Where are they now? Catching up with my Top 20 from IGF 2013

Going through all the entrants for the 17th annual Independent Games Festival this year got me thinking: This is the fourth year I’ve done this and some of these games I’ve seen every year while others I’ve lost track of. So I went back to my bookmarks archive and quickly checked in with some of my top picks. You can check out my recap from 2012 that I posted earlier this week but for today we’re moving on to IGF 2013.

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Against the Wall – A game about scaling a sheer wall and slowly discovering mysterious stuff by pulling out odd-sized blocks to make a path. It’s so simple and pure, I’ve pined for it since 2012 and it’s still not done. Work continues but it seems to be overshadowed by newer games from developer Michael Consoli. I can wait, I just hope it isn’t retired.

Chroma – In a year when every other entry had something to do with manipulating light and shadows, Chroma was the one that looked most appealing. Mark Foster has since found more success with Titan Souls but Chroma remains at the top of his site’s projects list. I hope one day it happens.

Cradle – I’ve had just as many concerns over this game making it out as I’ve had dreams about playing it. Development has always seemed shaky and coming from Russia some of the updates have been hard to follow. Thankfully there’s been news already in 2015 and the script and voice acting have been completed. Paying actors to record dialog is a pretty good sign a game is moving along so I’m hoping to play it sometime this year.

Don’t Starve – Back at the dawn of the neo-roguelike age I fell in love with Don’t Starve. Like most I enjoyed the terror of coming to grips with the game’s mysteries and fighting hunger like it was a tangible enemy. It was the first Early Access game I bought into and the last I’ll ever play with that much dedication. By the time the game was released I’d burnt out on it and everything I understood about how it worked had changed. Still a fantastic game, I just came at it the wrong way and I’ve learned a gaming life lesson from it.

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Leaper★ – Leaper is as old as 2010 but I didn’t dig deep enough on Sophie Houlden’s website until writing this post to find the playable demo of it. I want it even more now despite not owning an iPad anymore which is where the star-enhanced edition would debut… if it ever happens. It’s a great one-button platforming concept that feels wonderful. I hope it happens some day, in some form that I can actually get ahold of.

NEO Scavenger – Constantly tempting me to repeat the same mistake I made with Don’t Starve was NEO Scavenger. It was in playable Alpha form and then on Early Access for the better part of 2 years and I always wanted to jump in. Finally, I bought the full game when it was released proper and it has continued to kill me in more and more inventive ways every time.

StarForge – At the start all I needed was the confirmation that you could build a tower of dirt right out of the atmosphere and into space. Then there was the reveal of the crazy gun generation system and the momentum-based physics of movement. Then the fort-building, wave-based Horde mode. It all seemed to be careening wildly right up my alley. I never bought in but going by Steam the final, release version of the game is a messy shell of all that potential. I’d still like to give it a shot some day but wow, what a letdown.

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