Indie Gala have themselves up two more bundles, each one with a large variety of game genres and each one also containing two set pricing tiers. Are these bundles actually worth the asking price though? First up we have ourselves the Indie gala Capsule Bundle containing Dracula 4: Shadow of the Dragon (GOG Key), Raiden Legacy (Desura Key), Always Remember Me (Desura Key) and Hero of the Kingdom (Steam Key) at the $1 tier, with Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos (Steam Key), Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heard (Steam Key), Hero Siege (Steam Key), Dead Sky (Steam Key), Cubetractor (Steam Key) and Frozen Hearth (Steam Key) across the higher priced area.
Meanwhile, the Indie Gala Rise of Flight bundle has Hippocampal (Desura Key), QBQBQB (Desura key), Saturday Morning RPG (Steam Key) on the $1 area with the higher part taken up with Arcade Worlds (Steam early access key), Victory: Age of Racing (Steam early access key), Mini Motor Racing EVO (Steam Key), Rise of Flight (Steam key, Also has the ‘Legendary Bomber’ DLC included) and Solar Flux (Steam Key) making up the rest of the bundle. Two bundles and a lot to go through… Lets get playing then!
$1 Tier – Indie Gala: Capsule
First we have Dracula 4: Shadow of the Dragon which is the fourth part of a pretty old-school point and click adventure series, parts 1-3 being quite fun and challenging titles in their own right. Here though is a game that feels rushed from the graphics not having the polish you would expect from such a title, to puzzles that feel too overly simple to complete. The game itself too is incredibly short, clocking in at just around 3-4 hours of gametime. It’s not exactly a great start for the first bundle and that same feeling extends across to Hero of the Kingdom which has the overall feeling of a rather cheap and shallow mobile/facebook title, the whole thing tries to make itself out to be some sort of grand RPG but it just doesn’t work thanks to a total lack of difficulty and lots of copy-pasted graphics, causing the game to be over and done with in a few hours.
Then we find Raiden Legacy, a compilation pack of top-down vertical shu’mps and playing it, you can definitely get a feel as to why this series has its fans, the action is fast, the enemies varied and the whole ‘Back to the Arcade’ feel does feel brilliant. At the same time though you can also see why this series has never really picked up steam or why it has never really been given much in the way of credit, there never is anything that really makes you go ‘wow’, no boss never really feels imaginative enough and many of the mechanics present feel like they were just ripped wholesale off from other more successful franchises.
Finally is Always Remember Me, a very odd title and reminiscent of the ‘Life Sims’ from Japan such as ‘Princess Maker which tend to be more popular in Japan than elsewhere. Here you play as ‘Amarantha’, a young girl who’s boyfriend has recent been in an accident, causing him to have memory loss. From here you pick what you want Amarantha to do each day, raising stats in areas and eventually deciding what ending for the story you get. Its definitely an interesting title with multiple endings thanks to the various plot choices, but it’s also incredibly divisive, with a very polarising art and story-style contributing mostly to that factor. As far as recommendations go, I can say to at least give it a try as there isn’t really anything similar I can compare it to that’s mainstream,
Second Tier – Indie Gala Capsule
Continuing on the theme of Japan style games comes Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos, a text-based visual novel where you play as a mediator, a person who travels to various worlds, attempting to solve the chaos in each one. Just like ‘Always Remember Me’ it also happens to be quite difficult to talk about without spoiling too much of the plot, given the game is almost completely plot-based with very little in the way of interactivity. The art-style thankfully is crisp and quite pretty, with various styled scenes and character art adorning every point in the game. Just like ‘Always Remember Me’, its also worth giving a go at this, if only to see if this sort of title suits you.
Thankfully the rest of the games in the pack are easier to explain, first is Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart, a casual-adventure title, the sort that usually would be found on more casual ‘Hidden-Object’ gaming portals such as BigFishGames. Here you play as a mother trying to save her daughter from ghost pirates. Its definitely a game that’s had effort put into it but also at the same time it isn’t really for any gamer who has played through lots of more ‘tougher’ adventure as the gameplay here is pretty simple, areas to interact with are easy to spot, puzzles are quite simple usually and a large hint/skip system means that anyone can make it through from start to finish without much effort needed.
Alongside that we have Hero Seige, a top-down shooter that is very reminiscent of games like ‘Binding of Isaac’. The game as it stands feels buggy and incomplete at times, occasional graphic glitches working through the game alongside UI and mistakes with the random-nature of each area (such as spawning right on top of a trap). The game itself also feels quite dull at times with enemies sometimes turning into health-sponges where all you seem to be doing is hammering the same attack through over and over again. I also question why crates bleed in this game but that’s another completely unrelated issue for another time.
Dead Sky continues on this theme of ‘repetitive’ gameplay unfortunately, a mostly top-down shooter, players battle against a number of different mutants and creatures. Its bloody, fast and also incredibly frustrating at times due to some confusing design choices. Unskippable cutscenes being a horrid choice, along with the ability to only hold one weapon at any time, creating a unfair situations when something comes along you couldn’t foresee beforehand, your current weapon being either useless or not very good in the situation, causing either a long boring drawn out battle or a battle where you are killed off and back to the unskippable cutscenes again. Its just not a good game at all.
Cubetractor meanwhile thankfully pulls things up with a retro-themed oddity of a game, here you must make it through each stage, pulling and pushing blocks around to try and help you avoid the various bullets heading your way from the different towers. The music is chirpy and lovely, the gameplay often fast and fluid. This definitely is the star game in the bundle… however its also worth pointing out that on sales, this game usually goes for a lot less than the asking price here. Then we have Frozen Hearth, a greenlit-strategy title which feels heavily reminiscent of the old Warcraft games (before it hit the MMO stride its now known for). The game looks very pretty, the unit types varied and the action often is quit frenzied and challenging… unfortunately the game is also heavily bugged, pathfinding is all over the place, AI feels at times to be quite dumb and the engine itself is far too buggy with issues all over the place. Finally is Restaurant Empire II, a restaurant management sim that picks thing up a little bit more which the amount of detailing and amount of content. The only issue however is that unless you do enjoy simulation games, there isn’t really anything here to attract as it manages to be a bit dated and its not exactly the most exciting game when it comes to graphical sparkle.
As it stands, I can only give this pack a vauge recommendation. there’s a lot here but not much of it really stands out in any way with buggy content, boring content or confusing content all in the mix. The only reason this is getting any recommendation is due to the large amount of games here.
$1 Tier – Indie Gala: Rise of Flight
Hippocampal is a rather oddball title, playing as an astronaut in orbit who suddenly you are knocked out of orbit by space creatures. What follows is quite unique and confusing at the same time with confusing looking monsters, strange locations and trying to work out… something? The controls are not exactly the best but the game itself manages to be memorable, if not always for the right reasons. Over to QBQBQB and its another odd title, a mix of puzzle and music forming to make a colour-matching speedy title and… its actually a little bit boring because of its simplicity. Match colours and repeat, made all too easy because of the many points to actually place colour blocks.
The final $1 tier game is Saturday Morning RPG, a RPG focused almost completely of various parodies of 80’s/90’s cartoon shows. As a concept it’s solid, as a game thought its a bit of a grind-fest where beating as many enemies as you can, plus doing all the side-quests is almost mandatory thanks to a battle system that punishes careful gameplay and instead focuses on button bashing to charge up attacks. This is made bad via the button bashing or mini-game timing needed for every single battle turn. That said, it still manages to be a fun and colourful title… Just don’t play it for very long periods of time and you should be fine.
Second Tier Games – Indie Gala: Rise of Flight
First up is the two ‘Early Access’ titles with Arcane Worlds being the first under the spotlight. Here is a game that tries to mimic a very old-school title ‘Magic Carpet’, here you play as a sorcerer, flying around the land, causing the various mountains and areas to shift and change, all while battling monsters, finding relics and destroying anything in your path. It does feel like a very old-school game… The big issue is that this is clearly an early access title and as it stands, the game is not exactly the most user-friendly game ever with high-powered enemies appearing without much warning as well as the fact that you are given very little indication on what to even do.
The second ‘Early Access’ title is a bit of a shocker however, Victory: Age of Racing, not because of how it plays but because of the fact that it has only been out for less than a month and already it is in a bundle, already I can imagine early buyers are going to feel a little annoyed at that one. On the gameplay side its a decent enough racing title, the graphics look nice and the cars handle very well. It does fall down with a lack of content but there does seem to be regular updates going on in this game so that isn’t really a massive issue here, especially given the asking price. Also for racing fans is the title Mini Motor Racing EVO, a nifty little racing game that harkens back to the likes of Micro Machines. Overall it does everything a arcade racing game should, colourful tracks are everywhere, the controls are loose enough to cater for racing-game novices while the difficulty ramps up high enough throughout the game to keep more veteran players interested.
Solar Flux meanwhile harkens over to more older indie titles such as Osmos, here you play a small spaceship which sets out to collect energy pieces, before firing them into suns to stabilize them. Points are awarded for avoiding damage from the sun and using as little fuel as possible, using solar waves and solar orbits to try and keep moving without wasting fuel. Its not the hardest game in the world, most levels can be cleared quite easily. At the same time though, getting the three stars on each level can be a nightmare thanks to some occasionally wonky physics.
Finally we get Rise of Flight, a game based around World War One planes. Its a rather interesting title sure and there’s a lot of detail here. Where it falls down though is that it just isn’t all that stable, crashes are frequent and bugs seem to be everywhere. In addition its also incredibly difficult to get into thanks to a complete lack of tutorial and in-game assistance. Its a shame because the high amount of detail would have been great and would have been a big selling point just in itself, as it is however, its just too buggy and inaccessible to recommend.
Overall this bundle, like the Capsule bundle, isn’t too great. If you happen to be a racing fan, it is worth putting down money for this simply for the two quite good racing titles here. Anyone else though and once again, I cant find much to recommend on.