Where do you draw the line between indie and mainstream gaming? Is it purely a financial distinction, with one being produced for peanuts and the other benefiting from healthy sacks of cash, or is it an ideology, with independence not only from corporate interests but from conventional design?
These are the questions that buzzed around my head while playing Afterfall: Insanity, a game produced over several years by Intoxicate Studios, a group of Polish coding enthusiasts who coordinated their efforts over internet forums. They've created something that looks incredibly impressive, with Unreal 3 powered visuals and a throbbing orchestral soundtrack. They've also created something so generic that you can't help wondering if it was worth the effort.
It's a third-person survival-horror shooter, set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia where humanity has survived a cataclysmic war by retreating to underground bunkers. Topside, the world now belongs to mutants and monsters. Below, people live in sterile comfort, ruled by totalitarian leaders and subject to the madness of Confinement Syndrome. It's Fallout crossed with Dead Space, basically, and while it does a serviceable job of calling to mind its inspirations, it offers none of its own.