PAX Prime 2012 – IGR’s Official Indie Games Roundup

Pax Prime 2012 logo

Pax Prime 2012 logo

[September 2nd, 2012 – Seattle Washington] – Wherein Steampunk o’ertakes zombies but zombies, Steampunk and TCGs (trading card games) still command interest above all things.


Hawken looks and plays like the teaser trailers show: cinematic and gritty. You can build your own garage and highly customized mech to deploy before heading out into the mean streets for some mudslinging and chest thumping (clanging?). The game will be free-to-lay with purchasable content and upgrades – but of course with the promise that it will not favor the rich. In the meantime they have just made an Alpha v2 available to select number of players, with the official closed beta launching December 12th, 2012 (12-12-12) and hope to release the FINAL official release in Q2 2013.

Check out this gameplay video:

Ironclad Tactics

From Zachtronics Industries (makers of SpaceChem) mid 2013 release. Looks amazing – of the seemingly ubiquitous new indie darling – digital Trading Card Games. The devs call it “a unique gameplay experience, blending the precision of tactics and card games with the spontaneous decision making of a real-time strategy game.”

Built by a small group of Microsoft ex-pats in C#, games sessions are designed to last an average of fifteen to twenty minutes. see also: The Trouble With Robots.

Check out our interview with Zachtronics Industries from PAX:

Learn more at Ironclad Tactics

Diamond Trust of London

Always pushing the envelope, Jason Rohrer’s Diamond Trust of London is a turn-based strategy game for two players about spying, bribing, and loyalty. Developed exclusively for Nintendo DS, the game is available now from his website for Nintendo DS. Rohrer had to work through Nintendo’s stringent QA to get the game officially released on the coveted platform. Only 4000 units left first 2000 were sent out to Kickstarter supporters.

Jason Rohrer's Diamond Trust of London

Per the developer’s notes:
To play the game against an opponent, you need two DS units, but you only need a single cartridge—the game works fine over DS Download Play from one cartridge. It’s even possible to serve a whole Diamond Trust party or tournament from a single cartridge via Download Play.

Check out our interview with Jason Rohrer about the process of launching an indie game for Nintendo DS:

Guns of Icarus Online

Guns of Icarus Online is, at this stage, a team-based online multi-player co-op combat game that involves manning a heavily armored flying dirigible. An interview with one of the main developers hinted at introducing DLCs that offer a more story-based progression/adventure mode somewhere down the line. Built in Unity, the game will be released on Steam in October 2012.

guns of icarus classes
Guns of Icarus Online: Three classes presently available include the captain, engineer, and gunner.

Don’t Starve

While we were checking out Mark of the Ninja at Klei’s booth, we were turned onto a little “side-project” some of the team’s developers and artists have been working on and plan to make into their first fully independent release. Don’t Starve drops you off in the middle of nowhere, without explanation, and a strange urge to start aggregating tools and supplies to make it through the day and more importantly the deadly night. The goal, beyond exploring all the strange wonders that co-habit the randomly generated map, is to live as many days as possible. Oh, and don’t starve.

Check out our interview with Klei’s community manager Corey Rollins:

The company is using a paid-beta model (like Minecraft did) to fund their way through release while getting insightful feedback from early adopters. A mere US$7.00 gets you two copies of the game, purchaseable through the Google Chrome Web Store, Amazon Payments or with Paypal and this will carry across with an eventual Steam release. We tried it, and we are hooked by its Tim Burtonesque time-management / real-time strategy play style and strange enemies. New gameplay elements are being added at a steady pace so we can’t wait to see how this ultimately turns out.

Organ Trail

Indie developers The Men Who Wear Many Hats successfully Kickstarted Organ Trail — a 16-bit re-imagining of the 1971 educational game Oregon Trail this time with Zombies! The game is already available for iOS and Android and you can also play Organ Trail on Facebook now.

organ-trail game - directors-cut screenshot
Organ Trail – in-game screenshot – it’s like dysentery, but with Zombies!

Novus Aeterno

Novus Aeterno is a true MMORTS developed by an eleven-person team called Taitale Studios that can support ten of thousand of simultaneous players throughout hundreds of galaxies in a seamless single instance. A one-time payment of US$$39.95 is all that is required, as there is no further subscription fee. While upgrades are available, the team has asserted that the monetization strategy is strictly “pay to skin, not to win.”

Per the developers notes:
“Novus Aeterno will have no match making. Competition between players and natural threats can happen anywhere within the massive scale of the galaxy that will be connected by no loading screens. With this open galaxy players can explore a full galaxy without restraint.”

Check out this video of in-game footage from an alpha build (and be ready to get blown away):

Puzzle Clubhouse

Jesse Schell’s (author of the terrific book “The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses“) announced Puzzle Clubhouse – users help to create puzzles, game mechanics, art assets and more and vote while interacting with established professional devs. “[Puzzle Clubhouse] is an online community for a new kind of game development process — a place where the players make the games! We publish a new crowd-designed and crowd-supported game on the site every month.”

Check out our PAX Prime 2012 interview with Jesse Schell to learn more about Puzzle Clubhouse, and some great thoughts about game design in general:

Clockwork Empires

From GasLamp Games, the people who brought you graphic-friendly roguelike Dungeons of Dredmor comes Clockwork Empires – New “procedural extrusion” technology lets you design your colony the way you want! Buildings are procedurally generated and extruded directly from the aether to your specifications! Not for tablets because can become very CPU intensive – in fact it will scale to the number of CPUs available in your PC. Featuring the new Dynamic Soundtrack Orchestra – the Soundtrack that Adjusts to Your Gameplay! (Mr. M. Steele, conductor)

Clockwork Empires from Gaslamp Games – in-game screenshot

Stay updated on this highly anticipated title at


Andy Schatz’ long-anticipated stealth/heist one-button arcade action game is almost ready to go with a likely Q1 2013 release. Started in XNA but moved to a proprietary C++ engine, whatever console gets it first, it is bound to be a resounding success.

Check out our interview from PAX:

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

The new game from Young Horsesbased out of Chicago look much slicker but is still as headscratchingly strange and laugh out loud hilarious as its progenitor.

They are hoping for a Steam release, and with the new level of polish this looks to be a real original. They are admitted fans of Animaniacs and the new almighty Adventure Time series on Cartoon Network and the comedy is felt in Octodad 2.

Check out our interview with the indie dev team Young Horses:

Runner 2

The next installment to Bit.Trip.Runner and Bit.Trip.Beat but now with lovely 3-dimensional parallax scrolling backgrounds reminiscent of Trine 2. The devs said they got a bit burnt out with drawing in 16-bit constraints and wanted to flex their muscles a little. While the game mechanics are essentially the same, it looks really sweet.

Mind you, there was something very alluring about the 16-bit version with the ultra-hip electro-lounge score, but fans of the genre and of the brand will be happy to see the sexy new eye-candy the developers have brought to the IP. Gaijin Games have also released the entire series of Commander Video games for Nintendo 3DS.

Check out our interview with Danny Johnson of Gaijin Games from the PAX showfloor:

Learn more at


IGR’s 2011 Game of the Year has finally launched its iPad port and it took a lot more work than you’d think as the game had to be resized for a different aspect ratio and the XBOX control scheme re-factored for a touch screen. Supergiant Games report they are very happy with the port which is available now to the legion iOS audience.

Bastion for iPad from Supergiant Games

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Next up from Blendo Games (makers of Flotilla, Atom Zombie Smasher comes Quadrilateral Cowboy, another cube-headed Kubriquesque reverie built with the Unreal engine. Or so it seems, since it looks a lot like Gravity Bone and Thirty-Five Flights of Love. Set for release in 2013.

Quadrilateral Cowboy from Blendo Games – in-game screenshot

Learn more at Quadrilateral Cowboy – Official Site

What other indie games from PAX Prime 2012 are you looking forward to?