Time Is Running Out for IndieGala’s Current Horror Bundle

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Sorry I’m a bit late on this one, but with all the stuff I’m reporting on for WonderCon, I haven’t had time to stay on top of the bundles. IndieGala is one of my favorite bundle sites, with ludicrous deals popping up all the time. For the next few days, their current “Every Monday” bundle is a horror adventure smorgasbord, offering up a good mix that is well worth the $2.99 asking price.

Now as a fair warning to you all, many of these games are your typical indie horror fare, and some are in a perpetually incomplete state and will likely bear a lot of resemblance to a game starring a certain tall and lean man who is uppity about you looking at his 8 pages. That being said, there are a couple of gems in the mix, and with an asking price of less than two McDoubles with cheese, it’s gonna be hard to find a better (legal) means of trying these out.

Jeff the killer

First up we have Pineview Drive, a “Slenderlike” adventure that I could not find a YouTube video of that did not involve grown men screaming like children and pretending they just couldn’t handle all the spooks. Something that you are going to hear me say a lot during this article is that I have a hard time judging the quality of these games, since I don’t feel the need to shit my pants for likes and subscribes. Still, a young reader recently called me a jerk for not liking Slender: The Arrival, so I’ll try to give this one a fair shake.

Pineview Drive follows a very Newgrounds.com kind of logic, being mostly a key hunt. For a number of years, online horror flash games meant finding a key that opened a drawer that had a key in it to get into a room that had another key, with a light smattering of spooky .jpgs to keep you not asleep. The game takes place over 30 “days”, really just levels where new things come to spook you every night. Something spooks you, leaves behind a key, and in the room that key opens something will likely spook you and leave a key. Every day starts out sunny, but soon night falls, and day will not break again until you find a note that pushes along the narrative. It’s a pretty cheap way to scare people, and a knockoff “Scarecrow: The Eight Pages” mode doesn’t make it better. If this is your kind of thing then give it a shot, and then let me know how your comment section responded to your funny noises.

Next up we have Astray, an “Amnesia-like” physics puzzler with light stealth elements. I tend to like these games more, since the puzzles and stealth provide actual gameplay in a videogame. That being said, I’m not super into these games, as they usually lose tension as soon as you figure out exactly when the enemies spawn and what cheap trick you can use to completely avoid them. Still, the atmosphere in Astray was unique enough to pique my interest.

Taking place in a “Museum of the Supernatural,” you must solve puzzles in three different exhibits to open up the secrets that lay deep below the museum’s halls. The three exhibits are Egyptian, Atlantean, and Demonology, so it’s got fun little smattering of cheese to go along with the spooks. After all of that, you go into the dark underground, with an industrial and eldritch setting to wrap things up. Nothing is hunting you for a majority of the game, allowing you to focus on the atmosphere and puzzles. The game is a bit short, puzzles too easy, and textures repetitive, but it is a short and sweet little romp that serves as a good start for the indie developer. Not gonna stick with you for a long time, but definitely a cool way to spend an afternoon.

If I ever decide to create a dictionary of my cute little video game terms, next to the entry for “Slenderlike” will be the cover art for Urban Legends. This time the player is stalked by Jeff the Killer, another Creepypasta crowdsourced “memester” that became popular with teenagers on Newgrounds and 4chan. This time he chases you through an abandoned hospital, because clichés chasing you through a cliché is a double negative and therefore original again.

Snarkity snark aside, it looks like a decent version of what those games are supposed to be. Scary dude in a scary place doing scary stuff and looking scary. It might be good for a few jumps, but most people are just going to have bewildered looks and wonder what the point of it is. If you have not experienced this type of game before, this is certainly going to be a less frustrating experience than most, so give it a shot for the novelty.

You remember those old retro horror games like Silent Hill and Alone in the Dark? Remember how we loved those games for their unique presentation, challenge, sound design, and narrative? Project Night is like someone heard people like old horror games, and thought that what we liked about them was that they were old: blocky textures, terrible repetitive animations, horrible environment textures, and sound effects that could be easily replicated on the original gameboy.

A candidate for many people’s “Worst Game of the Year” list in 2014, I remember when the game started as a lofty Desura project. In a time now seemingly long past, the three sources for online games were Desura, Steam, and Good Old Games (GOG). As the name entails, GOG catered to a retro crowd, while Steam brought all the big new releases and popular indie titles. Desura was where you went for everything else. It was the first of the distributors to put out games in an alpha or beta state with the theory being that you could buy these games and support the development. This was in a time before Kickstarter and IndieGoGo became a thing, so if you wanted to take a gamble on anything that sounded unique or even truly bizarre, Desura was the only place to go. It was a cacophonous circus of the insane, almost impossible to discern the great from the truly mad and shit. Now, Steam has introduced Early Access and Greenlight, and with lowered submission standards shit that used to be contained to the Desura wasteland now stinks up the Steam store pages.

This game is undeniably terrible, but it is certainly worth a laugh. It is the stinker of the stinkers in this bunch, and from the static control scheme to the sample text menu, everything is wrong. Play it just to see how far a completely inept developer can go in the current market.

A strong contender for worst game of the bunch, Disillusions Manga Horror eeks out just above Project Night by virtue of being technically a working game. A port of a mobile game, the visuals represent a 3D Unity game with mannequins and moving shadows taking the place of actually scary stuff. Players walk around an environment and inspect things that have big question marks over them, and then the game ends.

The manga part comes from the narrators being a crudely drawn anime boy and a crudely drawn anime girl. They speak Japanese of course, with English text. The funny thing is that they don’t actually say the text, and instead just repeat the same phrase every time text appears on the screen, leading me to believe that the odds are on this game having been made by a weeaboo.

In every bundle, there is usually a standout reason to buy the package, with everything else being just gravy. This game luckily has three decent titles, with Metal Dead being the standout for being the most unique. A point-n-click adventure game, it reminds me of the more quirky flash games that focused more on fun and less on taking themselves super seriously. It stands out from the rest for actually being a comedy game with zombies. Never fear, because all the gore you’ve come to expect from zom-coms is still here, with a good smattering of splattering to keep you entertained.

On the downside, the game is a bit simplistic. It’s only about 6 hours long, which by some bizarre math is long for an indie horror game but incredibly short for an adventure game. The humor is also more juvenile than clever, but meshes well with the crayon art style and goofy exaggerated characters. If you just let yourself enjoy it, there’s a good amount of fun to be had here.

I have complained more than a few times about how shit indie releases drown out the good ones, and Long Night: Episode 1 proves it’s not just the rantings of a madman. A surprisingly good and even more surprisingly scary adventure game, the cel shaded art and smooth textures give the game a much better graphical quality than the developers could likely afford. More The Walking Dead style of walk around and inspect thing than a point-n-click, the game offers some pretty sweet puzzles and a lot to see with an oldschool inventory and style.

Unfortunately, due to the deluge of shit horror that is constantly flooding the new release tab, the game was overshadowed. This isn’t to say that the game is great, maybe a 3 or a 3.5 out of 5, but when indie horror games are judged on the “I’m 12 and I loved this” or “I hate this because it existentially infuriates me” scale, everything of moderate quality gets buried. The horror market is very polarized, which while excellent for internet rage and pointless forum fights, is terrible for developers and fans who just want to play a decent fucking game. Pick this up to see what could have been.

And there you have it, the downlow on the $2.99 package that you probably don’t own a single title in. Hell, even I got the full value of the purchase, and I own almost everything. Games this obscure are generally cheap, but such a conflux of weird shit you probably don’t have rarely comes along. Pick it up and check it out.

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