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Eurogamer Expo 2011: Best indie games

Kat Orphanides
23 Sep 2011
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We take a look at the best new games you've never heard of at this year's Eurogamer Expo.

While the big guns pulled crowds of thousands and queues of hundreds for just the briefest taste of gameplay, Eurogamer Expo's Indie Games Arcade was also doing bustling trade with games that can afford to be quirkier, less populist and much weirder than their mainstream commercial rivals. We've picked five of our favourites.

Waves

Squid in a Box's frenetic abstract shooter comes with a euphoric electronic soundtrack and free stress-induced heart palpitations. It's also far more polished than a one-man-band project has any right to be, with beautifully glossy graphics.

You control a laser-blasting ball that must navigate a circular playing field, where glowing enemies, bonuses and power-ups materialise. The objective is simple: survive as long as you can or, in timed mode, rack up as many points as possible.

The game's responsive controls allow you use a keyboard to control your movement while your mouse determines the direction in which you fire - alternatively, you can do as we did and use the dual analogue sticks of a control pad. Either way, you'll want to take advantage of a time-slowing feature that helps you build up bonus points and survive the most frantic enemy swarms.

Waves will be available to buy via Steam and directly from the Squid in a Box website towards the end of October.

Rimelands: Hammer of Thor

Rogue-like RPGs, in which you explore randomly generated dungeons full of enemies, are common, particularly if you have a penchant for games built out of ASCII characters. However, Dicework Games' Rimelands: Hammer of Thor is a great deal more polished than its spiritual antecedents, with lovingly detailed isometric graphics.

As well as being part of a grand heritage of computer RPGs, Hammer of Thor tips a nod to tabletop gaming, too, particularly when it comes to the combat system. To attack, you click on your opponent in typical turn-based RPG style. Once you've done that, though, it all gets a bit different - a set of virtual dice is thrown for both you and your opponent. Depending on which of four symbols come up, you'll hit or miss or block with greater or lesser effect. You also have the option of discarding your first throw and re-rolling.

Although it's been out on iOS devices for a year, Rimelands is about to be released in a new, more polished version for PC and Mac OS X.

Video shows iOS version.

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