Publilius Syrus once said that everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it, which is a maxim that seems to have been gaining considerable ground in the video game industry lately. Consumers are beginning to move away from rigid $60 boxed retail structures and embrace the freedoms and flexibilities offered by smaller titles through new methods of distribution. Perhaps the most extreme and remarkable extension of this idea is the Humble Indie Bundle, an occasionally occurring pay-what-you-want package with all proceeds going either to charity or to the developers of its featured games.

Since May 2010, four Humble Indie Bundles have been offered which have generated over $6 million in combined sales. A fifth bundle, the Humble Frozen Synapse Bundle, is now available until October 11, which features Frozen Synapse, a game by UK developer Mode 7, for whatever price you name. And if you're willing to spend more than the average of $4.65, you'll receive all games offered in the earlier Humble Frozenbyte Bundle as well. Essentially, it's an $80+ value for less than $5, with no DRM (digital rights management), cross-platform compatibility between Windows, Mac and Linux, and the warm fuzzy feeling of donating to charity.

The main draw of the bundle, Frozen Synapse, should prove appealing to those who prefer their shooting games to have a slick blue aesthetic and a greater emphasis on strategy. The game is principally designed as an online multiplayer affair where combatants methodically guide their units through a firefight with victory often going to the more tactically inclined. What sets it apart from other turn based games, however, is how it lets players see through the consequences of their decisions before committing to a course of action. This ability to optimize manoeuvres endlessly, as well as how the strategies of each player advance in tandem, can allow for supremely tense and satisfying skirmishes.

However Frozen Synapse is most certainly not a game for everyone, especially not for those who are hoping for either immediate gratification or an experience more rewarding than game mechanic mastery. In fact it's actually not a game I'd recommend at all; its learning curve is quite steep and it won't leave you feeling any more enriched after the experience. But because of its presence in an innovative and highly laudable distribution method, I simply can't not encourage you to give it a look. It's pretty much free, after all; what more could you want?

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  • Subtitle: The Humble Indie Bundle returns, featuring tactical top-down shooter Frozen Synapse
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