Look! Over there! Is it a bird? Is it a tired cliché? Of course not. It’s an Indie Pimp. I’m as yet to come up with a name for this semi feature, although given the irregularity I do any sort of similary themed posts I hardly think it’s necessary. That and Indimp and Pimpdie just sounded kind of wrong.

Anyway.

In March, the ever so lovely Independent Games Festival once again comes around to blow the trumpet of fantastic games that weren’t made by the big budget studios, and many of them go on to have highly successful careers in the mainstream markets as a result of the exposure. Thankfully, none of them seem to have developed some form of self destructive habit before spiraling into a depression and finally appearing on some reality TV crap like say the celebrity equivilent. And at this early inital stage, the entrants have been revealed to the masses. All 226 of them. Some of them are demos or early, unfinished builds, others are console games and some will see full releases asking for your hard earned cash (and deservedly so in a lot of cases). There are of course, entries that are plain weird and perhaps wrong, but there are some that just beg to be played and given the opportunity. One of them I found this evening was Tag: The Power of Paint.

TAG Screenshot

Tag is an interesting beast. As much as Portal was a success last year, the expected rush of combat-lite first person puzzlers attempting to jump on it’s bandwaggon has not been as much of a convoy as a single Robin Reliant in Mirror’s Edge (ableit a very pretty Robin Reliant, perhaps with a popcorn machine in the back). Whereas it hasn’t got the sheer script writing genius of Portal, in the sense of game mechanics Tag is a ingenious piece of work. You, the player, have naught but movement to your name. Think of yourself as a supermarket trolley, without the wonky wheel. However, a lot like the Dulux dog you seem to be inexplicably attracted to paint. That’s not to say you are automtically drawn towards the stuff as if it’s going out of fashion – but more that your progress through each level depends on you using various types of paint to navigate the levels. In the IGF submitted version, there are three types of paint – Green Red and Blue, offering the powers of Jump , Speed and Stick respectively. Sometimes these colours are pre provided for you for instance, on billboards, or a leaking from other objects on the level. Other times, you have a paint gun which can be loaded with all three colours and swapped between them at will, once you’ve collected the respective cans of paint from the level. Your gun always starts each level empty except for it’s secondary fire of being able to erase paint, handy for clearing up mistakes.

TAG Screenshot

There are so many things I like about Tag already, the way each colour and thus skill is introduced at just the right pace – a lot like Portal. The way the levels are basically made up of the same pallete, yet work really well with the setting – a lot like Portal. The way you end up using nuances of the way the physics, along with your manipulation of the tools, to achieve progress in reaching the exit -a lot like Portal. In fact, this game reminds me so much of Portal in the way it plays – it brings both a smile to my face for playing and for knowing that this lends itself to so many possibilities. I have a strong feeling this is going to do well in this year’s contest. And I implore you to go try it out for yourself. Then remember I was right when in three years time they get snapped up by another games company to make a full commercial version of this.

TAG Screenshot

And if you’re really artistically minded, you can draw on the walls of every level. Or just dirty words if you’re not.

Tag: The Power of Paint can be downloaded for free over on the game’s website.

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4 Responses to You’re It

  1. Ali says:

    I agree. I played this game and was hooked within the first 5 minutes. It’s awesome and kudos to the team. I hope you win at IGF this year.

  2. erythrina says:

    Have you played Glitch yet? What do you think of that one?

  3. The_B says:

    Not yet, but I have heard good things about it. I believe it will be next in my indie games to play list.

  4. erythrina says:

    Cool.

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