Dr. David’s indie roundup: Dungeon Hearts, The Hit Squad, Runner2, and more

Welcome to another edition of our Indie Roundup, where we take a look at some particularly interesting stories in the indie world. This week, we’ve got a new studio, some potentially awesome games, and even a pixelated movie that looks totally hilarious. That’s not all, though; we’re also going to look back at one of the greatest games in recent memory, which also happens to be GameZone’s highest rated game of 2013 thus far. Now that we’ve got the damn formalities out of the way, I'm Dr. David, and let’s talk indie games!

Alien Spidy spins its web later this month

Alien Spidy

It’s been a while since we heard anything about Alien Spidy, but it looks like the game is finally launching this month. If you’re a fan of tricky and clever 2D platformers, you should definitely keep an eye on Alien Spidy. You take control of, well, a little extraterrestrial arachnid who’s looking for his buddy and the missing parts of his ship. You’ll traverse 69 colorful levels and swing around using web to reach high ledges, jump over pitfalls, and trigger levers to open new paths. Completionists will especially have their hands full as there are over 350 collectible items to discover. Alien Spidy is set to launch on March 20 for Xbox Live Arcade, PC, and Mac. The PlayStation Network version will follow soon afterward.

For a closer look at Alien Spidy, check out our full preview.

Dungeon Hearts from Cube-Roots and Devolver Digital is like a match-three JRPG

Dungeon Hearts

Games that can combine seemingly unrelated genres often make for some truly interesting and wholly entertaining experiences. That’s why Dungeon Hearts, which is being developed by Cube-Roots and published by Devolver Digital, looks like a potentially enjoyable title. While the bulk of the gameplay is certainly geared toward matching similarly colored items, this mechanic has heavy implications on the RPG parts of the game. Successfully matching items will give your characters XP and allow them to level up in between battles. Once you encounter enemies, however, this same mechanic will let you attack and evade offense from your foes. It’s a great take on the match-three genre, and if you dig old school RPGs and are looking for a change of pace, Dungeon Hearts is definitely worth watching out for.

Check out some gameplay straight from developer Cube-Roots.

Giant Squid studio formed by Journey art designer

Giant Squid

Thatgamecompany’s Journey may very well be one of the greatest titles of this console generation. The game is an artful run through a strange land, and it's absolutely gorgeous to witness. That’s why it’s intriguing to see that Matt Nava, who worked on Journey as its art director, has started his own studio, Giant Squid, alongside Nicholas Clark, who previously worked on both Flow and Flower. It’s still really early to tell what kind of impact Giant Squid will have on the world of indie games, but the talent is certainly there for some great games. Throw in the spectacular Journey composer Austin Wintory, who’s collaborating with Giant Squid on its first game, and film production company The Ink Factory, and the possibilities as to what the studio can deliver are practically endless. We don’t know what this new dev is working on at the moment (yet), but it could just be pretty damn awesome.

Hammerwatch is a pixel-soaked dungeon crawler for up to four players


I won’t be angry at you if Hammerwatch from developer Hipshot has quietly flown under your radar. I will, however, tell you that you need to fix that ASAP, especially if you dig old school dungeon crawlers. Hammerwatch is currently a Steam Greenlight submission, and it looks like it could be a lot of fun when it finally launches. Up to four players can team up and engage in hack-and-slash action within the confines of beautifully pixelated but otherwise dreadful dungeons. The game just entered open beta, so if you want to check out the entire first act and three of the four main classes, you can certainly do so.

The Hit Squad is an animated 8-bit flick

Okay, so this isn’t really an indie game, but it’s an indie project nonetheless, and it definitely looks like something that would attract video game aficionados. This is especially true considering the lovely 8-bit art style of The Hit Squad. Written by the UK-based Chris Blundell (who’s running a Kickstarter campaign to add the final touches to the movie), this comedy flick tells the tale of a washed up ‘80s pop band consisting of Roddy Stones (a sex addict), Frank (a street thug), and Charles Whitecastle (who’s dubbed as a “deluded man-child"). Check out the trailer and see what The Hit Squad is all about.

Seriously, just go play Runner2


Did you read my review of Bit.Trip Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien? If so, then hopefully you’re already playing Gaijin Games’ amazingly delectable confection of a video game. If you’re not playing Runner2, however, shame on you! This is easily one of the best games — indie or mainstream – to come along in recent memory, and it features some of the most satisfying gameplay available on current-gen hardware. Play it! I mean, come on, are you seriously still trying to enjoy SimCity? Screw city-building! Embrace CommanderVideo!

If you need more convincing, check out my positive adjective-filled review of Runner2.

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