And here it is: the third and final part of our IndieCade 2011 finalists preview coverage. In Part 1 and Part 2, we covered twenty-three of the thirty-six finalists, which were selected from the nearly 450 games submitted this year. Represented platforms include consoles and PC, mobile phones, Kinect, and iPad, and more. The finalists will be honored at a Red Carpet Awards ceremony to be held Thursday, October 6, as they compete for prizes and awards.
Without further ado, here are the trailers (if available) and links to the remaining thirteen official finalist’s project websites. Indie Games Channel will be on-site in Culver City for IndieCade from October 6-9, grabbing more information, coverage, and interviews with the finalists and other exhibitors. Based on the quality of the finalists alone, we’re anticipating a fantastic year.
Proteus – Twisted Tree Games
Notes: Proteus, developed by Ed Key and David Kanaga, is a curious musical exploration title that lets players explore a wilderness environment through the four seasons as they would a piece of music. You can get a good sense of the game’s audiovisual interactivity in the trailer above, and observe how the game uses “basic audiovisual interactivity to create beautiful rewards driven by the player’s attention in the game.”
Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure – Cassie and Ryan Creighton (Untold Entertainment)
Notes: It’s never too early to become an indie developer. Cassie Creighton–with a little help from her father, Ryan–created a wonderfully funny, free little point-and-click browser adventure called Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure. Cassie, age 5, drew all of the art assets for the game, helped create the game’s non-playable characters, and provided the voice for the lead character. I’d recommend heading over to the game’s official website and taking ten minutes or so to play through it yourself. It’s ridiculously cute, and transports the player inside of a five-year-old’s imagination, and can teach other developers a bit about the benefits of unfettered whimsy.
Skulls of the Shogun – Haunted Temple Studios
Notes: Haunted Temple Studios debut title, Skulls of the Shogun, is a turn-based strategy game in the spirit of Advance Wars, with a streamlined interface that makes it flow more like an action game. Armies of undead samurai battle each other for supremacy in a series of exotic locations, and the cartoon art-style makes it an instant attention-grabber. I first saw the game demoed at an off-site restaurant near last year’s IndieCade, and while it wasn’t an official festival entry back then, it was already very impressive and fun. It’s great to see Skulls of the Shogun achieve its well-deserved finalist status this year.
Solar 2 – Murudai
Notes: Solar 2 is a sandbox game set in an infinite universe in which the player is presented a series of tasks to complete by a resident god-like figure. Or, the player can ignore the objectives and explore. The original Solar was more of a prototype for developer Murudai’s complete vision, which he says he’s realized in Solar 2. In addition to being selected as an IndieCade finalist, Solar 2 has already received 2nd place in Microsoft’s Dream.Build.Play competition this year, was featured as part of this year’s PAX 10, and also won some accolades at the Freeplay Awards. Solar 2 is currently available via Steam ($9.99), GamersGate ($9.95) and Xbox Live Indie Games for 400 Microsoft Points ($5).
StarDrone – Beatshapers, TastyPlay
Notes: StarDrone is a game that blends “arcade action, pinball, breakout, physics and collect-the-objects” gameplay into a fast-paced gem-collecting frenzy. Currently available for download on PlayStation 3, StarDrone supports traditional controllers as well as the PlayStation Move peripheral. Players are encouraged to crash into their attackers at top speed, and “overcome perilous hazards and elude zillions of enemies in an effort to complete each stage with a record score.” StarDrone is currently available on the PlayStation Network ($7.99). A patch that will enable stereoscopic 3D support is in the works, as is a version of the game for the PlayStation Vita.
Super Hypercube – Kokoromi
Notes: How about a game that supports stereoscopic 3D and wii-mote head-tracking? Kokoromi’s Super Hypercube does both of those things, framed around a Tetris-like puzzle game. Obviously, you can’t really assess that stuff from watching a 2D trailer, but at least it’ll give you an idea of what to expect. That said, if you have the hardware, you can download the game from the official site and check it out. Instructions at the bottom of the page will point you towards the proper .NET framework and 3DTV DirectX DLLs you’ll need installed.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP – Superbrothers, Capybara Games, Jim Guthrie
Notes: Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP is one of the better ways for iOS gamers to spend a few bucks. Released first for the iPad and then later for other iOS devices, Sword and Sworcery EP is a self-described “psycho-social audio visual experiment, a meandering mytho-poetic adventure.” Beautiful pixel art presentation and a fantastic soundtrack drive the adventure-exploration game forward, married in such a way to create a rich audio-visual experience. If you’ve got a compatible iOS device and $5 to spare, you can pick it up on iTunes.
The Bridge – Case Western
Notes: Neither developer Case Western nor its IndieCade finalist entry–The Bridge–have websites yet, but that doesn’t prevent their upcoming platformer from intriguing. The Bridge is a platformer that asks players to “reevaluate their preconceptions of physics and perspective.” Based on the trailer, the level design seems to share similar DNA with the mind-bending illustrations of M.C. Escher, and the grey-scale art is immediately appealing.
The Depths to Which I Sink – Bigpants
Notes: The Depths to Which I Sink is another IndieCade finalist that utilizes stereoscopic 3D–in fact, the game requires it. The game creates the sensation that the player is floating inside a cube, forcing players to think about the depth, in addition to the typical length and width. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet myself, but players will have a chance to “descend into tubes, pass through hoops, avoid moving walls and smash windows into pieces” at IndieCade, soon.
The Dream Machine – Cockroach Inc.
Notes: The Dream Machine is a five-part point and click adventure that uses clay-and-cardboard presentation. Everything in the game, from the characters to the sets, was built and animated by hand. It’s visually striking, and the story, which centers on Victor and Alicia–a couple who’ve just moved into a strange new apartment–has a subtly unsettling feel, much like the similarly animated works of Tim Burton. The first episode of The Dream Machine can be played for free, and if you get hooked, you can pre-order the remaining episodes for $18.85 (a 20% discount). Episode 2 is playable immediately, and Episode 3 is due out in October. If you’re looking for a good adventure with great aesthetics, I’d recommend checking it out.
The Swapper – Facepalm Games
Notes: Facepalm Games IndieCade finalist entry is a slick-looking puzzle platformer called The Swapper that gives the players the ability to clone themselves to solve various puzzles. The visually stunning sci-fi game looks like it could fall into the MetroidVania category of games, namely those with a large world map and progressive puzzles that are played in 2D. Release platforms and pricing have yet to be revealed.
The Witch – Elizabeth Swensen
Notes: Developer Elizabeth Swensen, who also contributed to IndieCade 2011 finalist Application Crunch, has another selected entry this year, called The Witch. Ostensibly a point-and-click adventure game of sorts, the player takes on the role of the titular Witch (actually a young girl masquerading as a witch), who is able to manipulate language in the game to influence how others view her. By playing with various word bubbles, the player can change how others perceive the Witch, and even alter the events of the story.
Way – Coco & Co (Carnegie Mellon)
Notes: Way is all about conveying ideas through nonverbal communication in a virtual space. It’s a co-operative exploration-puzzle game in which two random players must communicate with each other to solve puzzles by puppeteering their avatars. Conceptually, the system sort of reminds me of a more fully-realized version of the social-gesture mechanic present in the co-op stages of Portal 2, offering a bit more control than simply utilizing canned gestures.
Stay tuned to Indie Games Channel for extended coverage of IndieCade 2011 next month.
blog comments powered by Disqus