Curve Digital is best known around these parts as the development studio behind Stealth Bastard [official site] but the British studio has also worked on some major indie ports, including OlliOlli, Thomas Was Alone, Proteus and Lone Survivor. Most of those ports have been from PC to console, bringing indie games to new audiences. With the newly announced Indie Mixtape, Curve is hoping to achieve something similar, entirely within the PC ecosystem. The Mixtape is a bundle of five lesser-known titles that will be released together on Steam for £6.99/$9.99/€9.99.
I’m skeptical about this sort of thing. If I see a book in the independent shop around the corner, my first reaction isn’t to run to Waterstones in the hope that the book is available there as well. That’s how we end up with one store to rule them all.
On the other hand, the people who created these games would probably like to take up some shelf-space in The One Store. Curve certainly makes the deal sound attractive:
By helping to get the games onto Steam and offering a generous revenue share above that of a typical publishing agreement, We are helping up-and-coming indies by giving them the ability to have their work seen and purchased by a much greater audience, giving them a steady revenue stream while they work on their next titles.
Nowt wrong with that. I guess my concern is that other stores need exposure and steady revenue streams as well. To that end, here are the five games included, along with links to the places they’re available right now, before the Mixtape releases next month.
First up is Laza Knitez!!, a frenetic local multiplayer lance ’em up. It’s available on Itch.io. Detective Chirpums, a detective adventure game about birds that hatched from the most hardboiled of eggs, is also available on Itch.io. Randomised, super-fast and vibrantly colourful, hets is also available on Itch.io.
Surely “not-quite-euclidean” puzzle game Test Chamber isn’t also available on Itch.io? It is! And that just leaves us with Roguelight, the only one of the five that I’ve played (it’s fab), which is available on Itch.io.
I wish the Mixtape well and hope that it helps to bring the games to a wider audience while helping to fund further work from the developers. I’d love to see sales figures before and after Steam – it’ll help, of course, but I wonder how much its impact has been lessened now that the “shelves” are busier than ever before.