Good news for iOS gamers, as once again, all five of this year’s Indie Showcase titles are either currently (or soon to be) available on iOS.
Each year PAX solicits game submissions from talented independent developers from around the world who are vying for coveted spots in this very limited showcase. This year’s five finalists will each have a designated space in the official PAX East Indie Showcase booth (location is TBD) and usually the chosen developers also participate in an interesting and informative panel scheduled during the show as well.
The majority of this year’s selections are readily available for download on your iOS device(s) right now, with the final title rumored to be publishing sometime soon.
In the released category, we might as well start with my favorite of the of the ones I’ve already played, Agent A: A puzzle in disguise. Originally released on iOS in October 2015, this spy-themed point and click adventure game just received a massive free content update at the end of last year, adding an additional chapter to its entertaining spy story. My 9 year-old daughter and I both really loved this game of cat and mouse where you play a spy trying to track down and evil genius. If you haven’t already, you definitely want to check this one out.
Bulb Boy is a darker, horror 2D adventure game which has been ported over from Steam. Impressively the game manages to be both charming and a little frightening at the same time as it tells the tale of a little light bulb boy with a glowing head who is trying to rescue his lost loved ones. He must safely navigate a world inhabited by grotesque monsters by solving variety of puzzles. This one originally launched on iOS in July of last year.
If you like your mobile gaming to be a little more quick action based, then perhaps Ellipsis will fit the bill. A neon-infused game of dodging and evading, you must use your finger to fly through levels, avoiding the unwanted attention of your enemies. You’ll need quick reflexes if you want to survive all 150+ levels and there is a separate Prologue app available for the game, which allows players to try out the first two chapters for free.
Finally there is Where Shadows Slumber. The app that is currently available on the App Store is just a sort of tech demo with a very limited number of levels, but this Monument Valley-inspired puzzle does some neat things with light and shadow that make the game really engaging. You assist the main character in his quest for redemption by using your intellect to affect nature. “Anything that is not touched by light, he has the freedom to change”. So you must manipulate the world by putting areas into shadow (or even yourself) so that you can get around blocked pathways, evil creatures and more and safely navigate the world. My daughter flew through the levels in this demo app when it first came out and is excited for the full game to get released.
Tavern Guardians mashes up the hack ‘n slash, roguelike and match-3 genres. You must match tiles to hack your way through the board, attacking enemies, healing and casting spells. Items may be purchased along the way which will have either active or passive effects which may just give you the edge to make it further. Unlike other Puzzle RPG games, it appears that your enemies are not just an opponent manipulating the board (like you are), but instead active components on the board which move around as the tiles are shifted about the board. Thus your enemies’ placement on the board will have a direct effect on both their ability to move as well as what attack abilities they have access to on a given turn. While for some that may sound like a subtle distinction, it does look like an entertaining and different sort of twist on the popular puzzle RPG genre. I’m interested in getting some hands-on time with Tavern Guardians .
Though I’ve already played through a number of this years title’s (since most of them are already available for purchase/download) I still plan to take a closer look at all of these games while at PAX East in March. In the meantime, for more information on each of these games, you can visit the official Indie Showcase page, download them on the App Store or better yet, if you are going to be attending PAX East as well, simply stop by the Indie Showcase booth yourself and have a chat with the devs, pick their brains and try their games.