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21 fantastic indie games we saw at the Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco 2018

All the games from the PGC SF Big Indie Pitch
Product: Big Indie Pitch | Publisher: Steel Media Ltd | Format: Android, iPhone, iPad, Switch
Big Indie Pitch iPhone, thumbnail 1
You may already know that we host several Big Indie Pitches around the world each year. You may also know that we also host our own Pocket Gamer Connects conferences around the world each year. Now combine the two. You've got yourself our Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco Big Indie Pitch!

It was another great competition, with 21 wonderful games on show for our judges to look at, play with, and ultimately cast down their judgement upon once the pitching is all done.

There can be only one winner, however, and this time around it was Defend the Cake's self-titled game, a tower-defence title all about defending... a cake. It's great fun, has a charming art style, and is a well-deserved winner.

If you want to find out the runners-up and who else entered, click through the list below, and we'll see you at the next Big Indie Pitch!

#1 Defend the Cake

By Defend the Cake LLC

Defend the Cake is a tower defence game and The Big Indie Pitch's winner. Using food as your defence, you have to protect a cake from being eaten by an army of bugs. You build towers and place weapons on top to attack the insects that would devour the delicious cake.

The game leans into its aesthetic really well and goes all out - everything is made out of food; stacks of toast act as your towers, strawberry cannon quickly fire seeds, and a watermelon catapult launches its ammo in the air. The insects are also as varied as the defence option. There are ants, wasps, caterpillars, even grasshoppers, which all have their own abilities that you need to counteract with your weapons.

#2 Super Best Ghost Game

By StudioBando

The Big Indie Pitch's runner-up is Super Best Ghost Game. It's a puzzle game that has you help ghosts get from the entrance of a level to the exit. It resembles Lemmings in its gameplay - a row of ghosts walk in a line and you can give them actions to do or effect the environment in some way so they can navigate the level and progress to the next.

Each level is different and requires the player to be on guard making sure the ghosts arrive safely at their destination. The mix of problem-solving and a management game makes for an engaging experience. Not to mention the cute design of the ghosts is just terribly charming and pleasant making you want to guide them as best as you can.

#3 Rune Dungeon Idle

By Cameron Roberson

Rune Dungeon Idle is… well, it’s in the title. It’s an Idle game. You play as a courageous warrior in a high fantasy world that goes around defeating monstrous creatures. You can tap the screen to attack but there are also auto attacks that will assist you on your adventures.

The game uses a lot of satisfying RPG hooks to keep you playing. There is loot to be found, weapons to upgrade and XP to be gained. Whenever you defeat an enemy you will get some gold that will upgrade your gear and when you level up you will get a skill point to spend on a new ability.

It distils all the things we love about RPGs in the simple action of tapping the screen but is still as addictive and enjoyable.

#4 Hamsterdam

By Muse Games

The words “adorable” and “fighting game” are not often used in the same sentence, but these words do make a good description for Hamsterdam. You play as a hamster called Pimm that fights the anthropomorphised animal gangs on stylised streets of Amsterdam.

The console grade graphics and varied colour pallet makes for a gorgeous looking game. But the animation is particularly impressive. As you attack your foes with taps and swipes, Pimm dances around the screen dispersing heavy punches. It looks badass and does a lot in making the player feel like the powerful little hamster.

#5 Rush Puppy

By Pixel Snack

Rush Puppy is an endless runner, with dogs! Similar to Flappy Bird, you tap to jump and avoid obstacles for as long as you can. The obstacles that block your path range from simple wooden fences to explosive missiles - the game obviously doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The game’s replayability and short session times make it ideal for casual play when you’re out and about. It also has a nice selection of dog breeds to unlock and play as, which taps into that addictive gotta catch em’ all feeling you sometimes get with these games.

#6 Creak

By Tucker Bowen

Creak immerses you in a haunted house where you are stalked by the evil spirit of a young girl. The game has you solve puzzles in order to collect objects that will keep the spirit at bay. It’s a narrative-driven game that has a lot of story to tell as each spooky object you collect has its own mysterious backstory to be discovered.

The visuals also nicely compliment the brooding atmosphere the game creates. The black and grey colours give the world a lifelessness and the film grain filter makes you feel like you’ve been transported you back in time. Also, the design of the spirit is just creepy and unsettling really immersing you in the whole experience.

#7 Triplicata Maui

By Form and Pattern

Q*bert meets Candy Crush wouldn’t initially seem to be an interesting combination, but developer Form and Pattern is proving us wrong with their game Triplicata Maui. It’s a puzzle game where, like in Candy Crush, you have to match colours together, but the layout isn’t your standard grid. Instead, the colours are in cubes, like in a Q*bert game.

Due to Candy Crush’s massive success, recent matching games have felt rather samey and boring. By changing the layout Triplicata Maui opens up different ways of puzzle solving, you now have to consider six sides rather than the regular four. It’s a subtle change but one that is breathing new life in the matching genre.

#8 Saving Princess Maya

By RiseAngle Inc.

Help save a princess from a hostile fantasy realm, all in Gear VR. Saving Princess Maya has you join forces with Maya’s loyal servant, Gelayon. You both have to work together to solve puzzles and rescue Maya.

The game is as character-focused as it is story-driven. Saving Princess Maya wants you to care about its characters and does a lot in making you relate to them. But its puzzles and exploration elements will also keep you invested from beginning to end.

#9 Bounc.io

By Mochibits

Inspired by brick breaker games, Bounc.io pits you head to head with another real-world player at the same time. You win by breaking the most bricks within the time limit, but some extra features mix things up for the genre.

You can collect power-ups as you go, giving you the ability to interfere with the other players game. You can randomly shuffle their blocks around, put their game is slow-mo and even prevent them from seeing where the bricks are. It’s a game we’re all familiar with, but the inclusion of multiplayer puts a nice spin on the brick breaker genre.

#10 5 Heroes: Firestone Forest

By Banditos Studio

5 Heroes has you battle the forces of evil in a fantasy world. You have free reign to explore the whole map uncovering quests to be completed, enemies to be defeated and treasures to be claimed.

It’s a turn-based strategy game reminiscent of Fire Emblem, but the combat occurs on a hexagonal grid instead. You can choose where you want your heroes to go and who to attack. There are even more character to find around the world and add to your party, all of which have their own abilities that can be upgraded.

#11 Blue Hairs: Battles for Boca

By Raincrow Studios

To put it simply Blue Hairs’ conceit is just hilarious. You play as Birdie Black, an old woman who has been kicked out of her retirement home since she’s lost all of her money investing in her son-in-law’s mobile game company. With no money to her name, she joins the GFC, an underground fighting circuit, in a bid to make some cash. It’s crazy but in the best way.

When it comes to the gameplay, think Punch Out. Going up against a professional fighter, you dodge and weave avoiding their attacks, while trying to throw some punches of your own. The game aims to be more accessible to casual players. Since it’s a mobile game you have the inputs of taping and swiping, so it looks like Blue Hairs will find its audience just fine.

#12 Orbulous

By Orbulous

Orbulous is wanting to shake things up in the match three genre, and it looks to be doing exactly that. The grid is replaced with a circular board that you can move yourself. And the colours, in this case mystical orbs, are fired from the sides of the screen. You have to move the board around so that the orbs will hit other orbs that share the same colour. Once three or more colours make contact they disappear, and you get points.

These changes affect the genre’s typical gameplay in some pretty unique way. It can be a much faster-paced game that requires the player's total engagement, especially when multiple orbs are making their way to the circle and you’re having to decide what’s the best way to turn the board so you can maximise your points. It’s an interesting change that shows that there is still more to be done with matching games.

#13 Word Snake

By Jeremy House Games

Word Snake is almost exactly what it sounds - a mash-up of a crossword and classic mobile game Snake. Guide your snake around the crossword board, picking up letters and racking up the points, but make sure you don't bash into your own tail or it's game over.

Word Snake Screenshot

#14 ARia's Legacy

By The Pixel Crushers

ARia’s Legacy is an ambitious undertaking, but developer The Pixel Crushers look to be making good progress on their project. It’s a puzzle game that uses Augmented Reality mechanics. The player interacts with objects on screen that appear to be in your play space thanks to the phone’s camera.

There are 50 different levels where the player investigates their soundings and solve puzzles. Since the game is in AR we expect to see some really unique ways of solving puzzles. The game lets you move around the space, you can closely look at every surface, every angle and edge of an object. So that crucial item that will help you progress may be hidden around the level making you actually move around and investigate the area. It’s an immersive experience that involves the players physically and with problem-solving.

#15 Quiz Pursuit

By Edutainment Inc

You can probably guess what Quiz Pursuit is all about. It’s a trivia game that aims to educate and entertain. With a massive catalogue of topics, so you can test your knowledge on just about anything.

The game promises, millions of questions to be answered and an endless amount of content for its players. You can challenge your friends to beat your score on a particular topic and even create a team, so you can top the leaderboards together.

#16 Hippy Skate

By Eddy Games

Hippy Skate is a pretty fast-paced game while somehow being super groovy and chill at the same time. You play as a hippy riding their skateboard having to collect all of the coins on the level to proceed to the next. You tap the screen rapidly in order to go faster building up enough momentum to make jumps to collect those hard to reach coins in the air.

Each level is a circle, but there are bumps in the road that you have to consider. They may slow you down or even help you get that extra height when making a jump. After going around the level a few times you begin to learn it and are able to successfully execute a satisfying arc in the air collecting on the coins you need in one fell swoop.

#17 Cooking to the Beat

By RaccooPack Studios

Imagine a Cooking Mama rhythm game with a sloth as the chef, that’s Cooking to the Beat and it’s as charming as it sounds. A conveyer belt brings food your way and you have to correctly time chopping and seasoning the ingredients to the beat of the music. It’s a simple premise but it still manages to be engaging.

Arguably the most important part of a rhythm game is, well, the music. The tracks in Cooking to the Beat are cheerful and fun, almost like something you’d hear that the circus. The music paired the clear and cute art style, would definitely resonate with young kids. Not only that but the game also promotes healthy eating by providing recipes to the levels in the game, appealing to parents too.

#18 Ice Cream Tornado

By Project Beanstalk

Ice Cream Tornado is an endless runner that has you trying to escape a swirling tornado vortex hellbent on trashing your town. To calm it down, you need to feed it ice cream. You know, like in real life.

Ice Cream Tornado Screenshot 

#19 Lazzzers

By Jomoho Games

Lazzzers is a puzzle game in which you solve levels by manipulating colored laser beams to hit targets in the right color.

The laser beams come in the colors red green blue and white and can be mixed, split, filtered and redirected.

#20 Pangolin's Puzzle

By Hero Factor Games

The Pangolin's Puzzle is a cute, 2D puzzle game starring an adorable Pangolin. It's all part of the "Nobody's Favorites" universe, which is slowly building up, starting with this game.

Pangolin's Puzzle Concept Art 

#21 Flytrap

By Tollan Software

Unfortunately I couldn't find any information about Flytrap, but thank you for Tollan Software for entering the BIP!


Reviewer photo
Ric Cowley 31 July 2018
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