12 of Poland's finest indie mobile games we've played before anyone else
Poland's finest indies show off their wares
Listen, CD Projekt Red may be the best known developer to come out of Poland, but keep an eye on the indies in this post - they've got a whole lot to offer if you'll let them.
It's always a joy to be the first to see a new indie game, to get your hands on an innovative title from a small studio way before it becomes the next big thing. Imagine being the first person to play Reigns or Florence.
That's why we set up the Big Indie Pitch. It's our regular international competition for indie developers. We run about 20 of them a year, all around the world, and they're a chance for local studios and individuals to show us what they're working on. There are prizes, sure. But the real winner is you, dear reader, who gets an exclusive glimpse at the underground hits of tomorrow.
Not so long ago, we held one of these much-celebrated BIPs at Poland's Games Industry Conference in the gorgeous city of Poznan, and as always, it was an absolute blast. Who wouldn't want to spend all day playing shiny new games?
The clear winner was Golf Peaks, a mini-golf flavoured puzzle title which we eventually reviewed here on Pocket Gamer and totally independently gave it a 9/10. Because it's just that damned good.
But there's so much more than that, covering a wide genre of games to boot. Expect RPGs, roguelikes, and even a maths-based puzzle game designed for children. Oh, and some weird AR games as well. There's always a few, and they're always a joy, even if you have to run around a room look like a fool for a bit to play them.
Click through the list to all 12 indie surprises. And if you're a small developer, remember to register your projects for PGC London where we'll be running the next pitch!
First Place - Golf Peaks
Golf Peaks is a card-based puzzler which offers up an isometric grid of squares, one ball, one hole, and a handful of traps and problem areas standing between the two.
With a deck of movement cards, you have to get your ball into the hole with the tools at hand and nothing more. It's fiendishly tough at times, and solving each of the puzzles hits you with enough dopeamine to keep you smiling for hours.
Second Place - Runick
Runick is a mean old game about moving a giant cube around a world, stamping on squares. And when I say mean, I'm referring to the difficulty.
Unless you happen to be very gifted in the brain department this puzzler will mess you right up. Don't get me started on what happens when two cubes get introduced. Ugh. Great fun though.
Third Place - Pixel Express
As my father always said, you can't go wrong with a game about trains. This one has you redirecting locomotives around a maze of tracks, making sure they don't smash into each other while making deliveries.
Think Cosmic Star Express crossed with Flight Control and you're about halfway there. It's gentle and serene to begin with, but throw in more trains and suddenly it's a nightmare.
Maya the Bee: Musical Challenge
Based on the hit children's show, Maya the Bee: Musical Challenge offers up a variety of music-based minigames to keep the young ones in your life entertained.
You'll be rescuing worms from spiders by way of strumming webs like guitar strings and much, much more. Or, your kids will be. You can too though, if you like.
Ever wanted to play a magical version of dodgeball? Here's your chance - and you get to do it in the real and virtual worlds thanks to the magic of augmented reality.
Mythical Wars has you running about the room, grabbing floating spell balls, and flinging them at your opponent to knock their health down to zero. It's tricky to get the hang of, but actually a lot of fun to play.
I for one have always wanted to shoot my crippling self-doubt in the face, so rogue-lite platformer/shooter Fury Unleashed and its Big Bad hold a special place in my heart.
Navigate comic book pages, kill everything in sight, pick up new equipment, and try not to die. It looks great and it plays pretty well too.
Heromasters is a fantasy RPG where your band of rogues, warriors, and mages traverse the world fighting bad guys, gathering loot, and trying to stop everything from getting blown to smithereens.
Unique to this game is its gesture-based special move system, which has you drawing symbols to trigger massive, devastating attacks.
Maths is boring, apparently, so video games are here to save us all. Numbala fixes the mind-numbing with a healthy dose of flying, dodging missiles, and collecting cookies.
The trick here is that you need to move a lever to the right number to be flying on the right track. You need to be two spaces up? Better add 2 to your current number then. Maths!
Another fantasy RPG here, but Forbidden Source digs a lot deeper into its cartoon visuals, and it has city-building elements to boot, so there's more to it than just clobbering others for loot.
The aforementioned clobbering comes about in turn-based, gesture-based battles, where you need to accurately draw symbols on your screen to strike your opponent. It's a lot easier said than done, trust me.
World of Myths
Like Hearthstone, but think it's lacking depth somehow? Then World of Myths is likely to scratch that itch, my friend.
It's kind of tricky to explain with words alone, but the developers have a very helpful 40 minute video which I've embedded below, so check that out for more info.
Take Cuphead, make it more of a children's drawing, and you've got something close to Catpocalypse Meow, the side-scrolling shooter from Fraxel Games.
You'll be running and gunning your way through various worlds as drawn by your in-game child main character, before facing off against massive bosses that will take everything you've got to take down.
Castle Siege: War of Legends
Churned out of Clash Royale, but still looking for something to scratch that itch of lanes and cards and battling? Buddy, you gotta check out Castle Siege: War of Legends.
You'll be dropping units on the battlefield, watching them square off against one another, and trying to destroy your opponents tower in fast-paced battles. Go smash!