Ben Franchi ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The Boston Festival of Indie Games recently took place at MIT, and Emertainment was lucky enough to receive early access and coverage to the projects presented there. Here are some of our highlights and impressions from the show!
Ninja Tag: This 4-player local versus game was evocative of nostalgic Newgrounds flash games. A simple brawler with surprising depth, the goal of the game is to grab the katana in the arena and use it to kill your rival ninja competitors. Each player could use smoke bombs to teleport around the arena or crossbows to disarm the lucky sword-swinging shinobi. The game needs a little polish, but the build presented at BFIG was still well-made and extremely fun, and will include multiple modes in the final project. This could end up as a popular Friday night pastime, should marketing pan out in its favor.
The Forgettable Dungeon: A 3D pixel-art roguelike, developed by Happy Box Games, that brings to mind 3D Dot Game Heroes. The Forgettable Dungeon boasts completely customizable characters, the ability to use any usable object as a weapon, and scrolls that cause crazy, game-changing effects. As your character takes damage, the pixels that comprise them blow off. As such, one of Emertainment’s demos ended in playing most of the game as the torso of Solid Snake. The game looks a little buggy right now, and the explosive pixel effects makes it a little hard to see what is going on onscreen, but the title shows a lot of promise as an underground homage to the retro classics.
Fat Mask: An adorably grotesque little competitive title made by Paper Cult Games. Fat Mask has up to four players as sumo wrestlers push matching blocks together in order to create mutated blobs. The person with the most blobage by the end of the round gets a point, and first to three points wins. The more blocks on a player’s combo, the longer it takes for the blocks to lock into a mutation, and players can steal the combos of opponents by smacking blocks onto them before they finish mutating. The game is very tense and strategic, and balancing offensive and defensive blob creation is key to obtaining victory. The developers tell Emertainment that in the final product, creating blobs will also grant players power-ups as well. Nevertheless, the build they currently have is extremely fun, and hopefully will gain much traction upon its final release.
Inversus: Inversus can be described in three simple words: Othello meets Lightcycles. Developed by Hypersect, this game has two players trying to shoot each other with lasers on a black-and-white square board. As a laser crosses the board, the territory it passes turn into the opposite color of the shooter, allowing them to move across it or barricade the traversable territory of their opponent. Each player has limited ammunition for their shots and can charge up shots to cover three rows at a time. This game was one of our favorites at the festival, as managing your ammunition while planning where you want to move and cut off your opponent keeps both the players’ brain and thumbs moving at high speed. Simple, yet fast-paced, and maybe a new contender in the competitive gaming scene.
Ultimate Chicken Horse: UCH is a game that is sure to destroy some friendships upon release. The point of the game is for players to reach the goal, while using obstacles to block the progress of their opponents. At the start of each round, players can plant an obstacle almost anywhere they want on the map. Doors, spikes, saws; the list goes on. Players then try to make it to the goal while navigating the increasingly difficult maze of danger and frustration before them. Will you make it easy for yourself and place simple, non-intrusive obstacles? Or will you pile on the hazards and crank up the pain for both yourself and your enemies? Needless to say, this game will make a hell of a splash once it meets the market.
Fuego: This little PC title, developed by Radiostatic, has two players placing cute animals stacked on each other in trenchcoats around a randomized Western town in order to blast the hell out of each other in a Mexican standoff. The name of the game is to shoot banks, which grant the player cash. The person with the most cash at the end of the standoff wins. Players can also shoot opposing banditos to neutralize them, or aim for churches to ricochet bullets off for trick shots. The main gimmick is that the shooters that players place can boast either one to four guns in random directions, and the more guns a slinger boasts, the later in the shootout they fire. Strategy is the name of this game, and Battleship came to mind during our fourth round of trying it out. Smart, addictive, and with characters designs that evoke memories of Sly Cooper, Fuego is a solid title for those who prefer a more laid-back, mentally stimulating gameplay experience.
Other games worth an honorable mention post BFIG include:
Xeero: A 3D platformer similar to the PS1 titles of old, where you play as a kid named Xeero trying to wipe out literal computer bugs. The cyberspace environment is interesting, but it could use a little more gameplay depth and character.
Mecha-Tokyo Rush: A Mega Man-inspired side runner where you play as one of eight different characters, each boasting a different weapon, making your way through 8-bit levels. While the characters are unique, it needs a little more polish before it can stand out as something beyond a Mega Man clone.
Loose Nozzles: A cute little game created by a father and son duo, this title has the player control a rocket ship in a crayon-drawn world to collect stranded spacemen and return them to your ship. An adorable pasttime that could find itself a place in the market for children. Just don’t play the game with the volume too loud.