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Cats, Dancing and Comedy: The Indie Games of the Week

Indiewire By Rob Manuel | Indiewire July 3, 2014 at 3:0PM

Here are some of the best indie games that you need to be playing right now.
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Every week, dozens of great indie titles hit the market and go unnoticed. That’s why we’re digging through the pile of games to pull out some select titles coming out this week, a few which might have fallen through the cracks, and one that you can play right now as long your bosses isn’t looking. Indie games let you experience new stories and the virtual world like never before. Here are some of the best that you need to be playing right now.

"Shovel Knight"

Yacht Club Games
Platforms: PC, Wii U, 3DS

It used to be that the name "Nintendo" meant "hard," and you only needed two buttons to beat a boss. "Shovel Knight" might look like a game from years ago, but you'll find more than one surprise in store for you on this adventure of steampunk knights, lingering ghosts, and dancing apple fish.

Coming out on the PC, Wii U, and 3DS, "Shovel Knight" throws you into the middle of an adventure as we watch out suited hero lose his lady love to the Tower of Fate. Like any good tin man who lost his heart, he wanders into the woods for several years while the vile Enchantress takes over the kingdom with little resistance and sets up shop in the tower.  

As your only hope to rescue your love, you face off against the eight members of "The Order of No Quarter" to get to the Tower of Fate and find your love. Along the way there will be danger, adventure, and a whole lot of gems to collect in order to pay for all the nifty weapons you'll need to make your way through to your lady love. Because nothing says "Sorry I haven't saved you in a while but I'm here now so break out the WD-40" quite like a steam powered fist at the end of your shovel. For anyone looking for a real challenge, "Shovel Knight" is the game to pick up.


"Bounden"

Game Oven
Platforms: iOS, Android

Occasionally, you find a game so odd and surreal that you just need to share it with everyone. You won't be shooting undead Nazis in this game. There are no coins to collect, princesses to save, or a single power-up along the way. Instead "Bouden," according to many people, makes them do one of the scariest things imaginable. Worst yet, you'll need to find someone to join you. Lace up your shoes -- because you are going to dance.

"Bounden," by Game Oven (with the cooperation of the Dutch National Ballet), is a rather unique game you play on your iPhone. Two people grab the phone from either end with the thumb placed on top of the touch pad. On the screen, you'll find a dot on a sphere. Tilt, turn, swivel around; you'll find that the dot always remains on the dead center of the sphere, but the world underneath it turns along with you.

As the music starts, you need to move the sphere so the dot hits each of the objectives -- sounds simple, but anyone who has taken to the dance floor knows that communication and body movement is vital for any good dancing. The same holds true for "Bounden" as you'll try to figure out the best ways to turn and twist without letting go of the iPhone or Android device.

If you want to see how the professionals do it, each of the levels you dance through comes with a video showing you the ballet company performing the same moves.  You don't need to practice your second position to get through the game, but a willing partner and a willingness to look goofy in public goes a long way.


"Jazzpunk"

Necrophone Games
Platforms: PC, Mac

Head shots are easy. Comedy is hard. That's why you see so many first-person shooters on the market and very few games that make you laugh. In the vein of movies like Airplane and Naked Gun, "Jazzpunk" tries its hand at comedy by throwing everything at the wall, and then making a joke about a wall covered in everything. And honestly, it works.

You play as a detective sent to different areas of a heavily stylized city as you try to recover evidence or hunt down suspected criminals. Of course if you only do what you are told, you're missing the point of the game. "Jazzpunk" revels in its absurdity as you come across everything from 80s references to cheap puns. This is a game where you throw popcorn at people in a movie theater while watching bad commercials for products destined for the landfill. You'll stumble over one joke while following the thread of another. From throwing spiders at the cook to sending pigeons to attack the sax player, "Jazzpunk" stops at nothing to deliver a gut-splitting guffaw.

"Mountain"

David O'Reilly / Double Fine
Platforms: PC

 "Her" made us look at technology in a very different way and now a part of that vision is coming to life. No, you will not be carrying around a little Scarlet Johansson in your pocket as you run around the Santa Monica boardwalk any time soon. In the movie, you'll remember that Joaquin Phoenix plays a little game with his fingers and an alien with a dirty vocabulary. No, you don't get to play that game either, but the man behind that game, David O'Reilly, just released a game where you play as a mountain.

Yes, an actual mountain.

When you start "Mountain," you'll be asked to draw a variety of pictures while given word prompts like "life" or "fear." From your drawings, the game creates your very own mountain. And that's really about it. You'll go through day and night cycles, weather, seasons, and occasionally you'll get a message from the mountain about how much it enjoys the snow or how it looks forward to a brand new day.

For the most part, you'll leave it on your desktop behind Internet browsers or word documents. There are secrets to find. Maybe you'll notice that your keyboard plays music or that you can control the camera. Either way, "Mountain" ends after about 50 hours of life, death, seasons, and fireflies.    

"Catlateral Damage"

Chris Chung
Platforms: PC

Cats can be assholes -- lovable fur balls of adorableness, but assholes none the less. And now you can finally release your inner kitty with "Catlateral Damage," a game all about getting up into high places and knocking things over. From your first-purrson perspective, you'll need to send your little kitty paws flaying as you knock over everything from books, breakable pots, and expensive electronic equipment – just like a real cat. Only this time, you have a time limit and a high score to beat. If you don't feel like racing the clock, the little box mode lets you wander around for as long as you like knocking down object in the room.

There's Kickstarter happening for the full game, but you can check out the demo for the game right meow

This article is related to: Video Games, Video games, Video Game, Indie Games