"Why are we cool? Well, I guess we do sort of crunchy guitar music, and we don't look like the traditional sort of polished pop group, and our album covers were all sort of a bit creepy and edgy, and we don't sell as many records as the biggest bands in the world... and it seems that's what counts as cool these days.
"Frankly (pun not intended), it baffles me, but I guess you could say we're perceived as having indie-tegrity! Trompe le Monde!
"You see, I love all things that could be considered indie; Indie-ana "Indy" Jones, indie-viduality, and indie-rect routes to places. Debaser! I also love indie video games - the type of game that is made by an independent developer. I like to give my favourite indie video games the Black Francis indie-dorsement. Monkey Gone To Heaven!
"Digitiser's Mr Biffo is going to take a look at some of the newest indie games to hit the scene, and I'm going to tell you whether or not they make the BF grade. Here Comes Your Man!"
On that occasion, we were chased by - no word of a lie - 30+ uniformed officers, who burst suddenly out of the bushes, because earlier in the evening somebody had reported that a gang of youths were vandalising the pavilion.
When they caught up to us, one of them asked us why we ran if we'd been doing nothing wrong. Why? Because thirty-odd burly men suddenly charged at us, duh.
The set-up and premise for American Fugitive is incredibly compelling, seemingly tapping into the appetite for real-crime documentary boxsets; you play a guy who is wrongly accused of his father's murder, gets sent to prison, promptly escapes, and then seeks to clear his name and avenge his father's death.
The opening half hour or so features a tense prison break, with you avoiding searchlights and cops, stealing clothes, sneaking through drainage tunnels... before it all sort of falls apart, and turns into a generic and undercooked GTA-lite.
In its favour, America Fugitive adds some new ideas to the standard top-down, open world, formula; it's set in a quiet, rural area rather than a city. Nicely you can rob stores, and either kill or tie up the staff, and burglary is a big element. When you break into a home, you can use a key you've taken from the body of its owner, or smash your way in - alerting the cops. You then have to ransack the rooms - done via a stylised floorpan of the building - before they arrive.
Unfortunately, all the atmosphere and tension promised by the game's opening is completely absent. It becomes a series of fairly standard missions handed out by your contacts, being captured or killed simply sees you respawn. Ridiculously, American Fugitive makes a big deal of how your character is "no killer", but it doesn't take long before he becomes one - with precious few consequences.
I mean, it's fine for what it is, but it isn't what it could've been. In short; a game which used the GTA template to do something far more interesting and original.
Gato Roboto seemingly features the sort of cat I have never owned; the loving cat, who gives and receives affection, and doesn't flinch like you're about to attack it whenever you come home.
I don't like the term Metroidvania - it gets under my skin - but for the sake of brevity, that's what Gato Roboto is. You play the cute pet of a brave space hero who's trapped in his vehicle when it crashes on an alien planet. Swiftly, you find a big robot exoskeleton, and you're off on a mission to find a way to rescue your owner.
Again, even if I was trapped in the wreckage of a vehicle, I suspect my cats would, respectively, whine at me to feed him, and cower as if I was at any moment going to punch her in the face.
Gato Roboto makes no effort to hide its influences; it's shamelessly doing a Metroid, but it also achieves a few things of its own. You can jump out of the robot suit, scurry up walls, and make it into areas too tight for a mech... and the art direction has a chunky, pixelly, monochrome look, which simultaneously manages to evoke both the NES and the ZX Spectrum.
As with Metroid, gathering new weapons will unlock areas that were previously inaccessible. Unfortunately, I grow weary of boss battles, and here they really seemed to get in the way of the nuts and bolts of the action, which was exploring this beautifully realised and structured environment. Remove the bosses, and you'd be through the game in a few hours. They're fun, and often funny, but they feel like barriers imposed to artificially extend the length of the game.
Controlled with just a single button press, you have to launch a neon circle from the top of the screen to the bottom, avoiding other neon shapes which move across from left to right. And that's pretty much it, beyond the inclusion of a handful of power-ups and unlock able skins for your circle.
It's all about timing, and not just for avoiding the shapes; you'll get bonuses for near-misses, which encourages you to take risks.
It's one of those deceptively simple ideas, which happen to be absurdly addictive. You'll likely only ever dip in and out of it, but it's the sort of game you'll return to again and again in a bid to beat your best.