Each year PAX solicits game submissions from independent developers from around the world for a coveted spot in this very limited showcase. This year’s six finalists will each have a designated space in the official Indie Showcase booth (located at Booth #6248) and these developers will be speaking during the PAX East Indie Showcase panel being held at the Bumblebee Theatre from 7:30pm to 8:30pm on Friday April 22nd.
A number of these games are readily available right now for download on your iOS device(s), while the others are still in various stages of completion. One of these “soon to be released titles” was one of my favorite iOS games in the Indie MEGABOOTH last year. All of these titles should have some sort of demo and/or playable build at the show.
In the released category, we might as well start with Shadow Bug which launched earlier this month. It is a visually appealing, silhouetted puzzle platformer, where players take on the role of a dual-blade wielding Shadow Bug, trying to protect his forest from evil; leaping effortlessly from monster to monster, shredding them with his lethal blades.
Open Bar! is a challenging little puzzle game, with a bit of pattern recognition, where your goal is to clear all of the bars from the game board. To do so, you must align 3 like=colored bars to clear them. You do this by either dragging a given piece onto the board, to the location where is satisfies this criteria, or by dragging an existing piece to a new location. Pieces can be rotated with a tap and with just a single move or two allowed on each level, this one will give your brain a workout.
Finally there is Thumb Drift – Furious One Touch Car Racing, an endless style racing game with a fresh control scheme in which you play the game by dragging your thumbs on the screen. I loved the controls on this one, but as I said in my podcast episode when this launched last February, I wasn’t really a fan of the endless style of the game, I’d personally prefer a fully fleshed out racing game. It’ll be fun to talk with the developer at PAX East to see what future plans (if any) they have for Thumb Drift and/or its innovative control scheme.
Last year at PAX East, I got some hands on time with Antihero at the Indie MEGABOOTH and I really enjoyed it. It is an asynchronous multiplayer strategy game in which players are attempting to run a thieves’ guild in a Victorian era city overrun by corruption and greed. “Antihero is a fast-paced strategy game with an (Oliver) Twist. Recruit urchins, hire thugs, kit out your master thief, upgrade your guild… and bribe, blackmail, and assassinate your opposition.” The game kind of feels a bit like a digital board game. The last time I saw it, the game seemed like it was pretty far along, so now, a year later, I have to imagine that it must be pretty close to being done.
Unmatch is a colorful, minimalistic puzzle game where instead of trying to form matches, you are actually trying to separate the like-colored hexagon-shaped pieces in the larger structure such than no two pieces of the same color are still connected. You do this by swapping connected pieces, but you have to be strategic, because you are only given a limited number of swaps with which to solve each puzzle.
While I am already pretty familiar with several of them (they are sitting on my phone) I plan to take a closer look at all of these games while at the show (especially the two unreleased ones). In the meantime, for more information on each of these games, you can visit the official Indie Showcase page, or if you are going to be attending PAX East as well, simply stop by booth #6248 yourself and have a chat with the devs, I’l sure they’d love to talk about their games and the development process.