I'm not the sort person who is fond of Indie games. I like my big name titles, my polished graphics and my big budgets. I dislike titles that I can't add to Steam or that can't use the processing power I've lovingly paid out for in my gaming rig. I am, for lack of a better term, a gaming snob. For this reason, I have given myself The Indie Challenge.
Each week, I will be playing at least one lesser known Indie game. I may not have enough time to complete said game, but I will at least try it. I'm doing this to attempt to expand my gaming horizons and stop being so focused on a small selection of game types. There is a whole world of gaming out there ready and waiting for me to come across.
I'll be posting a weekly blog following this challenge and detailing the game I've been playing as well as the game I will be playing next week. If you want to follow along with me, I'll be posting a link to the game.
I was originally supposed to write about Loadout from Edge of Reality this week, however, I didn't really feel it captured the essence of this series. Instead, I have chosen to cover Home by Benjamin Rivers.
When my editor suggested that I cover Home, I wasn't overly enthused. I loaded up the Steam page and the look of it just seemed so... well.. indie. With this in mind, I was about to stop and find something else but my editor preached how good it was and it's sort of the point of this series to try new things so I purchased the game and sat down to play it.
I should probably mention now that me and 'scary' games don't gel too well. I don't understand rollarcoasters or going out of your way to purposefully scare yourself. A friend and I once rented the first Dead Space, turned the lights off and say three feet from the screen. Ten minutes in and we'd turned the lights on, moved back and were peaking at the screen from behind the sofa. With this in mind, when Home told me to turn the lights off and put my headphones on, I was somewhat wary but, nevertheless, I donned my headphones and turned out the lights.
You awaken in a pitch black room with nothing but a flashlight at your feet. Switching it on, you start to search around the room and discover you're in a house. Under further inspection, things aren't as peachy as they should be.
From here, you move around the house and subsequently the rest of the world created by Benjamin Rivers, discovering clues and truthes as you go. There were a number of times where I let my own imagination wonder off on it's own path and scare me more than the game was itself. However, I believe this was Benjamin's aim when creating the game.
It's not long into Home that you start to control the protagonist exactly as you would do yourself. I skipped out venturing behind some doors because I felt a bad vibe from them, didn't pick up certain weapons because "you don't take a weapon to fight if you don't want it used against yourself" and I didn't jump down holes when I already had an injured leg. Everything about Home drags you further into the immersion of the title.
It's a fairly short game spanning just over an hour, but here's the kicker, nearly everything you do in Home can change the story. Do you go and investigate a disturbance or run for the hills? Do you pick up a rusty gun or leave it where it is? All of these things build up the story of Home as you go along and because of this, it has a huge replay value. Whilst a non-linear story line isn't uncommon these days, it's not that common in an indie title.
Home, for me, really illustrates the point of this challenge perfectly. It's about not judging a book by it's cover and trying new things and I was all ready to ignore Home because of how it looked which would have been a huge mistake.
If you'd like to give Home a try, you can find it on the Steam store here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/215670/
This week, I will be playing Gunpoint from Suspicious Development. Although this game has had quite a large amount of press already, it's still an indie game and one that I haven't tried yet.
If you'd like to play along with me, you can grab Gunpoint on steam here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/206190/