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3 Recent PC Indie Games to Play

by: Finn Orfano ; edited by: Bill Fulks ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

These three recently released video games from independent developers are original and downright fun, each with their own unique voice on what video games are capable of.

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    Braid's difficult puzzles and complex story is designed intentionally to challenge the player's mind. You play as a young man named Tim who is in search of a princess who has been captured by an evil knight. Tim has to go through these different fantasy worlds, each with its own theme and levels, to find out what happened to the princess; at the same time, a deep story is unfolding about him and his relationship with her. Up against your quest to find her are creatures and monsters and the existence of time itself. Though the game looks like a platformer, similar to Super Mario Bros., it's actually more of a puzzle game. Tim does not share similar skills like Mario with his agile jumps and fireballs. Instead, Tim has the power to rewind time. In this game you will never die. If you fall off an edge or get hit by an enemy, you have to just rewind back to the past when none of this happened. The only thing that can stop your ultimate goal is when you can't figure out the puzzles; unless you solve all the puzzles, you cannot reach to the next world. There are puzzle pieces placed in different ares of each stage, so your goal is to figure out how to get them. Since the gameplay revolves around time, each world that Tim enters will have a theme related to it, like one where everything around you is moving backwards in time as you're moving forward. This may sound weird and confusing but this gameplay is fun and rewarding since it presents plenty of challenges.

    The puzzles may be frustrating if you don't pay attention to the details surrounding you, but the time-related themes in Braid ties in well with its well developed story, something not as shallow as a Mario game would be. Braid's plot about Tim, the princess, the storybooks, is all carefully planned and designed here to tell a tale that is more than just about saving a princess. The style of writing in Braid story is more in line with something you would find from a piece of literature than a video game cut scene. Braid is no doubt a game that sets it apart from others for its original take on the 2D platformer and storytelling.

    Braid Website

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    Braid Screenshot

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    Crayon Physics Deluxe and Spelunky

    Are on the next page...

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    Crayon Physics Deluxe

    Crayon Physics Deluxe is a 2D puzzle game where your mouse becomes your pencil to draw objects that are your tools for solving the various challenges in the game. Crayon Physics Deluxe is basically about art and physics. The objective is to guide a little red ball to the yellow stars placed at different spots in each level. In your way will be several obstacles so you will have to rely on your drawings to help solve the puzzles. The levels are based on gravity so what you draw will be affected by it. On the first level, you draw a round shape above the red ball and watch it drop down knocking the red ball forward to reach the star.It sounds simple at first when the early levels serves as an effective tutorial to get you familiar with the game mechanics. You begin learning to draw straight lines that serve as ramps or bridges so your red ball can move forward across gaps. Later on the game becomes more challenging when you have to draw pulleys, seesaws, and trapezoids. But the game is not strictly linear, as there is more than one solution for many of the levels' puzzles. That's where your creativity comes into the play, where how you solve one puzzle may be different from another player because of what you drew.

    The sweet and charming interface suits well with the game's premise, with stages and maps that look like pictures from a child's crayon drawings. The music is also well done here, with it soft and peaceful melodies that fit well with the game's theme revolving on childhood.

    The technical aspects of the game is very good. The game's interface responds well to the pictures you draw and the gravity most of the time works under the concepts of Newton. Even though Crayon Physics Deluxe has a simple premise of being a simple “get A to B” destination type of game, as well having the theme revolve around crayons, the puzzles caters well for teens and adults too.

    Crayon Physics Deluxe Website

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    Crayon Physics Deluxe Screenshot

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    Spelunky is an original and fun 2D platformer, a throwback to some of the classic adventure games from the 1980s with its 8-bit pixel graphics. You play as a treasure hunter going through various caves grabbing coins and gems, items, and damsels in distress; at the same time you have to either avoid or fight enemies from the likes of spiders and cavemen. In this game, you do play like a treasure hunter, with an Indiana Jones vibe to it, since you go around looking for gold and hidden treasures. You can also crawl on the ground to find hidden coins, use your rope to climb your way up or down, and grab rocks to throw at enemies. You begin at the top of these caves and work your way down towards the bottom where the exit is. Certain items you grab like golden idols gives you more money so you kind of have to strategize as to what paths you want to take; some routes may lead to more money but can also bring more challenges ahead for you. Plenty of gold may be worth it since they can be spent at a shop to buy items for yourself like equipment and ammo. The standout feature in Spelunky is the procedurally generated levels, meaning that every time you start a new game the levels will be randomly changed, so items, enemies, and platforms won't be where they used to be previously. It's a perfect combination for a platformer since it means plenty of replayability so the game won't become so predictable. Don't expect an easy game either as this is a difficult platformer where you have to be good with your reflexes, going against plenty of challenging enemies and obstacles from giant spiders, spikes, and rolling boulders.

    Spelunky Website

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    Spelunky Screenshot