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Geek & Sundry’s Best of IndieCade at E3 2015

Geek & Sundry’s Best of IndieCade at E3 2015

For some, this year’s E3 was nothing short of magical. With top reveals including Fallout 4, a Final Fantasy 7 remake, and Microsoft’s HoloLens, there was excitement to be had for geeks everywhere. But I know I’m not alone when I say I’m cynical and skeptical. You see, I suffer from a very serious condition that I just made up a few minutes ago. I like to call it Post-Traumatic Pre-Order Disorder (PTPD). Because I, like so many gamers out there, have experienced the trauma of an overhyped letdown–the months of teasers and trailers feeding your excitement until you’re finally tossed a crummy game with a $59.99 price tag.

We’re jaded. We’re crotchety. We’re broke. We can’t afford to pay for disappointment because life gives us that for free.

But there’s a solace. We’ve found our savior in the recent rise of indie games. I could go on and on about the pros of indie gaming, but I know I’d only be preaching to the choir at this point. Simply put, indie games can be innovative, they can be beautiful, and they can be affordable. They’re less focused on next-gen graphics and downloadable content, and they’re more concerned with concise mechanics and creative imagery. Geek & Sundry’s Twitch crew was fortunate enough to pair up with IndieCade at E3 this year to see just what 2015 has in store. We were blown away. Here are our top indie picks from E3 2015:

WATTAM

Wattam is a ridiculously adorable game for the PS4 being released by indie studio Funomena. Designer Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy, Beautiful Katamari) says one of his main inspirations in designing Wattam was the popular cartoon Adventure Time. Need I say more? Wattam is cute, silly, and insanely fun. We had a blast with this game at E3. Robin Hunicke, CEO of Funomena, guided us through the adventure. Robin told us that a series of unfortunate events in the universe of Wattam led to the world’s destruction, and it’s your job to bring the world back together again. Within 30 seconds, we were playing as a blob called The Mayor, holding hands with a cloud, and making it rain on our garden to grow flowers. Moments later, we were being chased around by a giant, sad pillow that puts you to sleep on touch. We had to make friends with the pillow by holding hands with him. There’s a lot of hand-holding in Wattam, and we’re A-OK with that. Before finishing our interview, Robin teased that we had almost made it to the soccer match where you have the option to play as the goal. Wattam is incredibly imaginative, and we can’t wait to hold hands with it upon its release.

wattam

Photo Credit: Screengrab via YouTube

CHAMBARA

Chambara is a head-to-head samurai fighting game with a twist: there are only two colors. The landscape is black and white with players taking one of those colors. Running around the world of Chambara, players are camouflaged against their respective color’s backdrop. So, a white samurai becomes invisible in a white area of the map, making the game about surprise and ambush. Grasping this game really takes a lot of spatial awareness and quick thinking, which adds an awesome learning curve of skill. But what we probably love most about Chambara is something that major game studios have recently steered away from–Chambara is local multiplayer. We love games like this. There’s a timeless beauty to the art of holding down a couch with a group of friends and engaging in some good, old-fashioned trash talking. Chambara captures this to a T. The demo for Chambara is currently available for download on their website. Check it out!

wattam (1)

Photo Credit: Screengrab via YouTube

CHARGESHOT

A 2-4 player death match armed with nothing more than a plasma cannon, jetpack, and shield? What more can we ask for? Developers CowboyColor give the colorful description:

“12 bounty hunters from across the known universe compete for glory and the handsome reward of 2,000,001 credits.”

While that sounds pretty straightforward, there’s so much about this game that makes it amazing. As the name hints, plasma cannons must be charged before firing, making gameplay heavily focused on accuracy in timing. If that still seems a little too mundane for your taste, fear not. There’s more! ChargeShot showcases a variety of maps across the universe, each posing their own deadly hazards that drastically alter play. We love games like ChargeShot that can employ a simple idea while offering hours of playtime to hone a handful of specific skills. A release date for ChargeShot is still to be determined, but you can bet it will be in our library as soon as we can get our grubby fingers on it.

wattam (2)

Photo Credit: Screengrab via YouTube

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER!

Curiouser and Curiouser! is an interactive pop-up book experience where the controller is literally a beautiful pop-up book of Alice in Wonderland. This isn’t a sick joke to attempt to get you to turn off your screen and enjoy the world around you. We wouldn’t do that to you. Curiouser and Curiouser! is most certainly a video game. The pop-up book plugs straight into your PC, so every time you turn the page, you not only see incredible paper art coming to life in the book, but you also see fantastic corresponding imagery on your monitor! Passages of the book are read to you as you flip each page. Whimsical animations tell the story, with each pop-up display featuring buttons and interactive, movable play pieces. Developer Martzi Campos and Yuting Su have created this magical experience to get kids and parents excited about reading, and so far, the reception from both has been overwhelmingly positive. The technology is wonderfully simple and effective. According to Campos, to create the popup book, they “just tore apart a bunch of greeting cards and rewired them.” This is the type of endearing innovative design that keep us coming back to these passionate indie developers. We predict a huge future for Campos and Su, and we were honored to open their one-of-a-kind book.

wattam (3)

Photo Credit: Screengrab via Twitch

ROYALS

From the beautiful mind of Asher Vollmer (Threes, Close Castles), Royals is a game Vollmer “created for himself” because “he’s the only type of person who could actually enjoy playing it.” We disagree. Royals was a unanimous favorite among our Twitch hosts. It’s labeled as “an old forgotten game from your youth, and you’ve lost the manual.” This black and white puzzle with rudimentary graphics closely mimics the style of a board game. Royals pits you against the hardships of a feudal life as a peasant attempting to climb the ladder of popularity. You can be a tyrant, destroying villages to gain followers out of fear, or you can be a social drinker at the local tavern and hope to woo them (rather than infuriate them with your terrible taste in music). Chances are, you’ll probably die a lowly peasant, as any wrong decision can result in immediate death. In other words, you may never be royals. Royals is weird, it’s funny, it’s frustrating, and it’s downright addicting. You can pay whatever you like to download this game now on PC and Mac.

wattam (4)

Photo Credit: Screengrab via YouTube

FUN BOX

I know I just ragged on the idea of putting down your controller and enjoying the world around you, but when that world is a telephone-booth-shaped Twister experience, you might consider giving your thumbs a rest. Fun Box, as described by creators and USC students Trevor and Alex, is a 3D wearable game of Twister. Players squeeze inside a wooden, polka-dotted box wearing matching polka-dotted suits and play a game of handsy, awkward, hilarious Twister. Trevor and Alex plan to make instructions so that you can build your own Fun Box. We predict the Fun Box to be a staple at every backyard party in the coming years. You can be certain Geek & Sundry will have our own Fun Box as soon as Alex and Trevor are ready to tell us how to use power tools.

wattam (5)

Photo Credit: Screengrab via Twitch

E3 2015 was an amazing experience, and we are so fortunate to have been invited by IndieCade. These hard-working, passionate developers put their all into these projects, and we can’t express how great it feels to help spread the word and give them the coverage they deserve.

These were our top indie picks of E3 2015, what are your most anticipated indie games? Let us know in the comments below!

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