Another Indiecade has come and gone, and with it, dozens upon dozens of awesome indie games packed with cool ideas, great graphics, and thought-provoking messages. Some of them you can download right now, others—well you just had to be there.
For those watching from home, here are the best games you could ONLY play at Indiecade 2015. (For now…)
Ever read Flatland? The book that conceived how creatures that lived in 1 and 2 dimensional spaces might live their lives? Line Wobbler is a game that imagines how those 1 dimensional beings might go on a dungeon crawl. It’s a game you play by moving your green dot up and down a pole of LED lights, pausing only to wiggle the joystick in order to attack red dots that stand in for monsters, then accelerating or decelerating to dodge lava pools flowing up around you.
Developer Robin Baumgarten has said he wants to put the game in more places, but for now you’ll need to wait for your chance to take your little green champion to the top.
The Meadow comes from Rich Lemchard and his team of students at the USC Games Lab, who were interested in creating a sitting VR experience that was both free from motion sickness, and acted as a ritual to ease players into VR. The first big surprise: the game has to be played in a tent.
Why? Because as Lemchard told us, the very act of putting on a VR headset and getting ready to play is as important a part of the ritual of design as what goes on in the simulation. He and his students act as guides, inviting players in, sitting them down, then providing simple outside stimuli to help them feel immersed in the fantasy world of The Meadow. The result is something meditative, a simple guide to looking and responding to audio cues in a virtual space that can help ease players into the VR medium. Hopefully The Meadow will one day be a great tool to help you or your loved ones enter virtual spaces for the first time.
Sentree isn’t just a game to play at Indiecade, it’s a game to play anywhere. On a bridge. On a mountain. In a field, in the woods, or at a party, as developers Glitchnap have put it. The goal is for one player, the shooter, to stand blindfolded while holding one iOS device, while other players, (the Antlers) gather around him with another device and tell him where the monsters are coming from.
Remember when Luke Skywalker was trying to use the Force to predict where blaster bolts were coming from with the training droid? Now imagine the Force is your directionally confused friend. Sentree is a game that’s good for a laugh, but also lets you practice precision movement and discipline, which will make it fun whether you’re goofing around on a Friday night, or on a mountaintop with friends. Glitchnap aims to have Sentree ready in 2016, so you’ll hopefully get to play this one soon!
Pixel Prison Blues
Seen at Indiecade’s night games selection, where players gathered around a park after nightfall and played games amidst glowing trees and thumping music. The most popular game out of all the great selections around the park turned out to be none other than Pixel Prison Blues. Why? Maybe because it had the giant screen and 29 controllers.
Pixel Brison Blues let players join the army of guards or prisoners moving around the facility, prisoners trying to get gold bags and use tools like dynamite to navigate the environment, and guards trying to stop them. But of course, when there’s 10 guards and 19 prisoners, this is NOT going to be your ordinary multiplayer experience. Huge crowds of players gathered around the giant screen on Saturday night, cheering and yelling as game after game came down to the wire, and passing controllers around to give everyone a chance to play.
It’s a game that nicely sums up the unique possibilities at Indiecade—a place where games for hundreds of people, meant to be played by running, jumping, and swinging devices that interact with digital spaces, are entirely possible. Hopefully, these games will be coming to a festival or show near you, and should be on your radar so one day, you too can team up with a crowd of excited people to break out of prison in a glowing park at night.