Indie and Experimental Games Round-up

Written by Joe Martin

March 28, 2008 | 08:19

Tags: #art #experimental #free #graveyard #homebrew #physics #safari #zero-punctuation

Companies: #games #indie

DS Homebrew

Not all of the good indie games we play are just on the PC though, you know? Some of the most inventive or well-crafted indie games tend to crop up on mobile platforms, of which the Nintendo DS is undoubtedly the most popular. Indie gaming on closed platforms like the Nintendo DS can be a bit tricky though and you’ll need to have a few things handy to get yourself started.

On top of that, many people get intimidated by homebrew and live in fear that what they are doing is illegal and wrong – which isn’t so. Loading homebrew onto your DS is perfectly legal as long as you aren’t running pirated games and the examples below are all fine to use.

That said, you'll still need a little bit of know-how to get going, so head on over to our Guide To DS Homebrew to get started – it’s written with utter beginners in mind and shows you just what you need to do to get running, as well as a few other notable games.

Lone Wolf: Flight From The Dark DS

Cost: Totally Free!
Play it now!

Indie and Experimental Games Round-up The Best DS Homebrew Games

Ah, Lone Wolf. The Lone Wolf gamebooks are something I clearly remember from my geeky childhood and were a definite high-point in my Choose Your Own Adventure book phase. It’s just remarkable that nobody has thought of porting them to the DS before, especially since the author has handed the rights over to the public.

For those not in the know, the Lone Wolf books are an epic series of classic gamebooks that covered the adventures of a young Kai warrior-monk who is left the sole survivor of his order after war breaks out. As the only remaining Kai, Lone Wolf must reunite his people, win a war and secure a future for all that is good and…and you get the point. It’s standard fantasy fare.

Flight From The Dark was the first in the incredibly long-running series of books and has been ported over to the Nintendo DS excellently. The game plays perfectly and has the presentation of a commercial game, with the DS taking charge of all your dice rolls and inventory tracking so that you can focus only on having a good time.

The gameplay on offer in this first instalment isn’t exactly long in the tooth and you’ll whiz through it very quickly, but the experience is at least very polished and smooth – making the game highly recommended for all.

Pocket Physics

Cost: Totally free!
Play it now!

Indie and Experimental Games Round-up The Best DS Homebrew Games

If you’re a big bit-tech reader and a fan of indie games in general then you’ll probably think that Pocket Physics looks very familiar – a lot like the popular Crayon Physics that was entered in the Independent Games Festival 2008, right?

Right. In fact, Pocket Physics is pretty much a port of the PC forebear and enjoys the same non-game status. There’s no real aim here and the game is little more than a sandbox for you play in by putting in ramps, balls and free form physic object, but if you’ve got any imagination at all then you should be able to have a fair bit of fun with it.

There's actually almost limitless things you can do and our current favourite is to use the selection of basic pins, static and dynamic objects (read: things what fall, things what won't) to construct elaborate domino fields and marble drops. It’s more fun that it sounds, honest.

We should attach a warning here though – Pocket Physics can be a little bit buggy and, though we’ve never had any permanent damage done with our own fiddlings, we have had a few crashes and freezes. A quick reboot normally fixes things straight away and the game is always being updated (current version is 0.6), but it’s worth bearing in mind before you build anything truly complex.
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