A Bundle of Indies: Gamersgate’s IndieFort Countdown – Week 5

Have you been waiting for this? Really? Aww, I’m flattered. Well, I’m very sorry, but I had a bad case of Christmas these last few days. But now I am back to tell you if you should get the last of Gamersgate’s IndieFort Countdown bundles. This one ends sometime today, so you have to be quick about this, okay?

The rules? Forget the rules! The bundle’s regular price is $4, but with each previous bundle you bought you get a 25% discount. That means that you get this one for free if you bought all previous IndieFort Countdown bundles. I hope you’ve been good little boys and girls and did what we told you. Remember: GamingMom knows best.

So, for the last time this year: what’s in the box?

War of the Human Tanks (Win)

Oh boy, this is a weird one. War of the Human Tanks is a turn-based Japanese strategy game, localized by Fruitbat Factory. It tells of the exploits of the Human Tanks, which are basically soldiers that look like schoolgirls* (yes, it’s the moe variety of character design), in some undefined near-futuristic Japan. It has all the traits and crazy stuff that we might associate with Japanese games – you know, those Japanese games that usually don’t make it out of Japan for being “too Japanese.” Every mission is basically made to look like an anime episode, with intro and outro themes and whatnot. And there’s dialogue. Lots and lots of dialogue (which frankly didn’t bother me at all, but I’ve read some reviews that did not like the talky bits too much). The battles themselves are really quite interesting, since they play out like a strange mixture of Advance Wars, Chess, and… Battleship? There are some interesting, unfamiliar concepts at work here, which makes the whole thing rather intriguing.
Whether you will like War of the Human Tanks probably depends on the amount of weirdness you can stomach. I had a great time with it and I’ll be coming back for more.

(*there’s more to this, but for now, that’s all you need to know.)

Will Fight for Food (Win)

Every so often, a game comes along that you really want to like. And then it does something that makes you like it a lot less, and you feel bad. Pyrodactyl’s Will Fight For Food is such a game. It tries to mix the rather disparate genres of adventure game and 2d-brawler, and this alone should be a reason for you to check it out. Being able to either talk your way out of a fight or, well, fight is a clever idea. The story of an ex-wrestler that returns to the place where he once had success in order to find closure is interesting, too. But then the technical problems appear, and they make this whole thing rather painful at times. Its biggest issue is the lack of gamepad support. This is a game about (possibly) beating people up, and yet you have to play it using the keyboard – talk about a wasted opportunity! I also had no luck in changing the game from running in a window to full-screen, and I could not change the resolution of the window, even though the options menu should have let me do that. And when I wanted to save my game, it did not save my game.* That’s bad. That’s really, really bad. Fortunately, this is supposed to be a rather short game, so if the technical issues don’t bother you too much, give it a chance. The underlying game mechanics are interesting and worth checking out.

* This apparently happens because the game’s directory is set to “read only” and can easily be fixed. Sorry!

Zafehouse Diaries (Win)

Screwfly’s Zafehouse Diaries feels like a mix-up of a board game, a choose-your-own-adventure book, and what can only be called “The Sims: Zombie Edition.” After reading a rather important set of rules, you’re tasked with leading a group of survivors through safety in a town overrun by zombies. You order your motley crew to scavenge, explore, build barricades and search for clues regarding their rescue, all the while battling the undead hordes with whatever tools are at your disposal. You also have to manage the relationships of the survivors, making this as much about internal as well as about external conflict (like any good zombie movie, really). And oh boy, when things go wrong they really go wrong. There’s a rather steep learning curve, and I guess the first couple of attempts at playing this will result in your survivors ending up as zombie fodder.
Yet this is really interesting, thanks to the game’s interface: since it is turn-based, most of the events unfold in your eponymous diary, without any way to influence them (with this being a document you are reading after all the actions took place). It also gives the game a rather oppressive feeling of finality that lends itself well to the overall theme. Give this one a try, especially if you like board games.

Zombie Shooter 2 (Win)

Well, Zombie Shooter 2 is a game where you shoot zombies. Remember what I wrote about last week’s Alien Shooter 2? Just read that again and replace every mention of aliens with zombies. There, all done. Seriously though: at this point in time, Sigma Team released six games of the Alien/Zombie Shooter variety. They are all kind of the same. If you like shooting aliens and/or zombies and are not too fussy about good graphics and exciting gameplay, you might like those games. Still: enough is enough. How about something new, Sigma Team?

This bundle seems to be all about games that try something new, something different (with the exception of Zombie Shooter 2). That’s wonderful, I like that a lot, and it is the reason I highly recommend this last IndieFort bundle. Will you like all the games? Probably not. Should you play them anyway? Absolutely! They are special and worth experiencing. Well, except for Zombie Shooter 2, that is. Oh, well.

And thus concludes our first impressions of the IndieFort Countdown games. Did you play some of them? Well, how about letting us know what you thought? In any case: we hope you enjoyed the tour, you may unfasten your seat belts now, have fun, good luck, see you around.

[Special thanks to Gamersgate’s Alex Poysky for getting us preview copies of some of the games.]