The Indie Café – Aban Hawkins & the 1000 Spikes
Dig it, you crazy cats and kittens. You have entered the Indie Café, where Super Meat Boy is given a snapping ovation and Sonic the Hedgehog is shown the door. You are here because you know games like New Super Mario Bros. U can’t give you an experience a small independent developers can. So each week, we give the mic to your art house games, your retro titles and anything else created by gifted brothers and sisters tolling hard behind garage doors. So snap your fingers to the beat, plant yourself in a seat and lend your ear to these cool characters from the down low.
Do you miss the days when video games got their replay value from being hard? When games were actually only a couple of hours long at most but were longer due to their bone crushing difficulty? Did you always use cheats like the Konami Code (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start) to gain more extra lives in order to stand a chance against the perils ahead? Then you, my friend, need to try out Aban Hawkins & the 1000 Spikes from JPN 8bit fanatics.
Everything about this game screams retro. From its pixelated graphics to its soundtrack that seems to have been composed on a Sega Master System, Aban Hawkins gives you four worlds and over 20 levels to go through that are all unforgiving and hard. Each level contains a key that you must collect in order to unlock the exit out of the room. Once doing so, you must make your way to said exit and use the key to get out of the level. Along the way, you’ll have to avoid numerous obstacles which can all kill you in one hit, including scorpions, fireballs and spikes.
However, to help you along, the game essentially skips over the part where you input a code and starts you off with 1000 lives. What’s more is you can save your progress whenever you like so you are given a fair chance. Your character has the ability to jump, super jump, throw daggers, push objects and more. It’s pretty simple stuff and most of the game comes down to timing and skill. There are no checkpoints in each level so when you play Aban Hawkins, make sure you have your game face on.
Developer JPN 8bit fanatics have so far only made retro style titles for the Xbox Live Indie Games section, by which I mean two games. However, the caught the attention of Nicalis, known for Cave Story, and is bringing the game to the Wii U and 3DS eShop with more levels, new characters and a brand new multiplayer mode. That game does not have a release date yet but luckily you can pick up the original right now on the Xbox Live Marketplace for only one dollar. If you want to be sure if Aban Hawkins & the 1000 Spikes is for you, there’s a trial so check out this platforming maze of a game for yourself.
Can you snap your fingers to celebrate the wonders of the little known game deserving of undercover fame? Step into the Indie Café every week to hear about the best of independently made video games. If you know about a groovy but little known title made by an independent studio, send me a tweet @Colorwind with the hash tag #IndieCafe and I’ll spread the wealth. Until next time, creep out like the shadow, cats and kittens.