Published on June 25th, 2012 | by Charlie0
Review: Indie Game: The Movie
Summary: Charlie takes a look at Indie Game: The Movie. is it any good? read the review to find out!
Now we don’t normally do movie reviews, but since this movie is based on indie games, this is an exception.
If there was ever a film that went into depth about being an indie game developer, then this was it. Indie Game: The Movie is a documentation set around three developers and their 3 games; Team Meat with Super Meat Boy, Polytron with Fez and Number None, Inc with Braid. All three of these games has received critical acclaim, but this film follows the journey of the developers as they develop their games, but boy is there more to developing these games than we thought.
The first developer is Jonathan Blow, who developed “Braid” and released it back in 2008. Braid is the game where you play as Tim who is searching for his “princess”. To do that, he uses the manipulation of time to solve puzzles in order to reach his princess. These puzzles were not only extremely creative, but also crunched your brain a lot. From the film’s point of view, the game is already out and has done for some time and his story ultimately tells about how he coped with his fame; finding his face plastered around the internet and how he feels about the public when he read the reviews.
The next developers are Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes whom of which developed “Super Meat Boy” and released it back in 2010. Their game is about a boy made of meat trying to save his love, Bandage Girl, from the evil Dr. Fetus. To do that, Meat Boy has to maneuver through the levels, avoiding all the dangers that do him most harm, such as saw blades and even salt. The story here follows the struggles both Edmund and Tommy had developing the game where they talk about their stress, releasing the game in time for GameFeast and ultimately dealing with pre and post-release problems.
The final developer this film follows is Phil Fish with his game “Fez” which came out in 2012. Fez is about a pixel man named Gomez and how he is given the gift of a Fez that not only makes him look cool (if you get the joke) but also allows him to see the world in a 3D perspective. The gameplay consists of rotating the world in order to solve puzzles and find cubes that will restore peace to the world. Phil’s story follows his stress due to the many delays for the game, the problems he encountered with his ex-business partner and even the problems encountered with promoting the game.
Being a documentary, almost everything you get to see is real. There are moments in the film where you think it “may” have been elaborated just a tiny bit, but other than that, it really gives you a lot to think about throughout and after the film. Indie Game: The Movie is very powerful when it comes to emotion, and when one of the developers begin to feel stressed out, you can really feel the anxiety and torture; it’s almost like it’s really your game and it’s really you who is getting stressed out. The film is edited in such a way that all the developers end up having a good share of the film; of course near the end it tends to just focus on just two of the developers.
Whilst the film really showed you a deeper insight into the film, I feel like it didn’t show everything you had hoped for. Whilst it shows you the stress and excitement of making an indie game, the film lacked actual development. It would have been cool to watch “this developer” draw “this character” on screen, or it would have been great to have seen them at work developing on the game for a solid 2-3 minutes without it cutting to an interview on themselves. The game seemed to be more about them and less about the games. I’m not saying that’s a major problem, and I’m not saying you won’t care about their lives when watching because you really do, but that’s besides the point.
What’s truly great about the film is how it brings you into it emotionally. Even though I’ve never met the developers, from what they were saying in the film, there were moments when I just had to agree or had to disagree because they were just taking things out of proportions. There’s one scene where one of the developers (shall not say who) gets extremely angry over someone and I’m just thinking: “Dude. He might be watching this!”. Then again if they get in trouble, then it’s their fault.
Indie Game: The Movie really gives you an insight in what it feels and means to be an indie game developer. It takes you through a roller coaster of emotions and really knows how to keep you captivated. It has it’s flaws, but at it’s small value of just $9.99 (and with the options to download it in many ways from 1080p to on your iPhone), you really can’t go wrong with this movie. However, I do feel like this movie is a “one time” only kind of movie, where it’s not as enjoyable the second time around.