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Iji: fantastic freeware game


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Hay OCR, I'm doing a little campaigning to spread the word of a fantastic PC game that a friend of mine has recently released. It is called IJI by Remar Games, an action/adventure/platformer made with the Game Maker 5.3 software.

You can find thousands of crap or so-so games on the GM website but this is the real deal; the lone developer (who has won several awards and contests for previous games and studies game design at university) spent over four years doing all the graphics from scratch in somewhat of a 16-bit, flat-shaded style, all the gameplay, story, and level design, plus the programming and sounds, all by himself with the help of a few voice actors and musicians.

Screenshots? Number 1 Number 2 Number 3 Number 4

Iji, the titular character, is an average teenaged girl who is one of few survivors of a sudden planetary strike on Earth by an alien race called the Tasen. While recovering, scientists believing she has the most potential to end the threat outfit her with nanotechnology that they studied from the Tasen. The unwilling heroine has to overcome her emotions and confront the Tasen leader, but soon learns of a much greater battle.

While combat is a bare-bones shoot/kick/duck affair at first, Iji's can upgrade her physical statistics along the way, such as strength, health, jumping, hacking, ability to assimilate alien nanotechnology into her own protective armour, and ability to use alien weaponry. There are 16 weapons to acquire and each one has its own advantages in certain situations. Toss in some highly-detailed boss fights, tons of secrets, extensive dialogue that can change according to your actions, and Mega Man X2 like hover-bikes, and you've got an overall fantastic game.

If you want to head straight to the download page, go here:


In addition, I've written a Promotional Preview for Iji that describes in much better detail some of the game's aspects, from its choice of graphical style, to its attention to detail, to its many alternate routes and its storyline. The purpose of this Preview is not only to drum up some interest in the game, but also to address, from a tester and fellow game developer's point of view, some of what the author considered to be risks in releasing the game to today's marketplace, such as the obviously-outdated (albeit detailed) graphics, certain restricting gameplay choices, and more. As well there's some insight into the game's story, which although is a full creative work, seems to have garnered a reputation for being "pretentious" even though it's not meant to take itself seriously, yet at the same time can be immersive, a bit emotional, and quite humourous.

My Promotional Preview can be read here: http://noproblo.dayjo.org/ijipreview.html

I hope you guys and gals enjoy the game, and spread the word if you do. Both positive and negative comments will be compiled for the author, but if you feel the need to express some serious issues with Iji, it would be preferable to contact the author directly - I only suggest this because I've watched discussions of certain game aspects go back and forth between people who had no clue what they were saying except for their own assumptions. You know how the internet goes. Alas, have at it!

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Yeah, that's what I thought when I found out about this...apparently he's going for the OotW/Flashback look, but IMO he doesn't quiiiite pull it off. The animation and effects are pretty impressive though.

I've heard the game itself is kind of like a 2D version of Deus Ex, which I'm going through for the first time right now and find reasonably entertaining. I'll probably get this after I'm done.

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Yeah, Out of this World was one of the main inspirations for the graphical style. As far as gameplay, there's a lot of System Shock 2 in there.

MS Paint? Heh, I guess it does look like that by the screenshots. But if you see it in motion (there's a trailer on YouTube) you'll see the animation and special effects are pretty slick. The characters are actually pre-rendered 3D models.

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I just watched the trailer on Youtube. You weren't kidding, the screenshots don't quite do it justice.

After I'm finished work I'm probably gonna give it a go. Looks impressive.

Yeah, that's what I thought when I found out about this...apparently he's going for the OotW/Flashback look, but IMO he doesn't quiiiite pull it off. The animation and effects are pretty impressive though.

I agree about the animation. It's especially impressive for a guy who probably doesn't have an entire rotoscoping studio backing him.

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you know its shit like this that outclasses the majority of recent console games being shoved up our asses.

That's a bold statement in so many ways. Iji is the enema to such shovelware as far attention to detail and the many improvements made through playtesting (it even takes colourblind players into account), but IMHO a real critic would strike it for being "too linear" and needing an editor for some of the dialogue, but meh. Fine compliment.

I started playing this game, and didn't stop until the Komato guys came down. At that point I had to quit because if I didn't I would not stop until my weekend was over :P

It was only Thursday night ...?

Played through the first couple stages.

Cool... it gets a lot more exciting after the first 3. Sector 4 introduces Shredders, Sector 5 begins with major chaos, and Sector 6 has an immersive backstory section and a hidden mini-game. The Sector 7 boss Proxima is a real treat, visually and battle-wise. Quasi-spoilers: Sector 7 has you board a Komato spaceship, and the final boss is entirely vector-animated in realtime, takes up almost the whole screen, and bombards you with a ton of attacks at once.

I'm really liking the music the guy put to it.

We're discussing producing an OCR-style torrent album with all the high-quality versions plus a few tracks that didn't make the final cut. Stay tuned for that.

Also, the graphics reminded me of Jill of the Jungle for some reason.

Haha Jill... that was one Epic, Mega, Game. I guess the Iji character is... somewhat Jill-like.

Thanks for all the positive feedback so far, y'all. Feel free to make mention of anything you think could have been improved, since the author is studying game design and is really keen on constructive criticism. Even though the game is basically final, except for bug-patching, suggestions would be cool as well, as long as you know they won't be included at this point.

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It's amazing some of the pure garbage that comes out of Game Maker... but then every once in a while someone uses it to make a real gem like this. Good job.

So true... and the funny thing is, those who make quality GM games usually have the programming (and logic) skill to work with real languages but prefer Game Maker for convenient functions and object-orientation.

One of my own GM games, Duck Doom, was featured on G4 in a 2-minute segment. If I didn't have the skill or take the time to study Duck Hunt closely and replicate it perfectly, it would have gotten the "Nice idea, failed execution" treatment and never would have been shown on national TV. After the designing, GM simply made it easy to put the whole thing together.

Is that music from the trailer made for the game? If so, I'm already thinking of some remix ideas....

Yep, the trailer song is in the game. Not much else would "legitimise" the game like having its music remixed, but honestly I can't imagine hearing those notes in any other type of song, except maybe a soft bedtime ballad. But maybe you have some spiffier ideas.

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I am sad. This game is incredible, but everytime I get to Sector 4 and turn on that thing, my computer crashes on me, which SUCKS. Can anyone help?

Are you talking about the switch near the end? If so, it's a known issue that deals with some graphics cards not liking the screen gamma technique used to simulate an alarm light. There is supposedly a patch on the way that gives the option to remove this effect.

Sorry to hear about the problems - Sector 4 and beyond get pretty sweet.


There was an updated released just today (Sept. 13) but unfortunately it doesn't fix that problem. He recognises that it is a serious bug and plans to fix it soon.

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It's amazing some of the pure garbage that comes out of Game Maker... but then every once in a while someone uses it to make a real gem like this. Good job.

Is that music from the trailer made for the game? If so, I'm already thinking of some remix ideas....

Hehe, shotty

The game's got great music. oh, and the gameplay is kickass too. the only thing that was a little bit of a drawback so far was that I can't jump and shoot at the same time. but then again, it makes you "think" before tanking through a bunch of enemies on a platform above you, which is always good =) thanks for posting!

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Sweet game for freeware, I love it so far, (just beat sector 6) here are my concerns and suggestions so far;

-I'd really like to be able to jump and shoot, I think it would make the game feel a lot more immersive and a little less annoying,

-I think Iji should be a little faster, okay... quite a bit faster, it would just help with playability and make it less boring on 2nd/3rd times through.

-This is just an extra thing, but if Iji could wall jump that would be wicked! It would make the game a lot more "fun" and you could just run around (with a faster Iji) and kick butt. Even if this was an extra after you beat the game it would be sweet.

-If the bikes could jump it would be a lot more fun.

-I love the music and how it comes with the game in a folder

-I love the artistic style in the cutscenes, but I definitely think the character models in-game could look a lot better.

Keep up the good work, I'll go through more of the game later, this is sweet for freeware.

-Zephyr~ endorses this project with the official nice work seal :nicework: (except this one isn't sarcastic.)

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So I went through it on both pacifistic and murderous playstyles. Time for some spoilers.

-I liked the endings, I take it you can save Dan on either way through(I didn't on the murderous one cause I didn't think to save the trapmine)? Or does Asha just go murderous anyways if you're murderous?

-Is there any way to prevent the Tasen extinction? (You do get a message stating that the truce making Tasen may have survived as she was going to hide with her boyfriend [Who dies in the defense post])

-The truce was a nice touch, but it was very difficult making it past some areas since there were few places to jump past a Tasen without bumping into it. I ended up having to break it unintentionally.

-I found the whole going somewhat nuts after Dan's death to be amusing. I'm gonna just lay him down in a bed to "rest", and continue talking to him like nothing happened.(This made the ending a bit more stronger in a good way)

-I don't mind the not being able to shoot while jumping and all that, but could the weapon loading after a switch not be so long? You haven't even fired it yet.

-Excellent work on the boss fights.

Game delivers.

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I just want to thank everyone not only for their input but for giving the game a good play-through or two. It may be fairly short for a modern game, but taking at least a few hours for the first time through is a commitment I'm sure that the author will appreciate. I've played through many demos over the years yet still haven't sat down to conquer the full game.

Yeah, wall-jumping would be pretty sweet, if it were implemented well (no consecutive wall-jumps, good horizontal velocity) and levels were designed to make use of it, and not allow for unintended shortcuts. That's my inner developer talking. But so many times during the game I've wanted to spring off a wall to reach an area that I couldn't figure out.

The Shredders (hover bikes) can't jump on their own but they do launch a fair distance off of ramps. That's actually how you can reach some powerful weaponry early on. Personally I just love mowing down the Scouts with them.

Cecilff2: I agree about switching weapons, but it's probably done that way to prevent abuse by quickly switching between them while shooting.

A ReMix already. Holy smokes.

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