The Best British Indie Games (That I Played)

By Leon Hurley on at

You've still got a couple of days to catch the Radius Festival today and tomorrow and I thoroughly recommend it. Loads of interesting indie games to play, devs to meet and generally great fun all round. I couldn't see everything (and sorry if I missed you) but here's the stuff I did see and really enjoyed.

Terra Tech Game (PC)

This was probably my game of the show: a big chunky construction kit of a game that sees you bolting blocks together and adding wheels, guns, wings, jets and so on to create all sorts of (in my case) lumpy Franken-vehicles. There's a plot of sorts with different corporations feuding and providing different styles of construction parts and resource gathering, but for me I just loved the sheer joy of clumping things together and seeing what I could create. That included the best part of an hour trying to make a flying machine to beat a distance record.

You can find out more here on the kickstarter which starts on Monday the 23rd.

Mucho Party (iOS)

This is already out and well worth the £2.50 it costs for about 60-odd 30 second mini games. Think Bishi Bashi or WarioWare, this is a lovely party game for two to eight players (anything 2+ being a league format). It's all about frantic tapping, shouting and not knowing what's going on until the mini-game's nearly over. There's a beautifully crazy mix of weirdness and colour that makes me happy just thinking about it.

Kingdoms (iOS)

tumblr_n5s37t8Ej01tcnip2o1_1280

This is a murderously compelling exercise in frustration and victory. Kingdom's effectively a simple board game of which the basic rules hide a devious and competitive depth. Players can claim squares adjacent to their own with the aim being to take your opponent's base. You can claim empty square and that of your enemy. However, if you cut off any of your rival's squares, separating them from the base, then you claim them all, meaning a single well placed move can decimate you or your rival. It's also possible to 'fortify' a square, preventing it from being taken from a certain direction. It's like super minimal chess

Volume (PS4/VITA/PC)

Watching Volume evolve has been a fascinating few months. When I first saw it, hungover at last year's Develop, it was a basic concept built out of pre-made Unity assets. Now it's a fizzy looking stealth puzzler built from clean lines and rooms that can seem impossible at first glance. It distills the bear minimum from the core mechanics (which are so MGS VR Missions it hurts), using gadgets and patrol routes to create something with all the solution seeking strategy of a turn-based battle system, only in real time. More at the official site.

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build (PC)

This is the kind of game that involves staring more than playing: looking at the screen in search of an apparently impossible solution only for the answer to drop into your brain like a stroke inducing reality shift.  The concept is simple as you construct a snowman made up of three sequentially sized balls. The trick is that you have to roll these spheres around and if they go over snow they increase in size. It's a perfect blend of blank faced incomprehension followed by hair-tingling moments of realisation. There's also something quite charming about watching the little blank monster wave, shrug and name each snow man or woman he builds, "ANDY!" There's a lot of character in that minimal art style.

AGoodSnowman_Screenshot_2

Not A Hero (PC)

I've been a fan of Not A Hero since I played the original 'Ur Not A Hero' version last year. It's a fast, messy side scrolling shooter with a cover mechanic where you return fire from the safety of shadows and slide from spot to spot. While it's not quite built from the same score chasing precision of Roll 7's other game, OlliOlli, there's a definite pleasure to a well played run as you dip in and out of gunfire and dash between executions. The range of characters add specific abilities (shoot while sliding for example) while nail bombs and other pick ups add an extra level to the gunplay when used well. It's also sort of adorably sick as characters fall to their knees with faces blow off and blood splattering everywhere.

cfa0c0_bb3bf6b6316c48bc9a07129b1a1e520a.gif_srz_p_512_228_75_22_0.50_1.20_0

0rbitalis (PC)

This is a soothing take on gravity as you launch objects in search of looping, swinging orbits around a variety of gravitationally active bodies. The controls are super simple with you just stretching out trajectory and strength before releasing your shot and waiting. It's a stress free puzzler with objectives more about achieving time limits rather than any impossible stablity. Despite currently only being on Steam Early Access it does feel like a game suited to a tablet thanks to it's easy going sofa-friendly nature.