During GDC, I was one of the judges of the Big Indie Pitch, hosted by Steel Media/PocketGamer. If you have never heard of the term Big Indie Pitch, it’s a rapid fire event in which each independent game developer has just a few minutes minutes to pitch their game to a series of journalists, past winners, publishers, and other judges. It’s hectic to say the least, but it does allow us to see a lot in a relatively little amount of time with 30 games in about three hours. We won’t go over everything we saw, and instead just the stand outs.
Kano (pictured above) won first place thanks to a familiar style that is instantly accessible, while incorporating new challenge. Your goal is to keep a colored ball bouncing by spinning a colored pad sitting at the opening of a volcano. The ball changes colors, and you need to swipe the four colored pad into position, so that the color of the pad aligns with the color of the ball. It’s an endless high score challenge with a high quality 3D design that also depicts fireballs that can burn your pad. Kano has all the makings to be the next quick action hit on the App Store.
The Darkside Detective delivers a point and click adventure style that is inspired by the classics of the genre, but made with mobile in mind for micro cases to solve. There’s a retro inspired art style that acts as the backdrop to bizarre and obscure cases that range from the occult to the supernatural.
Impulse GP is a futuristic style racer reminiscent of Wipeout and F-Zero, and more recently AG Drive on iOS. You get to drive a hover bike through looping courses, and what really makes it stand out is the impulse portion. You tap and hold when you drive through green sections of the course, and release your finger right before you exit the green zone to get a significant boost.
Silver Spire provides two familiar genres combined into one to give you elements of brick breaker and endless jumper. The main differentiator is that you tap anywhere to push the orb upwards and each tap costs energy, but you have a limited energy meter. You need to be strategic with where you tap based on the obstacles up above, and the special abilities of your given orb.
Smooth Operator is unlike any other game, as it’s all about kissing. Kissing is a two person activity, and the game delivers a two player co-op experience, in which both players need to follow the on screen prompts together. The visual style is definitely memorable allowing you to see creatively designed characters get excessive tongue action that is amusing and unsettling at the same time.
Cupkins is a game that revolves around Russian nesting dolls (Matryoshka dolls). The game is similar to Threes as you need to put small dolls in the medium size, and then filled medium sized dolls into the large dolls to clear them off the board. There are also some Farmville style elements to let you build a Russian village for the matched Russian nesting dolls to live.
There were many more game, but these six were definitely memorable, and ones to look forward to launching later this year.