Pay-what-you-want indie bundles are dangerous; they're a means of adding significantly to your pile of shame without any guarantee that you'll ever play the titles therein. But actually make an effort to check out the games in each bundle and it's entirely possible you'll find some new favorites.
There are a lot of indie bundles around these days thanks to Humble Bundle popularizing the idea, but one which has been fairly consistently high in quality is Indie Royale. Unlike Humble and some of its peers, Indie Royale does not follow a charity-focused funding model, with the "pay what you want" part of the deal instead affecting the price for subsequent purchasers. Pay the minimum and the minimum price will rise; pay over the average and it'll drop; pay over a particular threshold and you'll get yourself some bonus items.
The latest IndieRoyale bundle is a diverse, strange collection in which several of the titles are making their first appearance on home computers after beginning life as titles on the Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace. Strange doesn't mean "bad," however; on the contrary, a number of these titles are, if the press quotes are to be believed, rather well-regarded. Rather, it's the combination of the games in the bundle that is a little strange -- Indie Royale often has some sort of unifying "theme" to its collections, but with this latest bundle, dubbed "Back to School," it's honestly difficult to see what, if anything, these games have in common.
Still, that doesn't necessarily make this a bad bundle, though, so let's delve in and look at what's on offer this time around.
This offering from Most Wanted Entertainment is a fast-paced helicopter shooter that brings to mind old-school classics such as Steel Talons and Desert Strike. There's 9 different helicopters to fly in 13 missions across 4 regions of the world, and you can take on the game's explosive challenges either by yourself or with a second player acting as your gunner in the local co-op mode.
Stellar Impact from Tindalos Interactive is a tactical sci-fi game in which you take command of a battleship and compete alongside your teammates for galactic supremacy. Each of the game's ships is fully customizable, allowing teams to outfit their fleet for the way they want to play together.
Divo is a platform game in which you control a hamster in a wheel. Not quite 2D, not quite 3D, the game's rotating tower levels bring to mind a late '80s game with a similar concept called Nebulus.
100% Orange Juice
100% Orange Juice, from the Japanese doujin circle Orange_Juice and localization specialists Fruitbat Factory, is a virtual board game featuring "dice, cards, stars, battles and pudding." Specifically, it appears to combine elements of "roll and move" board games with collectible card games and RPGs -- before starting to play, you build yourself a deck of cards from which you'll draw during the game, and after a game you'll be able to use your accumulated stars to purchase booster packs of cards to add to your collection.
Apple Jack 1 & 2
The Apple Jack games have been available on Xbox 360 since 2010, but this bundle marks their move to the PC. You'll guide the titular apple-headed hero through a series of challenging, perilous platform environments, making use of useful enemy-flinging and time rewind capabilties to reach your goal. Developer My Owl Software promises over 20 hours of gameplay, though exactly how much of this time is spent swearing at the rather Super Meat Boy-esque giant buzzsaw traps is something I don't know as I type this.
There's also a "mystery" title on the bundle page which is yet to be revealed. If you'd like to give this rather odd bundle a chance, then check it out on the official site -- the minimum price at the time of writing is just $4.55 so even if you hate everything therein, you're only out of the price of a cup of coffee.
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