The 15th Independant Games Festival award shortlist already contains plenty of weird and wonderful indies. Now the IGF's organisers have announced their contenders for the best student game of last year. It's a strong list of quirky, experimental and mostly free games that are well worth trying. More importantly, a quick search shows that we haven't covered the excellent Zineth before. This just won't do!
Here's the list:
I'm ashamed to admit that I've only played a few of these. ATUM is an enjoyably meta puzzler, in which you play both a 2D platformer and the person playing the 2D platformer. Items from around your in-game desk can be used to aid the progress of the on-screen protagonist. Then there's Back to Bed, an isometric puzzle game in which you guide a sleepwalking man through a surrealist dreamlike environment.
Also in the shortlist are Blackwell's Asylum, a horror game about escaping an asylum; Farsh, a game about rolling and unrolling a Persian carpet; Knights of Pen & Paper, an iOS RPG; the mindfulxp volume, a minigame collection focused on expressive game mechanics; and Pulse, a survival game in which you play as a blind girl.
Finally, Zineth! It's a Jet Set Radio styled arcade skater that was made "to celebrate speed, movement, and twitter." It's also brilliant, with tight controls that make careening about its gorgeously abstract world an absolute joy. You should really give it a go. Here's the trailer.
Each finalist will receive $1,000, and the shortlisted games will be playable on the GDC show floor. The winner of Best Student Game will receive an additional $3,000, and will be announced during the IGF award show. You can also check out the honourable mentions on the IGF finalists page .