I won’t lie to you, dear reader, this week has been pretty slim in terms of exciting indie releases. That said, it certainly has not been slim in terms of exciting news coming from NYU in the form of next month’s No Quarter Exhibition to be held May 18th at 7pm. The exhibition itself is geared toward celebrating indie development, while also fostering groundbreaking narrative and innovative design choices. I will be attending this event (which, coincidentally is the day after Indie Game: The Movie debuts at the IFC Center, another event I’ll be covering), so if you see me (either at the IFC Center or at NYU), by all means, swing by and say hey. I’ll be the handsome devil probably wearing a superhero sweatshirt and my Mario Brothers “Game Over” hat.

Okeydoke, with that exciting news out of the way, onto what I’m thinking will be the slimmest Indie Roundup ever!

Indie Flop:

Curse of Shadows is a game with so much promise that fails in just about every way imaginable. 1BlockEast have really attempted to bring us something fantastic, but in the end, they trip up and fail miserably. The game itself is a relatively simple platformer, with an interesting mechanic involving a light source and the lead character’s ability to turn into her own shadow in a world where no other living creatures cast a shadow (something to do with a menacing threat “from the mountains” who has stolen mankind’s shadows).

The game has beautiful, colorful visuals, an interesting storyline that didn’t develop much in my time with the game. Unfortunately, the weak music, terrible animations, life-ending glitches and lack of proper spelling (“theif” instead of “thief” in the game’s intro) keep this game from being anything more than shovelware. At this point in the game, indie developers really need to step up their game, especially in terms of providing an experience on the Xbox’s Indie Marketplace.

Indie Darling:

The Walking Dead and Telltale Games are a match made in heaven. We’ve seen, over the past few weeks, the release of huge indie titles on various platforms, from Fez to Botanicula and now, with The Walking Dead (based on the comic series by Robert Kirkman and the hit AMC show, obviously), there’s so much going on with the indie scene, there’s literally something for everyone. I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of the comic series, nor did I enjoy the first season of the series, however; the second season is, in my opinion, fantastic and kept me enthralled week to week.

Telltale’s game seems like the kind of thing that I will absolutely be coming back to as each episode releases. From the beautiful visuals and tight action to the characters I immediately began caring about the moment they appeared on-screen, I’m chomping at the bit to play more. The controls felt a tad sticky using my 360 controller, however; it’s not something I couldn’t get used to almost immediately. I imagine that using mouse and keyboard or some kind of touch interface via an iOS device (which is listed as a platform on the game’s Wikipedia entry, though is, as of this writing, not available on the App Store) is far simpler, but, as I said, the “sticky” learning curve of the controller wasn’t daunting.

If The Walking Dead game series from Telltale can deliver the thrills associated with the comics and series, while also delivering on Robert Kirkman’s promises of engaging character development over action, I can’t imagine a more interesting adaptation of a comic or television property. Zombie games are nothing new. Throw a dollar on the Indie Marketplace and you’re bound to hit one. Left 4 Dead and its sequel are the preeminent kings of the hill (let’s just ignore Resident Evil, please) in terms of zombie or “horde” gaming, however; it’s easy to see The Walking Dead vying for the throne.

Overall, a slow week in indie gaming, with the exception of the announcements of Indie Game: The Movie at the IFC Center and NYU’s third annual No Quarter Exhibition, along with a lackluster Xbox Indie release and a masterful stroke of character development and gameplay from the mad geniuses at Telltale Games.

Indie Game: The Movie trailer: