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The best of Indie Games Uprising III

With Indie Games Uprising III now over, it’s time to look back and pick out the titles worthy of your attention.

Being that XBLI is an area much left to its own devices, here’s hoping this can get you to check it out and unearth a few gems hidden within the muck.

There are two awards being given: Best of Indie Games Uprising III and Most Original Vision.

The first is self explanatory, while the latter is not related directly to the quality of the end product but what it attempted to achieve. With no publisher or third party financial risks, the indie environment allows for greater experimentation which unfortunately rarely happens.

Any experimental behaviour is this domain – no matter the outcome – should be encouraged. 2012 has been a derivative year in gaming, and it’s down to the Indies to provide a glimmer of originality.

Best of Indie Games Uprising III: qrth-phyl

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Snake in 3D. Those words alone will put most readers off this title. Thankfully, qrth-phyl is a complete joy. Its depth is always out of reach and there’s something truly dreamlike and otherworldly at play. Cheaper than a can of fizzy carbonated syrup, this is a must.

Read the full review

Most Original Vision: City Tuesday

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Admittedly lacking in actual game, Chris Zukowski’s City Tuesday is the most unique I’ve played this year. Attempting to prevent a terrorist attack by studying the environment for clues, this diligently removes guns, explosions and romance for something all together different.

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And now for the rest of the participants listed in order of recommendation:

Gateways

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From the creator of The Adventures of Shuggy comes Gateways, a portal-based side-scrolling puzzler that opens with a piece of music that wouldn’t have been misplaced on James Cummins‘ 1991 horror film Boneyard. Not that Gateways has anything to do with a paranormal investigator sporting an aggressive mullet, undead children, dismemberment or a ten foot killer poodle.

Read the full review

Smooth Operators

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Even with the downtime, Smooth Operators is an instantly accessible sim with plenty to do at a minimal entry cost that’s less than the charges for inbound calls in my growing call centre.

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Diehard Dungeon

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Diehard Dungeon is a quick, enjoyable romp: A 16-bit inspired pseudo-predecessor to the dungeon crawl genre.

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Pixel

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For all its control faults, Pixel is a short, honest blast that’s an indie free-run and puzzle-gun affair.

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Xenominer

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Gristmill studios are named after the grinding mechanism for turning grain into flour. This is fitting considering the voxel-based survival sandbox they’ve created with Xenominer. Shunning the easy route of undeniably ripping off Minecraft and throwing in zombies yet again, this sandbox takes places on an alien world where survival is as relevant as mining.

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Entrophy

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In what could be the first video game where you play a brick from a wall, the pink orb awaits for you to approach with a sense of both fascination and dread. As you move closer it screeches and flies away, carrying with it the sound of an old wind-up musical box out of tune.

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Sententia

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Akin to the niche music genres that rotate around styles such as full blown electronic noise and free-jazz, whose creators often have a much more personal adventure in these performance arts and its creation than the audience does, Sententia is an idea ran to its natural conclusion: an independent showcase of one man’s ideas that, unfortunately, its audience will struggle to appreciate in the same way.

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The author of this fine article

is the Deputy Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in December 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @shaneryantb.

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