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!
Moon Intern by COSMOSAUR LLC
If it lives up to the pitch it could be awesome. Episodic stories, from mundane to epic charge you with action/platforming, puzzle solving and vehicle driving all around (and above) the moon. The lofty goal? Keep paying your rent and keep your NPC soul mate happy.
Mount Your Friends by Stegersaurus Games
Imagine QWOP or GIRP only it requires multiple players to awkwardly stack up their well-endowed, spandex-clad muscle men on top of one another. This appeals to my gross 90’s juvenile boy mentality.
Perfect Stride by Arcane Kids
The most astounding thing about Perfect Stride are its visuals. An eye-melting, high-dithering, retro-future 90’s, geometric neon nightmare. The accompanying Soundcloud playlist (it’s an early demo, did you guess?) fits the style perfectly as you stride back and forth to build momentum and basically skateboard around.
PixelJunk Inc. by Q-Games
Finally, something PixelJunk I can get behind. It’s resource gathering/mining à la Terraria only the goal is to actually do something! Using resources and tools you’re building the greatest soup factories you can and then defending them from jealous hordes.
Road Not Taken by Spry Fox
Spry Fox’s incredibly cute and bewildering take on rogeulikes. Somewhere between Triple Town and… Don’t Starve? I’m not sure but I love everything about it so far, even those bastard bears from Triple Town.
The Howler by Antanas Marcelionis & Rene Petruliene
Using only the volume of your voice control a Victorian air balloon as it rises and falls on its way to a landing pad.
The White Cane by Evan Kice, Daniel Havens, Zach Barnes, Chris Miller
The most captivating visual style I’ve seen since The Unfinished Swan. Moving through darkness, words begin to paint the angles of objects you bump into. But beyond simply being a big box labeled “table” the words change the longer you touch it until you realize ‘it’s.just.a bar.’ I could do without the big cartoon eyes but even the brief demo was a captivating experience.
THUMPER by DROOL
While THUMPER looks like the inside of Journey’s album art I don’t think it’s going to sound quite the same. Shoot down glistening Audiosurf-style highways and blast enemies in rhythmic bliss to what sounds like Electro-Industrial music.
When It Clicks by dreamfeel
It’s hard to tell what you do in this game where “rotary dials are now the front-line of cyber-warfare” but it’s got a great 90s-retro-hacker vibe.
Words Warrior by Below the Game
We’ve seen a bit of this before but Words Warrior quite literally melds action with the written word. As your 2D character runs across the lines of his own story he can grab words to solve puzzles and defeat enemies lurking in the prose ahead.