Indiecade is the premiere festival for independent games. With over a thousand submissions from all over the world, the festival selects games based off innovation, aesthetics, entertainment, and creativity. Every year, this correspondent has been awed and humbled by the amazing games from creators all over the world. Whether it be showcasing console games, VR, group games, cards, or new styles, the festival really shows that even with this small portion of games out there, creativity and imagination have no boundaries.
This year, Indiecade moved their festivities to Little Tokyo. Games were showcased at Japanese American National Museum, the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center. As attendees frolicked and played among the booths, it was refreshing to walk right across the street for ramen and boba drinks.
Here I will review the games featured in the videos that appear at the end of the post.
Cat Sorter VR ( http://www.catsortervr.com/)
HTC VIVE / VIVE Controllers
Virtual reality (VR) seemed to dominate much of the festival, with people gesturing with handsets all over the place. Since my first encounter with VR was when Oculus Rift first showed at Indiecade and I suffered from motion sickness for days, I have not welcomed VR with eager arms. However, when cats are involved in a ridiculous, cute situation, I can be persuaded to push such an ailment aside.
One of the first games that caught my attention was Cat Sorter VR by Pawmigo. Saturated with bright colors, a conveyer belt of cats will present the player with unnatural appendages for a cat, such as peg legs, wigs, scorpion tail, Afro, sombrero hat, knives, scissors, tails, shark fins, pig noses, and more. The player’s role is to pluck out the appendage and swap it for the right one from the bin of appendages and toss the cat to the chute.
This is a very simple concept made difficult by the bout of giggles that erupted upon my seeing the cat with an Afro. The level of cuteness is completely unfair as it distracts from the game. Seriously, they need to make plushies of these cats. So, cute. The demented cute artwork is thanks to Heather Gross (http://heathersketcheroos.com/) and Sydney Hanson (http://sydwiki.tumblr.com/). It comes as no surprise that Cat Sorter VR won The Aesthetic Award from the festival.
One Shot (http://www.oneshot-game.com/)
Available on Steam
As easily distracting as cats, tones of purple was the draw for One Shot from Little Cat Feet. This nostalgic top-down pixelated meta puzzle game is adorable, addicting, and will stretch out your puzzle solving skills. With the source of light gone, the main character, Neko, has to help turn the light back on. Each progression of the game is fueled by exploration and puzzle solving. The demo that was offered was highly addicting, but since exploration tends to outweigh solving the game, I conceded my seat to the next player and watched as the main puzzle was solved. The style of the character, the in-jokes with exploration, and head bopping tune make this a super cute and addicting game. I definitely could not stop chuckling with Neko riding the Roomba or the random sheep. Absolutely creative and clever.
Herald: An Interactive Period Drama (http://heraldgame.com/)
Available on Steam
Despite slipping into the middle of the demo, I got easily hooked into Herald by Wispfire. Herald is a point and click historical novel and adventure game. A young man has been plucked and rescued by a mysterious woman and is now recounting his memories from his time aboard the Herald ship.
The Co-Founder/Lead Writer of Herald, Roy van der Schilden, gave a very interesting and inspiring talk. He recounted a tale of a gay refugee from Islam who tried to find refuge in the Netherlands. Although the Netherlands is progressive, he was still seen as a foreigner. It was that sense of “in-between” that inspired the creation of a story involving a mixed- heritage character in the 19th century, especially a mixed-race character who was not a slave or servant. As someone who is of mixed heritage, I was really gratified to see games such as this bring another perspective to history.
What started as a senior capstone project for a game design student of Bradley University has become its own flagship game for Symptomatic Productions. It is seriously the cutest 4-player couch co-op game I have ever played. Even better, it will induce such unnecessary glee in thwarting the other players.
With the option to cooperate or back stab, each player is a cat (in a spacesuit) that must start all the generators and then race back to the spaceship or else you get left behind. This competitive/ co-op game is battled over a pastel background and cute cat characters in spacesuits. After a helpful tutorial, players are set loose upon the landscape, and it was just sheer fun.
The game is still being developed, but with this game’s having such an enthusiastic and bright team behind it, I am definitely looking forward to seeing this company grow. Plus, I definitely want to battle my brother with this game. . . .
There were more games that I played and developers that I chatted with, but I can only film so much. The following are games that are definitely noteworthy:
- Stereo Aereo (http://www.indiecade.com/games/selected/stereo-aereo)
Available for PS4, Xbox and Steam
Created by Stonebot (El Salvador), this game combined my love for guitar heroes and Galaga with some awesome 80s flair and tunes.
- Walden, game ( https://www.waldengame.com/)
Available for PC and Mac
A very soothing and gorgeous first person simulator of American Philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, this game is so detailed that it even analyzes bird calls!!
- Defend the Cake (http://defendthecake.com/)
Available on Steam
There is a Kawaii cake, you use Kawaii frosting shooters and build walls with Kawaii toast to defend the Kawaii cake from ants. Did I mention it’s cute?!??!
Now you can enjoy Indiecade and the games with me through the following videos: