Hook Up takes the crown at the Big Indie Pitch thanks to its emotional and comedic exploration of modern day dating
Discover all the indie games pitched at our most recent digital Big Indie Pitch
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.
It’s 2021, and whilst we’re still keeping socially distant, that doesn’t mean that The Big Indie Pitch can’t continue to highlight all of the amazing indie talents found all over the globe. 2020 saw us place the spotlight on so many amazing games, all of which were covered right here on Pocket Gamer, so whilst we obviously can’t wait to get back on the road, we were understandably excited to continue highlighting the best indie games in development through our next digital Big Indie Pitch.
Much like with our previous digital pitches, the demand for our next digital pitches was as high as ever, with 14 of the most exciting developers battling it out for the crown. Nevertheless, three games rose to the top, with British developer Team Hook Up's Hook Up being crowned the winner.
Of course, Hook Up, as you already know, was the winner, but we always award prizes for the top three. So read on to not only find out more about Hook Up, but also our runners-up from The Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital NEXT supported by N3twork and Green Grey.
1st Place - Hook Up by Team Hook Up
Hook Up starts with a simple yet complicated premise - What if... you matched with your high school bully on a dating app? It's an interesting question, one that Hook Up's lead character, the sex-positive 20-something Alex, must navigate as she looks for love and companionship on the dating app Hook Up.
Understandably, this unforeseen situation leads to Alec's world is turned upside down. However, all is not as it seems, as George, her one time bully, is now a successful hedge fund manager, one who doesn't seem to be the same person she knew. Can Alex forgive Geroge as they become closer, in turn dealing with her own trauma? Or will their pairing prove a mismatch?
2nd Place - Guardians of Elderon by Ablaze Interactive
In this unique, action-packed title players will be tasked with creating exciting fantasy bases, going on challenging quests, conquering fellow players' bases, and exploring the world of the Guardians. Building upon gameplay elements commonly found within MOBA and base-building genres, Ablaze Interactive hope to create a unique blend that offers exciting multiplayer action without any of the usual pressures and game-breaking consequences.
As such, Guardians of Elderon promises to be an accessible and enjoyable experience. One in which players can really put their strategy skills to the test as they take on the all-powerful Guardians.
3rd Place - Hidden Office by Anna Sevryugina
A previous Big Indie Pitch Honourable Mention, this time Anna Sevryugina's 3D hidden object game Hidden Office went one better and deservedly grabbed the third-place prize. Within Hidden Office players must rotate, zoom, explore and most importantly relax, in order to discover all the hidden cats and complete the checklist of discoverable items.
Presented in a cute and adorable style, it's hard not to fall in love with Hidden Office. However, this wasn't what impressed the judges the most. In fact, what impressed them the most was the number of unique innovations made to the hidden object genre that help this game stand out from the crowd. A not so easy feat for a popular genre like this. So grab some headphones, get in a comfy chair, and see if you can find all those cute yet pesky Cats.
Honourable Mention - The Day We Fought Space by Tursiops Truncatus Studios
The Day We Fought Space is a game all about spiralling chain reactions. Within the game, players must take to space in their spacecraft in order to find their way through enemy territory, and hopefully reclaim Earth. However, there's a twist. You see, as you strategise, battle and explore, players will find that everything from upgradable weapons, the environment, your spaceship, and even the debris can be chained together in order to create chaos on the battlefield and increase your attack potential.
As such, this is a game that is just as much about quick thinking as it is about long strategy, and thanks to the procedurally generated environments and limitless customisation options, it's also a game that is unpredictable and fresh on every playthrough.
Jigsawdoku by Spicy Mayo Games
Spicy Mayo Games has created a variety of fresh takes on the classic Sudoku game with a variety of innovations and different themes. Next up, is the jigsaw inspired Jigsawdoku, and it's a game filled with just as many innovations. Based on the idea of removing guesswork and pencil marks, and focusing on deductive reasoning, Jigsawdoku promises and new, and most importantly unique challenge for puzzle fans, and it is one that certainly is worth keeping your eyes peeled for.
Sadly we don't have any screenshots or videos to share just yet, but you can check out a screenshot of the equally fascinating Sushidoku below, a game that can be played right now while you wait for Jigsawdoku.
Flooded Village by Nerd Monkeys
Flooded Village is a puzzle game in which players must dig rivers, flip switches and utilise special abilities in order to guide the water through the village and save the inhabitants. It's a simple premise, but one that is filled with little innovations all wrapped in a cute and appealing presentation. So, will you be able to not only keep the villagers safe but also help them maximise the potential of the water in order to create a utopian village?
Go Fashion by Go fashion
Go Fashion is a hybrid experience that looks to seamlessly blend the fashion world with a story-based casual game all about fashion. As such, it is being developed as both a game and a service, and promises to offer players not only the ability to enjoy a digital fashion world, but also the chance to win real life designer items, such as bags, shoes, jewellery and make-up.
That's not all though, as players will also be able to attend fashion shows via integrated AR technology. All in all Go Fashion promises to be a fascinating blending of games and the real world, and is a title fashion fans should keep a close eye on.
DICED Pilot by Yoa Games
Developed by a solo developer, Diced Pilot is a 2D action game that invokes the spirit of classic retro gaming action. Featuring 180+ skill-based levels, there's everything you would expect from a retro-inspired game. From old-school platforming to power-ups, shooting, flying, and of course lots of destruction, Diced Pilot offers both challenge and fun, all of which is focused solely on the gameplay.
It can't be stressed enough how Yoa Games' overall aim for the game is to create something that offers short bursts of gameplay filled with fun and variety. An aim we think every gaming fan can get behind.
Conquicktory by Airapport
Conquicktory is a love letter to historical strategy titles. Build by Big Indie Pitch veteran Airapport, Conquicktory is a minimalistic game that focuses on high-level strategic decisions that take place within a variety of real-world inspired hexagonal maps.
Of course though, you'd be forgiven for thinking that as with many strategy games, the long play sessions may be a hindrance to the mobile format. However, thanks to Airapport's experience within mobile development, the game has been built from the ground up in order to focus on fast-paced decisions, and shorter play sessions, making it a perfect game for strategy fans short on time.
Finder's Sweepers by Exceptionull Games
Finder’s Sweepers offers players a unique concept by taking one of gaming's most well-known games, and completely reversing the concept. To be more precise, Finder's Sweepers could be seen by many to be something of a reverse Minesweeper, taking the all-time great's logic mechanics and blending them with modern puzzle adventure mechanics.
Instead of highlighting bombs, players must use the numbers and a limited number of moves in order to locate objectives and progress through treasure hunt themed adventure. By doing this, players can look forward to exploring locations such as tropical beaches, lush jungles, and even never-before discovered locations.
Eco Masters by Mampel Skyliner
Eco Masters is a match-three game focused on eco-friendly living and finding ways to save the Amazon rainforest. Something I think we can all agree on are both worthwhile causes. As you can imagine then, within Eco Masters every action you take can make a considerable difference, especially when it comes to stopping the antagonistic XT Emporium.
Wobbly Orbit by Moonjump
In Wobbly Orbit, players must attempt to keep a rocket in orbit by touching the screen to turn and releasing to go straight. Sounds simple right? Well, Moonjump has thought of that, and have increased the challenge by making the rocket be always accelerating.
Featuring seven planets, one of every colour of the rainbow, each of which features a narrower path between the surface and the rings than the one before this is a simple yet challenging game. One that hopes to invite players in with that feeling of "just one more go".
Restaurants King by Sahara Games Studio
Restaurants King is a game that hopes to invoke the best aspects of time management and food-focused gaming in order to create an experience that challenging yet fun at the same time. What's more, Restaurants King will feature locals and recipes from Arabic culture and cuisine, as such offering a cultural experience at the same time as being fun to play.
PlayCrowd by PlayCrowd
PlayCrowd is a title that blends gamification with real-life exploration. Through PlayCrowd players can explore a map of London that features clues and puzzles that guide them to locations of real cash prizes. Of course though, not wanting to limit the title to those out and about in London alone, PlayCrowd allows anyone to play by using an on-screen joystick in order to fly their character around the real-life map of London via their phone.