Everyone wants to have their own version of a Nintendo franchise. From the countless Mario Kart clones to the Zelda imitators, indies and even AAA developers try to recapture the magic of these properties with their own respective twists. Super Smash Bros. is no exception to the rule; such “party fighters” that are blatantly inspired by it include the likes of Playstation All Stars Battle Royale and TMNT: Smash Up. Heck, one may recall that I myself was once part of an indie brawler that crashed and burned from various idiocies behind the scenes. But you know what? That doesn’t change the fact that having indie characters fight it out is an awesome concept that should play out as well as what Nintendo did with its own roster.
The Lowe Bros. realize that, too. That’s why they are making their own platform-fighter starring indie characters. This game is known as Indie Pogo. As the name may suggest, it isn’t actually trying to be a direct cut-and-paste of the ideal Smash Bros. mechanics. Instead, everyone is hopping around the stage simultaneously. Fighting is still the primary aspect of the gameplay for sure, but you’d have to strategically plan your moves so the auto-jumping doesn’t detract from them. That may sound a little clumsy at first, but I can definitely say Indie Pogo doesn’t falter on its execution.
Courtesy of the Lowes, I was able to try out the demo for myself. As soon as I booted it up, I knew I was in for a treat; the upbeat chiptune music and the animated logos and menus were quick to make me grin. I’m not sure how much content there will be in the long run, but the demo was focused on the battle mode since it’s the only playable thing from the main menu. From there, I was treated to a selection of indie game characters ranging from popular ones like Lilac from Freedom Planet and Shovel Knight from…Shovel Knight, as well as littler known ones like Jack and Blockman (or maybe it’s just me not knowing what games they are from).
There isn’t a huge crowd of characters or stages, but what’s there is a textbook example of quality over quantity. The characters feel alive and parallel to their home appearances, and the stages are just as appealing to look at. Characters even have some details carried over directly from their games, such as Shovel Knight losing his bags of money and Lilac using her airborne boost attack thingy. Not to mention, the action itself is fast and chaotic in ways that make games like Smash Bros. fun to begin with.
The important thing going into this is that if you try playing this like Super Smash Bros., you might lose. That’s because this isn’t Super Smash Bros., as inspired as it is by it. Jumping on heads is the highest priority, even if there are ways to merge that aspect with fighting moves. Coming in with different expectations is a mentality that’s hard to get away from, but should you manage to master Indie Pogo‘s specialized combat methods, the results can be pretty special.
While the game may not be out yet, I think the developers are truly on to something here with Indie Pogo. This game feels like it’d be a lot of fun to play online, and I could only wonder what other characters would be implemented as time goes on. There could probably even be some snazzy single-player content in the mix. Whatever the case may be, I’m highly anticipating its release!