Now for the Non Nominated Games
Not every game at IndieCade is part of the awards judging festivities. Sponsors of the Festival bring indie games that are in some stage of development or another. Bit Cultures staff got some time with a few of those Sponsored Games in addition to the Awards Nominees and the Grand Jury Prize Winner.
99 Vidas o Jogo
99 Vidas o Jogo is a 2D side scrolling beat em up in the vein of arcade classics like Turtles In Time or the X-Men Arcade Game only with a ton of Brazilian personality and style. The game is a pretty good throwback to those older games while finding some clever ways to update the formula, like the way the flavor lines of the player characters come out of the DualShock 4’s built in speaker so that everyone knows which player just did something cool. It would be easy to dismiss 99 Vidas o Jogo’s nostalgia bait, but everything about the game seems sincere. 99Vidas o Jogo appears to be the result of crowdfunding and is available on steam, and a PS4 port is in development with no release date currently announced.
Cryptark is a twin-stick shooter with a run based progression system in which you pilot a mech in order to salvage wrecked spaceships. The game feels very much like GalaxZ both in the moment to moment gameplay and in the downtime between runs. But while GalaxZ took its inspiration from Saturday morning anime like Robotech, Cryptark is much grittier and seems more inspired by western Sci Fi. The game controls pretty well, which is helpful because Cryptark offers a fairly difficult challenge. The game also looks and sounds pretty good, with excellent particle and sound effects and a really creepy score. Cryptark is currently out on Steam and is slated for release on PS4, though no release date has been announced at this time.
Death’s Gambit appears to be attempt to return Dark Souls style gameplay to its 2D Castlevania roots. From what can be gleaned from a short demo, the game seems to have accomplished its goal. Good controls are essential for any game trying to evoke Castlevania. And from what can be gleaned from a short demo, Death’s Gambit controls really well. The blend of pixel and hand drawn art in the game is second to none, and the sound design is equally polished. Death’s Gambit is scheduled for a 2017 release on PS4 and Steam.
Tumbleseed is a puzzle game with a really interesting art style reminiscent of the Patapon or Loco Roco games. The main mechanic of the game revolves around maneuvering an adorable circular creature from the bottom of the screen to the top by raising and lowering the ends of a bar on which the little blob is sitting. Each analog stick corresponds to one end of the bar so when both stick go up the bar rises, when both go down the bar lowers and when the sticks go in opposite directions the bar tilts causing the little creature to roll. Players use this control scheme to maneuver the creature around various obstacles on the way to each level’s goal. The mechanic is much simpler than it seems when explained in print. It feels a lot like solving an old fashioned ball bearing maze toy. In addition to the innovative puzzles Tumbleseed also has a brilliant, colorful art style and adorable sound design, very much in the style of PSP puzzle games. Tumbleseed is in development for iOS, Steam and PS4 though no official release date has been announced.
One of the neat things about IndieCade is how compact the show’s layout is, which means that while people are waiting to play one demo they can get a peek at another one. These are the most interesting games at IndieCade that we didn’t have time to get our hands on.
BOTOLO was featured as a demo in the IndieCade Esports space where a single demo of a competitive game was shown for spectators. The game is a minimalist blend of king of the hill and keep away. Players fight over control of a ball and positioning. A player with control of the ball can score points by staying within specific areas of the game board. The opposing player can use various means to steal the ball creating a back and forth with players fighting for position within the points zones and to keep possession of the ball. The minimalist art style of the game does a good job of catching the eye without distracting from the action and the sound is very strong as well. BOTOLO is currently in Steam Greenlight and seems to be shaping up to be a fun local competitive game.
Manifold Garden is another game with a minimalist art style but Manifold Garden puzzle game while BOTOLO is very much a competitive affair. The puzzles in Manifold Garden revolve around using a gravity manipulation mechanic to traverse a minimalistic 3D world. Basically gravity is tied to the bottom of the screen so moving the camera changes gravity. For example rotating the screen clockwise would cause the player controlled marble to fall to the left, or rolling up to a wall then tilting the camera up will let the player climb the wall. The whole thing is very mind-bendy. Manifold Garden is slated for a 2017 release on PS4 and PC.
Those were all the non award nominated games we had time to check out at IndieCade 2016. Do you think you’ll be keeping any of them on you radar?