Wednesday 17 January 2018

Humble Indie Bundle All Stars returns to indie gaming roots

Frank WHelan

Humble Bundle may have grown beyond indie games, but the 'All Stars' bundle reminds us of some of the greats.

The bundle is like a check-list of some of the best indie games of the last few years and an excellent starting point for any one who missed the indie game revival the first time around.

Standard Humble Bundle rules apply. You pay anything you want for part of the bundle, then unlock extra content when you pay more than the average (currently just $4.83) and an extra dollar on top will add an extra tier. You decide what percentage of your money goes to the developer, the Humble Bundle or to charity.

First up we have the excellent puzzler World of Goo. Based around getting your balls of goo to an exit pipe, usually by means of creating structures by joining goo balls, the physics puzzler has a witty narrative and is a game design master class. Arguably stronger on touch devices, where you can physically flick your balls, this is one of those games you won't mind buying for multiple platforms.

Next on the list is Super Meat Boy, the punishingly hard yet incredibly addictive platformer. It may seem harsh, but turning into a bloody splatter every time you die really takes the edge off death.

Dustforce DX is all about cleaning with professionalism and ninja like moves. As an acrobatic janitor, you have to make your way across tricky levels in order to tidy up the world. Plenty of tricky spots to reach and dust bunnies to eliminate.

The next three games become available if you pay more than the average price:

Dungeon Defenders Collection is a multiplayer tower defense/action RPG mash-up. Choose your character and then protect your eternia crystals from being destroyed. The game can be played by 1-4 players, allowing for different character classes to combine for different strategies. As the game progresses, abilities and gear can be upgraded to face the ever-increasing level difficulty. While players can fight the enemy as in a regular action game, the twist here is the ability to create and maintain your typical tower defense type installations. It's a really enjoyable gameplay combination.

Limbo is as oddly beautiful as it is unnerving. Set in a silhouetted world with a very defined mood, the game is a 2D puzzle platformer, designed with "trial and death" puzzles where the creators expected players to die before solving the puzzles. The game provides no tutorial text or obvious prompts, so players must discover mechanics on their own, adding to the sense of accomplishment each time you crack a puzzle. Limbo is a prime example of a game that has every aspect carefully crafted, the visuals, gameplay, narrative and audio all work together to create a unique experience.

Braid blazed a trail for indie games doing well on modern consoles, purchased by more than 55,000 people during it's first week on Xbox Live Arcade and earning a metacritic rank of 93%. What initially appears to be a standard platformer soon brings in time altering game mechanics that add a new dimension to problem solving. Add an unusually deep narrative experience and you've got a game that feels like a grown-up Super Mario World.

Add on that extra dollar and receive:

Risk of Rain is a procedurally generated platformer with plenty of twists to make it feel novel. The game difficulty increases with time, so players must choose between improving their characters and ever-increasing monsters. There's co-op for up to four players. Twelve playable characters ultimately become available, each with their own special skills. The roguelike aspect of the game means the replay value is high.

The final game in the bundle is yet another puzzle-platformer, but Antichamber does its thing through a first-person perspective. Time to challenge your perception of time and space.


The bundle will run until June 16 2015. Games are available at

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