Evercade Cartridge Preview: Indie Heroes Collection 3
If you were keeping up with our Game of the Month programme last year, you’ll already be familiar with a lot of the titles on our upcoming Indie Heroes Collection 3 cartridge, but for the benefit of those who have joined us a little more recently — or those who just want a refresher — let’s take a quick look at all the games coming your way very soon, including those which are exclusive to the cartridge!
As with the previous two volumes, Indie Heroes Collection 3 brings together talented independent developers from all across the world and showcases their “modern retro” projects. In most cases, these are new games designed to run on vintage systems, but in two specific cases this time around we have titles that have been natively developed for Evercade that simply adopt a retro style. It’s a great mix of games with some of the best indie titles we’ve seen on Evercade to date, so let’s get right to it!
Donut Dodo is a fantastic “modern retro” title from pixel.games. Despite looking like it’s come straight out of an ’80s arcade, it was developed natively for Evercade using the popular Godot engine and is thus a great showcase of what talented indies can achieve on the platform.
Native games offer the advantage of being able to incorporate features that wouldn’t have been possible using vintage hardware; for example, Donut Dodo’s excellent chiptune soundtrack is considerably more elaborate than would have been possible using the sound chips of 1983 — to put it another way, it’s what you wish arcade games from 1983 would have sounded like!
Donut Dodo is a single-screen platformer inspired by several classic hits from early ’80s arcades. Like those games, it’s a tricky old beast to master, but accessible enough for anyone to be able to have some fun with. It’ll be a while before you successfully see all the levels, but each playthrough is such a joy you won’t begrudge the need to practice.
In this 16-bit platformer, you take on the role of a heavily armed dog named Thunder as he attempts to rescue his parents from nefarious forces. Each level demands that you defeat all the enemies and optionally collect the various items scattered around the place for additional bonuses.
While featuring run-and-gun elements, Thunder Paw has a smidge of puzzle-platforming along the way, too. To fully explore each level and reach all the enemies and collectibles, you’ll need to have a good understanding of how Thunder moves and how his various weapons work. And the fewer mistakes you make along the way, the more powerful those weapons can become!
This 8-bit puzzler has a simple concept: lead the animals to their food! The challenge is in making that happen, though, because there’s a trick: each animal will keep moving in a direction until they run into an obstacle.
As the game progresses, each of the three animals also develop their own special abilities, giving the game additional depth. And the challenging “Par” scores for each level task you with completing each puzzle in as few moves as possible — easier said than done in some cases!
Big2Small was developed by Matthew Steele and published by John Roo of The Retro Room, whose previous titles Quest Arrest and Gelatinous: Humanity Lost can be enjoyed on Indie Heroes Collection 1 and Indie Heroes Collection 2 respectively.
Magic and Legend: Time Knights
Magic and Legend: Time Knights is an 8-bit handheld platformer in which you can play either of the titular heroes as they battle through time to defeat an alien menace. Each level represents a different period in history, and Magic and Legend’s appearance and abilities change accordingly.
The aim on each stage is simple: defeat all the enemies and reach the exit. But there are also hidden bonus stages to find, many of which throw Magic and Legend into some rather unexpected scenarios!
Magic and Legend: Time Knights was developed by Giles Hamson, and the playable characters are representations of his children, who love video games so much that they wanted to be in one!
Doodle World Redrawn
This follow-up to Doodle World, which can be played on Indie Heroes Collection 1, gives the sketchbook platformer the “Lost Levels” approach: it’s tougher! To help even the odds a bit, you have a new trick up your sleeve, though: double jumping!
Like its predecessor, Doodle World Redrawn is a simple but effective homage to the horizontally scrolling 8-bit platformers of yesteryear. You’ll collect crayons, jump on enemies’ heads and look out for bonus stages on your quest to once again defeat King Eraser.
Doodle World Redrawn is another father-child project, with developer Nate Peters’ daughter Araceli credited as the designer of the game’s distinctive characters!
The Little Tales of Alexandria
The first of the cartridge-exclusive games in Indie Heroes Collection 3 — i.e. those that didn’t appear in the Game of the Month programme — is The Little Tales of Alexandria, a short-form 8-bit adventure in which you’ve just taken up residence in an apartment block, and it’s time to get to know your neighbours.
The other residents of the building, it transpires, are a rather strange bunch. Have you made a terrible mistake moving into this building? Only one way to find out — work your way up to the roof and discover the truth!
The Little Tales of Alexandria is the work of one MrE, who has produced several 8-bit adventures in the series to date.
Alien Cat 2: Enhanced Edition
We previously saw the original version of Alien Cat 2 back in Indie Heroes Collection 1, but now it’s back in enhanced form on Indie Heroes Collection 3! While the original Alien Cat 2 was released for a certain famous 16-bit home console, Alien Cat 2: Enhanced Edition is a port to the other famous 16-bit home console.
It features an improved soundtrack over its predecessor, along with some additional levels for you to challenge. So whether you’re an Alien Cat 2 newcomer or an established veteran, this puzzler, in which you have to avoid traps and collect objects while sometimes controlling two Alien Cats simultaneously, is well worth a playthrough.
Alien Cat 2: Enhanced Edition is the second title in Indie Heroes Collection 3 that was not previously released via our Game of the Month programme.
Bubble Seahorse Adventures
The second of the two native games on Indie Heroes Collection 3, Bubble Seahorse Adventures is a tricky precision platformer inspired by 8- and 16-bit classics! Your quest is simple, if bizarre: as a seahorse, you have but one desire — to go to the moon!
Each level offers cutesy platforming challenges to overcome, and longevity is added through collectible items and a scoring system, allowing you to replay levels and attempt to attain more points.
Originally developed as a game jam project and expanded considerably since its initial release, Bubble Seahorse Adventures comes to us from a collective known as The Olde Battleaxe.
Orebody: Binder’s Tale
Developed as part of an ambitious transmedia project that aims to explore an imaginative sci-fi setting from a variety of perspectives, Orebody: Binder’s Tale is an 8-bit platformer inspired by the greats. You’ll take on the role of the robot Binder who has fallen to Earth and lost his memory.
What is the truth behind his apparent machine masters who live in the sky? And why has he been deemed such a threat to them? Only one way to find out: run, jump and shoot your way through a series of all-action stages as you attempt to unravel your mentor’s mysterious last words: “Don’t fold. Bind.”
Orebody: Binder’s Tale comes to us from developer and academic John Vanderhoef, who has not only developed numerous video games, but also written extensively about film, TV and popular media.
Another cartridge exclusive, Skate Cat comes to us from the creative duo of Dale and Seiji Coop, another father-son team who previously brought us the Kubo series. You can play the third installment of Kubo on Indie Heroes Collection 1, and the first two can be played on Evercade VS and EXP if you can figure out the secret of where Seiji was.
In Skate Cat, as the name suggests, you take on the role of a skateboarding cat who is attempting to rid the world of monsters. As you progress through the game’s several side-scrolling levels, you’ll unlock new abilities for your board that will make your journey a little easier. But make no mistake — peril lies ahead for our feline friend!
Another title from PSCD Games, Bone Marrow is a tactical puzzle game with elements of strategic combat and role-playing games. As one of three heroes, your task is to rid the world of terrible monsters, but the way you go about this is not through hack-and-slash gameplay — it’s through puzzling!
In Bone Marrow, you must match symbols and values together on the board to “merge” them together, clear space and create items for your hero to use when daybreak comes. When the sun rises, zip around the board, collect items and defeat your foes! A moody Gothic atmosphere makes this a delight to play.
Chibi Monster Br4wl
The last of the cartridge exclusives on Indie Heroes Collection 3 is Chibi Monster Br4wl, a single-screen platformer for one to four players in which you take on the role of a member of the undead and do your best to consume as many “boogly boo berries” as possible before time expires.
While this game obviously shines its brightest when played with friends on Evercade VS, it’s still a fun challenge solo as you attempt to beat your best scores — and its 8-bit pixel art is adorable.
Chew Chew Mimic
Lastly, we come to the new title from fan favourite Alastair Low of LowTek Games, the creative mind behind Flea! in Indie Heroes Collection 1 and Tapeworm Disco Puzzle in Indie Heroes Collection 2. It was developed in collaboration with retro YouTuber John Riggs of Rigg’d Games, who previously brought us Yeah Yeah Beebiss II in Indie Heroes Collection 2.
Like Low’s previous games, Chew Chew Mimic combines solid mechanics and gameplay with a wry sense of humour and irrepressible charm. This time around, it’s your job to lead some greedy treasure-hunting knights to a hungry mimic using a limited selection of puzzle pieces that can block or divert their paths. Sounds simple, right? See how you feel after you’ve worked your way through the game’s substantial lineup of levels!
With over 260 games available