IndieSider #4: Road Not Taken by Spry Fox

Road Not Taken by Spry Fox is a turn-based roguelike puzzler for PC, Mac, Sony PlayStation 4, and Vita. As a freelance ranger, you are charged with rescuing children from a dark winter woods. Rearrange the contents of each room to group like items, opening the path deeper into the forest. Or combine different items to craft new equipment necessary to keep your ranger alive.

Road Not Taken starts off easy, but its 16 levels quickly ramp up in difficulty. It wasn't long before I found myself cornered by forest spirits, lacking the stamina and mobility to move trees or fires out of the way. I interviewed game designer Pat Kemp of Spry Fox to ask not only for some advice, but what how this game was inspired by the Robert Frost poem, why it splits its time between forest puzzler and village simulator, and how its checkpoint system builds on the legacy of Rogue.

Download Road Not Taken for PC or Mac from Steam.

IndieSider pairs Let's Plays of indie games with developer interviews. New episodes air every other Wednesday and can be found in video format on YouTube or as audio in iTunes.

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IndieSider #3: The Nightmare Cooperative by Lucky Frame

The Nightmare Cooperative is a roguelike — a turn-based dungeon crawler featuring procedurally generated levels and permadeath. But here's the catch: your party, composed of fighters, priests, miners, and astral walkers, must move collectively. When one goes north, they all go north; when one attacks, so do they all. Can you keep your party members alive through all four worlds?

Having grown up playing the original Rogue on the Apple II, I was instantly attracted to this game's thoughtful action, graphics reminiscent of SSI's Gold Box role-playing games, and dry sense of humor. After finally beating the final world, I interviewed Yann Seznec, founder of Lucky Frame, about The Nightmare Cooperative's influences, strategies, and future iterations in the following video.

Download The Nightmare Cooperative for PC, Mac, and Linux from Steam or Humble Bundle.

Other resources mentioned in this episode:

IndieSider pairs Let's Plays of indie games with developer interviews. New episodes air every other Wednesday and can be found in video format on YouTube or as audio in iTunes.

Play

IndieSider #2: Breakers Yard by Dan Dujnic of Protophant

Welcome to IndieSider, where I pair a Let's Play of an indie game with an interview with the game's developer. New episodes of IndieSider air every other Wednesday and can be found in video format on YouTube or as audio in iTunes.

This week's show stars Breakers Yard, a web-based twin-stick shooter that features procedurally generated levels and weapon stacking. I first encountered this game and its developer, Dan Dujnic of Protophant, when I attended the Boston Games Forum's June Playtest Party. I had the high score until someone dethroned me. Incensed by my defeat, I ordered an Xbox 360 wireless controller adapter for my Mac so I could play the game at home. Watch me vie to break my high score, followed by an interview with Dujnic about being inspired by Smash TV and Geometry Wars, the value of keeping a development log, his take on Steam's Early Access games, and more.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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IndieSider #1: Gone by Logan Harrington

Welcome to IndieSider, where I pair a Let's Play of an indie game with an interview with the game's developer. New episodes of IndieSider air every other Wednesday and can be found in video format YouTube or as audio in iTunes.

In today's show, I play Gone, a mental illness simulator that represents what it's like to live with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This empathy game, a free download for Mac, Windows, and Linux, raises many questions: How did these disorders get chosen? What research went into the metaphors used to represent them? Who is the game's audience? Developer Logan Harrington walks us through the decisions and processes behind this indie game.

A video of this Let's Play and interview is embedded below; for the interview-only audio edition, please click the links below the video, or subscribe in iTunes.

Let's Play Shovel Knight

I've been awaiting Shovel Knight from Yacht Club Games ever since I backed their Kickstarter more than a year ago. It's a platformer inspired by all the best NES games—Mega Man, Castlevania, Super Mario Bros. 3, and more—developed by a team that includes alumni from WayForward, who previously revived DuckTales and Double Dragon. The soundtrack is by Jake Kaufman, who rocks chiptune music like nobody's business. With all this talent and pedigree, Shovel Knight was sure to be a hit game, even being touted in Nintendo's E3 trailers.

Sure enough, the game released today for Wii U, 3DS, Mac, PC, and Linux, and it's excellent. Thanks to an advance review copy for Wii U, I have the first ten levels already posted to YouTube. The playlist is embedded below and will be automatically updated as more videos are added.