GDC 2013: 18 indie games in 50 words

Dan Griliopoulos at

Every year at GDC we end up sprinting back and forth across San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center from one amazing talk or pre-arranged demo to another, trying to make it on time to each one, or at least not be embarrassingly late. We’re running so fast that people start looking all red-shifted and wrong and we don’t always get a chance to stop and chat with indie developers wandering the floor, laptops in hand. Fortunately, the annual MIX event (Media Indie Exchange) brings journalists and small, one- or two-person developer outfits together in the same room to mingle, drink beer, and play games without the need for appointments or athletics. It’s a bit like speed dating as opposed to getting set up by a mutual friend.

Here are snap judgments on twenty of the unreleased games I played last night in various stages of development: betas, alphas or even epsilons. You can check them out for yourself as well as at the event's official website.

Escape Goat 2

Escape Goat 2

The game that I'm keenest to start a relationship with. You play the part of a magic blue goat imprisoned for witchcraft, who must rescue his witch-sheep friends from a puzzle dungeon with the help of a mouse. The retro hand-drawn look is charming and the puzzles are nicely challenging, with the difficulty levels represented by harder-to-reach exits from each level.

 

Paradise Perfect Boat Resuce

Paradise Perfect Boat Rescue

This is a simplistic passenger ferry game. Players have to get Darwinia-style passengers from one island to another, struggling against the realistic wave physics which threatens to scuttle your ship. Also features bizarro quotes and island names.

 

Distance

Distance

A strange stunt-driving game. It looks like a swank, futuristic racing game with genuinely impressive graphics, but it plays like Tony Hawks or Burnout Revenge, with your car performing all sorts of tricks mid-air and on the track.

 

Dark Side of the Moon

Dark Side of the Moon

Love’s Eskil Steenberg is the developer behind this 2D RTS with a cute darkness mechanic. The design is reminiscent of N and the mechanics of Darwinia: two players control morphable units on the dark side of a planet that’s stopped turning. It’s heavy on the micro and has some nicely flexible and original unit types. Still very early in development.