Indie games are undeniably more popular now than they ever were. Thanks to Steam and Valve, independently developed games are garnering lots of attention from the media and from gamers. Now, you can find them on every gaming console, multiple PC distribution platforms, sold in retail venues, and even on mobile devices.
Thanks to the boom of the indie scene, we’ve been able to promote a new game every week. Most of the games we present, however, are for PC. PCs are the go-to indie platform, simply because they are so accessible. There are so many different ways to distribute an indie game for a PC, and let’s face it – no matter how much you love gaming consoles, there are way more PC gamers still out there. In fact, most of those console gamers play on a PC, and on their console of choice.
That does not mean the other platforms deserve any less attention however. When an indie game makes its way to another platform, particularly a game that helped spark the indie gaming scene, it’s definitely an event worthy of news coverage.
This week we’re going to talk about one of the greatest indie titles around. No, believe it or not, it is not Minecraft.
Penny Arcade’s On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 has finally made its way to Android smartphones and tablets, and rightfully so, it is our Indie Game of The Week. If you want us to be entirely accurate though, it was the first game in the series that had an impact on the indie gaming scene, Precipice of Darkness 3 came later. Nonetheless, everything from the first two titles has been significantly improved in the third game, making it a “must-play” title on any platform.
Indie Game of The Week: On The Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness 3
Penny Arcade’s Rain Slick series is based on their popular webcomic, Gabe and Tycho. Both of the main characters, and plenty of supporting characters have cameos in the games. Perhaps the best translation from the web series, is the endless supply of humor that has made its way into the games.
The first two titles were designed with a cell-shaded art style whereas the new title, now developed by Zeboyd Games, includes a much more traditional 16-bit art style. There is no voice acting in the game either, which certainly helps increase the nostalgia factor. Some folks may already be turned off because they have to read. We know, it’s such a terrible thing to include in a modern game (sarcasm).
The conversion to touchscreen and mobile versions has been done brilliantly. As the developers clearly advertise, the game has now been optimized for your “mobile thingy.” They have “rejiggered the UI to maximize screen real estate,” simply meaning they’ve altered the resolution so that it is optimal on mobile devices and tablets.
The menu buttons and interaction icons have been resized slightly, so if you have chubby fingers there is no need to worry. The control scheme can also be changed as desired, between a fixed d-pad (which displays on screen), or a floating, swipe friendly, d-pad which allows you to swipe anywhere to move.
That’s enough about the game’s mechanics and history though, let’s move on to the most critical part: the game itself!
“Take part in the epic saga of Tycho Ephemerous Brahe, scholar of Apocalyptic Studies turned detective, and his entirely human partner Jonathan Gabriel as they confront unspeakable evils that threaten New Arcadia, the world as we know it, and possibly the very idea of reality itself!”
What Kind of Game is The Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness 3?
Rain Slick follows the detective Tycho Ephemerous Brahe, and his partner Johnathan Gabriel, as they work to resolve unusual cases and deal with unimaginable monsters of epic proportions. The story has you traveling through the fictional world of New Arcadia, where both the webcomics and the Rain Slick series takes place.
Most of the game follows the same tried and true classic RPG timeline. You interact with NPCs and characters while exploring open world environments. Throughout your adventures, you are forced to fight a plethora of enemies that get seemingly harder as you proceed further in the game. The combat system is nothing remarkable and has you ordering characters in a semi-turn based battle system.
There is a progress bar displayed at the top of the screen with three separate turn phases: wait, command, and action. During combat, portraits of each character and enemy move along the status bar. When a certain individual reaches the “command” phase, obviously you are then tasked with choosing an action for them to perform. The character portrait then continues to move along the status bar, until they reach the “action” phase, whereupon they commit to the action you chose for them earlier. After the action has been performed, the portrait then cycles around to the wait stage again. It is this semi-turn based battle system that drives the entire game. In fact, most of what you will be doing in Rain Slick 3 is battling monsters.
After a while, the combat gets repetitive, and you begin to long for a little more to do in the game. Hence, why this game is ideal for mobile devices, and playing on the go! It’s not the best title to sit down and play through in one sitting. When playing on a mobile device you can pick up and stop at any point, thus taking breaks from the routine gameplay mechanics.
You don’t stick around in the world of Rain Slick for the story, or the game mechanics though. Instead, you continue playing so that you can see all the incredible humor, and interact with some of the quirky characters and unique monsters. At times, the humor is even strong enough to trigger a genuine LOL (yes we used the acronym on purpose there).
In between combat situations, you explore the world of New Arcadia via a semi- linear map. You move along a set path to different nodes and locations on the main map of Arcadia. Once you reach a node, you are then taken to that exact spot where you can move freely within a smaller, more open map. As you progress in the game more nodes open up for inspection, and there are even chances to backtrack and explore new areas later on.
When exploring the smaller locations, there are a few instances where you can find hidden items and weapons, but for the most part what you’ll be doing is battling enemies. As with most other RPGs, you can collect more powerful weapons and equip each character with unique items to increase their stats and powers. The characters level on their own while playing, which means you don’t have to fiddle around with stats or skill upgrades.
Later in the game you unlock the ability to select a temporary second class for each character. The class abilities and powers are given thanks to a unique accessory they adhere to their person. The accessory is essentially a wearable badge that adds different skills and augmented stats. Some of the second classes available include the Crabomancer, the Tube Samarai, the Hobo and the Delusionist.
Penny Arcade’s On The Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness is Available Now
Rain Slick 3 for Android includes the entire game and the previously released DLC: The Lair of the Seamstress and fanfiction packs. The fanfiction packs intrinsically allow you to adjust each characters skin and model (or in this case sprites) to a custom design. The developers also guarantee that more free game content will be coming in the future too.
Penny Arcade’s Rain Slick 3 is available now via Google Play for $2.99.
Are you a long time fan of the Penny Arcade series? Do you have any qualms with our quick description of the new Android version? By all means, let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
The Tech Labs Indie Game of The Week Series
If you love games as much as we do, be sure to check out the other titles in our ongoing Indie Game of The Week series.