One of my personal favorite gaming events of the year is the IndieCade festival. IndieCade is an international organization that celebrates independent game developers. If you’ve ever been to E3, you’ve probably seen the IndieCade area – full of tables and independent game designers. And what’s really special about IndieCade is that it is not solely limited to “traditional” video games. In fact, IndieCade is full of AR (augmented reality), VR, mobile games, console games, PC games, interactive experiences, board games, card games, and even performances! It truly is a celebration of storytelling and design. Here’s a look at a few of the games I experienced at IndieCade 2018. 

Accounting+

From the minds of The Stanley Parable and Rick & Morty comes the most hilarious, bizarre, and downright weirdest VR Game you’ll ever play. Accounting+ is a VR title developed by game studio Crows Crows Crows and Justin Roiland. In this wacky game, you are provided with a VR game that will “help you become better at accounting”. What ensues is a crazy adventure into a variety of VR Worlds: a skeleton xylophone that begs you to play it, the back alley that is the meeting place for some mean but adorable animals, and even an actual trial. If you like goofy and weird VR games, then I encourage you to pick up your copy of Accounting+ today! Accounting+ is available on the PSVR.

Flight Simulator

Ever wanted to experience the joys of being a passenger on a 6-hour flight? Of course you do! In this title, players are not put in the pilot’s seat (like a traditional Flight Simulator). Instead, you’ll find yourself in a window seat located in Economy; desperately finding a way to pass the time. Players can enjoy looking out the window, reading the emergency pamphlet, and even filling out a crossword in the airplane magazine. As silly as it may sound, this game and its developer really stood out to me. No one would ever think to develop a passenger-flight simulator, but that’s exactly what Hosni Auji did. It’s creative and perfect for people who want to pass the time on their own virtual flight. Flight Simulator is still in development with no confirmed release date.

Guildlings

If you love hilarious writing, JRPGs, wizards, and Wi-Fi prepare your mobile devices for Guildlings. In Guildings you play as Coda, a teen who accidentally activates a cursed phone (i.e, YOUR mobile device). Together with your Guildings, you’ll explore strange places, fight monsters, build friendships, and free yourself from the curse. The aesthetic of the game is what first caught my attention. The art style, music, and feel of the game is fresh and fun. And the writing is what made this my favorite game of IndieCade 2o18. The conversations via text between the characters are so hilarious and real; I felt like I was reading texts between myself and my own friends. I personally cannot wait to explore Guildings on my phone, and I hope you will too! Guildings is coming soon to the Apple and Android store.

RELATED: GGA Game Review: Little Bug Gives Light to an Emotional Indie Platformer

Lazer Mazer

What if you could traverse a Virtual Maze from the comfort of your own home? Or at a park? Or even at your job? Enter Lazer Mazer, the AR Mobile Maze!  With just your tablet or phone, you can pull up a complex and crazy fun laser maze just about anywhere! Dodge the lasers, solve puzzles, and challenge your friends with no VR equipment or console required! And don’t worry about running out of space. Lazer Mazer features a unique lock system that allows you to readjust yourself if your maze space is limited. With AR games like this, players can turn their average environments into entertaining worlds, all from the comfort of their portable devices. Lazer Mazer is now available in the Apple Store. 

Losswords

You’ve heard of playing with your food. But what about playing with your BOOKS? That is exactly what you get to do in Losswords. In this delightful mobile title, players can explore a variety of novels, poems, and literature while solving a variety of word puzzles throughout the passages. There’s nothing I love more than mobile puzzle games and reading, so I was excited to see two of my favorite pastimes in ONE game! Another fascinating feature of the game was how inspired I was to go revisit and re-read the titles I was solving puzzles for. As you put Pride & Prejudice back together, it’s hard NOT to want to go back and re-read the entire novel! Losswords is the perfect mobile game for literary nerds and puzzle nerds alike. This game will be available Spring 2019.  

Pixel Ripped 1989

Venture back into the nostalgia of 1980s gaming with Pixel Ripped 1989! You play as Dot, the pixelated hero from the video game universe who is aided by the talented video game player Nicola. Solve puzzles and battle on retro consoles controlled by Nicola, or jump into the virtual world and fight alongside Dot. Not only is this concept incredibly fun and reminiscent for those 1980s gamers, but it also reimagines classic gaming styles through it’s VR format. Classic sidescroller levels and platformers and transformed into the VR world around you, as you feel fully immersed in this blast from the past. If you love nods to nostalgia and VR gaming, definitely give Pixel Ripped 1989 a go! Pixel Ripped 1989 is now available for the PSVR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive. 

Overall

This year’s IndieCade was the most impressive by far. I was personally blown away by the creativity, narratives, mechanics, and design of all of the IndieCade titles I experienced. IndieCade is not just a fun gaming festival, but it is a force that inspires me. We live in a world that can feel dominated by big gaming companies that tend to give us the same games we know and love. But with Indie Games, you never know what you’re going to get. Creative gameplay. A heartbreaking story. Complex and fun puzzles. Or just an insane experience like no other. If you don’t already, explore the Indie Games section of Steam, and other console stores. I can promise you that you’ll be surprised by what you find and play! 

 

Emily Rose Jacobson
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