Welcome back to Indie Roundup, gang; we hope your new year is going well so far. Today we have three new indie projects to keep on your radar if you like the cavity-inducing adorable: Phant, Churbles, and ChemCaper.

Phant (Neckbolt Games)

Once in awhile, a game catches my eye for this feature with little more than a screenshot and a pithy one-line description. Such was Phant, a game I just happened to see on the #screenshotsaturday Twitter hashtag along with the simple line: “it’s like Zelda but with an elephant.”

And I’ll be darned if that’s not exactly what it looks like.

Not much has been shown of this project other than some (absolutely adorable) visuals and character designs. Your little baby elephant will unlock special abilitites that interact with the world, such as being able to spray water out of your trunk to make plants grow. The game’s developer stated that Phant is more of a puzzle game, but there will also be combat involved, like the ssssinisssssster Snoke, a little red cobra-like snake creature that will appear en-masse to harass the adorable protagonist.

Otherwise there’s NPCs to interact with, items to find, a barber shop where you can change your appearance. You can pick up chickens. Uh…look, you’re an adorable baby elephant. What more could you even want?

The game is obviously quite adorable, but my intention is to treat the story and world with quite a lot of respect, and make it an advanced and complex experience. Not to mention how many clever puzzles and adventures I have planned down the pipeline!

You can follow the developer’s blog, which contains videos, screenshots and animated gifs, here and check out one of those design videos from that blog below.

Churbles (CrashGem)

Churbles has had a bit of a lengthy production time, having been expected back in December 2014, but our friends over at Cliqist recently reported that the game is still rolling along.

Churbles is a 3D action RPG with adorable hamster-like characters. It counts among its inspirations an amazing pedigree including Final Fantasy, Zelda, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and Pokemon.

Churbles is a 3D action RPG heavily influenced by the greatest games of our youth. The game strives to be accessible to gamers of all ages and uses local multi-player to encourage friends and family to get together and have some fun running around, sharing adventures as heroic little critters. 

In the game, you’ll run a guild hall of the titular Churbles, attracting several different classes that give you a great deal of freedom how you want to tackle the game’s challenges with over 63 different combinations available. And you’ll need all of that power to tackle the game’s numerous challenging bosses, “drawing inspiration from the best and most memorable boss battles throughout gaming history.”

What really makes Churbles unique is the ownership the player will feel over their Churbles. Every Churble has its own personality that determines its affinities for different abilities -as well as interactions with other Churbles- and even the player! Everything from fur and eye color to armor and weapon skins can be selected by the player. The Guild Hall where the Churbles rally between their adventures is not just a quest hub: It is their home. Churbles eat, sleep, play, and train in the Guild Hall, which you the player will help design and build.

You can find out more at the game’s (successful) Kickstarter page and official Tumblr blog.

ChemCaper (Ace EdVenture Studio)

The desire to blend education and entertainment is nothing new. Plenty of games have tried it in the past…to mixed results. But few of them have been as flashy or unique as ChemCaper, a game that seeks to blend pet collection games like Pokemon and chemistry.

Through ChemCaper, our vision to impact the lives and learning of as many students as possible, can become a reality. We bring Chemistry to children the way they want to learn, on a medium they love! We want to bring a paradigm shift in education where 10-14 year olds are introduced to Chemistry wayyyyyyy before it is introduced in school as ‘Chemisery’.

The basic premise of the game is that you play as Roub, a “young moon being,” searching for the lost diety of your people amidst constant and mysterious attacks on his people. The world of ChemCaper is modeled after the periodic table of elements. That means each area is based on a separate section of the table, like Reac Ta, Roub’s homeland, which is based on the “reactive metals.”

Its inhabitants, the Moon Beings, carry those traits, like what happens when they interact with water… As such, their homeland is covered in an oil curtain to keep the scary moisture out (unfortunately, this also makes their home very dark!).

Throughout the game, the player gathers “Petticles,” which are creatures that are based on the elements, and combine them in battle for unique combos, “just like the chemical compounds they would form in reality.” Each combination forms a Pokemon-like critter that you can then use in combat.

The game will also include various mini-games that will subtly teach the players and familiarize them with chemistry topics, “minus the bore.”

To find our more about this complex and intriguing concept, check out the game’s Kickstarter page and Steam Greenlight page. The game also has a website over here.

Brienne Gacke
Writer, journalist, teacher, pedant. Brienne's done just about anything and everything involving words and now she's hoping to use them for something she's passionate about: video games. She's been gaming since the onset of the NES era and has never looked back.

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