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Part 2 of our IndieCade coverage begins with an octo-oddity: the eight-controller NES unit called “The Octopad” where each controller has only one of the NES controller’s buttons. Picture you and seven friends playing Super Mario Bros. but each of you can only press one button. The players with either the left, right, or A buttons will have a lot of coordinating to do. The player with Start can be mischievous and ruin everything (I would resist the temptation to constantly pause and unpause the game – promise). Meanwhile, if you get Select, you’re out of luck (have fun with that).
Now, with Select you may have more fun in The Legend of Zelda, though the amount of communication and cooperation that would have to go into that would be mindboggling.
You could also play Tetris.
We had quite a lot of fun playing the boardgame Stress Express. In this game, you pair up with a partner wherein one is the supervisor and the other is the client. The supervisor will draw cards that have small tasks written on them: design a new duck logo, look under the table, ask what everyone playing wants from McDonald’s, and so on. The client has thirty seconds to complete these tasks. How many you have to complete depends on the number of “hands” you have: little cardboard pieces with a hand drawing on each. The better you do, the more hands you get, making the game increasingly challenging for top performers.
There is a stack of “Fun Stuff” cards that you draw from if you finish all the given task cards within the thirty second time limit, but if you get to drawing these, each player in a given pair draws them.
The pandemonium that results from completing all these tiny tasks in tight time limits is the heart of the experience.
An accessible, mobile sidescrolling platformer with a twist, Squatbot has you touch the left side of the screen to jump left and the right side to jump right. The distance of each jump depends on how long you hold down your thumb. You also need to be attentive to the time between each of your jumps. You can do several quick jumps right in a row or space them out, building momentum respectively either way. It’s out on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
The Klaxo Radio Hour
The Klaxo Radio Hour is a game that’s set in a radio. That is, an actual radio object, with a dial that you turn in the real world. Modeled after 1940s radio detective serials, the story stars Kat Keene, a private investigator. You listen to dialogue segments and at certain points turn the dial to one of the channels to go down a certain story path.Whenever you choose the channel you want to listen to, there’s a dramatic countdown before your choice is final, which is one of the highlights of the experience.
Occasionally, a commercial for the show’s sponsor, Klaxo soap, plays, and depending on your choices you may even hear more from them. There’s some humorous interplay between the show’s host and the sponsor during these segments.
There’s an angle that this radio is haunted and has dark secrets itself. This is the long lost final episode of the Kat Keene show, after all.
I Was Here
I Was Here is a first-person experience where you interact with objects for the sake of discovering a narrative. There are three nights in the game. During each you explore a college dorm room and discover a story about two girls’ relationship and the inevitable separation they experience after graduation. That the game was made during a single semester as a school project is especially impressive. (I’m always down for anything first-person immersive, as always.)
The Last Friend
If you like dogs, tower defense, and beat-em-ups, The Last Friend has all those. Simple to pick up and play, you place turrets, walls, and other defenses as you rescue dogs. The world is inspired by Mad Max. The developer, Stonebot Studio, is also an animation company, and the only game developer on show from El Salvador.