In this mini series, I will detail Indie Games that I've played, and generally liked. I'll try to update at the very most weekly. I don't want to do it daily because I'd get burned out quickly. And I'd run out of indie games to cover. I also will try to avoid very common indie games, such as Karoshi or what have you. I will also try to make sure all of these games are free, as well as provide links where you can download each game. Each one I list will have both praises and criticisms. I will also give my own ideas about how I'd change some things in the game, though these won't be common, as I'm not a programmer. Anyways, let's get started with the first game-
Triple 333 (Or 333-333-333)
This interesting little FPS made by Jozef Bogin was basically created as a love letter to all sorts of TV related hijackings, including the famous Max Headroom TV hijacking, and even the fictitional Wyoming Incident. It also has references to both creepy things in TV (the Russian VID logo, for example), and parodies to the Wyoming Incident. This was made back in 2012, but does recieve periodical updates to fix both bugs and what not. It's currently in its third revision, which was released March of this year.
In this game, you star a nameless Rage Face Guy who somehow winds up in the crazy world of television hijacking, and must wander around and shoot various icons from the Wyoming Incident, as well as TV Indents and Max Headroom's disembodied head. Which is a common enemy, mind.
There are three levels in total, meaning it's a rather short game. But it is made interesting by many unique mechanics.
What I like
This game has a very unique gameplay mechanic- A lot of it is randomized. Textures on many of the walls will be different on every playthrough, and certain enemies and items may not be there. For example, say you open a door in a hallway and find an enemy inside. Then afterwards, you restart the level and head back to that same room. You may find something else, like Ammo, points, or nothing at all. Though, some pickups and enemies are set, because otherwise the game could either be too easy, or be too hard. And the game's hard enough as is. Another interesting mechanic is enemy respawning. This is handled in an incredibly unique fashion- Enemies could either respawn as, well, enemies with a different appearance, or they could spawn as pickups, like ammo or points. However, ammo and points will not respawn once you pick them up. Also, enemies may not even respawn at all. It makes exploring the level very interesting- and dangerous- and can make backtracking to pick up a medkit either very dangerous, or very beneficial. All enemies will do this, except for certain ones. The levels themselves remain the same, except for the randomized enemies and textures, so the layout of the levels will always be the same.
Another thing I like is the aesthetics of it all. This game has a mix of both horror elements, and comedic elements. (Some enemies, for example, will literally say "Hi there!" when they spot you.) The design of the levels tends to be very dark and creepy, which makes for an interesting place to explore, especially with the randomized textures. The ambiance is also rather creepy, being an incredibly slowed down version of the Wyoming Incident title card theme.
The gameplay is a mixture of survival and FPSing. The game is very difficult the first time you play through with normal settings, though as you keep playing, you get used to enemy ambushes and know where they show up. You need to get used to creeping alongside corners, carefully peering around them to see any enemies that could be lying in ambush. And they tend to do that. A lot. There are also very wide open areas, usually filled with enemies, which makes running away into a smaller hallway nearly essential, least you be surrounded and smashed into oblivion. There are two total weapons in the game- A double barreled shotgun which you get in the beginning of the game, and a VZ-58 (An AK-47 knockoff) that you find in a secret area in level two. Both weapons require different tactics to use, though once you pick up the VZ, you lose the shotgun forever, so don't get too used to it.
This game also has a lot of replay value, mainly because you'll die a lot, and it keeps track of score. And with the randomized elements, each playthrough tends to be different in some way.
There are also secrets in the game, which usually contain ammo, points, or even medkits. Though, some contain enemies, so be cautious. There are also usually no indicators, so running alongside walls and smashing the spacebar tends to be how you're going to find them.
If you're having way too much trouble with the game, you can make the game quite a bit easier in the options menu. You can even turn Godmode on, at the cost of no score at all. Making the game easier will also decrease score. I, personally, have beaten it like a man. Meaning I managed to beat it, with no handicaps, and just with the redneck shotty. Like a BOSS.
What I Dislike
The A.I in this game is incredibly thick. It mainly consists of "See player, move towards player" and as a result, tends to get stuck on corners and walls a hell of a lot. They aren't blocked by doors, however, so don't use those to hide. The game also places them in VERY cheap locations that you will NEVER expect the first time, such as around corners, or behind doors. The enemies themselves also seem to be a bit random in their patterns- Some can move slower than others, while others can be decently fast. They can also have random health, meaning just because you destroyed one head up with a single shotgun blast, doesn't mean you're going to blow the second one up with just one.
Another thing I hate in this game is the pits. Level 2 in particular has a lot of areas where you have to be cautious and navigate thin corridors surrounded by pits. Death in this game makes you reset the WHOLE GAME, and bottomless pits are, obviously, instant death. Combined with enemies, things get VERY annoying, VERY quickly. To be honest, I've died more times through bottomless pits than I have against the actual enemies!
Another thing I hate is the recoil of your weapons. My... God...
The recoil of your redneck shotty sends you flying back a few feet, meaning that in narrow corridors surrounded by bottomless pits, you can expect to fall down one about four or five times. The VZ-58, though not as bad, can still screw you over royally. You REALLY need to be precise with your aim, and keep your eye on your surroundings at all times. Otherwise, your recoil will happily throw you into a pit and end a run that was going so, so well. I would have seriously toned it down a bit, because it will cause a lot of deaths, either directly, or indirectly. For example, one time I was murdered by heads because I was trying to make sure the recoil wouldn't go and knock me in a fucking pit!!
And lastly, the game itself will lose replay value over time, especially once you get a hang of the patterns. A minor criticism, but still.
Review in a Shellnut
So, basically, despite my criticisms, I quite enjoyed 333-333-333. It's a very fun game, with a good mix of survival aspects, fighting, comedy, and horror. I highly recommend you play this game for yourself! Download the game here.
This game is yet another one that has a lot of interesting mechanics to keep you invested. The basic premise is that you are Burt, a random asshole who apparently has bad vision or whatnot and decides to take an experimental new drug to see if it can help solve his vision problems. However, things go wrong, and badly.
The game is basically a platformer presented in a black and white style, with the only thing with color being the spikes. Each stage, called a "Day", is divided into screens, where you must navigate various obstacles. Each Day introduces a new gimmick for you to get around.
What I Like
To keep things fresh and interesting, the game introduces new gimmicks for each stage of the game, with the exception of the final level. The gimmicks range from simple screen shaking, to flat out screen dividing, to fucking with your framerate and constantly shifting from really slow to really fast. It makes things incredibly interesting, and adds a new layer to the challenge.
But the thing I like the most is how serious they take the story. I won't spoil much, but Burt's trip is quite the frightening one, and soon, the person he views as a friend and helper shifts into a much more malignant tone... And the ending is quite bitter, in a stark reminder that not everything ends with a happy ending.
The cutscenes in this game are Burt talking to his doctor. Bland as that sounds, things obviously get very interesting as the days go on, and some of the moments are... quite frightening. Day 6's cutscene in particular is incredibly dark and creepy.
What I Dislike
The main problem I have with this game is that the difficulty feels... Well, rather artificial. Most of the gimmicks is what makes things difficult, though I guess that's the point. Otherwise, I don't really have much to complain about, besides the fact that the plot itself is somewhat ambiguous at times.
Review in a Shellnut
I really liked this game. I loved the grim story, and the cutscenes with the doctor are very cool. I highly recommend this game. And yes, this review is short, but this game is short as well, and thus, there's not much to talk about. Download the game here.