Many indie game bundles have passed CPCG by in the past, despite seeming like a perfect match. Multiple indie games? Choose your own price? Give to charity by buying games? All present and correct. I haven’t mentioned them in the past mostly due to me not wanting to attempt to cover multiple games in one go. I’ve surpassed that limitation now, so here we have the Humble Bundle 4 (which actually means I’ve personally missed at least two of them somehow).[drop]The fourth Humble Bundle is not so humble, as it contains seven games, at least two of which are rather well known and three more are reasonably well known. First up and probably the most recognisable in the bundle is Super Meat Boy. SMB is a platformer in which you are a cube of meat who is trying to save his girlfriend from an evil foetus in a jar wearing a tuxedo. That is taken pretty much as-is from the description on the Steam Store as I’m not entirely sure how I could rearrange such words into something that makes more sense.
The game gets obscenely hard very quickly as you jump your way through levels, avoiding circular saws, spikes and other such death traps. You will die a lot and you will probably get incredibly frustrated in the process. If you take a drink every time you die you’ll end up utterly and completely wasted.
Next up; Shank. Shank is a 2D brawler in which you’ll be playing as ex-mob hitman Shank as he seeks revenge. Naturally, this results in ridiculous/awesome combos, gore and a great many fights. Shank features a solo mode in which you’ll follow Shank on his story of revenge, whilst a coop mode details Shank’s life before the main storyline (which seems to be Kill Bill-inspired). Shank himself is able to pull off an astonishing assortment of combos with his oddly well stocked personal armoury that he keeps on him at all times, including knives, guns and even a chainsaw.
Stepping away from the gore and into space, Gratuitous Space Battles features what some would say is a gratuitous amount of battles set in space. The big thing here is customisation; you build a fleet of space ships completely from scratch, equip them with all manner of explosive and defensive wizardry, then use them to destroy other space ships. These ships range from giant, sprawling vessels that look suspiciously like a certain ship from Star Trek, to swarms of fighters designed specifically to overwhelm with numbers, to anything in between. Seriously, do whatever you like, just try not to get blown up.
If shooting ships is your thing but strategy certainly isn’t, Jamestown may be more your thing. It’s a shoot ’em up featuring, as you might expect, a hell of a lot of shooting things that tend to, when shot enough, explode. A scrolling shooter with a neo-classical look and more bullets than anyone could possibly avoid is a wet dream for any shmupper, but how about being able to play through all that with 4 other people? Or unlocking new ships and weapons? Bosses that fill your screen? Go ahead, I’ll wait whilst you change your pants.
Bit.Trip Runner is another beast entirely. Called a music platformer with a retro style, it sees you take control of CommanderVideo as he makes his way through more than 30 levels. The music for each stage is synced with your jumps and slides, making for a rather interesting experience that is unlikely to be replicated elsewhere.
Speaking of platformers, Cave Story+ is one such game, and a hugely well known one at that. Cave Story is known throughout indie gaming circles purely for being superb and Cave Story+ has updated the visuals and added a few new game modes for good measure. Described as a platformer in the ‘Metroidvania’ tradition, that is to say that there’s a hero who must save the world and an emphasis on exploration, Cave Story really isn’t something you should let pass you by.[drop2]Last but certainly not least, NightSky provides some puzzling for you to wrack your brains over. The game is a physics-based puzzle platformer in which you must navigate a glowing sphere through upwards of 130 levels of pretty, picturesque puzzlement aplenty. You’ll have to use acceleration, gravity and motion to make your way through the game, which I’m sure is going to give you a headache. The good kind of headache, though. Also included are early builds of NightSky HD.
As with all Humble Bundles, two of these games (Gratuitous Space Battles and Cave Story+) are only available if you pay above the average price paid so far (which is $5.23 at the time of writing). That price will probably rise if you take too long so you’d better get yourself over there sharpish. To put that price in perspective, it’s about £3.37 for 7 games, one of which is Super Meat Boy, which is sitting at £12 on the Steam Store on its own.
All the games are available on Windows, OSx and Linux, they’re redeemable through Steam and downloadable seperately, are DRM free and you’ll be supporting both the American Red Cross and Child’s Play charities. It’s genuinely an utterly superb deal, but please pay as much as you can afford; remember that you’re supporting indie developers and two different charities here so this is a great time to relinquish the death grip on your wallet a little.