With IndieCade 2011 less than a month away, the finalists for this year’s festival competition have just been announced. The thirty-six finalists were culled from a list of nearly 450 game entries, which include games for traditional consoles and PC, devices like mobile phones, Kinect, iPad. Some of the games feature stereoscopic 3D and there are even some games that employ “some novel interfaces we haven’t seen before.”
On October 6, all 36 finalists will be honored at a Red Carpet Awards ceremony to be held Thursday, October 6, and prizes will be awarded to the winners across a variety of different categories.
For those curious about the finalists, we’re pulling together trailers (if available) and links to the official project websites. Check out the first ten games after the jump, and stay tuned to Indie Games Channel for two more batches of trailers and information early next week.
Antichamber – Demruth
Notes: Formerly known as Hazard: The Journey of Life, Antichamber is described as a “surreal, exploration puzzle game, set within a non-Euclidean labyrinth of manipulable geometry.” Developer Alexander Bruce (Demruth) hasn’t releases any updated video since the name change (presumably since he’s working on the finishing the game, itself), but searching for the old title on YouTube will yield some early gameplay footage. I played a bit of an early build at the IGF booth at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and not only is it visually arresting, but it’s clever non-traditional puzzle solving is the real star, requiring the player to think in atypical ways.
Application Crunch – Collegeology Games, The Game Innovation Lab
Notes: Application Crunch is a card game for three to four players that centers on high school students “aspiring to apply, get into, pay for, and do well in college.” Rather than simply being a gamification of the real-world process, Application Crunch “finds the natural games students are playing, and uses its mechanics to make that system more understandable to the player.”
At a Distance – Terry Cavanagh
Notes: Developer Terry Cavanagh (VVVVVV) is back to IndieCade this year with another game called At a Distance. It’s described as a “cooperative two player asymmetric puzzle game… about solitude in shared experiences.” One player plays as an explorer and the other takes on the role of storyteller. It’s also designed to work well in a festival atmosphere, with its structure ready to accommodate a steady stream of players taking over the experience from one another, mid-stream.
BasketBelle – Michael Molinari (Bean!)
Notes: BasketBelle is a curious adventure game that uses the sport of basketball as its narrative framework. “Through flashbacks and memories of his life, the main character learns tricks from his all-star father (and recalls other significant events) that help him deal with the challenges in his life.” The sports-adventure genre has a lot of unrealized potential, and BasketBelle looks to remedy some of that.
Bistro Boulevard – Fugazo Inc.
Notes: Fugazo Inc.’s Bistro Boulevard is a restaurant sim that includes six different restaurants for players to manage, 72 different types of international recipes, and over 100 items that can be used to customize said restaurants. Though it certainly won’t be the first restaurant simulation on the block, Bistro Boulevard does look like a fun addition to the genre, full of a ton of the customization options and variety that make those types of games fun in the first place.
BIT.TRIP FLUX – Gaijin Games
Notes: CommanderVideo has been on a number of excellent BIT.TRIP. adventures, and BIT.TRIP FLUX marks his final journey. It’s currently available for download through Nintendo’s WiiWare channel, and is pretty much a must-play (as is all of Gaijin Games’ stuff) for those who appreciate awesome 8-bit style art and music fused with fantastic gameplay.
Black Bottom Parade – SCAD
Notes: Black Bottom Parade is a virtual board game in which “players control a band of three musician grim reapers leading a group of deceased revelers across a 1920s New Orleans take on the River Styx.” In the tradition of a New Orleans jazz funeral, the reaper band leads the dancing dead on a trip through Purgatory. Developed by SCAD students in Atlanta and Hong Kong, Black Bottom Parade looks like an impressive feat in virtual tabletop gaming. It also looks like a lot of fun.
Deepak Fights Robots – Tom Sennett
Notes: Runman developer Tom Sennett’s IndieCade finalist entry is a blindingly colorful action platformer called Deepak Fights Robots. Inspired by games like Bubble Bobble, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong, the platformer features 180 levels, different subsets of which are presented to the player each time they play a new game. Sennett hints on the game’s official site that it may include dozens of obscure hip-hop references and a secret robot boss with the face of William Howard Taft. To celebrate the game’s IndieCade finalist status, Sennett has knocked 50% off the price of the game, which means that it can be grabbed for a limited time for $4.95 from the official website.
Desktop Dungeons – QCF Design
Notes: Often described with the oxy-moronic descriptor “hardcore-casual,” Desktop Dungeons is a roguelike. It’s easy to pick up and play, but very challenging and difficult to master. The free alpha build of the game is already incredibly popular among enthusiasts, and can be grabbed from the official website. It’s a lot of fun, but fair warning: you may get addicted. You can also pre-order the full release as well.
FEZ – Polytron Corp.
Notes: Polytron Corp. has been working on Fez for quite a while now, with it’s growing number of fans (myself included) hungry for an official release. The game stars Gomez, a cute little 2D guy in a 3D world who wears the game’s titular hat. While it may look like a traditional platformer, the player can rotate the world at any time to view it from any one of four 2D perspectives. It may also come as a surprise that after much iteration and development, Fez has become a solitary experience, free from enemies, lives, health, and death. The game’s official website notes an eventual 2011 release on Xbox Live Arcade.
Be sure to check back with Indie Games Channel next week for more information and media in parts two and three of our coverage of the IndieCade 2011 finalists.
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- » IndieCade 2011 finalists: The Trailers – Part 2
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