I wasn’t going to do the IGF thing this year but thanks to a particularly boring day I started going through the entries and had to finish. It went a lot quicker this year as I saw plenty of games from years past and I found myself less excited by many of the titles. Regardless of my feelings, it was another record year for the IGF with 656 games being submitted, all of which I at least looked at. From there I narrowed it down to a spreadsheet of 95 that were of particular interest and finally to what we have here, my Top Twenty from the Independent Games Festival 2014.
And then I whittled just a bit more to make this list into two posts so be sure to look for the other one!
Asunder: Earthbound by Aldin Dynamics
Gone Home on a 1930’s airplane ride inside Oculus Rift? That kinda-sorta explains this atmospheric experience. Right from the start you know something bad is going to happen and you have only a few minutes to explore the plane via a promising set of head-gestures and direction-of-gaze tracking to try and survive.
Axiom Verge by Tom Happ
Equal parts Metroid and Contra with an emphasis on finding and exploiting bugs and glitches in the game. Some are straightforward like the “glitch ray” that scrambles enemies with sprite corruption but others promise to capitalize on flicker, slowdown and other familiar glitches. The clever gameplay aside it looks like the gorgeous 16-bit Metroid sequel you’ve always wanted.
AXYZ by Daniel Contreras and Francis Belmar
Played with a Dual Shock 3 controller, the sticks move you around with traditional first person controls while the tilt sensor rotates the world. Managing both, playing two games at once, seems like a fun (and literal) balancing act.
Devil’s Dare by Secret Base
I can’t describe it better than this: “multiplayer retro 2D arcade zombie beat’em up, complete with beautiful 8bit pixels. A love letter to the classic 90s goodness, the game features parodies of classic games heroes fighting against classic horror movies monsters.” That it’s the next game from the creators of Tobe’s Vertical Adventure (another old favorite) only makes me want it more.
Don’t Wake the Bear by Backpedal Games
This pass-and-play game of hot potato feels like an homage to the antics of WarioWare and Frobisher Says. Players take turns passing around a PlayStation Vita and putting an inexplicable array of random items on a sleeping bear in hopes of keeping him asleep.
Dungeon of the Endless by Amplitude Studios
A fantastic looking mix of roguelike perma-peril with floor-conquering tower defense building. It’s two kinds of terror in one, realized through a really nice pixelart style with sharp lighting.
Elegy for a Dead World by Dejobaan Games (with Popcannibal)
This continues to sound fantastic. You are the poet that they should’ve sent. I don’t know how it plays but the idea is that you are free to piece together a dead world’s society, religion and philosophies by exploring and investigating its remains. What you type is how the universe will know these alien races.
Gods Will Be Watching by Deconstructeam
I love the art style and the roguish nature of this survival/adventure game. The gamejam version has completely stumped me but the larger game promises loads of interesting situations to survive all based on the actions and dialog choices you make.
Hungry Hubert by JAHLGREN
Sort of like Super Meat Boy gone ultra-stark, Game Boy style. Balance killing enemies and eating the level to stave off your life-ending hunger. Oops, I ate that platform I needed! It’s got a great look and I love the balancing act in the gameplay.
ibb & obb by Sparpweed
A platformer where you control two characters at the same time. If that weren’t daunting enough they can move above or below the playfield and take their momentum and gravity with them. It’s a mindkiller in single player requiring that you play two games at once with one of them upside down!