Saturday, June 16, 2007

FastCrawl and Manifesto Games

I discovered a nice little game called FastCrawl, which is half an hour to one hour of dungeon crawling in turn-based 2D. Ideal to install on a laptop and to play while waiting for a plane or something. You lead a party of 3 to 5 heroes into a dungeon, with a random mix of 4 classes: fighter, priest, rogue, mage. You move from room to room, trying to find some objective and the exit to the next level. When you meet monsters you place your characters in the front row or back row and fight them turn by turn. You find treasures, potions, scrolls, and gear to equip. If you go down to the next dungeon level, your characters go up a level and have a choice of different abilities to specialize in. Everything is randomized, so every time you play you have a different group in a different dungeon. The game is simple, but fun.

I found the game on the site of Manifesto Games, an independant game distributor. They ask you to "Join the indie games revolution today!", and address you as "comrade", but of course that's all just fake commie talk for marketing purposes. They do have a huge selection of indie games you never heard of, some of which are quite good. Of course you don't get the high-polygon count 3D games of the big game developers, but that doesn't make the games less good. Most interestingly you can find games here where you had thought the genre had died out, like turn-based RPG or text adventures. Many of the games have free trial versions. And from what I experienced when downloading FastCrawl, there is no complicated copy-protection or activation scheme to make sure you don't commit heineous crimes like installing the game on two computers. You buy the game, you download it, you own it. They trust you not to give it away, which is nice. Oh, and they also have sections for Mac games and Linux games, for all you minority OS fans out there. Worth a look.

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