The Games Developers Conference is right around the corner, and with it comes this year’s 16th annual Independent Games Festival. The IGF highlights the best in independent gaming, giving away thousands of dollars in cash prizes to a whole host of indie and student game developers, as well as providing major exposure for many game makers.
The IGF is also host to the IGF Awards, a celebration of the best in independent gaming. We here at The Escapist had a chance to check out nominees for the Nuovo Award, a category created to recognize and honor games in the indie space that strive to be abstract, unconventional, and outlandish. This year’s nominees are all incredibly unique titles, from the off-beat comedy musical Dominique Pamplemousse to the colorful SoundSelf to the bureaucratic nightmares of Papers, Please.
You can check out the 8 nominees below. Tell us which ones are your favorite!
Developed by Machael Brough, this challenging puzzler sends players to a unique world that starts off with you moving boxes to get past obstacles and open doors, but soon progresses to include new gameplay elements that warp the game world.
This musical comedy adventure game by Deirdra Kiai Productions has the titular protaganist (a very broke private detective in dire need of making rent) searching for a missing pop star. But what starts off as a straightforward missing persons case quickly turns into something more sinister when Dominique is framed for a murder.
Lazy 8 Studios’ Extrasolar takes alternate reality games to a whole new level. Players control one of many rovers sent by the eXoplanetary Research Institute (XRI) to explore the distant alien world of Epsilon Prime. As they gather data on the new world in real-time, they’re soon drawn into a conspiracy back on Earth involving the real truth behind XRI’s mission.
Tale of Tales’ abstract and musical game Luxuria Superbia is described as a “simple game of touch, pleasure and Joy.” Players travel through with twelve tunnels, each with different shapes and objects players can interact with, much like a rail shooter – only with the goal of making the tunnels as colorful as possible through your gestures and pacing. Our own Andy Chalk had the joy of beta testing an early version of Luxuria Superbia way back October of 2013.
Set in the fictional communist country of Arstotzka, Lucas Pope’s Papers, Please puts players into the very uncomfortable shoes of an immigration inspector at a border checkpoint of the grim dystopia. Players have to inspect the documents of incoming immigrants and use a various tools to spot potential terrorists and criminals trying to enter the country, and then use your meager salary to support your family the best you can.
Peter Lu and Lea Schönfelder’s Perfect Woman is a personality game where each level is structured to represent a different stage in a woman’s life. Players stand in front of a Kinect, and try to match the pose displayed on screen to achieve a high score and influence their character’s progression through a branching decision tree.
This experimental game tells of a quiet dinner date between the player and a friend, and the various things they discuss – Friendship, destiny, and most importantly, what to get for dinner.
Robin Arnott’s SoundSelf is a unique title focused on “sensory exploration,” wherein players use the sound of their own voice to manipulate various tunnels of light in order to reach a deep, meditative state.