Dr. David's Indie Roundup: Hotline Miami 2, Octodad, The Witness, and more

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Screenshot - 1159651

It's time to dive right into the world of indie games and take a look at some of the latest and greatest stories of the past couple of weeks. On this edition of the Indie Roundup, we're going to check out three highly anticipated sequels to three of the most popular titles to hit the scene. We're also going to see the eight finalists for the Independent Games Festival Student Showcase. In addition, we'll see what good ol' Jonathan Blow's been up to as far as The Witness is concerned.

Let's get right to these stories then, shall we? Let's talk indie games!

Hotline Miami 2 launch date narrowed down to Q1 2014

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Hotline Miami is pretty much one of the most popular indie games in recent memory. The game quickly garnered a massive following due to its stylishly pixelated gore, immensely enjoyable soundtrack, and joyously violent action. That's why it's great to know that the sequel, titled Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, will soon arrive for us to proverbially sink our teeth into.

As specified on the Hotline Miami Twitter account, the upcoming sequel will be available sometime in Q1 2014. That's not as close as, say, spring, but it's still a close enough period so that we won't have to resort to violently throwing guns and baseball bats at our enemies and kicking their heads into walls out of sheer frustration. Oh, come on, I can't be the only one who has thoughts like that. Um, right? Okay, let's move on before I make myself look even worse.

Hotline Miami 2 is set to take place after the events of the first game. The sequel will continue the story and bring it to a decisive and bloody finale. Judging from the footage that Devolver Digital and Dennaton Games have shared, it looks like we're in store for more of that same blood-drenched gameplay we fell in love with the first time around.

IGF 2014 Student Showcase winners revealed

IGF 2014

The 16th annual Independent Games Festival is rapidly approaching, and a number of games have been submitted to the Student Showcase, which promotes even smaller devs' impressive efforts. Eight games were selected out of the whopping 345 submissions, along with five honorable mentions. The list of winners in the Student Showcase is as follows:

Museum of Simulation Technology (Albert Shih - Carnegie Mellon University, Entertainment Technology Center)
Engare (Mahdi Bahrami & Moslem Rasouli - NHTV University of Applied Science)
Risk of Rain (Hopoo Games - University of Washington)
Symmetrain (Philipp Beau & Daniel Goffin - University of Amsterdam / University Kassel)
Westerado (Ostrich Banditos - HKU)
Rhythm Doctor (Hafiz Azman & Winston Lee - University of Cambridge)
Foiled (Unblanched Peanuts - NYU)
Cyber Heist (Hack n' Hide - University of Utah)

Honorable mentions:

Ladylike (Nina Freeman, Emmett Butler, David Coss & Winnie Song - NYU, NYU Poly)
UN EP (Ian Snyder - Kansas City Art Institute)
Rabbit Rush (Caterpillar Lane - RMIT)
Flying Fish (The Grey Room - The Academy of Interactive Entertainment)
Bokida (Rice Cooker Republic - Institut de Creation et d'Animation Numeriques).

The winners received a $1,000 cash prize, as well as passes to attend this year's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, which kicks off on March 17. The eight games will be playable on the show floor, so if you're attending, maybe you should give them a look-see.

La-Mulana 2 is a thing, and you can fund it (and check out our interview!)

La-Mulana 2

The original La-Mulana has quite a history. The game first launched as a freeware download in Japan back in 2005. A translation patch followed suit, allowing English speakers to enjoy the retro-style action-adventure game. Most recently, La-Mulana was remade for WiiWare and the PC, becoming widely available and playable by the masses. After being received quite positively, it makes sense that we're getting a sequel, aptly titled La-Mulana 2.

The game is in its early stages of development, but you can help fund the project on Kickstarter. Publisher Playism and developer Nigoro are hoping for $200,000 in pledges, and thus far, the campaign has accrued more than half of that sum. Rewards for backers include a physical copy of the game, digital artbook, alpha access, digital soundtrack, and even a snazzy T-shirt.

Some of the higher stretch goals for La-Mulana 2 include handheld and console versions of the game. Mac and Linux versions could also be developed should different monetary requirements be met. Even if these goals aren't met, it's very likely that we'll see ports for more platforms down the road. That said, the stretch goals will ensure that these versions are released in a more timely manner.

Check out La-Mulana 2 on Kickstarter if you're a fan of the first game or just have a genuine interest in this sequel. For more on the game, check out our interview with Playism.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch celebrates launch by wildly flinging tentacles all over the place

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Everyone's favorite father figure is back for more physics-based, tentacle-heavy awesomeness. Octodad: Dadliest Catch is now available, offering up more of that same absurdity that won folks over a few years ago when the original Octodad hit the scene. Whether you've played the first game or not, Dadliest Catch provides enough weirdness to warrant interest from fans of offbeat games.

This time around, the game delves deeper into the lore of the titular Octodad, who's been posing as a human ever so successfully. During a family trip to the local aquarium, it becomes instantly apparent that the eight-legged (eight-armed?) critter is jonesing for some normalcy. Um, octopus-type normalcy, that is. Will the charming suit-wearing creature give in, or continue his duties as a dad?

Dadliest Catch is priced at $14.99, but you can snag it on sale for $11.99 for a limited time. You can download the game on its official website and Steam.

Jonathan Blow teams up with Valve to bring The Witness to VR platforms

The Witness

Not too long ago, Jonathan Blow posted some screenshots that seemingly hinted at the possibility of Oculus Rift support for his upcoming endeavor The Witness. It looks like the famed Braid developer is well on his way to bringing his next project to virtual reality platforms after all. Late last week, Blow revealed that he's working directly with Valve to enter the world of VR gaming with The Witness.

“Last year I was pessimistic about VR systems in the near future, since the ones I had tried didn’t seem to offer much (certainly not enough to justify wearing a bulky headset all the time and fighting back feelings of nausea),” stated Blow in a recent post. “But I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek at Valve’s virtual reality system.

“Right away I could see games you might design for this system that had been impossible before; so it isn’t just a matter of the system being very immersive (which it is) but that it can take video games in general to a new place ... So, we will be supporting this device (and any similar devices) with The Witness. But I am really looking forward to see what gets designed specifically for devices like this.”

A lot of details surrounding The Witness are still a mystery to most. Suffice it to say that it should be pretty exciting to see how the game turns out, and how Blow uses VR platforms to provide a more immersive experience.

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Want to talk about indie games, Kirby, or cheap pizza? Follow me on Twitter @dr_davidsanchez.

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