Eureka! The brightest ideas in indie gaming
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
What is it? A physics-based adventure extolling the virtues of fatherhood through destruction
What’s the hook? You’re a surprisingly complacent octopus wearing dapper clothing, skirting suspicion, and masquerading as the father in a typical, nuclear American family
Who’s making it? Young Horses, a gathering of ambitious student developers first formed at GDC 2011.
Dadliest Catch actually represents the followup to the original Octodad released in November 2010. Although games harnessing the power of physics charmed our brains in the past with engaging puzzles and thought-provoking challenges, we can't discount the inherent slapstick silliness of flailing objects about like a gleeful toddler. Dadliest Catch capitalizes on this simple concept with one of the wackiest premises ever encountered - an octopus wearing a three-piece - but it works, and just watching it makes us laugh. OP
URLwww.octodadgame.com/dadliest-catch ● ETA 2013
What is it? A top-down, co-op heist game
What’s the hook? Team stealth action with distinct roles. Be Ocean's Eleven.
Who’s making it? Pocketwatch Games
I daydream about it all the time: the perfect heist. The target is an oddly colorful bank. I have the blueprints and I've assembled a team of professionals: The Locksmith, The Hacker, The Prowler, and me, The Cleaner. I'm the guy with the chloroform and the plan. Even the security has security here, so if we want to liberate our prize, we have to work together like the springs and gears in a Swiss watch. Hm, a Swiss watch -- Hacker, jot that down in our heist ideas journal.
Seriously, what a fantastic idea: a top-down caper simulator. Everyone has a role, and it's not just a different way to shoot at monsters -- with real coordination and cunning, we and our friends can virtually live our shared Hollywood heist fantasy. TW
URLwww.pocketwatchgames.com/Monaco ● ETA TBD
What is it? A two-player sniper vs. spy game
What’s the hook? The sniper has one shot. The spy has subtlety.
Who’s making it? Chris Hecker, a key developer on Spore
A sniper is perched outside a rowdy soiree. He has one shot to hit one target: a spy which has infiltrated the festivities. He doesn’t know what the spy looks like, only that he’s there, and that he shouldn’t be.
Spy Party is sort of a reverse Turing Test - the spy must mimic AI partgoers while completing objectives, and the sniper must suss out the reveler who’s acting just a little too human. Subtlety and inductive reasoning are not common skill-tests in competitive games (unless there are nuances to assault rifles we’re not seeing), and the concept could result in one of the most tense games to both watch and play. That’s probably why EVO co-founder Seth Killian invited Hecker to bring Spy Party to the 2012 tournament, an impressive endorsement for the beta version of a non-fighting game. TW
URLwww.spyparty.com ● ETA TBD