Best of the rest of the Big Indie Pitch in Bilbao
Vikings! Jai alai! Jesus!
Last week, we held one of the last Big Indie Pitch events of 2014. This where we invite developers to show their games to journalists, in speedy three minute sessions.
We've already written about the winners of our event at HoPlay in Bilbao - including Vita puzzler Soft Body, depressing point and click Dead Synchronicity, and intriguing hint-free puzzler Missing Translation.
But as the quality of games on show was so impressive, we wanted to chat about some of the other games on show. Some are out, some are coming out, one may never come out. All are worthy of your eyeballs.Day of the Viking
Day of the Viking is a cross between Angry Birds and tower defence.
You must protect a (hilariously bratty) princess in her castle by firing arrows and chucking boulders at oncoming marauders, gradually improving your defences as you go. It’s out now, it’s free, it’s ever-so lovely, go get it - PeterDanger Rabbit
The gameplay mechanic in Danger Rabbit is not entirely new, having been deployed in Ninja Up previously, but that doesn’t stop it being unusual, and perfect for touchscreen play.
The aim is to steer a vaguely obnoxious cartoon rabbit through a series of bottomless levels by drawing springy platforms for it to bounce off. Naturally there are enemies, weapons, and plenty of stages to get through.
Danger Rabbit is out in soft launch now, which is how I was able to visit its App Store web page and read all about its “four crazy powerups”, “four worlds to explore”, and, best of all, “three inanimate objects” - RobFronton
Basque Pelota is a sport that's sort of halfway between Squash and Handball, and it's predominantly played in the Basque region of Spain, though there are also a number of French and South American players too.
One of the teams showed off their sim of the game, and it felt like a very niche, but nicely polished take on the Virtua Tennis formula - PeterFist of Jesus
Did you know that, in addition to having the ability of walking on the wet stuff and turning a very small amount of food into a feast, The Messiah could also throw Kamehamehas?
According to Fist of Jesus he could, as it's just one of several attacks of biblical proportions that you'll be throwing in the directions of your enemies in this Final Fight-esque brawler - PeterThe Rivers of Alice
We've already reviewed The Rivers of Alice, so we knew it was good before the Big Indie Pitch started. This ethereal hand-drawn adventure scored an admirable Silver Award from Harry almost exactly a year before we saw it in Bilbao.
The game is a point and click adventure in the mould of Machinarium. Not only does it share that game's elegiac style but it contains the same maddening abstract puzzles, which may only make sense to genre veterans raised on the rubber chicken pulley nonsense of yore.
There's a very good chance you've already played The Rivers of Alice. You might even have played it so long ago that you had forgotten about it till I reminded you just now. So it's not necessarily in the spirit of the Big Indie Pitch, which is at its best when it's uncovering the next big thing.
But this is still a great game, and if you have even a passing interest in adventure games you ought to play it. There's also a hefty update on the way - RobIona: Coded Will
This was one of the prototype games made by students of the DigiPen Institute of Technology, and when we talked to them about their stunning first person parkour game, they claimed they weren't confident it was good enough as a concept to make into a full game.
They were wrong, the game's already amazing, and there's some vague talk of it coming to tablets. I've got my fingers crossed it does - PeterUnlocked
The simplest things in life can be gamified - such as swiping to unlock your iPhone. Unlocked has you performing that now banal activity, but extrapolates on the idea and evolves until it's at such a state that the title feels like a truly iOS take on the WarioWare series - PeterAesthar
Aesthar is a side-scrolling auto-runner, which is the internationally recognised genre of choice for developers of mediocre iOS games. However, it's an auto-runner with a difference.
Rather than controlling a single character you control two. By default they run along together, the smaller one on the larger one's back, like Kazooie astride Banjo. Tapping one side of the screen makes them jump together, and holding a finger down on the other makes them separate.
Controlling two characters at once is initially fiddly, but that's the idea. I liked what I saw, though it would have been nice to experience a bit more variety than developer Nubera Games was able to demonstrate in a four minute pitch - RobHassleHeart
HassleHeart was one of my favourite games at the hoPlay BIP, and if it weren't for a pesky little thing called democracy it would have been on the podium. That's not to detract from the actual winners – just to emphasise that HassleHeart is good.
This unusual pixel-art game looks a bit like an arcade beat-'em-up, but rather than playing as a man from the '80s and kicking and punching people you're playing as a robot and turning people into zombies so that you can pull out their hearts.
The result is a mix of beat-'em-up and time-management, as you dart around the screen laying traps and then returning to harvest hearts so that you can replenish your rapidly draining battery.
You can buy HassleHeart on PC right now, and it should be coming to PS Vita some time next year.