Dec 17, 2012

Eclectic Mayans in a Box in a Bundle

Well, though I'd let you know... We've gone all silly and doom-spirited and have given the Eclectic Delights bundle a 3-day Mayan End of the World Extension. We've come up with the above lovely picture too, hoping that this will make our 11 excellent indie games look even tastier to your eclectic, err, tastes. Knock yourself out reader before it's too late!

Dec 11, 2012

Shadows on the Vatican, Act 2 (pre-order) and Skylight added to the Eclectic Delights bundle!

Bundle In A Box: Eclectic Delights is proving rather popular and, well, reader, that really makes both my and the Kyttaro Games team happy. Then again, 9 excellent indie games including strategy-‘em-up Delve Deeper, horror masterpieces The 4th Wall, Eversion and Fibrillation, point-and-click adventure The Shadows on the Vatican, Act: I, tactical wonder War of the Human Tanks, FMV fighting game Stay Dead, incredibly varied platformer The Adventures of Shuggy and Atari 2600 inspired Flibble!

Happily, the Eclectic Delights bundle has now ADDED 2 MORE GAMES for a total of 11; 2 games that will be yours if you beat the average price:

Shadows on the Vatican, Act: II Greed (pre-order). Yes, the still unreleased second installment in the point-and-click mystery thriller series can be grabbed for an incredibly low price in the world’s first bundle pre-order offer. The game will be made available to play and download as soon as it gets officially released. 

Skylight. An almost soothing 3D platform jumping journey with randomly generated levels and music for Windows and Mac. A unique arcade offering and the very first game of Moment Studio.

Dec 4, 2012

Gnomes bundling boxes: BIAB Eclectic Delights launched!

Hooray (I guess)! The third and biggest Bundle In A Box, the deeply indie, wildly varied, thoroughly researched, much loved and rather fabulous Eclectic Delights bundle, is now live!

All you have to do wise reader is to simply hop over to Bundle In A Box, pay what you want and grab 5 brilliant and properly indie games:

  • Lovecraftian yet cute platformer Eversion (Windows/Mac/Steam) 
  • elegant RTS War of the Human Tanks (Windows/Desura)
  • gloriously pixelated adventure/strategy Delve Deeper (Windows/Steam) 
  • Russian horror offering Fibrillation (Windows /Desura) 
  • point-and-click mystery Shadows of the Vatican, Act: I (Windows/Desura) 

Beat the average price, further help your favourite gnome and also get:

  • award winning platformer Adventures of Shuggy (Windows/Steam/Desura) 
  • surreal horror game The 4th Wall (Windows) 
  • FMV rhythm-action-fighter Stay Dead (Windows/Mac/Desura) r
  • etro-tastique, hilarious maze-‘em-up Flibble (Windows) 
Oh, and do keep in mind that the more bundles we manage to sell, the more money will go to the Indie Dev Grant and that most crucial charity helping autistic children in poverty-stricken Greece. Also, more extras will be unlocked, meaning that everyone who grabbed a bundle (in a box) will also be getting such goodies as soundtracks and digital comic-books.

PS. Did you know that bundlers will also be getting access to exclusive Droidscape: Basilica content? Well, now you do.

PS 2. Helping spread the word via blogs, twitter, facebook, reddit and all sorts of web thingies would be deeply appreciated. Also, needed I'm afraid :)

Oct 11, 2012

Kicking it off again with Agent Trinity - The Ultimatum

The Ultimatum, Agent Trinity - Episode 0 - The Ultimatum to give it its full name, is an AGS game crafted for the experimental gameplay project. Now, as this month's experimental competition was all about the manipulation of time, Agent Trinity has you literally manipulating a clock; the ultimate time measuring device. By turning its hour hand two hours back into the PAST no less!

Yes, this is a funny little game indeed and LostTrainDude definitely knows his humour. Apparently, he knows his point-and-click/stealth hybrids too, which is definitely a good thing.

Sep 20, 2012

But is it dead yet? NO! The Deep Space bundle adds the complete Bagful of Wrong!

Gotta love them long blog-post titles.

The way Bundle In A Box: Deep Space is doing? Well, not so much really.

Despite trying to be different, properly indie, supportive of things that matter, nice and proponents of quality, we didn't apparently manage to attract the gaze of the greatest part of the gaming press. As for the wonderful people that covered the Deep Space let me just say thank you! You've been wonderful! Really, really, wonderful!

Anyway. Enough with that. Just wanted to let you know that our bundle has become even better (yes, it was actually possible) with the addition of Rob Fearon's amazing Bagfull of Wrong as a bundle-within-a-bundle! 

That's another ten games to accompany Death Ray Manta (already got a lovely review over on the illustrious EDGE), Space Giraffe, Dark Scavenger, Armalyte and, surely, you know the rest. As for them new games, please do allow me to copy&paste from our press release:  

Bagfull of Wrong, the winner of 2 Eurogamer Expo Stars, first and foremost contains arena shooter War Twat (for both PC and Mac and in all its varied guises); the same game that had Kieron Gillen admit: “This is a Minter shooter with the finesse removed and the volume turned to Bruce Forsyth screaming with the force of a nuclear explosion”.

 -Critically acclaimed shooter Squid Yes Not So Octopus (widely known as SYNSO). A sweet 1-4 minute arena shooter, offering psychedelic mayhem and neon chaos from the future that never was. SYNSO is playfully accompanied by SYNSO:CE and even more, weirder SYNSO editions.

-SYNSO: Squid Harder. The noisy follow-up to SYNSO. A sequel if you will, sporting even more squids with guns! Pink Robots! Devils from the 4th dimension! Shopping Trolleys and Lasers. Visual and aural overload! The star of the Eurogamer Expo 2009 Indie Games Arcade and an arena shooter like no other.

-Squid and Let Die: A diversion via Transversion. Solar like a fox. Collect the dots, the board is a deathtrap. Do not die. Hard and scary with a side order of Digitiser and Pac-Man tribute.

-FISHFISHBANGBANG: The one-button, fish-spinning, fish vs fish shoot-‘em-up that pays tribute to the almost forgotten Vectrex console.

-Ambiomat: The colorful one-switch digital toy.


Oh, and the original PlaySF issue and the exclusive Dark Scavenger Soundtrack have already been unlocked for everyone who has grabbed (or will do so) the bundle to enjoy.

If you could help us spread the word reader, that would be rather brilliant. Blog-post, reviews, facebookings, tweeterings, reddits, anything really will do. I even prepared a handy web-presskit to make things easier for you...

Sep 15, 2012

Deep Space Bundle: Pay What You Want for 8 Space Themed Games

In space no one can hear you bundle. A silly slogan, I know, but it was one I simply had to use when trying to let the world know about Bundle In A Box: Deep Space; the fantastic, if I may say so myself, pay-what-you-want bundle I and Kyttaro Games had been working on for quite some time and has finally been released.

The bundle is still of course thematic, remains dedicated to DRM-free downloads despite introducing the amazing DRM: The Game (a.k.a. Death Ray Manta) and keeps on supporting both a charity that's actually important and the Indie Dev Grant that, well, is also pretty important.

Right. Let's talk games then and avoid discussing the subtleties (or lack thereof) of the pay-what-you-want model. GAMES. Well, here they are then:

Rob Fearon’s Death Ray Manta (PC/Mac); a psychedelic and fully customizable arena shooter specifically created for Bundle In A Box.

Llamasoft’s demented Space Giraffe (PC/Steam) arcade thingy.

Frenetic space-combat sim The Wreckless (PC/Mac/Desura), that does feel quite a bit like Wing Commander.

Surreal RPG/adventure Dark Scavenger (PC/ Mac/Desura); the game that has the best weapons ever!

Official remake of the Commodore 64 classic Armalyte (PC) along some impressively interactive extras.

Stunning space-shooter Sol: Exodus (PC/Steam/Desura).

Just released 2.5D arcade offering Miner Wars Arena (PC/Mac/Desura)

Humorous retro-esque platformer RobotRiot (PC/Mac/Desura).

What’s more, for each 1000 bundles sold a hand-picked (by me no less) selection of extras will be unlocked for everyone, including the premier issue of the PlaySF sci-fi gaming magazine, the brand new Dark Scavenger soundtrack, the soundtracks of Sol: Exodus and Miner Wars, and an eclectic selection of books, artbooks and storyboards.

As a further bonus, all who purchase the bundle will get access to exclusive content for Droidcape: Basilica; Kyttaro Games’ own upcoming game for iOS and Android and something I have been working on for bloody ages. The top 10 contributors will also get a free copy of the game itself upon release, whereas the Droidscape: Into the Basilica book will be made available as an unlockable extra.

Sep 4, 2012

An Indie Dev Grant Got Bundled In Deep Space

You didn't expect this, did you? Well, that's life for you reader dear. Full of surprises. Surprises such as that spankin' new Bundle In A Box blog, the fact that the forthcoming Bundle In A Box will sport a Deep Space theme or the rather more important fact that struggling indie devs are now able to apply for another Indie Dev Grant. Surprises, thus, that are pretty nice.

Now, as I'm sure we will be announcing the new bundle's launch date via BIAB's twitter, let me just quote stuff and let you all know how the new Indie Dev Grant will work: 

The Indie Dev Grant, a most popular feature of Bundle In A Box we are most proud of, is a grant designed to help indie game developers actually create the games they’ve always wanted to. For every 100 bundles sold, $10 will be added to the grant. One indie developer (be it a group or an individual), voted by the esteemed fans of Bundle in a Box will get the whole amount after the bundle ends.  
No strings will be attached by either Bundle in a Box or Kyttaro Games.  
The grant can be used in any way the developer that earns it sees fit and will in no way be obliged to co-operate with Kyttaro Games or Bundle in a Box. Developers that have already taken part in one of our bundles or are willing to do so in the future are also eligible for the grant. Actually, absolutely anyone is free to enter; yes, even people trying to buy some time in order to create their next freeware gem.  
As gamers will start voting on the developer that will earn the grant from the moment the bundle launches, we do ask those interested in participating to contact us with their entries up to September 10.  
We want you to answer the following simple questions and either provide us with a screenshot of your project, a piece of concept art or a video:  
-Who are you?  
-What project will the IDG be helping you complete? Please do describe it.  
Contact us either via the Kyttaro Games contact form or mail us directly at We’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.  
All Indie Dev Grant entries will be presented on both the Kyttaro Games blog and the brand new Bundle In A Box blog.

Sep 1, 2012

Bravely Navigating Greenlight (also 10 games that have to be on Steam if the world is to ever be a better place)

In its first day Greenlight, the cunning Steam scheme that lets mainstream gamers vote on indie games and saves Valve the trouble of promoting its service, has gathered over 500 submissions. It is of course quite the mess, though a mess that will ensure that only well-known games with built-in communities make it to Steam, thus bringing Valve even more money. Hoorah!

Or, well, not.

Anyway. I too did spend a few hours navigating the Greenlight entries and here are the 10 games I would like to see make it on the service. They are of course games I was already aware of, but that's how things work, isn't it?

The Sea Will Claim Everything; it's the only game that will make you a better person. Also, it looks and sounds wonderful and sports thousands of lovely words that are lovely.

Death Ray Manta; it's by Rob Fearon and it's the most psychedelic, colourful, enjoyable and modifiable arena shooter we'll ever play. Besides, DRM eh?

Dark Scavenger; because everyone should love excellent, verbose adventure/RPG hybrids with a demented sense of humour.

Project Zomboid; yes, zombies can still be fun, interesting and actually innovative. Here is where I confess my love for the thing.

Neocolonialism; seems to have involved since I first covered it for the IndieGames Blog. Besides Steam could easily use a couple more political games.

Wyv and Keep; I do love co-op games played on one PC. Even more so when they are weird and pixel-artsy. Mind you, I did preview this particular game some time ago.

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller; crafted with a little help from Jane Jensen AND using the power of post-cognition: the most useless sounding super-power of late, that does though make perfect sense from a gameplay point-of-view.

Fibrillation; from Russia. With horror.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land; WWI turn-based strategy and Cthulhu. Better yet, Call of Cthulhu of the Chaosium variety. Did review it some time ago.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch; the trailer, the TRAILER.

And if you feel I haven't posted enough links, well, here's another one. It will take you to my Greenlight Collection thingy, which, provided I don't get bored, will generally include some pretty intriguing games.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Aug 14, 2012

Adventure Lantern #32

It is admittedly August, but you should definitely download the July issue of Adventure Lantern. It is after all as fresh as your average August magazine and, by far, the best looking issue the dear, venerable adventure gaming fanzine has so far managed. Pretty impressive really, as are the excellent reviews of Scratches: Director's Cut and Metal Dead. Oh, and the news section is both incredibly rich and downright mouth-watering.

Aug 9, 2012

Deirdra Kiai presents Dominique Pamplemousse in It's All Over Once The Fat Lady Sings!

Okay, we still don't have The Threepenny Opera: The Game, but Dominique Pamplemousse in It's All Over Once The Fat Lady Sings! will apparently be able to cover our collective jazz-musical point-and-click adventure gaming needs. Provided we help it get funded, that is. You know, by giving money to this mouth-watering indiegogo campaign and making sure that the brilliantly multi-talented Deirdra Kiai has the funds she needs to actually pull this one off.

Just take a look at the pitch video and tell me the prospect of such a visually and aurally beautiful stop motion detective adventure isn't something worth supporting...

See? You loved it too reader! How very lovely!

Aug 7, 2012

Thomas Was Alone and a new breed of reviews

Having already covered the release of Thomas Was Alone over at the IndieGames blog (see? that's where newsbits go these days) I thought I'd take my time and finish the game before reviewing it for my very own, very cozy place. But first a bit of history.

Thomas Was Alone is a game by Mike Bithell and Mike Bithell is one of the first indie game designers I started writing about sometime six years ago. He was still a student back then, but had already come up with more than a few intriguing ideas and was more than capable of creating beautiful games. Games like Reunion if you remember, which I deeply enjoyed and (hint, hint) would love to see evolved.

Then, things and games happened and Mike went on and crafted a particularly successful flash game named Thomas Was Alone which you can no longer play online. It was an utterly lovely game. A refreshing puzzle-platformer that provided you with rectangle characters and a geometric world, in which said characters could climb and bounce on top of each other in order to solve platformer puzzles.

Then, even more things happened (mainly glowing press and, apparently, brave choices) and Mike decided that Thomas Was Alone simply had to realize its full potential and become a full-blown, downloadable and thus logically commercial indie game. Following a modest IndieGoGo campaign the game was released and you can (and frankly should) buy it now for Mac and PC over at its very own and most aptly URLed site. There's even a demo available to help you make the right choice.

History lesson over. Time for a review.

Well, the official description of the game goes a bit like this: a minimalist game about friendship and jumping and floating and bouncing and anti-gravity, which is pretty accurate, but fails to add the words terrific, story-heavy and brilliantly narrated somewhere. A grave marketing mistake surely, as what we are talking about here reader is easily one of the very best platformers ever. A game that has earned its place among classic platformers Manic Miner and VVVVVV; a rare action offering that can proudly sit next to Alphaland (an inspiration perhaps?) and claim it really knows its storytelling.

The plot and its delivery, you see, are central to Thomas Was Alone, which does force me to namedrop a bit more. Remember that Portal game? Good. Now, do the math and find out what I want to say, by keeping in mind that I easily preferred Thomas' take on interactive storytelling.

As for the gameplay itself, things are both straightforward and innovative. You get to control a variety of subtly yet brilliantly animated rectangles, each with its own unique personality, set of abilities, shape and colour, and guide them through an excellently designed set of levels that will mainly tax your brain, but also -a bit- your reflexes. What's really lovely is just how well each rectangle's defining ability is tied to its character; what's downright impressive though is that said rectangles are so much more interesting than your average multi-polygonal mainstream hero. They have a soul and that's coming from a person who simply doesn't believe such things exist.

So, uhm, as I said earlier, buy it will you? Don't make me go on about how lovely the stylized graphics are or how addictive the game can get. I'm very busy these days, you know, and am pretty confident the less I tell you about it, the more fun you'll have discovering the many graces of Thomas Was Alone.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Aug 3, 2012

Today's Mech Delivery: PlaySF issue 2

Ask anyone who has ever published anything of a periodical nature and they'll admit that actually doing a second issue is the most difficult and crucial phase their magazine had to go through, which, gently leads me to telling you about the release of Play SF issue 2 and my being very happy about it. Well, it's out and I'm happy, and you should absolutely grab a copy (for Mac/PC and your iOS contraption) or, better, yet subscribe to the thing, as this is much more than the only sci-fi focused gaming magazine; it's a great and excellently written magazine. One of the three (yes, only) I actually read!

As for this issue's contents, expect tons of reviews, previews, features and newsbits. Personal highlights include a Carrier Command preview, a little something on Wing Commander Saga, my introduction to Hawken, an amazing feature on game adaptations, the continuation of the brilliant Tripping The Quantum Mechanic series and that Endless Space review.  

Jul 6, 2012

The Recession Bundle

And there you (and I) were thinking I was done with bundle-blogging (working on Bundle In A Box can be more than enough) when BLAM! there appears the Recession Bundle by lovable bundle-observatory Indie Game Bundles. It's a wonderful and most unique beast and I couldn't help but mention it. The bundle comes with 6 freeware games and, should you be nice enough to pay something, 2 commercial indie offerings I at least hadn't tried before. All the money will be used to directly support the developers, cover the bundle's costs and help an important charity.

Among the games you'll find such gems as Anna Anthropy's sadistic platformer Mighty Jill Off, Gunstar Heroes inspired actiony-shooty thing Action Fist, stunning political adventure The Cat and the Coup and the gorgeous 8-bit Night. So, uhm, go grab the Recession Bundle and support this wonderful initiative.  Here's the trailer to further whet your appetite:

Jun 21, 2012

The Summer of the Gnomes

The first Bundle In A Box is over, I took a few (tiring yet wonderful) days off and now I'm joyfully returning to my dear and humble Gnome's Lair. And do I have things piled up for you to enjoy dear and most loyal of readers! First of all there will be reviews; reviews of games I love and am taking my time with.

Reviews of such generally brilliant offerings as The Sea Will Claim Everything, Resonance, A Valley Without Wind, Dark Scavenger, Unity of Command, The Journey Down and maybe a few more. I will though change the way I review or write about stuff as I frankly don't really feel like judging games as products; not that I ever did, but I sure feel like it sometimes felt like I did.

What's more, I'm thinking of writing a few articles on older games, designing games and other less news-oriented stuff, which I'm mostly keeping for my delightful job over at the IndieGames Blog.

Oh, and as I am actually working on a couple of games with Kyttaro Games and our next bundles, I'll try and see whether I can finally release a small, personal game during this very summer. Not particularly optimistic on this front, but, well, one can always hope.

That's all for now I suppose. Cheers reader!

Jun 15, 2012

A Post-Bundle Lair

The good news is that the very first Bundle In A Box is successfully over and that I have already started working on the next bundle. The excellent news, on the other hand, is that I will actually be taking a few days off, hopefully away from all sorts of digital devices. Before I go though, here are a couple of newsbits I'd like to share:

Jonas Kyratzes has finally unveiled the excellent Lands of Dream site, where he has also made sure even the misguided souls that missed the bundle can buy the utterly brilliant The Sea Will Claim Everything. Oh, and do expect a detailed review of the game some time during the summer.

The indie-loving, game-designing Captain D has released (for the negligible price of $0.99)
Captain Disaster: The Compact eBook Edition. The book comes filled with 11 short stories and something tells me it will have something to do with a forthcoming indie adventure game.

Now, if you'll excuse, I have to pack. See you all in a few days!

Jun 5, 2012

The Box Is About to Close

Well, it was exhausting and it wont be over for another 20 or so hours, but I have to admit that helping run Bundle In A Box - Adventure Bundle was rather exciting. Also exhilarating and at certain times bordering on infuriating. Still, I do believe we managed to put on a great bundle with some excellent games, that will hopefully help both the charity we had chosen and indie developers themselves.

Now, there are two things I want to ask of you precious reader: vote on the Indie Dev Grant poll and help us spread the word for those final hours of the bundle. It's not as if every mainstream site mentioned it or anything...


Jun 4, 2012

Adventure Lantern In A Box

The June issue of adventure gaming's finest online magazine (yes, yes, that would indeed be Adventure Lantern) has arrived and can be downloaded for free over at the mag's site

The issue sports an interview with your truly regarding a certain bundle, an amazing interview with Chris Jones on the forthcoming Tex Murphy, a chat with Steve Hoogendyk on Lilly Looking Through, a fine selection of news and reviews of The Sea Will Claim Everything, The Journey Down HD,  Ben There, Dan That! and Dead Mountaineer's Hotel.

A fine and varied read indeed, I'm sure you would agree. Wouldn't you reader dear? Good.

Jun 3, 2012

Smudged Cat Games (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

David of Smudged Cat Games, an indie PC and XBLIG games developer, has written games like The Adventures of Shuggy, Timeslip and Gateways, but feels he's never really managed to reach a wider audience. He'd love the grant in order to be able to carry on making the indie games he loves. Games like a sequel to Shuggy.

"Unfortunately sales of my games aren't really strong enough for me to do so much longer", says David and goes on to add: "I've got a baby now so it's looking ever more likely that I'll need to abandon indie development and get a 'regular' job. Give me the grant and help me continue to make great games like Gateways".

Novastar (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Nathan of Binary Freeze is applying for the Indie Dev Grant, as he's trying to start developing indie games full time. He's been learning programming, graphic design, and music composition, with a heavy emphasis on developing games for almost 9 years now. What's more, he's getting married on June 9th, and in the coming fall his wife and he will be starting a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration majoring in Entrepreneurship, specifically for starting an indie game studio.

Recently Nathan released Arena of Fire on Microsoft's Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace. Designed as a test, it was his first game developed on Windows and he wanted to go through a complete development-release cycle.

Lately, Nathan has been working on a top-down space exploration action-adventure game codenamed Novastar. Its major focuses are missions, exploration, and space combat. Some planned features include: 4-6 coalitions (2 major, 2 minor, 2 other), lots of spaceships to purchase or commandeer, many weapons and ship upgrades, and multiple singleplayer storyline endings. He's also been wanting to add online multiplayer and missions to accommodate 2+ cooperating players. Although he has developed a physics engine, he does not yet have the resources to focus on this as a major feature. Moreover, he seems to be running out of time.

"With getting married, and moving in the middle of June, I can't afford to continue pursuing my passion of development full-time. I hope to get funded so that I can continue on my game, and provide a great resource for others", says Nathan.

He then adds: "Finally, one of my dreams, in being a game developer, is to empower and help realize the dreams of my family and friends. My sister is an aspiring sci-fi novelist. I have hired her and given her the creative freedom to do the storyline, history, and background. This has the possibility of turning into a short novels project, and the higher development of a sci-fi world. And again, I've been in contact with a music composer, whom I quote, 'I just think it would be cool to be able to have my stuff in a video game!'".

Perling (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Chris is working on a game codenamed Perling. It is an 8-directions arcade shooter based in a completely randomly generated world (the name comes from the Perlin noise generator). The world is randomly populated with various things and the way in which they behave is also randomly generated (as a crude example, a dog might be really aggressive towards you on one level, or, a crab might try its hardest to get set on fire and chase after anything). The levels will also feature randomly generated quests.

All of this is generated by the level name the player specifies at the start. This can be a single word, or a full-on sentence. 

Chris likes the idea that people will, through experimentation, find really fun levels and share them with friends. Something along the lines of "You should totally play 'Secret Cow Level', there's this island full of dogs and if you get too close, they vomit up cats and then fight amongst themselves!".

Here is a very early glimpse of the game:

The game in being created in Monkey and is aiming for a XBLIG, PC/Mac, Android, iOS and PS Vita release.

As for the grant... On to Chris: "I guess I am not comfortable saying I SHOULD get the grant, but I'd certainly love to get it :) I work on Perling part time and I would really love to be able to work on it full time. I am trying to scrape some money together that will leave me secure financially for a few months and this would certainly help".

Spellirium (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Ryan Henson and Untold Entertainment would apparently love to be the recipients of the Indie Dev Grant. They are working on a graphic adventure / word puzzle hybrid called Spellirium, which handily can be found over at

According to Ryan the game is shaping up nicely, but it's very slow-going, and the team has to keep taking contract work while trying to squeeze out enough of a margin to keep working on Spellirium. "Most of the time, the contract work we take is just barely enough to keep the lights on, so Spellirium sits collecting dust. We were originally funded by the Ontario government to work on Spellirium, but the project scope and our own admitted lack of experience running large-scale projects saw the money run out quickly with very little to show for it" says Ryan. Now that they are apparently back on track, they're dedicated to being far more careful with money and project management. 

As for the game itself it takes a fun word-building grid and folds it into a puzzle-based adventure story. To shear a sheep, you have to spell synonyms for "cut": TRIM, CLIP, CHOP, TRIM, etc. To defeat a two-headed monster, you have to spell palindromes. To turn a wheel, you have to spell words across, down, back and up in a circular motion. To defeat a green monster, you have to spell words using only the green tiles. These challenges are all tied into a story about a post-apocalyptic world that's been busted back to the Dark Ages, where reading and writing have been outlawed. You play Brother Todd, an apprentice Runekeeper, who is tasked with curating a secret underground library of "findage" with writing on it. When the other Runekeepers go missing and one turns up dead, it's up to Todd and his motley band of companions to unravel the mystery. 

Spellirium: It's the End of the Word as We Know It.

Dwarf Miner (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Triston has thrown his hat in for the Indie Dev Grant! The project for his entry will be the first game he has ever made and one that he has been developing on the side in his spare time: Dwarf Miner. You can already play the work-in-progress demo of the game and read a post on the Stencyl community forums about it here.

Why does he need the grant though? Well, for obvious reasons: "This grant would afford me the ability to not only work on the game more;  I'd also be able to hire a a couple people to help with art and music".

Karst (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Minionworks Games are a small basement operation in Victoria, BC (Canada). They have been working full-time for just over a year now on their headliner game, Karst. It's a first-person physics puzzle game, with a survival-game ambiance and unique graphics. 

Here's what they are saying: "We really love what we're doing, and will keep making games we think you'll love for as long as we can; but we could use your help. For more information on us and our games, check out our site".

Head of the Gorgon (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Project Overboard is all about creating Head of the Gorgon, which is a graphic adventure game re-telling of the myth of Perseus, with a visual style that matches ancient Greek blackfigure pottery. It will be very faithful to the myth, but also pretty jokey. It can also be described as The Greekest of Monkey Islands

All of the money for Head of the Gorgon will go to charity.

Find out more about it by watching this video:

Backworlds (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Juha Kangas is one of the developers on a game called Backworlds ( The team were nominated for the 2012 Independent Propeller Awards in three categories and also selected for the Nordic Game 2012 Indie Night. There is a trailer of the game you can watch here:

Juha is "interested in the grant so that I can continue working on this game as much as possible, as I will otherwise have to start working full-time for others and thereby having less time for Backworlds. My co-developer already works full-time on other things, but he will continue with that and have Backworlds as a hobby".

45 A Day Project (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Ben Simms is working on a game that, as you can see from this link, is progressing along nicely. It obviously bears resemblance to Jetpack Joyride, but, unlike Jetpack, Ben wants to make a game that appeals to both old school gamers wanting a story and social gamers wanting something to pick up and play. The game will try and stand out based on its unique story, themed acts and ranking system.

Laser Missile Bomb (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Tyler Owen is the sole developer (artist, programmer, and designer) for a puzzle game called Laser Missile Bomb which he's frantically trying to finish. The game is aiming to be unlike any puzzle game out there right now, and you can play its early beta version over at

Here's what Tyler also let the BIAB team know: "If I were to get the grant I would be able to release the game without the need for a sponsor and I could pay the composer for his continuing work on the music. There are currently 13 levels in the beta demo, but I have plans to release 25-30 in the final version".

Fallen Light (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.] 

Andrew Pelzer is working on Fallen Light; an ambitious, multi-platform 2D-sidescroller RPG using the Construct 2 engine that will hopefully break the barriers dividing casual and hardcore players.The focus of the game is on giving tools to the players so that they can form their own enjoyable experience, roam and interact with the world, and actually craft both their experience and even the world itself. Said game world will be built from the ground up offering an incredibly flexible and deep storyline.

Fallen Light is aiming at providing with a strong story, a great game and a rich community, while serving as a learning tool for the developer and a showcase of both Construct 2 and HTML5. The game will most probably be released for free and the grant will provide it with the funds required for assets, domains, security, servers, promotion and extra developers.

Here are some noteworthy features the game will strive for:

- Modified Personality System : Based on how you treat the world around you, the world itself will evaluate your actions and respond.

- Point System : Straying from the stale Strength or Intelligence this system has been expanded. Several places to enter points offering huge character customization and fine-tuning options.

- High Level Characters : Level caps being set too low cause characters to not branch out enough from one another. Content will spread out throughout the game discouraging the formation of end-game necessity.

- Classes with Depth : Instead of declaring yourself a Warrior, Rogue or Mage, new systems are being focused on, that will let you choose a more flexible layout for your character.

- Freedom with Consequence : Being latched down and forced to move as the game wants you to is just you watching your character play. Break from that. With no defined path you are your own legend. Make yourself worth being told. However, make sure you plan ahead because the game will fight back.

Visit the Fallen Light facebook page at

Jun 2, 2012

Sevnborne: Fortress of the Demon King (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Zed (@dedhedzed), whose real name isn't exactly Zed and who runs the Games by Zed site is apparently throwing himself "upon the mercy of the voting public to try and salvage a career from the wreck that is [his] daily life... Bloody hell, that sounds depressing, doesn’t it? Must lighten that up".

Happily he did lighten the mood by reminding us of his most famous game so far: the Intense Staring Simulator. He then added: "I’m relatively well-known for entering Ludum Dare, multiple times, and other such gamejam things. I do a lot of ‘messing about’, which goes a long way to explaining why I am where I am, career-wise. I’ve never had the time or resources to be able to sit down for an extended period and develop one title to full ‘commercial’ quality, which is something I’m optimistically hoping to rectify, with the Indie Dev Grant".

The game he is submitting is called Sevnborne: Fortress of the Demon King. It’s a narrative-driven, dungeon crawling twin-stick shooter that owes a lot stylistically to Gauntlet and Smash TV, and thematically to Terry Pratchett’s universally loved Discworld series. 

Here’s a breakdown of its key features:

·         Fast-paced twin-stick shooting action, with pickups and three levels of attack power for added depth and strategy.

·         A whopping 200 levels, with (technically) 200 more in a ‘remixed’ European Extreme difficulty mode, which offers a complete overhaul of enemy placement and challenge, rather than just bumping up the enemy’s ‘HP’ stat.

·          Hundreds of optional collectibles ranging from jewellery to weapons, and hand-written notes, each with a robust and comedic description.

·         A (hopefully) well-written, comedic plot with fully voice-acted dialogue in several inter-level cutscenes, telling the story of ‘Raika Sevnborne’, an orphan and wizard’s apprentice who must leave his relatively comfortable home life, where his biggest challenge is washing up dishes, to rescue his Master from the malicious Demon King Malleus, all with his transgender demon sprite friend Pixie in tow.

·         20 boss fights and 15 original enemies for added variety throughout the monstrously large number of levels.

The current state of the game is basically a debug room that shows off the main gameplay mechanics, allowing you to spawn enemies in a safe environment. Watch an early video of the project here: 

Under the Ocean (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Under the Ocean (link) will be a direct sequel to Under the Garden and is being developed by Paul Greasley and Michael Reitzenstein with music from Chris T Geehan. It will of course be a platformer/survival game and it will use all the grants it can get to be an even better game.

Have a look at two devlog videos:  Part 1 & Part 2. Oh, and do visit

Dungeon Hearts (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Christopher Pavia, the artist/designer/programmer for Dungeon Hearts, is asking for a bit of funding to help him hire people for the parts of the process he's not so great at. He maintains a development blog over at where you can see plenty of artwork and find out quite a bit about the game.

Dungeon Hearts could best be described as a blend of the ever-escalating pace of Canabalt, the puzzle/action hybrid style of Puzzle Quest, and the nostalgia of old-school Japanese RPG’s such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior. A brave party of adventurers dashes quickly from battle to battle, using a match-3 puzzle system to defeat their opponents. Mastering the balance between offense and defense is key. Between each battle, the player must quickly level up the warriors, as each encounter is more difficult than the last. As the party wades through wave after wave of enemies, they must adapt to the twists and turns thrown at them as the gameplay evolves. If they can survive long enough, they may encounter the Dark One himself! 

Here's a most enlightening development video.

Untitled Metroidvania/RPG (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.] 

Dustin Booher is currently working on a still unnamed open world, metroidvania RPG, but, as his puts it, "at 0$ my funding is a little low". The Indie Dev Grant could thus really make all the difference in the world. Oh, and the game is to be heavily inspired by Cave Story.

Jun 1, 2012

It's A Ruff Life (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Stephen Sanders (Design/Script/Programming/Voices), Jake Singer (Color) and Elizabeth Drybread (Art) are working on It's A Ruff Life; a family friendly adventure that aims to entertain children and parents alike in the same way the old Humongous Entertainment adventures did.

It's all about a young puppy named Alfie on an adventure to find his tennis ball. The game will come with a lively cast of characters including Meekers the mouse, Nikita the kitty, and Colonel Butsnifs, owner of a giant doghouse next door to Alfie.

As for the Indie Dev Grant? Well and to quote, it "would allow us to buy better software and equipment in order to bring better quality voices and music to the game. It would allow us to hire a musician to score the game. Also, it would allow us to make making this game our job and thus give us more time to work on the game and shorten the production cycle in order to get it done faster".

Jack Houston and the Necronauts (Indie Dev Grant)

[Gnome's Lair and the Kyttaro Games blog are presenting the Indie Dev Grant nominees that Bundle In A Box will be funding. Voting for the indie dev that will get the grant will begin on Monday June 4.]

Warbird Games and game-loving* film writer/director Stacy Davidson (of Shadow of Lost Citadel and Star Wars fan-adventure Han Solo Adventures fame) are working on a 1950's pulp sci-fi inspired point & click adventure experience called Jack Houston and the Necronauts

What will they do with the grant money? Well, here's what Stacy told us: "I will be able to pay artists to help visualize the world, a world class composer (who happens to be a good friend of mine and will give me a tremendous break!) to record a riveting score, voice talent to contribute to the characters and, quite frankly, I will be able to put aside my video work and go full time designing and coding Jack Houston without starving and having my lights turned off!"

*Has tested games for Origin Systems in the QA department where he served on the teams for games like Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Ultima Online & Ultima Ascension. Later still, he joined GarageGames and contributed to the 3D modeling on Jeff Tunnel's update of The Incredible Machine titled Chain Reaction

May 30, 2012

The Journey Down Giveaway

Journey Down HD by the brilliantly named SkyGoblin is a stunning game to look at. Simply stunning. Happily, it also is a properly funny and, quite frankly, great adventure game I should have already reviewed ages ago, but, well, that bundle is an incredibly time-consuming beast. Anyway. Take my word for it: if you ever loved adventure games you'll adore the Journey Down.

You can handily grab it via a healthy selection of online download shop-thingies (including Desura) and you can also try and win one of the five copies SkyGoblin is graciously giving away for Gnome's Lair readers. Just leave a comment here and make sure I've got some way of contacting you. You have till Monday! The winners will be announced via this very post.

[UPDATE]: And now for the winners; please do drop me a line!

  • MoP
  • Panayotis Pantazis
  • Johny Rivera
  • Barts
  • Nick Burgener

May 25, 2012

The Sea Will Claim Everything Postcard

Sadly, I don't have the time to properly review The Sea Will Claim Everything by Jonas Kyratzes, even though it is the game we are debuting via Bundle In A Box - Adventure Bundle. I do, on the other hand, have the time to impress you with the above postcard (disclaimer: not really a postcard; more of a screenshot). You see, it's not only a beautifully hand-painted picture, but one hiding dozens of whimsical details and a myriad hotspots. Even the tiniest of books on the upper shelf comes with a silly/serious/satirical/brilliant title and author, and absolutely everything you see surrounding The has a story to tell. 

So, uhm, grab the game, will you? 

May 23, 2012

It's Alive! Bundle In A Box - Adventure Bundle is alive!

Yes, it is true. Bundle In A Box - Adventure Bundle, the indie gaming bundle I and Kyttaro Games have been working on since, well, December is finally live! And it comes with its Indie Dev Grant, its important charity, its unique twist on the pay-what-you-want model, its DRM-free downloads and, well, all sorts of bells and whistles you can discover over at the bundle site itself.

What I'd rather talk about here though are the games we've managed to secure (for your eyes only). Let me present them, starting off with a title that's making its exclusive world-wide debut via Bundle In A Box

The Sea Will Claim Everything by Jonas Kyratzes. A huge, stunning, brilliantly written foray into the debt-stricken Lands of Dream and Jonas' magnum opus. Also a game sporting wonderful hand-drawn graphics, a fantastic soundtrack, a huge and incredibly detailed world, demented characters, and, yes, great puzzles!

Gemini Rue by Joshua Nuernberger and Wadjet Eye Games. The indie neo-noir masterpiece that has won a ton of awards and I reviewed (and loved) not that long ago. 

Metal Dead by Walk Thru Wall Studios. Games with zombies are common. Games with a heavy metal theme are too rare. Metal Dead is unique, funny and brilliant. Remember my review? Good.

Ben There, Dan That! (Special Edition) by Size Five Games. A surreal love letter to the Lucasarts adventure and a surprise indie hit I've actually complete three times. The Special Edition comes with all sorts of extras. Oh, and here's an interview with Dan Marshall; the heart of Size Five Games.

Time Gentlemen, Please! by Size Five Games. BTDT's direct sequel and an even better game with extremely stylish graphics and Nazi dinosaurs.  

1893: A World's Fair Mystery by The Illuminated Lantern. Text-adventures (or is that interactive fiction?) are far from dead and Bundle In A Box is doing its very best to bring them back into the hearts of the masses. 1893, one of the last commercial offerings of the genre and a huge and lavishly illustrated mystery, is finally available as a DRM-fee download. 

The Shivah by Wadjet Eye Games. The historically important point-and-click adventure that kickstarted Wadjet Eye Games and a most excellent and at times taxing game with atmospheric graphics and some innovative puzzles.

As for the extras that will unlock as the bundle reaches wider audiences, they are pretty exciting themselves. We've managed to box (heh) the never-before-seen Making Of Metal Dead booklet, and the original soundtracks of both Gemini Rue and The Shivah into a lovely digital present any adventurer should enjoy.

And, that's that. Better head over to Bundle In A Box methinks...

Oh, and please do help spread the word by writing, blogging, twitting, facebooking (?), redditing and googleplusing about it. Thanks!

May 21, 2012

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Review

Sometimes the truths of the universe are too shocking for us to accept and some other times cosmic realities simply cannot be understood. Still, I just can't comprehend why Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is the only (and thus first) Lovecraftian, turn-based, tactical game I've ever encountered; let alone one of the few games to use the trenches of WWI as a dark and desperate setting.

On the other hand, ignorance is bliss and creative people get strange dreams courtesy of the Outer Gods, who have been slumbering and waiting for an ambitious take on X-Com that will actually feature Dark Youngs, undead soldiers, mad mages, hints of Reanimator and the spawn of Cthulhu. Happily, said dreams spawned The Wasted Lands, which, as should have already been made blatantly obvious, is a lovely turn-based, tactical affair with a few RPG touches.

You get your characters, your action points, your experience points, your oppressive 3D terrains, your campy but delightful plot, your spells, your otherworldly monstrosities, your cultists and your zombified soldiers in one of the most honest (and cheap) strategy games I've recently played. What you also get is a truly elegant adaptation of Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu rules, the first ever sanity mechanics to actually work in a wargame and a most successful atmosphere. 

On the downside, this is a really short game sporting ten or so missions, that will last you for roughly ten hours, and, irritatingly, a game with a few control problems. Apparently, its iOS roots haven't been ironed out, but trust me when I say that you'll very soon be used to its, uhm, eccentricities. Oh, and you can only grab it over at the universally unknown Intel AppUp online store, meaning that more middleware will have to be installed on your ever-encumbered PC.

Still though, hadn't had this much fun with a turn-based strategy game, since, well, X-Com and that should be all you need to know.

Verdict: Cthulhu would smile and devise new tactics.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

May 16, 2012

Bundle In A Box to launch on May 23

Yes, the Bundle In A Box - Adventure Bundle will indeed launch on May 23; that's a week from now! Head over to, bookmark the site, subscribe to the newsletter and wait for those seven brilliant DRM-free games I have personally hand-picked. Oh, and you do know we are debuting one fantastic new game, don't you?

Adventure Lantern - the May issue

Another month, another issue of Adventure Lantern. Download the (free as ever) magazine here and read all  the latest adventure related news, as well as an eclectic selection of reviews, previews and interviews. Expect quite a bit on The Dream Machine, The Journey Down, The Walking Dead and The Lost Crown. Oh, and while you are at it, do not forget to read (or, well, listen to) this excellent interview with Chris Jones on Tex Murphy - Project Fedora that has just been posted.