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In last week's picks, I included a trailer for the indie adventure game TRAUMA (see top image) by Krystian Majewski. It's an adventure title that garnered several award nominations at various indie festivals in 2010, but has just recently been released for public consumption. It's a refreshingly adult experience that takes place inside the dreams of a woman recuperating from a car crash. Each "chapter" of the game is a surreal micro-story that informs the larger narrative and character development. All of this is presented in an intuitive interface that allows players to navigate the game's 2D photos--its primary art assets--in 3D space.
I enjoyed my experience with TRAUMA quite a lot. Despite being about navigating complex emotional landscapes, the actual playing of the game is surprisingly intuitive. It's one of those titles you could sit a non-gamer friend in front of and set them loose without much guidance. We'll also be discussing the game on the Weekend Confirmed podcast the week after PAX.
You can read my full review on Indie Games Channel, and the game itself can is available on Steam ($6.99) or the developer's website (5 euros). If you want to give it a test run, there's also a free (lower fidelity) browser-based version playable on the official site.
With the Indie Games Summer Uprising kicking off on XBLIG beginning this Monday, August 22, I figured it's only appropriate to share another trailer from one of the more interesting looking entries, SpeedRunner HD. Developed by Doubledutch games, SpeedRunner began its life as a Flash title, but the XBLIG rendition will include some crazy looking local competitive multiplayer for up to four players (starts around the 0:52 second mark). SpeedRunner HD will run 240 Microsoft Points ($3), and will be out on XBLIG before the Uprising ends on September 2.
Your favourite song can be quite scary when it's launching legions of spaceships to blow you apart. Fear not, Beat Hazard players! Come next month you'll be able to get a friend to help you beat back the invading hordes from Lou Reed's 'Metal Machine Music,' when multiplayer finally arrives as downloadable content.
Launching via Steam on June 27 for $5, the 'Ultra' DLC will add co-op and competitive online multiplayer modes to the arena shooter. Beat Hazard, don't you know, generates its levels based upon music you feed it--Audiosurf with guns. Beyond mere multiplayer, Ultra's a fairly hefty overhaul complete with new enemies, bosses, power-ups, and modes, plus a new perk and upgrade system.
A PlayStation 3 edition of Beat Hazard are slated to launch some time this year. One would imagine that these will come with Ultra's features built in, considering how much it's changing. Ultra won't make it to the Xbox 360 version, as it was released via Xbox Live Indie Games--which doesn't support DLC. However, developer Cold Beam Games is running a petition to raise publisher interest in an Xbox Live Arcade release of Ultra.