Opinion Piece: Don’t Forget the Indies!

It was only recently that I’ve actually started putting more time aside to play indie games. With so many triple A titles coming out these days and limited time to play them all, it’s easy to forget about the smaller titles. And when I say indie, I’m not so much talking about studios like ours (Climax Studios). I’m more thinking more along the lines of FEZ, Super Meat Boy and Antichamber – games that were developed with minimal funding and by a few people (whether self-published or published by someone else). Indie studios like our or Telltale don’t operate the same way as these indie studios. Certainly we’re independent, but a 26 year old studio with over 100 employees that has worked with many major IPs (we made 2 of the Silent Hill games) and with many of the big publishers is not what comes to most people’s minds when you say ‘indie’. I think we do need to come up with a better term, but that’s a matter for another day. So what’s so charming about these truly small budget, but not always small scale indie projects? Why am I suggesting taking precious gaming time out for games like Antichamber or Monaco? I’m of course not saying you should stop playing AAA titles or bigger indie titles, only that these smaller titles deserve a place in your heart too. Continue reading

Fake Difficulty in Games

So what am I talking about when I say ‘fake difficulty’? I don’t mean that the game is not difficult, but that devs make the game ‘harder’ by fiddling with numbers to make it more difficult to achieve objectives in a very superficial and unsatisfying way. An example of this is increasing enemy damage by 200% for hard mode without adjusting anything else. It’s not that these methods of increasing ‘fake difficulty’ shouldn’t be done at all or that they can’t be incorporated into making a genuinely fun and challenging experience, but if done badly, it can make playing it feel tedious. Often difficulty modes are tacked on at the end of the development process, so even while the Normal mode might feel very well-balanced, the more difficult modes can often feel very out of wack, because little thought has been put into how superficial increases like making enemies deal more damage can affect the overall experience. Continue reading

Resogun: In with the new, out with the old (sort of)

Image belongs to Housemarque

Image belongs to Housemarque

As those of you who follow me on Twitter (@CheeeseToastie) probably know, the delayed launch of the PS4 for Europe left me foaming at the mouth in anticipation, even though there weren’t that many launch titles I was really that excited about. So when I finally received it and after drooling over my beautiful new console for a while, I decided to sample a bunch of the games I’d bought for it, the first being Killzone: Shadow Fall. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that the game that kept drawing me back again and again was the indie title Resogun by Housemarque . At the moment, it’s my favourite game on PS4 hands down. Resogun is an impressive looking and ridiculously addictive sidescrolling shooter that rotates 360 degrees around a central hub. While it’s unrelentingly and unapologetically old school, it’s also refreshingly original and somehow feels like a true next gen experience. Continue reading