TheMIX

The MIX SF 2014 – 5 Indie Games To Watch

Indie showcase impresses from start to finish

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This year at GDC, The Media Exchange (MIX) had 46 independent developers from all over the world showcasing their current projects at IGN Headquarters last night. The top floor was packed and the enthusiasm in the air was electric. I would like to say that with four hours of free playtime at my disposal, I thought I’d get to play everything but unfortunately time was not on my side.

I did however, play the majority of the games there. I immediately noticed the amount of Oculus Rift games tripled since The MIX LA in November and I’m genuinely curious to see how the use of the virtual reality technology develops as it becomes more prominent in game development.

StarCrawlers is one of many indie games to keep an eye on this year.
StarCrawlers is one of many indie games to keep an eye on this year.

I will be the first to admit that I am biased towards independent games. I love the risks indie developers are willing to take and some of the rather unique ideas that come about due to expressing that freedom. When I attend these showcases, it’s almost impossible to see the passion that each developer brings to their project and the look of joy and relief when they see someone enjoying what they’ve created.

Of course, last night was no different. I even ran into developers, Juggernaut Games, from one of our Kickstarter articles for Star Crawlers and it was wonderful to get my hands on their demo. It was beautiful and I’m looking forward to playing the full release.

Out of all of the games there, five stood out to me as games that you should look out for on the horizon:

Framed

Developed by Love Shack Entertainment (Melbourne/Australia)

Platforms: Mac, & iOS

Release Date: TBA 2014

Framed is a casual 2D puzzler in which you have free and locked pieces of a video sequence involving a man trying to escape police capture. Each level is constructed to have a certain number of unlocked frames that require the player to place in the correct order to avoid police detection. The artistic style of the game is one of the first things you’ll notice as it is very reminiscent of a spy comic book.

Chariot

Developed by Frima Studio (Quebec/Canada)

Platforms: PC, Mac, & Linux

Release Date: Late 2014

Chariot is a 2D puzzler that may test your relationships. In local co-op mode, players take on the roles of male and female charioteers who uses their chariots and whips to traverse various challenges all while collecting precious gems. This game will test your relationship in the meaning of cooperation because you need to be able to communicate with your partner to make the traversal of challenges easier. The beauty of this game design is that you can play in single player mode and have co-op on a drop-in and dropout basis.

Choice Chamber

Developer: Bean! (San Mateo/US)

Platforms: PC

Release Date: TBA 2014

Choice Chamber is a psychedelically colored 2D platformer in which those who are watching you play decide your fate. The premise of this game is that with each level the audience, other people on the interwebs, decide your weaponry, strength, type of enemies etc. Essentially, you have no control over your environment and all you can do is use what you’re given by the vote; and it can get ugly. This is akin to interactive reality TV but with gaming and I like it a lot.

Nova-111

Developer: Funktronic Labs (Kyoto/Japan)

Platforms: PC, Mac, & Linux

Release Date: TBA 2014

Nova-111 is a 2D turn-based adventure game set in a science fictional world with real-time dangers.  This game is a breath of fresh air in that it takes an old game mechanic and puts its own spin on it. As an orange robot, you’re on a mission rescuing scientists while navigating through mazes of creatures and environmental dangers that activate like a turn-based game but with all the attacks happening in real-time. This may sound confusing, but once you understand the mechanic you’ll realize Nova-111 is rather clever and unique.

Roundabout

Developer: No Goblin (Seattle/US)

Platforms: Xbox One, PC, & Mac

Release Date: TBA 2014

Roundabout is a driving puzzle game in which you’re driving a limousine that constantly spins while you attempt to avoid obstacles, pick up passengers, upgrade features and not die. This game is all about the timing and as insane as it may sound, it is oddly a ridiculous amount of fun. Roundabout is definitely unique and lighthearted; complete with live-action cut scenes.

This concludes my list on a few indie games I enjoyed playing during The MIX event in San Francisco. Are any of you looking forward to hearing more about these games? Please feel free to let me know in the comments section below.

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