G'Day team Glitch, I am Isentropic and today we rage quite our way through, what must be the biggest Indie game mash up to date. Team Indie.
Developed by Brightside Games, the German studio best known for the PC, Xbox Live Arcade game, Ziet2. Team Indie sees 9 well known indie heroes combine forces to get one cat called Marvin through a variety of mind bending levels. Brightside's idea for Team Indie merges the Ziet2 mechanic, of allowing a single player to coop play with their previous runs, with the unique abilities of many famous indie characters.
The lead in story of Team Indie is short and to the point, and frankly I wasn't expecting much more than that heading in. Marvin the cat has been given to a new owner, much to the annoyance of the owners current cat Oscar. While sitting in front of the computer screen Oscar takes a swipe at Marvin cutting his necklace and transporting him into the video game world.
The owner discovers Marvin trapped inside the game and must help him overcome each of the games levels in order to escape. To help Marvin the owner hacks into other indie games and transports their heroes into Marvin's world, and that’s when the fun starts.
The gameplay of Team Indie is clever and entertaining on the whole. Each new hero is introduced well, with some straight forward puzzles to let the player get a feel for how their specific abilities work. The slow drip feed of characters and the gradual meshing together of their skills, keeps the early game feeling fresh and I found the trek to level 30 a pleasure.
The overlapping of multiple runs to achieve a goal, is extremely satisfying and implemented well. Level design is solid, with the transition points when changing between characters used as a check point system. These transition points are where the player is rewound to when they die, or where they can choose to rewind to if they want to re-attempt a run.
A fast forward button is on offer to try and limit the amount of time the player spends waiting around for their previous run to move some blocks or flick some switches. The waiting around is minimal in the early levels but becomes excessive in the later game.
I started to get particularly annoyed from the late 30s onwards, when completing puzzles with Tiny, from Tiny & Big - Granpa's Leftovers. Tiny uses a grappling hook to move boxes into different locations, and due to the nature of this, and some uninspired level choices, a lot time is spent waiting.
Oh, and a small word of warning when using the fast forward function. As soon as you press fast forward you are cemented to the ground, so make sure you are not in the way of Tiny's block moving or you may end up pushing yourself off the edge. I also found the odd occasion where pressing the fast forward caused some collision detection glitches, allowing projectiles to fall through surfaces they would usually bounce off.
The visuals of Team Indie have a hand drawn, cartoon feel and are perfect. This cartoon look allows the different characters with differing art directions to be combined seamlessly. The less serious looking graphics, with bright colours and rich backdrops, also help to ease the frustration this game can cause.
The music of Team Indie is also spot on, with the sound effects being true to the various games the heroes hail from. The music also helps to ease the frustration with its fun, light tune, but during pressure levels and boss stages, ratchets up the intensity with a well timed rock theme.
Team Indie is a success on the whole, and combines a large range of differing characters with engaging puzzles and fun mechanics. My main criticism is that the later levels start to feel cheap, and leave the player sitting on fast forward far too often, rather than giving them something to do. The art style and music work great together and really help to make this game feel fluent and cohesive. I had a great time, controlling time with Team Indie and give it 8.5 out of 10.
Available on PC & Mac