Shift Shaft and Addagrams crowned Big Indie Pitch winners as we return to the USA and Canada
Discover all the indie games pitched at our most recent North American Big Indie Pitches
The mobile games industry has long been known for all of the unique and different independent games that can be found around every corner within the various app stores. From the likes of Florence to former Big Indie Pitch winners like What The Golf!?, we’ve seen many go from breakout hit to stardom. Nevertheless, with the potential next big thing hidden behind every corner, it can sometimes be somewhat hard to discover that next indie gem.
Well, this problem is exactly why we set up our regular international competition for indie developers, The Big Indie Pitch, around 8 years ago. From San Francisco to Hong Kong and everywhere in between, we currently run around 20 of these global events a year in order to showcase all the amazing new indie games in development. Of course, there are prizes and international recognition, but the reward is the chance to show all of you readers some of the latest games in development.
After two years, it was finally time for the Big Indie Pitch to return to live in-person pitching, and what better place than our flagship show Pocket Gamer Connects London 2022!
After more than two years, the Big Indie Pitch was recently back on the road for two live in-person pitches, this time returning to Seattle and heading to Toronto for the first time ever as we toured North America as a part of the Pocket Gamer Connects conferences.
Much like at Pocket Gamer Connects London 2022 and our digital pitches, there were some amazing developers who battled it out for the Big Indie Pitch crown in both Seattle and Toronto. As you can imagine, this created a challenge for our panel of experts. However, our judges were able to settle on both a winner and a runner-up in each pitch. To be specific, we saw Shift Shaft by Baby Goat Gruff crowned the winner in Seattle, and Addagrams by Noah Rosenfield crowned the winner in Toronto.
Of course, though, it's not just about our winners. So read on to discover more about every game that pitched as part of our return to in-person pitching in North America.
1st Place (Seattle) - Shift Shaft by Baby Goat Gruff
Shift Shaft is a brand new match-3 puzzle game that quite literally offers a brand new twist on the much-loved genre. How does it do this you ask? Well quite simply by providing players with the additional ability to twist the board in order to secure those all-important matches.
Within the game, players must help the hero move through the board to the mineshaft exit in order to progress to the next level. Of course, there is a range of different level goals, monsters, and power-ups. Though it is primarily through the new mechanic that Baby Goat Gruff hopes to create an experience that is both simple yet complex and accessible to newcomers and veterans alike.
1st Place (Toronto) - Addagrams by Noah Rosenfield
In this challenging new take on the ever-popular word-based puzzle genre players must rearrange six letters in order to create a pair of words that must be more than three letters long. Of course, it's not as simple as it first seems, as, despite a new letter being added in each round, players are only allowed to use a word once. Each letter gives you a point, and whilst you don't have to use all of the available tiles, it's always possible to use all of them. What's more, for those who can, there are bonus points on offer if you can. In fact, using them all is the only way to achieve a perfect score of 99.
All in all, thanks to this never-before-seen take on one of the most popular genres in the mobile sphere, Noah Rosenfield has managed to offer not only something fresh but something that is as equally creative as it is personal to the player each and every time they sit down to play the game.
Runner-Up (Seattle) - PXLPLAY by Pixel Play
Bounce, slide, flip and run through a path that changes every single time you play in this adorable mobile-focused arcade game. With the aim of bringing endless fun to players of all ages and walks of life, PXLPLAY keeps the gameplay single and focused, with one-touch gameplay and a bright and welcoming design.
Of course, this doesn't mean the gameplay isn't varied, as developer Pixel Play has included a variety of obstacles, achievements, power-ups and of course characters, in order to make sure that players want to keep coming back for "one more go".
Runner-Up (Toronto) - Orna: the GPS RPG by Northern Forge Studios
Ever wanted to turn the real world into a classic role-playing adventure? Well if so, Orna is the game for you. You see, in this GPS-powered multiplayer RPG players have the opportunity to not only build their very own base of operations, but also the chance to collect items, upgrade weapons, and of course, partake in challenging turn-based combat.
That's not all though, as players can also do battle over real-world landmarks and literally set off on their own adventure exploring not only the world created within the game but the natural world around them too.
Granny Escape by Carcajou Games
In Granny Escape players step into the shoes of Rose, an elderly lady trying to escape a retirement home that just won't let her leave. Taking advantage of her slow speed the retirement home thinks they've won. However, she's ready to prove that she's smarter than just about every person trapping her there and that you shouldn't underestimate the elderly. As such, players will have to be sneaky and use all of our hero's wits and smarts to stealthily navigate their way around the cameras, security, and of course the dastardly staff.
Blending comedy with the serious issue of respecting the elderly and their experience, alongside the experience many people were subjected to during the Pandemic, Granny Escape hopes to be both enjoyable and fun, whilst making people think more deeply about our society. What's more, with a gameplay style that prioritises smarts of action, Carcajou Games aims to make Granny Escape as accessible as possible.
Mesaĝisto by Ludo World
Ever wondered what would have happened if history had taken a different course? What if Napoleon had consulted before the Battle of Waterloo? Or what if Christopher Columbus and his expedition never discovered the Americas? These are the kinds of questions posed within Mesaĝisto as leading historical figures seek your advice prior to the history-making activities.
To be specific, within the game players are able to use a special messaging system in order to befriend well-known figures. Through speaking with them they'll share their experiences, and eventually seek your guidance. What's more, based on your suggestions their fates will change, and in turn, so will the course of history.
Crypto Warrior by Catalyst Games
Crypto Warrior is a blockchain-powered free-to-play tower defence game in which players must simultaneously utilise towers, units and abilities in order to stop the enemy onslaught. Taking inspiration from the likes of Kingdom Rush, Catalyst Games hopes to offer bite-sized mobile-focused gameplay, alongside an experience that is accessible to all.
Pocket Pals by Nami Tentou
Sadly there are no images or videos of Pocket Pals that we can share right now. However, what we can tell you is that in this game players will be able to link their Twitter accounts to a Tamagotchi-inspired virtual pet simulation game. From there you'll be able to play mini-games to increase your skills, compete against friends, or of course just feed them and play with them like pets.
More details about the social interactivity side of the experience, alongside images and videos, will be revealed by Nami Tentou in the future, so keep your eyes peeled.