Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Buy This Bundle: Humble Mozilla Bundle

Nine Indie Games, Pay What You Want, Demo in the Browser

What’s up with indie game bundles? They really started with the original Humble Bundle. The concept was simple: you get a handful of indie games, DRM-free, pay what you want. Since then, they’ve added Steam keys, different platforms, charity donations, choosing how to split your money, and other features, but the concept is generally the same. Indie game bundles might seem like a really bad business decision, and maybe it is, but it undoubtedly leads to more people playing your game than they would’ve if you waited for the next big Steam sale, or tried to market it by yourself.

I’ve bought a huge amount of indie games through indie game bundles, so I like to share the love and call attention to good bundles from time to time. Many times, friends of mine have missed out on indie game bundles because they’re almost always limited-time affairs, and that’s a shame. Not necessarily the time limit, but also the lack of awareness. I don’t actually gain anything from people playing more good indie games, as I have no connection to any game developer, but I love it when people discover great games because I recommended them.

Today, I want to call attention to the Humble Mozilla Bundle. Five games, eight if you beat the average, and nine if you pay more than $8. The charities benefiting from this bundle are Mozilla Foundation, CodeNow, and Maker Education Initiative. It ends on October 28th. The highlighted feature of this bundle is that all of the games can be demoed in Mozilla Firefox for free, in the browser, without any plugins. It’s really kind of neat, if not entirely practical, to see in action! But let’s talk about my three favorite games in this bundle.

FTL: Faster Than Light - FTL is like Battlestar Galactica the video game, if you only focused on the constant need to keep moving, and crew management. It’s a game where you control a starship with a small crew that’s running from a rebel fleet. You explore star systems, answer distress calls, trade for fuel or weapons, and blow up aliens, slavers, pirates, and rebels. In combat, you can pause time to issue orders for manning a particular station, or putting out fires, or fighting enemy boarding parties. It all sounds fairly complex, but FTL is one of those games that is easy to play, but hard to master. It’s a lot of fun if you love space sci-fi.

Super Hexagon - Super Hexagon is pure arcade fun. It has two controls, rotate left and rotate right. You use these to navigate your triangle through a fast moving maze. There are only three levels, but it is quite difficult, especially if you don’t have quick reflexes. The chip tunes soundtrack is really great, and perfectly fits the pace of the game.

Aaaaaaa! for the Awesome - This is a really weird game. It’s a first-person freefall simulator. The goal is to get close to as many obstacles as you can without touching them, while giving thumbs-up to supporters, the middle finger to detractors, and spray-painting particular obstacles. It’s totally score-driven, so if you do badly, you can still finish a level. Give the demo a shot, because I can’t possibly describe this in a way that makes sense. It’s really satisfying to get through a level with a huge score all through quick, fine movement. The quirky sense of humor in this game is fantastic.

Those three alone would make this bundle worth it to me for a minimum of $8, and then you would also get Zen Bound 2, Osmos, Dustforce DX, Voxatron, Democracy 3, and a secret ninth game that will probably be revealed very soon. And even if you only beat the average (currently $5.67), you’d still get eight good indie games for less than the price of most of those games alone. Check them out, and I hope you find them as enjoyable as I do!