Year after year, the Independent Games Festival continues to bring up-and-coming game designers, artists and programmers into the spotlight during its annual Indie Games competition. With a record-breaking 306 entries (in addition to 200+ student submissions), this year’s competition is gearing up to be the most exciting one to date. Last week, IGF announced the finalists for the main competition, all of them hand-picked by a panel of esteemed industry judges.
Obviously, there’s a whole bunch of great stuff to see amongst the 30 or so finalists, but for now, we’re going to focus on a few of the IGF-nominated games that have caught our attention here at TVGB. Read on to see which titles are on our radar at this year’s Independent Games Festival.
This puzzle platform game by Tyler Glaiel and Jon Schubbe takes place in an eerie black & white dreamworld where light gives matter substance. Filled with stylish hand-drawn visuals and emotive ambience, players must learn and utilize the unique rules of Closure‘s bleak, darkness-filled world in order to progress. Originally a free Flash game on Newgrounds.com, the re-vamped version being shown at IGF is expected to be released for PC and Mac later this year. Closure has been nominated for awards in multiple categories, including the Nuovo Award, Excellence in Audio and Technical Excellence.
Super Meat Boy
This wall-jumping platformer by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes has been getting a great deal of attention lately. Simple, addictive and with a unique visual style, Super Meat Boy pays tribute to gaming’s golden age and features a number of indie game heroes as playable characters, including Braid‘s Tim, Alien Hominid and Commander Video from the Bit.Trip series. The game is set to release as a downloadable WiiWare title before the end of Q1 2010. Until then, you can play the original Meat Boy for free on Newgrounds. Super Meat Boy has received IGF nominations for Excellence in Audio and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.
AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard For Gravity
Aside from being the most strangely-named IGF entrant next to 78641: A Targ Adventure, Dejobaan Games’ IGF entry is an urban free-falling simulator that’s equal parts head-shakingly bizarre and mind-numbingly euphoric. Players jump off buildings to perform stunts, gaining points for coming as close as possible to objects without touching them during their descent. Based on your choices during the fall, you can gain varying amounts of “kisses” and “hugs.” The populace below also plays a large part in your performance — The game allows you to give a “thumbs up” to your supporters while snubbing protesters by flipping them the bird. Throw in the ability to tag buildings with graffiti in mid-air and you’ve got an extremely intense and very, very strange game. A Reckless Disregard For Gravity has received a nomination for Excellence in Design at this year’s IGF competition.
Owlboy is a charming platformer with gorgeous sprite graphics from Norwegian developer D-Pad Studios. The game’s protagonist is a young owl named Otus who cannot speak, and instead uses a limited selection of emotions to communicate with friends and enlist allies to help fight an evil band of sky pirates that threaten his home. A short time ago, a lack of updates from D-Pad led to speculation that Owlboy had ceased production. But the studio has since clarified that the title is very much alive, and has been nominated for Excellence in Visual Art at this year’s IGF Awards.
Krystian Majewski’s TRAUMA is a point-and-click game where players attempt to reconstruct the shattered memories of a young woman during her recovery from a car crash. The photorealistic images and mysterious narrative are reminiscent of titles like Myst, and the game borrows from this and other established formulas to create a deep and immersive interactive experience. TRAUMA has received three nominations at this year’s IGF for Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Visual Art and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.
Those are some of our picks, but there’s still a whole lot more to see. Head over to the official IGF website to learn more about these and other great titles that have been nominated, and keep your eyes peeled here for more IGF coverage in the months leading up to the festival.