Indie Hindsight: January 2016
Indie Hindsight is a series of monthly lists, spotlighting a handful of indie gems you may have missed.
Indie developers are always dropping interesting experiences throughout the year alongside their triple A brethren, but given their leaner budgets, these titles usually don’t have the reach to become household names.
Hopefully, you’ll be find something that piques your interest — in which case, I would encourage you to check them out and show your support.
Pony Island (PC) — released: 04/01/2016
Pony Island is an experimental puzzle game by Daniel Mullins Games which saw humble beginnings as a game jam project in 2014.
As a Ludum Dare 31 game jam project, the original prototype was anchored in the prompt, “Entire Game On One Screen”. This inspired Pony Island to be centered around the player seated at an arcade cabinet housing a corrupted version of the fictional titular game.
As expected, Pony Island begins as an unassuming runner/platformer, but it isn’t long until the game begins to warp and change in front of you. Eventually, the player’s soul is demanded to continue playing.
From this point, the player’s expectations are played with as Pony Island deftly weaves between gameplay genres to push the narrative forward. The experience aims to be short and intense best served in a single sitting with a full play time clocking in at about two hours.
Punch Club (PC/iOS/Android/Nintendo 3DS) — released: 08/01/2016
Punch Club is the debut release of the Russian game devs, Lazy Bear Games.
The management title pays homage to popular 80’s and 90’s action films, cartoons and games that the devs grew up with. So expect a more than a few nods to the Rocky and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises presented in a retro aesthetic reminiscent of the 32-bit era games of old.
In-game you’ll guide a young unnamed fighter through their own action flick. Queue training montage, resting, dieting and working (because hey, that gym membership doesn’t pay for itself!).
Before long you’ll be competing in the local league and be taking names in a combat system inspired by collectible card games. Interestingly, Punch Club takes a hands-off approach to fighting which can lead to some really clutch moments where your fighter genuinely surprises you in the occasional David and Goliath moment.
Between important bouts, Punch Club introduces a colourful cast of characters alongside a slew of often optional questlines to pursue — which can eventually lead to one of the many possible endings.
Keep your eye on our social media channels as I will be adding to this list over the coming week.