Helix, the weirdly sedate new game from Michael Brough, is out now

In his first proper release since last year’s titanic cyber-roguelike 868-Hack (which made our top ten games of 2013), Michael Brough aims for something weirdly sedate. The aesthetic remains defiantly his—glitchy, esoteric, and weirdly lithe—but the movements now are not excruciatingly economic or abstract but simple: you’re drawing circles. Circles and circles and circles. In a post on his blog, Brough details the thought process behind the game: initially an experiment in making touch controls work, it laid dormant for several years, needing a handful of polishing touches that he couldn’t convince himself to sit down and do. He apparently…


The sequel to Dots is (wait for it) Two Dots

Two Dots is a sequel to Dots, both great games about, well, dots. You connect dots, draw squares through dots, remove dots in a way so that dots line up. So, yes, there’s dots, cascading in ways that flex your mind in colorful patterns, bouncing playfully as they drop into an invisible rectangle container, filling it with green, yellow, and red polkadots.  But what you really care about is not the dots, per se, but that the dots are a perfectly desaturated hue, that the game is simple and elegant, that the play field is centralized in “the thumb zone,”…


Nova-111 is a turn-based RPG that happens in real-time. Wait, what?

Nova-111 looks like a valiant stab at solving the dilemma RPGs have faced ever since D&D hit the computer screen 30-some years ago: turn-based or real-time? Turn-based systems allow players sufficient time to strategize, but real-time just feels more alive. But it turns out you don’t have to commit to one or the other. Funktronic Labs’ latest, out later this year, occurs in a “real-time/turn-based time-vortex” that proves these are not mutually exclusive and that time is much stranger than anyone originally thought. How this works isn’t exactly clear, but you can glean from the video that some enemies can…


Michael Brough was asked about "indie scene," responds with pull-quote of the millennium

In a recent interview, the always-astute Michael Brough, maker of the outstanding 868-Hack, was asked what he thinks of “the state of the indie scene.” His response was doused in irony, pretty much dispelling the idea of an indie scene, and is the smartest thing I’ve read all day.  Really, it’s kind of paradoxical to talk about a scene defined by independence—how someone’s doing doesn’t have much direct bearing on how anyone else is. Obviously we’re not literally independent (and I don’t think it’s healthy to imagine that we are); we can and do support each other; but it’s people…