Indie Gems

A blog for indie games lover
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Hi, everyone... How things going on? Been a long time since my last post. Today, I bring 2 news for you all, the good and the bad one. Which one should go first? Guess, the bad one.
Alright... here is the bad news, I would like to say sorry for any email request from dear developers. Unfortunately, at my current state, I can't promise if I can make any review of your games especially in a quick period. However, if you want a shout out, feel free to tweet me or send me an email (press kit). I will be happy to forward the email for my friends in Tech In Asia Games and tell the world about your games :)

The good news, this blog won't be extinct, of course not... It's been almost 3 years since I create this blog in 2013, dedicated to discover hidden gems on the app store from scratch. I won't abandon this, never. I promise you all. However, due to my occupation, there won't be any regular update for the blog, but for regular update you can check videos on my YouTube Channel (if nothing happened, new videos will be uploaded every weekends :D yey) and for the blog, I try my best to keep this updated at least twice a month :).

So today, if you're busy like me and still want to enjoy your gaming life, let's take a look into these 2 games. Both of the games can be finished in 15-30 minutes depends on your capability. The first one is Samantha Browne, a simple point and click adventure game about an introvert girl who wants to make oatmeal in the kitchen and second one is Lost Track, an adventure game about exploration into your inner self. Enjoy :)!

Fun facts: Both of these games kinda reminds me of myself. Well, not really same, but for some reasons this kinda represent of my myself.

Samantha Browne by Lemonsucker Games



Platform: iOS, PC
Price: Free
Duration: 10-30 minutes
Keyword: Experimental, Point and Click, Adventure, Short Experience


Samantha is an introvert, almost anti-social person in real life, also has low self confidence. She chooses to avoid the crowd since she has no idea with those people. However, one day she feels so hungry and need to go to the kitchen for making oatmeal. Here, your main goal for helping Samantha to go to the kitchen and make the oatmeal. Samantha Browne is a choose your own adventure game, you'll gonna see hunger bar in the top of the screen and every choice that you made give an impact on Samantha. If you're pretty lucky with your choices you'll finish this game in one playthrough, if not you might need some trial error and see some possibility bad ending of this game. You can see my playthrough video below, and I failed twice here. Attention, spoiler alert!



Lost Track by VIA University College, Campus Horsens



Platform: iOS (Universal)
Price: Free
Duration: 30 minutes
Keyword: Abstract, Surreal, Experimental, Short Experience


First, use your best headphone while playing this game. Second, allow the microphone options on your device. Like Samantha, Lou also a boy who lack of confidence to talk with the girl who draw his attention. However, in lost track you'll gonna see something which pretty much surreal and abstract about the way you find your inner self. Don't worry nothing horror inside this game. Lost Track is a great short experimental game that succeed to deliver the message with its sound and visual aspect. Moreover, the way you play your game (Look, Listen, Speak) are the keys in real life, if you like to approach any person who draw your attention.


Ps: Control movement is kinda hard especially for turn around, but still acceptable. Hope it can be improved later if they decided to develop the extended version of this game :)


Hi there, it's been a month since my last post here on my blog. I have so many topic to share here. However I'm pretty much busy nowadays with my thesis. Yes, it's a though life for a final year student like me :p. Anyway, I need your help to fill out my questionnaire here. The questionnaire is about freemium monetization model. Bit leak information, me and my friend are developing a freemium game right now. We're in 'tough' position where it's bit impossible to change about the gameplay for this time. So we decided to make a little research to discover the best combination of freemium element for a free-to-play game. This isn't applied just for our game only but I believe it'll be much helpful for other indie devs too who decided to go with freemium model.

Freemium Model Monetization Research


If you're a developer/ publisher want to fill out the questionnaire, that's okay and I really grateful for you. However, I hope you can place yourself as a consumer/ player position here. We try to discover the best free-to-play design element together, and I will share the result once it got at least 100 respondents on this blog also Touch Arcade forum since I ask much help from its community.

I don't know how much respond will I got by posting this on my blog, since this is a tiny and bit under radar blog hehe. Well, at least I need to try my best for my thesis. So far, I've got about 70 respondents and more than 50% respondents live in Asia. I wish all of you can help me spread about this news. The deadline will be in December 2015, but it'll be much better if I can get the data asap. Thank you so much for your time.
Clone clone clone, it's an easy or probably the first word that out from your mouth(s) while we're seeing a similar game pop out on the app store/ play store. Ironically, not few of us also knows more about the clone itself more than we know the original one. I'm a gamer who enjoy to play games on mobile, so I'm bit annoyed while in fact, most of my friends more know and play the clone version of the game rather than play the original one.

Alright... so what's actually a clone is?

Clone definition is a new thing that was made identically with the original one without even put some improvement inside it. Easy example, let's just take Flappy Bird game. Well, most of us know how the IronPants clones Flappy Bird, just few weeks after its released. Basically the first version of that game just a re-skin without effort to put anything else inside the game. It just turning the bird into superman alike..

Other examples are Timberman clones, Shredd clones, Wave Wave clones, On The Line Clones, Blek clones, Threes clones, and many more. It's not like that I'm not honoring their efforts to clone the game, sure, it's not an easy work to develop a game. However, well... they cheat, they 'steal' others's work and in my opinion they don't deserve any medal for this kind of work.

On The Line by Kevin Choteau (012414)


VS


 The Line by Ketchapp (052914)

Threes by Sirvo (012314)


VS


 2048 by Ketchapp (031914)

Okay? by Phillip Stollenmayer (022215)

 VS 


Okay2015 (073015)

Bouncy Bit by Dead Serious Media (022114)

 VS 

Bouncy Ninja (072014)

Unpossible by Acceleroto (041614)

VS

Impossibly Unpossible by Sunanda (122214)

People said that the idea is free, yes that's definitely right. We can't trademark the feeling when we're playing a specific game, even the gameplay. If we put copyright to them, said endless runner game... Right now, we won't see any endless runner game after canabalt on mobile. Well.. or may be there's another runner game on mobile that older than Canabalt which is probably I don't know. However, how we develop the idea, from a bare mind, doodling on the paper, and turn it into a solid game, that's ain't an easy nor short progress. Our effort after several months even years got copied-ripped off, just few months after we released the game even worst.

I'm not hating clone, sometimes it's even better than the original one if we make it right. Actually, clone isn't that bad if you turn the term of 'clone' into 'inspiration'. Clone is definitely an inspiration, but inspiration isn't always end up as a clone. Said Monument Valley vs Miika. Both of them kinda have similar vibes. However, they have different goals, different levels, also different design. The overall gameplay may look similar at glance, but in fact Miika isn't a clone of Monument Valley nor the opposite.


Other example is Crossy Road vs Frogger, people said Crossy Road copied Frogger, yes the idea is same. Because idea is free, but you can't say such of cheap thing easily like that. If you said that Hipster Whale's successful isn't deserved, then why there're so many similar games out after that? Following the popular way, by copying other.. huh? You just wish you have execute the idea before Hipster Whale did, don't you? Probably, you'll make big hit if you doing that before Hipster Whale did... who knows ;]

Crossy Road is definitely highly inspired by Frogger, but the game itself is kinda different. That's not a game where Hipster Whale doesn't put any effort into it. First, Crossy Road has 3D objects for the game, it means that the creator should turn all the objects inside 'frogger' into 3D objects. Second, Crossy Road has so many characters not just a frog, and third it has ads (no, I'm kidding :p). Okay third, Frogger is a level based game while Crossy Road is an endless game. Those are different things, and we can't say if that's a clone, it ain't cheap too for made all of those 3D assets duh!

Frogger

What I hate nowadays is a fact that some developers clone a game without even put more effort into it. Worst thing, they just change the objects color and brave enough to put 'Original word' on their game's description. Da heck!

Few days ago, I also found out if there's a developer cloned Okay? game by Kamibox bluntly. Well, it doesn't really bother me to be honest, but the fact that it's listed under paid game section at first that made me mad. Why? I don't know, you can say me as a naive person, but the fact that the original one cost free, while the clone one is a paid game is ridiculous. Seriously, how can? or in rough said, you can say that the actual developer will eat once a day, meanwhile the 'thief' can eat twice a day.

The worst thing is sometimes I'm wondering the credibility of AppStore, when I'm really admiring AppStore I'm also wondering how can the review team can let so many clones passed while other one, such as... said a parody game named Kill The Plumber got rejected by the App Store. Pretty ridiculous, does the 'actual' review team were sleeping when the clones games get submitted into App store review?

Kill The Plumber got rejected by App Store

In the end, for the developer itself, if their game got cloned, sometimes it can bring an advantage meaning too. Well, it's pretty clear, if that means your game was worthy enough and people love your game, that's why your game got copied. If not, why they should clones/ copy your game?

Another one, still it's a fact that you're the first one who develop the idea, and at the same time I believe that you'll also have the 'B' plan to improve your work. Try to reach back to the surface by proving out that you're still the original one, not them.

FAQ:


- Don't you think if clones are same with McDonald and KFC selling chickens or Domino and Pizza Hut selling the pizza? Does it mean if KFC clones McD too or the opposite? Who's fault here?

Good question. In general, I can say yes. Both of them still game from different sellers. However, both of them also have similar 'tastes' which was built by 'seasoning' that got 'stolen'. If KFC and McD has similar taste- (look) by using different seasoning. Why games should have same- exact seasoning inside while in fact you can develop the 'taste' to the different new level, said to 'sweet','bitter','sour', or 'salty'. Why the one who clones the game isn't confident enough to put more/ different seasonings for bringing a new 'level-taste' of their game?

Said Blek, it had a 'clone-highly influence game' that I respected named 'Echo Glass'. At glance, the game definitely looks same. However the developer invert the gameplay to something that bring the 'new taste' into the game which can't be found it on Blek.

Echo Glass (042414)


Blek (120213)

We need to make money, use the ideas that's currently popular is easier for us. Why we need more effort to make a design from scratch ? Do you know if it'll consume too much time and money.

Well, let me give you my analogy here. If you eat a piece of chocolate for the first time, you'll treasure, eat and feel the taste of truly chocolate slowly, you want to make sure if you 'touch' every side of the chocolate.
Then someone gives you the same chocolate to taste, you still taste it gladly and feel if it's great to have more. Then more people come and serve you the same chocolate at the same day (short time period) ask you to taste it. What will you do?

If I were you, I feel sick of them all of sudden. I won't to taste them anymore, 1 is great, 2 are okay, 3 are not bad, but more than 5 is suck. Why don't that person try to put strawberry jam or peanut inside that chocolate, I believe it'll be taste better than using the same 'flavor' over and over..

App Store and Google Play has bunch of same games released everyday. Without put something different, your game definitely won't last for a long time there. It's like you dropping rice inside rice mountain but when you drop a diamond, whenever someone found it, it'll be still ended up as diamond.

Conclusion:


Clone isn't a bad thing, but at least try to turn it into inspiration. Put something new, something different that you can't found on the original one. Bring it to be more perfect by using your touch, not just make it same without any difference or it'll be ended up as nothing without meaning

Before I start, let's take a look on my upcoming mobile game wishlist. Checked, and as you can see, there's Seashine on the list. I'm pretty lucky can try the game first before its officially released. Right now, it's on beta session and planned to be released on August 23, 2015 for free on Android and Amazon. It'll be released on September 3, 2015 for the iOS version.

So, what is Seashine?


If you're too lazy, just skip this 'boring' text and watch my preview video below instead. However, if you want to read more intense paragraphs, just promise me, you won't missed any single word inside this post :p haha

When I found out about this game last year, I'm pretty excited to play this game... since it has glowing effect inside... no just kidding. The game definitely looks pretty interesting with that jellyfish swimming around and try escaping from that creepy ugly fish. At first, I think it'll be a level based game since I'm pretty tired with endless game. However, I might went wrong this time, after played few times yesterday I found out that if this endless game not as bad as I might think.

Seashine has non-linear progress, I mean, it's not just like you run and passed from one environment to other one, or jump to the up side and face those similar obstacles over and over. Here on Seashine, you'll control the jellyfish by swiping your finger on the screen. The jellyfish can face different things everytime you play. You can meet anglerfish, piranha, puffer fish, and many more. Sometimes if you're lucky enough you can grab chest which has star inside. What's star? Star is kind 'extra life' here, or I can say kinda used for cheating if you don't eat enough little fishes to support your lifetime here. 



Everytime you move the jellyfish, it'll consume energy that can be seen on the top of the screen. You need to stay alive by eating smaller fishes around. Pity fishes :(! The darker and the deeper of abyss that you explored, the easier of your light to decrease, and you'll die once your light fades out. It's pretty interesting since you also can 'teleport'- got sucked by hole and go to another part of abyss. If you're lucky enough you might find more glowing fishes on there, but it's not always as smooth as you wish. Sometimes, you'll face hungry fishes and you need to swim faster, escaping from that fishes or you'll die miserably.

Seashine world feels very huge until sometime I feel lost inside, it's not just once I trapped on the dead-end way. I wish I have enough time to draw the map about Seashine world. The game requires quick thinking since your energy will be drained every time you moving. I also curious to trick the piranha someday, wanting to meet the carnivorous plant, and find the submarine too. 

Let me find you someday, friend!
Run!... I mean swim!
Seashine was planned to be released on August 23, 2015 for the Android version. It'll be a freemium game... Boo! Oh, come on.. Don't get me wrong. Freemium aspect isn't that bad at all, at least here. No timer, no energy system. The only kind IAP inside the game just for buying stars. Pretty consumptive kind of IAP, but not really necessary to be bought. However, you might buy the IAP just for support the dev :). The only ads that implemented here is video ads (at least I only found them so far). The video ads used for gaining 3-5 stars for free.

TL; DR, Seashine is a game with calming soundtrack which is actually doesn't feel like an usual endless game. It's more like an unlimited journey with different 'story' everytime you play. It's same like you woke up in the morning, finished same activities but at the same time you'll also faced different persons, different problems on that day too. That's what Seashine do... Brings different feeling for every journey we make.

So, what's going on everybody? Unlike usual, this week wasn't excited enough for me. As an iOS gamer, every thursday is felt like a christmas day where you can find bunch of new games on the App Store. I'm not satisfied enough when I knew Stella was another AB series, meanwhile I hope Rovio can give us more than a slingshot game. Let's pray for Angry Bird Transformer will be a TPS game or may be RPG game. How about that Ubisoft game? Hmm, Valiant Heart is probably good, since my friend praised it so much for the console version of the game. However, well the game might not my cup of tea. So here is my watchlist or wishlist (or whatever it called) from now till the end of 2014 2015.

Ps: The article will be update regularly as soon as there're more interesting games on my radar ;)

Second Update (May 17, 2015)


Sequenced by Apelab



The concept of this game really blow out my mind. I mean I can't wait to play a VR alike with my iPad. Actually there's already 360 degree game for mobile named Seek. It's a wonderful playing experiment. For some reason people just kind of stupid complaining when they should play the game by rotating their body but in fact, it's a genius thing and nothing to complain here.


Progress by Ludosity



It's one of the best highlight on this latest update. Make sure you grab this game once its released. Read more info about it here


Primal Rivals by Cerebralfix



The game already in Beta phase and I can clearly said this a ambitious tower defense game with multiplayer battle aspect alike. Unfortunately, I can't say too much about the beta since it's unstable enough to be played on my iPad Air. However, I'm pretty sure this will be a 'worth awaited' game for TD and strategy fans.


Walkers by Infected Cell



Set in Noir with sephia effect, Walkers looks really a beautiful game. Based on my observation, I guess it'll be a puzzle side scrolling game and the best thing, it'll also has stealth aspect. Moreover, what I found from the website it said if the game has dynamic environment with many chances to create more complicated walkthrough. Cool!



Blitz Breaker by BonchoGames


You probably know, I'm really dig into platformer game, neither it's puzzle platformer, hard nor classic platformer. I love them all, though I'll died so much inside but I don't care. Blitz Breaker also one of my 'must have' watchlist and after I tried the demo here, I can't wait to get my hands on.


Pinstripe by Atmosgames



Beside platformer, another my favorite genre is adventure especially the one with atmospheric gameplay. Pinstripe already sold me with that bouncing bed, it just reminds me with my favorite childhood's hobby and I can't wait to reveal more secrets inside on my iPad.



Warbits by Risky Lab



Warbits is a turn based strategy game with multiplayer support up to 4 persons. It also support local multiplayer with pass and play method. You'll play a group and attack other group, every member on your team has different skills and make sure you take a wise movement if you eager to win.



First Update (January 3, 2015)


Heroki by Picomy

I saw this game for the first time in Touch Arcade forum and been following this game for about 2 years. Though to be honest, not much information I can provide for this one. However, Heroki is an eye catching 2,5D platformer to be put on your watchlist.

Ps: The dev said if it'll be released early 2015 ...
Edit: The game is currently in SEGA QA process, yes the game will be published by SEGA and looks like it'll be announced on Apple Event (WWDC may be). Well, this is going to be more interesting and interesting.



Submerged by Uppercut Games

Previously known from their epoch series. Now Uppercut Games will bring a new experience for their fans, an exploration game. Here you'll be play as little girl who looking for his lost brother. Can you survive on this ancient world?



Toby: The Secret Mine by Navratillukas


Limbo, that's the first word which appear on my mind while looking into this game. The game looks gloomy, mysterious, and bit creepy. Well, it's on development now and I'll check this one for sure once its released.


  

Dinofour by Craigeatscrayons


The dino is too cute enough to be missed out! Just look on the animation below, how the dino hugs the egg XD
Ps: It said if the game will be released on June 2015





Original Post (September 5, 2014)


Forma 8 by MixedBag


I remember I ever wrote an article about this a year ago. Forma 8 will let you explore through a mysterious world. Your character have no weapon, no power, no clue where to go and what to do. There's no text inside this game, only images and sounds. Yes, you will combat with enemies, big enemies, and bigger enemies and those already sold me from the first time.



Project Giant by XMG Studio


It said if Project Giants will be a hauntingly beautiful indie game set in a forlorn overgrown dystopia. The world have been forgotten and now it's time for you to reclaim what it truly means to be alive. With beautiful low poly graphic, enjoy your journey through this breathtaking visual experience.



Seashine by Pated


I know you have sick enough with an endless/ survival game... but this this is a jelly fish game... :p. Look at that glowing jelly fish.. So beautiful :3 Okay back to topic. Though the game uses a 'mainstream' genre, I hope these gifs below can change your mind about this game. You need to collect the light source for surviving in this oppressive underworld.

Edit: It'll be a level based, not endless anymore and I bet this will be so good


MoofMoof Roll by Melkonian Games


Okay okay I promise this one is the last endless runner on my list (I hope so too >o< ). MoofMoof Roll is a free to play endless runner game designed for touch devices. As a guard, Moof Moof must travel through 5 different worlds to fetch a special artefact. However, each world fill with danger inside. Luckily Moof Moof has special ability to avoid those obstacles, can you help him to passed them all?

Edit: I doubt if this game still on work, MIA and we can't access the site anymore.


Beat Beat Shooter by Missing Dragonfly


I saw this game for the first time on IGF site. This game is a space shooter game with rhythm element. I don't know how its play, but from video I know I might have fun with this.



Fragmentorum Alba by OtusGame Studio


Probably this is the only horror game which mentioned by me on this list. Actually, I'm not a fan of horror game, not because I'm a coward, but it caused by the light.... I don't know why horror game always use dark light setting :p. Fragmentorum Alba is a surreal adventure game set in 1960, told about the strange tale of nightmarish hotel and an indecipherable tape recording.



Idioctopus by Badger Hammer


If Seashine is a story about jellyfish, so this game is a love story about octopus. Here you need to guide those stupid octopus couple so they can date safely on this deadly place.



Goscurry by Daniel Giardini


No, it's not a runner game. It's a hard game about where you must relax and follow the rhythm. Try to go as far as you can by piloting a ship on an infinite road, suspended over a stylized and eerie landscape, while taking sharp corners, evading hazards, and avoiding panic attacks.



Audio Aberration by Atmos Interactive


Watch out! Don't judge me first, I have know yet if this game is endless or level based. However, my instinct said it's a level based game. The game kinda reminds me with Unpossible game also other tunnel runner game. However, still... if you're a fan of this genre, don't forget to check this when it's out.


Narcissus by Alex Johansson


I have played the web version of this game and so happy when knowing this will come for iPad. I have made a short preview which can be read here. Basically you need to control 2 characters on the same time, but be careful things might not as smooth as you might think.



Project Ninja aka Tale of Ninja by After Life Games


For this one, after a long delay. I wish the dev still gives some love for this game. Project Ninja is a stealth game which using Japanese setting in action. It'll come in Q4 2014 as free to try game, pay $3.99 to unlock the full game.

Edit: This is MIA



Turbo Smash Blade by Arcade Pulp


What is more fun than can slicing your enemies into bite pieces easily? Here you can play as a brave tiny girl facing them goliath, samurai, kamikaze, etc on this hack n slash game.



Apsis by A Strange Gravity


Guide a flock of birds through a world where earth, sky and stars are woven together. Apsis is not a place to conquer, but a place to discover and play.

Edit: Postpone until 2016 I think



Quarantime by Fox Work


It might be a funny fun game where you'll play as zombie shepherd. As a shepherd you should put as much zombie as possible into quarantine. The zombie will chase after you, adding more and more zombies behind you, then get the key, find the quarantine hall or you'll get bitten by one of them.



Voodoo by Ayramen


Anyone ever play a voodoo game? Voodoo is a point n click with gloomy horror aura. It's bit reminds me with Machinarium game, but looks like this one is more sadistic.



The Witness by Number None


After Braid, who can resist for this game? Since last year, I believe many of you have been waiting for this game from its first announced. The Witness is a first person exploration game with many puzzle to be solved. Hopefully this still be released this year.



BONUS

Hardland by Mountain Sheep


This game might not come for mobile first (at least from what I knew). It'll be available for PC later this year. But who know :)?

Already in Early Access, you can grab it on Steam here


No Man Sky by Hello Games


After Joe Danger Series, this game become one of most anticipated game on 2014 2015. Unfortunately this game comes for PC and Play Station only. However, I hope Hello Games will make similar games like this for their first debut platform :)



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