Rick and I had the extreme pleasure this week of being asked to help demo a video game at an IGDA Demo Night. Although we were not directly involved in the making of the game itself, we jumped at the chance to help out some friends, support indie game development in Montreal, and check out some of the great talent this city has on offer.
There were 14 games in total demoing, each aloted a mere 7 minutes in which to describe their concept, development and gameplay, while organizer Jason Della Rocca kept a steady hand on his stop-watch. Games from nearly every stage of development were on offer, from just started (the Firemasters team had literally opened their dev kits that morning) to nearly finished and every platform imaginable was exploited, from PC to Xbox to iOS. It was really a treat to get these sneak peaks into what it takes to make a game, indie or otherwise and below the jump I give a run down of my personal favourites, along with a few more pictures of Rick and I playing, taken by the talented Irwin Chiu Hau.
First up, the game Rick and I were asked to demo:
Heroes Never Lose – Professor Puzzler’s Perplexing Ploy.
A super-fun mash-up of matching puzzle games like Tetris and arcade fighting games with a super hero theme, Professor Puzzler’s Perplexing Ploy is envisioned as the first in a series of games utilizing a universe of fun and colourful original characters in a variety of game styles. No official release date announced as of yet, but be sure to check their website for more info.
You never know what you’re going to see at an event like this, but Contrast literally took the audience’s breath away with novel gameplay that switched between 3D and 2D using shadows and shadow play to both tell the story and solve puzzles. This is the sort of ambitious, beautiful game that makes me love the indie world so much and I wish the team at Compulsion Games much luck for their April-ish release.
A super-sweet ode to platformers like Cave Story and Mega Man, this tale of star-crossed robot lovers kind of stole my heart with its adorable old-school style and clever mix of platforming and space-shooter gameplay. Produced by one-man studio Games by Mo, A.N.N.E. has the look and feel of a labour of love, which always gets me right in the ticker.
I’ve mentioned this action-platformer by Wizorb makers, Tribute Games, on the blog before, so it was really great to see just how far they’d come since reaching their Kickstarter goal in September. It’s a fast and furious action platformer in the iconic pixel art style of Paul Robertson, boasting up to 4 player co-op on split screens, crafting mechanics and branching level designs. I for one will be lining up for the playable demo, to be premiered at PAX East.
And finally, Untold Realms
While maybe not as slick as the other games I’ve mentioned above, Untold Realms stands out for me for the sheer novelty of concept. Conceived of as “an RPG you can play on your lunch break,” the game is a stripped down, sped up version of your classic grind-level-battle fantasy game that gives you the same satisfaction of a campaign of Skyrim, 300% faster. Bonus, you can already play it online and give maker Marc-André feedback on how to make it even better.
I wish I’d had the time and the space to talk about every game we saw, but I had to limit it somehow and since this is my blog I just went with my gut. Again, a huge thank you to the team at Heroes Never Lose for giving us a chance to ham it up on stage and mingle with the Montreal indie game scene, and a special thank you to Jason Della Rocca for putting it all together. Congrats to all the teams who presented. I can’t wait to see what the future brings you.