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In a fit of serendipitous timing, the day after I wrote my last post regarding Mobile Apps as a complement to PC gaming, a new indie Humble Bundle has surfaced specifically aimed at Android Phones*.

It's a small bundle this time with only 4 games on offer, some of which are quite old now to boot, but the idea is that whilst there's versions for Windows, Mac and Linux in there as well as Android, the point of it is as an introduction to Humble Bundles for mobile platforms. The games included in it are available directly from the Android Market as well.

Humble Bundle for Android logo

The games one gets with this particular bundle are:-

World of Goo - a physics puzzler that's become a well-known classic over the last few years
Edge - another physics puzzler of a completely different sort
Osmos - yet another physics puzzler of yet another different type with a lovely soundtrack
Anomaly - a tactical squad strategy/tower attack game that plays in realtime

World of Goo App   Edge EX App   Osmose HD App   Anomaly HD App

World of Goo is the bonus game for paying over the average and whilst it's old hat now, it's a game that suits a mobile platform very well. You control balls of black goo that buzz around a framework you pull and stretch into shape from said balls of goo, the aim being to get some of them from the starting point to an end point to progress to the next level. Think standard bridge builder with a squishy theme.

Edge comes in two varieties, regular and EX (extended). The extended version is more like Edge 1.5 with additions to the gameplay, levels and a graphics engine update. The aim is to flip a cube around a puzzle-maze, collecting flashing blocks ont he way and not falling off the edges. It's a cute game but I found the controls to be very inconsistent: moving your finger 2 millimetres on screen might make the cube barely wobble, or it might send it screaming off at top speed to plung over the edge in a blur.

Osmos comes in HD format and is another older game, this time with the focus being on patience and attempting to be a relaxing game. You're an amoeba-like lifeform whose main goal is to absorb smaller amoebas to grow whilst not being absorbed by bigger amoebas. There's all sorts of obstacles such as evil amoebas that hunt you, 'food' that is harmful, currents in the medium you're floating through and so on.

Anomaly is also in HD format and runs with the age-old theme of alien incursions on Earth (in this case in Baghdad, which is an... interesting choice of city, especially given your rescue squad is British). Aliens towers have sprouted up and you're assigned resources to purchase vehicles that will follow a course you plot beforehand to blow them up. Meanwhile you use various special effects to help them, hinder the towers and grab power replenishments before the next threat looms.


Overall

I've found the games are good to while away time when travelling, and Anomaly looks like it could give Ghost Recon on the 3DS a run for it's money in terms of hours of gameplay, though it burns battery fast. Osmose is a bit jumpy on the difficulty curve, with some later stages being significantly easier than some of the early ones. Edge's control issues are proving to be awkward to get over for me, and World of Goo is OK but I never got into it on the PC and it doesn't look like that will change any time soon.

On a technical note, once the bundle is purchased you pick which versions of the games to download where, such as the windows versions to a Windows PC then the android APKs to your phone, either directly or through another device with internet. My phone's native browser had issues with the download of the APK from the Humble Bundle site and in the end I grabbed them on my PC and Dropboxed over. Your mileage may vary.

* As a note, the games can be found seperately for iDevices as well.
achtungexplosiv: (Default)
It's that time again for Indie game developers to band together and release their offerings packed together for whatever you, the buyer, wants to pay. The Humble Indie Bundle concept has been a massive success so far and the next installment is already on the go.

Humble Bundle 4 Logo

The offer is on for another 12 days from today, and you can choose whether you want ot DL the games directly, or go through another medium such as Steam. The games are available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS though there is a warning about some games not working with the cheaper integrated graphics chips found in lower end laptops or netbooks

As with the previous offers, there is a basic pack on offer and if you pay more than the average donation amount, you will get a second set of games added in. In this instance, the additional games are more offerings from the Frozenbyte studio. This Finnish company made it's name recently with the multiplayer physics-driven platformer Trine and it's successor Trine 2, both of which were popular on Steam. What sets this bundle apart slightly is that there is only one core game in the main pack: Frozen Synapse. This turn-based strategy game has done the rounds, being a fairly recent release, and has had good reviews. The rest of the games are the over-the-average bonus material, with two bonus bonus unfinished game betas.


The haul

The games found in this bundle are a mix of finished products, some of which have released previously, and two unfinished games.

The basic bundle:-
  • Frozen Synapse which, as mentioned above, is a multiplayer take on the RTS genre offering simultaneous play. Tactical planning and a dose of good luck are key here.
The extras:-
  • Trine, as also mentioned above, which supports up to 3 players in a side-scrolling platformer with very fine graphics. Pick from a choice of Theif, Knight or Wizard and by switching between them or working together with friends you can progress through the levels.
  • Shadowgrounds, a fairly old top-down shooter with a Doom-esque story that's fun to play if lacking in polish.
  • Shadowgrounds: Survivor, which is the sequel to Shadowgrounds and is set after the original game. It contains many of the same elements as the original game and reminds me of Alien Swarm.
  • Splot hasn't yet been finished so it'll be Downloaded later on. It looks to be a surreal physics-based platformer.
  • Jack Claw, which was canceled during development and remains unfinished. I don't know much about it yet other than it looks to be an action game involving someone named Jack who has a mechanical claw-like appendage that can be used to grapple, throw etc.

Hopefully I'll get the chance to spend some quality time on the games this weekend and can report back later on how they pan out. The current average donation is under $5 so for $5+, you get all of those games above which is a pretty good deal in my opinion.
achtungexplosiv: (Default)
Logo


The third of the Humble Indie Bundles was released to great acclaim on July 26th and was available to download for as much or as little as you wanted to pay the developers until August 8th. In it, there are a variety of short and sweet games produced by small independent developers crossing a broad spectrum of genres and the third's contents were as follows:-
  • Atom Zombie Smasher wherein you attempt to save citizens of a city from an oncoming zombie invasion in realtime strategy.
  • And Yet It Moves which is best described as a Paper Mario-esque platformer where the player can rotate the world as needed to turn walls into floors etc.
  • Crayon Physics Deluxe that, despite the name, isn't about the physics of crayons but rather the physics of a ball that you guide by drawing out a course with crayons.
  • Cogs which is a simple sliding-blocks puzzle game with audio and 3-dimensional components as well, all presented in a cutesy steampunk style.
  • Hammerfight is a physics engine wrapped in sword-swinging combat that aims for more realistic melee fighting than the usual 'press button, do the same attack as the last 6478 presses'.
  • Steel Storm was introduced after the initial release and harks back to the old shooters of yore with the player controlling a hovertank, blasting enemies and grabbing powerups (also supports multiplayer play though I haven't tested it).
  • VVVVVV has the silliest name of the bundle and looks like a pre-8-bit platformer but is in actual fact a puzzler where you have to flip between floor and ceiling to progress through each screen.

Though this release is officially number 3, there have been 4 in the series so far: Bundle #1, Bundle #2, Frozenbyte Bundle and of course Bundle #3.

The idea behind the series of bundles is to cut out the games distributors and offer them directly from the developers at a cost of whatever you, the purchaser, wish to donate. It can be obtained for as little as 1 cent, and if you are on Steam you can be given a key so that Steam will download, install and manage the games for you. There's often other freebies thrown in as well, such as those who grab a Bundle before a certain date get another game free of charge on top, or access to Minecraft for a while. For Bundle #3, there was a promotion whereby if you paid above the average donation, you'd get further games added in: Braid, Cortex Command, Machinarium, Osmos and Revenge of the Titans.


For 1 cent, you say

Financially, the Bundles have been a huge success for the game developers in combining lower costs by dealing directly with the playerbase and the donation system meaning those who wanted to support the teams behind it all could give more than what would have been the full retail price of the games on store shelves (estimated at approximately $50 all in); for example Minecraft's Notch tossed in $2000. This is despite the rampant piracy of the games, made easier by the intentional lack of DRM within the Bundle's games. Proceeds go to the developers and also to nominated charities such as Child's Play and Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Personally, I think this is a great initiative. If you don't pay $50 that's fine because it wouldn't have cost that much anyway, given there's no packaging, shipping or retailer involved: just some internet bandwidth costs and a website.

Of course, you'll get people that complain and whine about the games and it's funny to note that most of those paid the minimum of 1 cent for the lot as well. Perhaps they feel that as they haven't made much of an investment in it, they're not prepared to give it a proper chance or to overlook little imperfections. But enough about people's sense of entitlement! I'd expect Bundle #4 to be in the woorks soon...

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achtungexplosiv

May 2012

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