Halloween candy has not yet gone on sale, and we’re already looking towards next year’s Independent Games Festival. Thousands of games entered IGF 2012 just to get a little well deserved recognition as well as a taste of the $50,000 of prizes for awards given to only the best. Who will climb to the top of the heap next year smelling of dead pixels, musky inspiration, and that sweet smell of victory?
I really don’t know. The list of over 500 indie games competing for the grand prize just came out. Give me a break here. I’m still trying to rid Gotham City of its criminal element.
But it’s always fun to peek behind the curtain to get a little taste of what will be big next year. As you can probably tell, this is but a small taste of what’s to come. I’ll roll out more trailers, games, and previews as we get closer to the big day. Grab some popcorn and get ready for a little time travel. It’s time to head off to 2012 – a land of far more indie games and Incan Apocalypse terror.
Make LOST for the Atari 2600, throw in some zombies, and this what you get. Life/Death/Island pits you against the pixelated elements of a deserted island ravaged by the undead and lots of bears. The bears seem very much alive and hungry. Still in its early phases, you can already piece together how the game works between the splattering zombies and exploding cars.
You’re not experiencing déjà vu. I embedded this trailer into my last column as a little taste of what’s to come. Konjak, creater of Legend of Princess and Noitu Love, returns to the IGF scene with firepower and a good wrench. As Robin, you fight your way through a world where being a mechanic is illegal. Fight, shoot, and tighten some screws to find out why a girl can’t have a little torque. Download the alpha version of this gorgeous on Konjak’s website.
I’ve posted about this game before, but I’ll say it again – pixels have never been scarier. The atmosphere, limited lighting, and strange story make this the game you’ll need to download next year. Good luck at IGF.
Sometimes you just need a good mind-bending game. Parallax tosses you between a light and dark world as you try to get to the goal. Portals controlled by switches located in either world seem to be the key to making your way out. As portals turn and you jump from platform to platform, will you have what it takes to make your way out of this stylized puzzle game?
If you've ever been thrown out into the depths of space with only a booster and laser to your name, then you probably already know how it feels to play Captain Jameson. For everyone else, imaging cruising through the inky darkness, attacking the neon-pulsing ships floating by, and cannibalizing every part you can scavenge from their smoldering hull. Just click on the link to get a taste of the action.
Finally, the worlds of time manipulation and guard duty come together in a way Blinx the Time Sweeper never thought possible. Seemingly impossible problems become a piece of cake when you are able to stop time in this 2D platform puzzler. Walk on water or lasers with a simple tap off the button. Simple graphic hide devious puzzles as well as a few surprises.
Façade hit the indie scene as a social puzzle where you play as a guest at a rather uncomfortable dinner party. A new version of that social engine finds its way into a more insidious environment – middle school. Designers describe Prom Week as a “social physics puzzle” as you make your way through 3,500 different interactions ranging from mild to life changing. The goal is to find out the best way to deal with social situations through the intuitive understanding of how people interact. Getting in touch with your emotions might just be the key to winning the game.
Give a thousand game developers a rule and they’re find a way to twist it to their own means. IGF allows developers to submit any number of games for a fee. It’s standard practice to fork over a little cash to pay for reviewers, bandwidth, and other such things to keep the institution going. No trickery here, but sometimes game developers skate upon the thin line of debt that can make it hard to pay the fee. The solution comes in the form of an electronic Trojan horse – Pirate Kart.
Putting together a handful of games into one submission may raise an eyebrow. Try gathering 100 developers together and submitting 300 games in one package. Titles span the gambit of art games to platformers to off the wall point and click adventures. I’ve already downloaded the massive file from their site and will be dissecting it in a future column. Toss them a couple of bucks while you’re at it. Making 300 games doesn’t come cheap.
Trick or Shoulds:
You Should Play - Nightmare House 2
Tis’ the season for ghost, ghouls, and other things that make bumping sounds in the night. Nightmare House 2 may have been around the virtual block a couple of times, but that doesn't mean that you can't get a couple of good scares out of this free Half-Life 2 mod. Developers incorporate every audio trick and shadow racing across the screen to make for a long night of insomnia. Nightmare House 2 incorporates one of the strangest Easter Eggs found in gaming. Beware! You may never be the same again.
You Should Support – BlindSide
It’s hard to imagine what you would do waking up to find vicious monsters attacking people just outside your front door. You need to find weapons, tools, supplies, and a way out. Now imagine trying to survive while you’re blind. BlindSide uses audio cues to create the world around you. There are no graphics – just you, a couple of well placed sounds, and a desperate need to survive. Twenty-five bucks gets you an early build of the title as well as a financial boost to the developers behind this unique game.
You Should Download – Which
Horror and Point-and-Click adventures naturally go together. As we’ve seen with Exmortis and Hotel 626, sometimes you just need your mouse and a couple of creepy visuals to put you on edge. Which goes down a different path by giving you the bare minimum. White walls hide closets, drawers, and clues to freeing yourself from this haunted house. This free downloadable title focuses on the rest – sound, lighting, and that subtle shift of shadow in the corner of your eye – to create an environment that’s both alluring and frightening.