Indie Game Sim
Release Date: 8th December, 2016
Purchase Date: 14th December, 2016 (Free Key from Developer)
Developer: Lost Decade Games, LLC
There’s three genres Lost Decade Game’s Indie Game Sim tries to deliver on – Platformer, Level Builder & Business Simulator. Two of the three worked incredible well for me, the other fell a bit short.
At it’s heart Indie Game Sim is a level builder, and a bold first attempt to bring something similar to ‘Mario Maker’ to Steam. While it may not have the familiar appeal of a Mario tileset behind it, what Indie Game Sim does have is an almost default ‘indie game’ tileset… which is the entire point. You start with a small collection of default tiles, a muddy surface, a starting point and a treasure chest which serves as the level’s finish. As you play the game you unlock and earn new tiles to use, to expand your levels and design more complex, dangerous and exciting experiences for the virtual people waiting on the in-game storefront.
One of the issues I have with Indie Game Sim, is that it teases a story experience at you. When you load up the game you’re confronted by what I can only describe as the entity of self doubt (the mortal enemy of any indie dev out there). It does it’s best to dissuade you, and put you off from progressing through the stages of development throughout the game with verbal taunts. However, I’m not entirely sure if anything it says, and the decisions you make really matter. For me it was an unnecessary distraction from the fun element of Indie Game Sim – making the levels.
However, maybe this is the game’s point. The desire to just make games being distracted by an annoying little voice that pops up now and again. If so, it’s certainly effective at being annoying.
The simulation aspect of the game feels a little shallow too, and distracts from what could be a solid attempt at delivering a streamlined level maker kit.
There are things I would have liked to have seen in this game; such as workshop support for custom tilesets and a leaderboard to compete with friends. However, these don’t distract from what is a smart attempt at something ‘different’ on Steam. While I might not be able to compete against my friends in building the best Indie Game, I can at least share my creations via links generated in-game which can be pasted into a web browser.
Overall there’s a simple level creator that stays true to it’s ‘Indie’ roots, which opens up and offers a more complex experience as you progress. While there’s an in-game distraction in the guise of the annoying self doubt inducing Depression Demon, the real distraction is the simulation side of the game. It feels like an unnatural barrier to progression, causing you to loosely juggle money to buy assets and upload your games to a storefront.
However, none of that can distract from being able to create levels to share with your friends.
It’s this feature alone that makes Indie Game Sim stand out for me.