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 IPHONE FEATURE

A first look at 25 incredible mobile games from SF's indie scene


Crazy golf, competitive esports and bubbles combine to lead the GDC Big Indie Pitch 2018
Product: Big Indie Pitch | Publisher: Steel Media Ltd | Format: Android, iPhone, iPad, Switch
 
   
Big Indie Pitch iPhone, thumbnail 1
The Big Indie Pitch is a competition for indie developers around the world to show off their games to a huge panel of industry experts in rapid-fire pitches. Got a game you want to show off? Find out more on the Big Indie Pitch website.

Hot off the heels of crowning our first ever two time, and in turn most successful champion of all time in the form of FINIFUGU && friends, The Big Indie Pitch packed its bags and set off for what is arguably the biggest show of the year for the video game industry. Yes, that’s right, it’s once again time for The Big Indie Pitch at GDC.

As always, it was a hotly fought competition, one with an abundance of talent. As such it was an extremely hard choice for the judging panel, which this time included FINIFUGU && friends’ Jai Bunnag. Nevertheless, there was one game that stood above the competition.

That game was Triband’s What The Golf?, a game so crazy and so different that it near unanimously walked away with the crown. Despite this though, there were two other games that were hot on the heels of What The Golf?, so much so that for the first time ever a joint second place prize was awarded to both Tiny Bubbles and Esports Saga.

Obviously, it goes without saying though that whilst these three games walked away with the prizes, there was an absolute abundance of talent, all of which can be seen below.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE LIST »
  

#1 First place: What The Golf?

  • By: Triband
Described by the developers as “the golf game for people who hate golf”, What The Golf? begins like any normal game of golf with you hitting a ball into a hole. However, from there the action begins to get crazier and crazier with players having to whack houses, cars and even yourself into the hole to win.

All in all, it’s the best kind of crazy and a game that manages to beautifully differentiate itself in what has now become a fairly crowded market.


#2 Second place (joint): Tiny Bubbles

  • By: Pine Street Codeworks
Tiny Bubbles is a puzzle game set in a microscopic marine world, one in which players must organise clusters of soap bubbles, whilst also mastering the strange physics of surface tension and pressure.

It’s beautiful to look at and a tremendous amount of fun. It’s also set to offer players a massive amount of content, featuring seven different worlds with over 180 levels, each with unique goals and a variety of challenges.


#3 Second place (joint): Esports Saga

  • By: Agate
Esports Saga is an action online-multiplayer robot brawler crossed with a sports management sim. Imagine Football Manager in an esports setting and you’re on the right lines.

In the game players must build up a well trained capable esports team, before sending them off into battles which can then be influenced through the use of boosts before each round. There’s also a range of upgrades available to players too in order to help you take the crown.


#4 Steampunk Idle Spinner

  • By: Add Inspiration
Imagine building your own contraption within a psychedelic steampunk world, and you’re somewhere to understanding Steampunk Idle Spinner. The game’s uniqueness doesn’t end with its premise though, as developer Airapport has also taken the idle clicker and given it a unique twist, and I mean that quite literally.

Currently the game has 4 steampunk worlds, in every of them the player starts from a small machine, spins a cogwheel, earns money, then builds new gear, and grows bigger and bigger. From there the craziness really begins, and players can expect to see zeppelins, airship pirates, tesla guns, power crystals, windmills, mines, railroads and even gremlins within these worlds.


#5 Protostrike

  • By: Level Eight AB
Protostrike is a multiplayer shooter that plays a lot like a MOBA. You'll dash about, shooting enemies, and using skills to gain the upper hand. Elevation plays a huge part here. You've got a jump button, and can use it to leap on top of, or across, platforms to get around the battlefield with speed.

Using that is the key to victory. Well, aside from killing everyone before they kill you, of course. There's also a crafting system that you can use to equip and modify a variety of weapons.


#6 Mama Hawk

  • By: Computer Lunch
In Mama Hawk you take control of a loving yet fierce mother bird who will do anything to protect her children. Which is important given that their survival depends on your speed, skill, and evasive maneuvers.

What’s more, players will have to guide Mama Hawk through more than 100 levels of animal-grabbing, baby-feeding, free-flying fun across five different worlds. Within each of these expect to experience fast and frantic action alongside a variety of devious challenges from not only the fellow wildlife but also thanks to nature itself.


#7 Paper Game

  • By: Attractive Interactive
Paper Game isn’t just a game, it’s also a game creation platform wherein players can create and share their own games and levels easier than ever before. To do so players can simply draw something on a piece of paper, take a picture of it, and then have it appear in the game as an asset.

From here players can create something truly unique to them, and then share this with their friends as the game will also focus on ease-of-use and shareability. All in all, through Paper Game, Attractive Interactive hopes to become the a youtube of homemade games.


#8 Road Lights

  • By: Piedra Alta Games
Road Lights is a side-scroller narrative driven game. One which revolves around the unique gameplay mechanic of using the lights around you in order to push back and defeat the shadowy figures of the night.

Interestingly, these menacing shadows that lurk in the dark are actually the manifestation of the fears and anxieties the main character Matthew. What’s more, the story itself, which is all told through family road trips during his life, also reflects on the impact of his relationship with his parents, and how this relationship with them changed him over the years.


#9 Photographs

  • By: EightyEight Games Ltd
Photograph's big secret is that it's not a puzzle game, it’s actually five puzzle games in one. This is because the game is divided into five very unique stories, all set within very different times and locations. Within each story the player must solve progressively difficult puzzles, before moving onto the next story which has completely different gameplay.

All of this is vitally important because Photograph's other big secret is that it's not just a puzzle game, it's also a narrative game. One which tells highly emotional and engaging stories through the sound, voices, puzzles, and of course the photographs. All of which promise to come together to create one interconnected story.


#10 Boa Bonanza

  • By: Bombardel Industries
Boa Bonanza is a simple yet challenging mobile puzzle game about cute snakes escaping from a hexagonal grid. Much like classic games such as Gridlock and Snake, in Boa Bonanza the snakes are blocking each other's path, and down to the player to untangle this mess of snakes and escape to safety.

Watch out though, as snakes can grow a lot bigger by eating mice, something which could cause you problems in the long run as bigger snakes can eat smaller snakes. As such, players will have to be careful and think through every move if they hope to escape the hundreds of puzzles that have been created.


#11 SiNKR: A minimalist puzzle

  • By: Wahler Digital
As the name would suggest, SiNKR is a minimalist puzzle game. One in which you the player must utilise the hooks, pucks, and various other contraptions that lay around in order to sink all the pucks to advance to the next challenge.

Each level is handcrafted. No scores, no timers, no text, no distractions. Just you, the puzzle, oh and some responsive ambient music.


#12 Okyulo and the Patchwork Gods

  • By: Dustworks
Okyulo and the Patchwork Gods is a fluid, fast pace and 2D action game set within a universe of impossible physics. Players take control of Okyulo as they fly through an abstract mixed media world and defeat an interdimensional God.

The final game promises to be a single player focused experience set across three worlds, each with seven levels. This student project is also planned to be released completely free with no ads or IAPs.


#13 Tacticool

  • By: Panzerdog
Tacticool is a 5v5 battlefield fighter with ragdoll physics, a variety of vehicles and weapons, and an awful lot of destruction. Imagine a modern day team-based gladiatorial fight, and you’ve got the idea.

The game is also built from the ground up for mobile devices too despite its large scale ideas, and as such incorporates mobile friendly mechanics such as auto running and aiming, and left and right thumb-tap controls.


#14 Aurocracy

  • By: Odious Studios
Aurocracy is a digital collectable card game where every single card is not only moderated by the community, but it also created by them too. Players create cards in the game’s built in sandbox editor, and then submit them to the community voting system for approval.

From here the highest voted cards created each week will be added to the game creating a truly collaborative collectible card game. All in all the developer’s mission is to create a game that is constantly evolving and one that gives the power back to the player.


#15 Battery Boy

  • By: Petricore
Take control of Battery Boy and his friends as they take on the quite interesting quest of trying to escape the very phone you hold in your hand. Interestingly, doing so actually makes use of the how much battery that very phone has left in it.

You see, the struggles of having a low battery really do take on a new meaning within Battery Boy. This is because Battery Boy is an endless runner that changes based on the battery life of your real-life device, such as the ability to earn different coins based on what your battery life is when you play alongside different obstacles and levels.


#16 Avalanche

  • By: TeamTO Games
Described the developer as a contemplative runner, Avalanche is a game in which there is no death, no menu, in fact there is nothing but the zen like feeling of constantly rolling along the mountains.

That’s no to say there is nothing but this to the game. In fact, Avalanche features a night and day cycle, a story that is told through the game’s achievement system, a plethora of hidden secrets and even a photographic mode with built in gallery. Imagine the likes of Journey and Alto’s Adventure but with snow and mountains and you get the idea.


#17 SeitieS

  • By: Mad Bricks
SeitieS is a single player puzzle game that has been designed to push the player’s wits and spatial understanding to their absolute limits. Gameplay itself is set on a board filled with a variety of objects that can be either a help or a hindrance to the player, such as stairs, doors, trap doors, switches and teleporters.

Once you enter the tiled board you take control of two different characters and must find a way of navigating across the board and to the goal that corresponds with each player. Be careful though, as movement alone can change depending on which tile you are on.


#18 Sole

  • By: Gossamer Games
Sole is an abstract adventure game, one in which you are the only source of light in a world shrouded in darkness. Players must utilise this light in order to not only navigate their way through desolate landscapes and environments, but also to paint the light as you uncover its mysterious past.

Throughout this mysterious adventure players will be able to explore the remnants of formerly magnificent cities, discover the lost past of a forgotten civilisation, and potentially restore life to this abandoned place.


#19 Rumble Heroes

  • By: Lorraine Studio
Rumble Heroes is a free-to-play, real-time PvP game with an over-the-top arcade featuring handcrafted 3D arenas and unique character filled fighters, with a retro-futuristic synthetic inspired soundtrack and strategic gameplay.

Inspired by the likes of Clash Royale, Rumble Heroes allows players to assemble bespoke crew of fighters to take to the arena in order to destroy the other team in fast paced PvP matches. That’s not all though, as the your team is fully customisable too, allowing players create a team that works to their gameplay style.


#20 Super Rock Blasters!

  • By: QuadraTron Games
Inspired by retro classics such as Asteroids, Super Rock Blasters! is 4-player couch based battler in which players must blast their friends to smithereens. All of which is only complimented by the game’s updated retro inspired yet modern visuals, which allow players to light up the sky like a neon rainbow as they take down their opponents.

Additionally, the game also features the ability to go up against the skilled AI opponents, a wealth of unlockables, and the ability to play head to head on the one screen using two Joy-Cons.


#21 G30

  • By: Ivan Kovalov
This multiple indie awards winning mobile puzzle is a narrative puzzler based around the concept of memory, both what we remember, and what has been forgotten never to be retrieved. The gameplay captures these ideas by tasking players with manipulating visual puzzles that consist of dashed lines in order to not only solve the puzzle, but reveal an important memory.

In terms of the story behind the game, developer Ivan Kovalov is actually representing a powerful and important message. This is because G30 tells the story of a person with deteriorating mental health and how that person conceives reality. Through this players will see how the world slips away from the main character and with it their memories, hopefully in turn understanding the suffering of millions of people.


#22 Astrologaster

  • By: Nyamyam
Astrologaster is a Shakespearean narrative-driven comedy in which players assume the role of 16th-century astrologer and real-world historical figure Simon Forman as he tries to solve Elizabethan terror plots, foul diseases, and even romantic love triangles. To do so, you must advice an array of interesting and unique characters by giving them advice based on astrological fortune telling, no matter how dubious that advice may be.

Interestingly, the multiple different fortunes that the player can provide all lead to unique and different branching storylines. As such, not only does this mean that each player’s game will be unique and different, but it also means that players can also replay the game to find out what could have happened in a given situation.


#23 Time Golf Squad

  • By: Ponywolf
Ever fancied travelling through time and space in order save the universe through the power of... golf? Well if so then Time Gold Squad is the game for you.

Players not only get to battle through an extensive range of unique missions, but they’ll also have the chance to take some time out in order to chill in the Game Room with a selection of unlockable mini games.


#24 Dungeon Dealer

  • By: Mutated Software
Dungeon Dealer is a challenging rogue-like card game that is sure to grab fans of roguelikes and card games alike. The premise here is simple, players must rearrange the dungeon cards that the player is dealt in order to take down the lethal dungeon dwellers, acquire game-altering loot, and ultimately escape with their lives.

Featuring an assortment of levels, risk - reward based gameplay gambles and meaningful choices, Dungeon Dweller hopes to grab a huge swathe of mobile gamers looking to grab a quick yet long lasting mobile adventure.


#25 Runnedrez

  • By: Golden Bite Games
Runnedrez is the perfect combination between Chess in a puzzle casual game. You play as a knight (as in, the horse piece in chess) and must carefully venture across an endless chess board while avoiding obstacles and other chess pieces.

The catch is you can only move in an L shape, as in the actual game of chess. Your incoming villains are based on other chess pieces. It's a great way for youngsters to learn the rules of chess in a frantic, scrolling action game.


 

Reviewer photo
Sophia Aubrey Drake 16 August 2018
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