Journey and Limbo
For every one hundred questionable games out there, it’s possible to come across a fantastic gem. Downloadable indie gems. To be specific; Journey and Limbo.
The strangest thing with these games is that they somehow manage to achieve what a huge budget struggles to create in three years - or make that six with an added sequel. These people, the ones who create these games, get to work out of the box and the reason why is because they strive for different targets. Yeah they hope to make money from it but money probably isn’t their main aim, coming up with something new and innovative, having people think differently about the game they're playing - that seems to be their aim. And that’s an amazing accomplishment, especially since they have such small teams and budgets compared to other companies that are churning out games to satisfy their already huge ATM's - Oh! I mean, fan base.
Some ideas float, some sink, yet I appreciate the effort people make to do something different.
For me, Journey came at the right time. It proved you don’t always need to be on the end of some headset barking orders at your team mates to capture some flag. Forget orders, you don’t even need to talk. Co-op is great but the novelty can wear off quickly when the need to do so is based around the same thing – “shoot as much shit as you can so you and your buddy can survive the onslaught of soldiers/aliens/zombies/etc.”
Not only did they give co-op a new angle, they captured some serious atmosphere while they were at it, not to mention an awesome soundtrack as well. I mean, just look at it:
And another thing about this game is the minimal story. All you know is that you need to get from A to B; B being a mountain in the distance. You don’t know why, you don’t know where exactly the journey will take you, and you definitely don’t know who or what you’ll meet along the way. It’s only two to three hours long yet it has some great replay value and in general, is pretty enjoyable to play alone or with an anonymous buddy. It’s just perfect.
Limbo, developed by Playdead, also sticks out (and is now free with Playstation Plus if your interested). This game looks as simple as hell; told through ambiguous silhouettes you have to figure out how to survive in a warped world of shadowy monsters and people looking to do you no good. The trial and error game play is actually quite reminiscent of Abe’s Odyssey, another one of my favorite classics.
Limbo, like Journey, has little to no story though can still lock you in with its oddities.
When Jenova Chen (the co-founder of Thatgamecompany which developed Journey) was asked about taking on more commercial games, he gave the perfect answer:
“Why would I start a company just to make the same kind of game which I can get a much better life in another company? You know, the reason we started this company is because nobody is making this kind of game, and to expand that emotional spectrum of video games -- having more people be able to enjoy video games. The only way to do it is to just do it yourself.
We tried to just convince big publishers like EA or other people to make games like Cloud (another game they created in the past)... It's just almost impossible...”
And it's true, I’m telling you, some commercial game companies are the graveyards for innovation.
I’m just sayin’.
What's you fave Indie Game?