Tagged: IGF2014

Where are they now? Catching up with my Top 20 from IGF 2014

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 and 2013 that I posted earlier this week but for today we’re moving on to last year’s list: IGF 2014.

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Elegy for a Dead World – I like writing… *glances at past 9 years of GameLuv posts* … yeah, I’m pretty sure I like writing. So when a game promises to plunk me down all alone on a dead alien world and tells me I’ll be documenting it for posterity, I take notice. Elegy has gone on to see official release but now that part of the experience is reading other peoples writings I feel like I’d have a pretty boring story to tell. Stage fright? That’s an interesting concept in itself. I really should buy this some day.

Moon Intern – This one had a pretty high, high concept in 2013 as a “serialized side-scrolling action RPG […] with each day acting like a single episode”. An episodic, pixelart platformer sounds enticing but work has been hampered since Day One according to the devs. With a new emphasis on “random and procedural elements” it’s starting to sound like most other indie games of the day. That is to say, a lot less interesting to me.

Perfect Stride – I rediscovered Perfect Stride amongst the L.A. Game Space demos in 2014 and was finally able to make sense of its stunning lo-fi visuals. It also has a really chill soundtrack. As for the future, who knows. The creedo remains: Perfect Stride is coming to $team whenever we finish it. It continues to pop up at events but I haven’t heard much more on its progress.

PixelJunk Inc. – Now known as Nom Nom Galaxy, this “2D Minecraft” has seen several updates since I uncharacteristically bought into its Early Access build. The biggest news, though, is that Q-Games is once again working with Sony to bring the game to PlayStation 4 and Vita. How this impacts the PC version that I bought has yet to be seen but the game continues moving forward at a decent pace.

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The White Cane – The White Cane is literally a black void until you start bumping into stuff. Your characters thoughts — visualized as words — create the world around you as you come to grips with where you are and what’s following you. As a student project from 2013 the team has obviously broken up and only one of them is continuing to work on the game. It’s a long ways off and may never happen but I’m here, still holding on for another update. It’s that striking to play!

THUMPER – Is it an endless runner? Is it sort of like Rock Band but without the emphasis on instruments? I don’t know but it looks splendid and incredible and I will hold on as long as needed in order to play a release version. Public demos are already happening in 2015 but so far I’ve not been close enough to attend.

My Top 20 from the Independent Games Festival 2014 (Part 2)

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

My Top 20 from the Independent Games Festival 2014 (Part 1)

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!

igf2014-asunder

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!