo $ > no $

      True

    • FhnuZoag says:

      Talking out of my arse, but I suppose from a developer point of view, there’s some advantage in just putting the game out there, when you are finished with it. Even if you are selling it for super cheap, it’s helpful to have the game be played, especially if you are having trouble convincing people to pay full price for your games on trust. I know that Christine Love is currently working on a DLC/sequel/prequel/??? for Analogue, so it’ll probably help sales, once that is completed, that as many people have played the original game as possible.

      Personally, though, I kinda already own all the games I’m interested in, with these bundles, so I’m sitting out of this one.

      PS: Go buy Analogue.

      PPS: Where’s my To the Moon bundle, dammit. More people should play that game. You can probably assemble a bundle of all those weird little story games over the years, and I’ll throw SO MUCH MONEY at you.

      • Ravenholme says:

        SHE IS?! YES!

        I bought Analogue when it came out via her site, and I loved the hell out of it. More Analogue is always good.

        I will buy the bundle to furnish my sister and girlfriend with it, though, as every time I’ve mentioned it both have expressed interest (And maybe get myself a steam copy)

  7. Stephen Roberts says:

    Guild Wars 2 is on General Release? What?

    I gotta stop playing Minecraft…

    • trjp says:

      In this era of no-one bothering to sell games in shops anymore, it’s easy to miss a game which isn’t on Steam, isn’t it?

      The “mugs who overpaid” early start had come and gone before I realised – soon I’ll start looking for a cheap copy ;)

      • frightlever says:

        I’m all for cheap copies, but this being a MMORPG without a subscription (but lots of sneaky ways to encourage you to pay for boxing gloves and storage) they’ll probably hold the price up until they’re within a couple of months of the next major DLC/expansion. So probably as much as a year. But, of course, cheap is relative.

        • trjp says:

          The last Guild Wars dropped in price pretty steadily from launch and almost no game can hold a £50 price for any period of time – subs or no subs.

          Skyrim started at £40 and managed to dip under £20 within 6 months – and Bethesda games are usually much more solid than that.

          Retail copies of GW2 appear scarce tho – which may hold those prices up. Digital keys appear even scarcer, the only ‘reputable’ online source in the EU appears to be Coolshop (and I’m really stretching reputable there!!).

          D3 has made it under £30 a few times since launch tho – GW2 will do that too and I’m happy to wait on account of how I have an 8 million game backlog anyway and loads of work to do.

  8. dubusadus says:

    Man, when I see games like Da New Guys or Super Amazing Wagon Adventure, I’m kind of reminded of Winston Rowntree’s “The Good, The Bad, and the Awful of Video Games”. Really loved “Digital: A Love Story” though so I think I’m in for Analogue, at the very least.

    • kalirion says:

      Have you read the reviews of those two games? It appears they fall strictly into “The Good despite being Ugly” category :)

  9. denver83 says:

    I just logged to recommend Defcon! very fun game :)

    • frightlever says:

      Defcon is the only Introversion game I ever spent any time on, and I bought them all. I must see if I still have the save from that first game so I can finish it someday. I kid! I know I don’t have the save.

    • maninahat says:

      Got the bundle almost entirely for Defcon. It was a really a hard choice for me to decide between paying £2 extra, just for the rest.

    • Gonefornow says:

      Defcon is such a cynical game I haven’t been able to try it again.
      There is no politics or diplomacy not even war really, just total annihilation.
      It makes me very uneasy, because it gives me no choice.

      In Master of Orion, for instance, I have no problem bombing a system and then taking it by force later, because I made the call myself.

  10. plsgodontvisitheforums says:

    Indiegala has APOPSTAR!!

    http://www.indiegala.com/

  11. trjp says:

    I’ve tried really hard to get on with Waves but it has 2 big issues and 2 smaller ones which drive me away from it every time.

    Big Issues
    1 – In any shooter I expect to have good and bad games but my score will generally get better over time. My highest score in Waves I got on about my 3rd or 4th ever game – and in any one session there will be a couple of decent scores interspersed randomly with crap ones – conclusion, game is too random.

    2 – the ‘slow down’ mechanic is just plain poor – it really doesn’t buy you much because EVERYTHING slows down INCLUDING you. You score more points but you’ll be frustrated doing it – games aren’t supposed to make you feel like that…

    Smaller issues
    1 – the sense of humour is irritating – if you’re going to put snarky remarks in a game, don’t put them EVERYWHERE – it’s a sign you’re trying too hard (see ‘A Touch of Cloth’ – the worst TV I’ve seen in decades because the writers didn’t know when to stop).

    2 – the voices annoy me but muting them leaves you too little warning when the bomb is available – which is just a plain-good-old-fashioned shitty design.

    YMMV but there are so many fantastic twinstick shooters out there, you don’t need one which, whilst terribly pretty, is really not that good to play.

    • Hulk Handsome says:

      I recommend Scoregasm for a good indie twinstick shooter. It’s utterly fantastic.

      A lot of people seem to like Waves but it just didn’t gel with me at all.

      • TomxJ says:

        Scoregasm is fantastic!

        • trjp says:

          I can also recommend Scoregasm as I’m actually in it – I’m a yellowy ‘Star’ in level 7B ;)

          Different type of game tho – multiple arenas with a focussed challenge of’ ‘not shooting’ as much as possible in many cases.

          Waves tries to play the ‘not shooting to let your scores max-out’ idea but it just gets boring to play it that way. Any game where you have to start by not doing anything for 45 seconds is off to a bad start.

    • valz says:

      Waves is the only twin-stick shooter I’ve played that was even roughly as good as Scoregasm. (Which I probably slightly prefer, but I’m not really sure.) They’re both really awesome and not at all frustrating. They’re really rewarding, and I find myself getting better and better at them the longer I play.

  12. trjp says:

    Not sure if it’s been covered on RPS before but you could easily include the GreenLight Bundle with these 2

    http://www.thegreenlightbundle.com/

    9 days left – not sold that well thusfar but it includes Dinorun SE which is just utterly and totally fantastic and worth the asking price alone.

    I also love the soundtrack and the Pixeljams Album they include – in fact it’s one of my most listened albums in the last year!

  13. MacTheGeek says:

    I read the title as “15 Indie Games for Snotalot”. Anyone have a link to a nasal-mucus-to-currency converter?

  14. Dare_Wreck says:

    Wow, I’ve come pretty close before, but this is the first time I actually DO have every single games in one of the bundles (namely, the Steam one), and I think I accumulated every one of them from various other bundles. Bundlegeddon has finally hit…

    And I agree with FhnuZoag above – I’d really like to see To The Moon in a bundle too.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      And LO! Did the Angel of the Bundle break the Seven EULAs and a great disconnection was felt throughout the Internet. Men screamed. Women wept. Cats spoke French. Monitors across the land turned black as pitch cloth, and the LEDs of optical mice turned a slightly bloodier shade that was quite hard to distinguish from their normal red.

  15. The Random One says:

    I was confused about the Best of British bundle, because I was sure it was identical to the lastest offering by the (original) Humble Bundle. I had to go look in my email to make sure. Naturally, I was simultaneously mistaking Frozen Synapse for Spacechem and Defcom for Uplink, and since those were the two games I was interested in I assumed everything else was the same.

  16. HaVoK308 says:

    Waves alone is worth the price for the Indie Royal bundle. In my opinion.

    DEFCON and Frozen Synapse are both amazing titles. Highly recommend. And you get two copies of Frozen Synapse! Got two when I first purchased it when it was released as well. Great game to play with a friend.

  17. njursten says:

    Eufloria! One of my all time favorites.

  18. eddielee12 says:

    mble Bundle. I had to go look in my email to make sure. Naturally, I was simultaneously mistaking Frozen Synapse for Spacechem and Defc

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