Dungeon Defenders

Now there's even more reason to use that holiday cash Aunt Myrtle sent you on something charitable. The ongoing Humble Indie Bundle 7 has just expanded its indie game offerings to include The Basement Collection of Flash games, the action puzzle platformer Offspring Fling, and the retro 2D platformer Cave Story. The original bundle was packed with indie hits Snapshot, Closure, The Binding of Isaac and its Wrath of the Lamb DLC, Shank 2, Dungeon Defenders and its DLC, Legend of Grimrock, and the documentary Indie Game: The Movie. So, for the next six days, you can snatch up nine full games and one movie for a price that's absurdly close to free.

If you haven't done a Humble Bundle before, here's how it works: You can donate any amount of money and receive Snapshot, Closure, The Binding of Isaac, Shank 2, and Indie Game: The Movie. But if you pay more than the average ($6.41 as of this writing), you'll also get Dungeon Defenders, Legend of Grimrock, The Basement Collection, Offspring Fling, and Cave Story. The folks at Humble Bundle estimate the total value of this collection at $170. You can even choose how you'd like to have your payment divided between the developers and the two benefiting organizations, Child's Play Charity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

For more information on the games included in the bundle, check out the trailer for Humble Indie Bundle 7 here.
Dungeon Defenders
Humble Indie Bundle 7

The seventh Humble Indie Bundle is upon us, just in time for the holidays. For whatever cash you've got left over after your shopping's done you get a slew of indie winners that include The Binding of Isaac, bloody platformer Shank 2, the surreal Closure, the gross-tastic Binding of Isaac (and its Wrath of the Lamb DLC), and colorful sidescroller Snapshot.

You'll also get the Indie Game: The Movie documentary, and clearing the average price—$5.87 as of this writing—gets you the excellent Legends of Grimrock and Dungeon Defenders (plus included DLC). That's the holiday spirit!

The bundle's organizers introduce each game with terribly hilarious puns in the trailer below.

The Binding of Isaac

Following its official announcement in a Gamasutra post-mortem, Binding of Isaac creator Edmund McMillen has provided details of the upcoming remake in an FAQ posted to his blog. Titled Rebirth, it's billed as a "totally remade game based on the flash version of the Binding of Isaac + Wrath of the Lamb."

The game is being developed by Nicalis, who were behind the Cave Story+ update, and is planned for release on Steam (and those console things) towards the end of 2013.

One of the main draws of the remake is the new engine that will power it. Binding of Isaac was excellent, but saw a flurry of bug fixes as the creaky Flash architecture struggled to hold under the weight of McMillen's constant content additions. Even today, the game is no stranger the occasional bout of frame rate problems. Rebirth is set to become the definitive version, with a pre-order loyalty discount planned for those who own the original.

But a quicker, stabler engine also offers the possibility of new features. " will also feature another Wrath sized expansion over the top that will feature a new final chapter, ending, 2 new playable characters and tons more items, rooms, enemies, bosses and the like."

The changes don't end there. McMillen's also promising a completely new 16-bit makeover for the graphics. "I'm doing this because I think the art is tired and I'm sick of looking at it ... I think its kinda appropriate/funny to do a demake for the remake."

With Nicalis on development duties, McMillen's free to work on the second Team Meat game, the mysterious Mew-Genics, which is currently in full-time development.
Team Fortress 2
TF2 - BoI Map

Team Fortress 2 is no stranger to crazy boss fights, but a Nolan North-voiced bomb spamming wizard is one thing, a floating skeletal head that shoots ubercharged spies is quite another. That's what you'll face in this insane TF2 community map, highlighted by Isaac creator Ed McMillen on his blog.

The map contains multiple levels and bosses from the game, and uses Blu team mercenaries in place of Isaac's varied cast of monsters. The video shows fights against Husk, Mom and Mom's Heart, as well as a representation of the Wrath of the Lamb expansion's super-final boss fight.

To play it you need to visit the Super Zombie Fortress server of the map's makers, the unfortunately named SLAG gaming. Annoyingly it's in rotation with the server's other SZF custom maps, meaning there's no guaranteed way to ensure a game. But you can still enjoy the absurdity of this boss fight round-up video.

Super Meat Boy

Edmund McMillen, the man behind Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac has announced the release date for The Basement Collection. A grab bag of his earlier projects, many of the titles have been polished up with new visuals, music, and even content in some cases. It'll release on August 31st for $4 on Steam.

The promo on McMillen's website lists the following games:

Time Fcuk (updated with new content + levels and achievements)
Aether (updated with new content, graphics make over, improved physics and achievements)
Spewer (updaed with new content, graphics make over, improved physics, new levels, new music track and achievements)
Grey Matter (added achievements)
Coil (added achievements)
Meat Boy(flash prototype) (no new content)
Triachnid (no new content)
Secret game (locked) (updated with new content, soundtrack, difficulty modes and achievements)

McMillen also boasts that "Every game will come with bonus content, ranging from development sketches to early playable prototypes and tech demos," and "will also feature four very large bonus unlockables that should make fans of my work quite happy." The Basement Collection will also come with a free soundtrack, including 10 fan-made remixes.
Super Meat Boy
The Binding of Isaac

"Who would have thought a game about an abused child fighting off his mother with his tears could ever sell 700k copies in less than a year? Not me, that's for ****ing sure."

So begins an e-mail that Binding of Isaac co-creator Edmund McMillen sent us this morning. The popularity of the Wrath of the Lamb DLC has helped his weeping foetus roguelike rack up an incredible number of sales - but its launch, McMillen says, could have gone better.

"The limitations of Flash and the abundance of items caused an infinite number of variables that we simply couldn't effectively test, and it kinda sucked. We were able to squish all the major game breaking bugs in the 1st day of release, but it still left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth - so we decided to do yet another content update to the already bloated experience."

Wrath of the Lamb version 1.3 is out now and if you already own the DLC then the update doesn't cost anything. It adds new items, bosses, enemies, music and a new ending cutscene "that should shed some light on the game's story even more."

McMillen has also announced on his blog that he's working with Tyler Glaiel of Eyebrow Interactive on remastered versions of three of his flash games - Aether, Time Fcuk, Spewer and "an extra little unlockable game."

The games will be updated with achievements and bundled together as 'The Basement Collection', which will cost $3 on Steam.

Check out our Binding of Isaac review for more on why the game deserves your attention. The launch of Super Meat Boy is also covered in detail in Indie Game: The Movie, which we also liked.
The Binding of Isaac
You hear combat in the distance.
You feel a sense of loss.
You hear something die in combat.

Brogue is a roguelike, like Rogue. There are hundreds of these games now, covering both extremes of accessibility. Brogue sits nicely in the middle. If you've played Dungeons of Dredmor and The Binding of Isaac and Spelunky, and now you want to start swimming to the deeper end of the pool, Brogue is your waterwings.

Complexity: It has the ASCII ungraphics, the thrill of pockets filled by unknown potions and scrolls, the permadeath difficulty. Simplicty: It's fully mouse-controlled, readable at a glance, and has an elegant skill system. It also has monkeys that will steal your shit and break your heart.

You see a kobold.
You see a kobold.
You see a monkey.

Monkeys are enemies in Brogue, just like the kobolds and rats and goblins and spectral blades and every other creature and enemy and object and potion and scroll you encounter in the game's caves. The thrill of roguelikes is that everything is an adversary, and choosing to play is the thing that kills you.

Monkeys are in some ways more dangerous than anything else I've encountered. If you meet a kobold, it'll run at you and you'll fight it till one of you is dead. By comparison, monkeys will run up to you, steal something from your pockets and then flee faster than you can chase. I've starved to death, deep underground, cursing fleet-fingered primates after they've nabbed the last scraps of food from my pockets.

Sometimes though, you find a monkey being held captive by two guarding kobolds. Dispatch with them and you're presented with a quandary: free the monkey, or leave the monkey. I gambled once and set the monkey free, and he became my ally. My own helper monkey. My bro in Brogue. Soon, I discovered another, and we ventured deeper in to the caves as three friends.

You see a toad.
You hit the toad in its sleep.
You hit the toad; the toad slams you; you begin to hallucinate.

When playing a truly great roguelike, the recurring question in your head is: how cruel can the game designer really be? As the player, you're engaged in consecutive games of 'chicken' with them, learning just how cruel one death at a time. What stops these games from being unfair or frustrating is that you knew you were pushing your luck when you agreed to play 'chicken' in the first place.

Hit a toad in Brogue, and it won't just hit you back. It'll also poison you, causing your monkeys to morph. You'll round a corner and they'll disappear from sight, and when you see them next, they're a goblin, no, a kraken, no, a lich, no. You're no longer sure whether it's your friend or your next death. The designer is very cruel.

This is nothing compared to the malicious allure of potions and scrolls. A lot of roguelikes have items with unknown effects. You know they could be good or bad, and you're probably best waiting till you find a Scroll of Identify before you use them.

I can't help myself in Brogue, though. I find a scroll of "nurnidgenidgeherba" and read it immediately.

The scroll emits a piercing shriek that echoes throughout the dungeon!
(It must have been a scroll of aggravate monsters.)

I find bottles of lavender and violet liquids and drink them in an instant.

You no longer fear fire.
(It must have been a potion of fire immunity.)
Newfound strength surges through your body.
(It must have been a potion of strength.)

The results are positive just often enough that it's deliciously tempting to take a punt and have a drink. When I play Brogue, I wish every game had a system like this. A glistening thing under the player's control that could help or hurt, save or kill, but which will always do something hilarious and memorable.

A big red, flashing button labelled "DO NOT TOUCH".

Vapor pours out of the flask and causes the floor to disappear!
(It must have been a potion of descent.)
You plunge downwards into the hole!
You are damaged by the fall.
Your monkey falls from above and crashes to the ground!

A moment passes, I take a step.

Your monkey falls from above and crashes to the ground!

One of my monkeys avoided the disappearing floor, and so he jumped down voluntarily a moment later. He didn't want to be left behind.

In this topsy-turvy world of unknown potions and magical goblins and caustic flesh-eating gases and hallucinatory frogs, you can always count on your monkeys.

A shimmering cloud of rainbow-colored gas billows out of the open flask!
You look very confused!
Your monkey looks very confused!
Your monkey bites you.

Monkey, no! (It must have been a potion of confusion.) None of us can walk straight, floundering around in the gas. We end up stumbling off in opposite directions till the effects wear off.

Your muscles stiffen as a cloud of pink gas bursts from the open flask!
You are paralyzed!
Your monkey is paralyzed!

Sometimes I worry that I'm not the best friend a monkey could have. At least the effects wear off again, but not before we're found by a Pink Jelly.

You defeated the pink jelly; the pink jelly drenches your monkey.

Pink jellies are a pain, because they tend to split in two and multiply at a rate faster than you can kill them. They can be avoided entirely if you run away, but try telling that to a squad of monkeys. My friends are clawing and tweaking, and soon there's six, seven, eight jellies surrounding us.

This fight could go a few different ways, but I know what happens if my monkeys and I get separated. I've heard this message before.

You hear combat in the distance.
You feel a sense of loss.
You hear something die in combat.

I don't want to hear that again. In this topsy-turvy world of multiplying jelly monsters, who can monkeys count on if not their friend, the adventurer?

The pink jelly missed you; the pink jelly missed you.
The pink jelly defeated you.
You die...

Brogue can be downloaded now for nothing more than the price of a broken heart.
The Binding of Isaac
Or at least, it's as officially "announced" as an indie game can get. Brilliant madman Edmund McMillen's been gradually revealing gore-spattered bits and pieces via Twitter, allowing a few particularly interesting tidbits to slip out. Foremost, the expansion will increase the total item count to 205 (up from 131) - thanks in part to a new "trinket" item category that grants passive bonuses. Also, it'll go for a mere $3 when it's ready for primetime. Sadly, there's no release date beyond "when it's done" at the moment, but there are worse fates. For instance, being chased into a monster-packed death dungeon by your crazed mother. So that's... comforting? Well, I tried, anyway.
The Binding of Isaac
Gosh it's Gish
The Humble Voxatron Debut deal has expanded again. There's four days to go until time runs out, but if you decide to pick up the voxelly indie blaster, you'll now also get a copy of squishy platformer, Gish.

It's worth remembering that if you pay more than the average donation, which currently sits at $5.18, you'll get bonus copies of The Binding of Isaac and robotic puzzle platformer, Blocks that Matter. As with all the Humble Bundle deals, you can pay what you want, and choose how much of your donation goes to the developers, Child's Play and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

At this moment, The Humble Voxatron Bundle has received $757,593.38 in payments, with 146,195 purchases. It may well clear ONE MILLION DOLLARS before it expires in ... four days, ten hours and 38 minutes (and counting). Head to the Humble Bundle site to get in on the deal.
The Binding of Isaac
Your opinion on voxels may or may not be one of unbridled adoration (mine is that "voxel" is really fun to say), but now the Humble Voxatron Debut's venturing outside its voxel-centric comfort zone. Voxely.

First up, there's recent indie dungeon-crawling darling The Binding of Isaac, which combines steep difficulty with imagery that will leave your brain crying in the fetal position in the darkest corner of your face. Then there's Blocks That Matter, a puzzler with a Minecraft-inspired twist. Simply beat the average price (currently $4.73) and all three games are yours. Or, you know, wait until a better deal comes along. Which will be never.

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