If you haven't heard of the game "Thomas Was Alone", then you might not have been paying attention to the current indie scene. It's a revolutionary indie puzzle platformer on the PC, PS3 and Vita. That's all you really need to know. It was a good game, you should pick it up, etc. The important piece of news is the fact that the developer of Thomas Was Alone (Mike Bithell) is working on a new game!
What game, you ask? It's called "Volume", and it's coming to the PS4 and the PS Vita first! I can quite safely say that there isn't any game that I know of like Volume. It's a game set in a very small room. It's based around stealth - you can't kill enemies. Instead, you'll have to find inventive ways to get around them. The game looks to take a semi-birds-eye viewpoint - much like that of the first Metal Gear Solid... which is actually one of the inspirations of the game.
Now a game set in 1 room might seem a little bit strange. But from what we've heard, it seems like this room is going to be the hub of creativity for the game. Mike Bithell has compared the game to Lego, and the room is full of lego blocks for you to play with. I think that by this he meant the game harnesses a lot of creativity. The trailer shows a lot of depth to the stealth - lines of sight and slight noises will come into play when sneaking past your enemies. As well as this, there's a pretty awesome looking level editor. Where there's a game with a lot of variables, there's a lot of different levels that can be made. I can't wait to see what kinds of levels my friends make, and who can make the most challenging one.
In my opinion, the level editor will be the thing that sets this game apart. While there are a lot of indie-style games with basic level layouts that often consist around geometric shapes... very few of them have actual level editors. In most normal games, the creativity aspect is left to the game developers and we're just supposed to play the game. Volume taking a different route to this trend actually makes it a lot more unique than other stealth games on the market. Adding a level editor not only makes for a much funner/creative experience, but it gives the game a heck of a lot of replay value. We don't know anything for sure, but I imagine you'll be able to head into the cloud and take a look at some levels that other people have made. They might even use this as the whole basis for the game - what's the point in creating preset levels when there is potentially 1000s of good ones out on the PSN?
THE INDIE GAME PHENOMENON
One of the advantages of an indie game is that once in a while you can form a bond with the developer. Indie developers are generally much more relatable than big name ones, because they're sometimes just groups of friends who decide to make a game. Or in this case - one guy. It's not often that you can connect with a single game developer, but Mike Bithell has managed to capture the hearts of a lot of gamers from around the world. He has told his story (how he got into game development and where he gets his ideas from) and it's struck a chord with the fans. If you look at an aspect of Volume and think about it for a while, you will probably draw yourself back to Mike Bithell and his wonderful inspirations (a lot of them are online if you want to research it). This makes it an overall personal experience with minimal "mainstream-game-dumbing down". Which you see a lot in indie games that "make it big" these days. The fact this game is coming out first on the PS4 and the Vita goes to show how much the console has drawn in indie developers. Volume is just one, but there are tonnes of other games we're either getting first or getting exclusively.
All in all, Volume is an great, fun looking game which I can't wait to pick up. I only hope that gamers will put down their sports games, their popular FPS' and will give games like Volume a try. Even with all the recent publicity, indie games from developers like Mike Bithell are not getting the attention or sales that they deserve. That said, the next generation of consoles certainly looks bright with indie games like Volume on the horizon. We can expect it at some point during 2014.
What other indie games are you excited for?
Game Category: Indie
Article by - Ben Corroon
Insert Date: 10/30/2013