11 Games from the Montreal Independent Games Festival You’ll Want to Play
The Montreal Independent Games Festival – 2016 edition – was held this past Saturday at Dawson College. The festival is in its second year and aims to help highlight and promote independent games and respective developers. With over forty featured games presented, plus several sponsored games, it was more than enough to make this a great experience. We headed to the event last minute but got our gaming mitts on eleven new titles. Here’s our impressions.
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Develper: Hyroglyphik Games
Zohm is a fast-paced mobile game which mimics our brain. The goal of the level is to move the spheres on the map to avoid the different moving lines that are paced with various speeds. Zohm names its levels using emotions and calls the exercise, meditations. As we played the game, it becomes increasingly relatable that Zohm has a clear message to send which is also the key to winning the level. This key is that: A situation may cause frantic, however with a clear and calm mind, the solution will come naturally. Smooth mechanics, inspiring message and challenging levels makes Zohm an entertaining mobile game that you should try.
Zohm is currently available on iOS and Android.
Traxx is a turn-based tower defense mobile game using cars. Each player has one move where it sets the car in motion either by moving forward or jumping. As long as the car is still in motion and hasn’t stopped, you can perform certain trick moves to get it to hit the pieces of the towers of the opponent. When your turn is over, the opponent takes their turn. The game can be played as a party game on one device with two players in the same room or in different locations in an online mode.
Traxx has a fun concept however there are obvious game polish that they need to work on. However, the game is not released yet so there is still time for technical polishes and as the developer mentions: to add more cars and arenas for players to unlock upon release date.
Sort & Save Animals
Sort and Save Animals is a mobile game currently in beta testing which is exactly what the name says. The objective is to open up the gates to guide the correct animals to their pens however, wolves are also mixed up and you need to open up the trapdoor to let them fall through in time. If not, there are a few springs granted to activate to bounce them out. The game speeds up to increase the difficulty. The game ends when a wolf is let into the pen and you lose your flock/herd. There are three difficulty levels to choose from, scoreboards, and points that convert to money that can upgrade to have a Smart Sheep.
Sort & Save Animals is familiar to those who have played train track management games or Train of Thought in Lumosity which trains the divided attention of our brain, except in a much cuter way with farm animals and an added threat. However, the game mechanics can get confusing at times especially with the opening up the main path for that specific animal to go to and then opening and closing the trap door. Those motions need tidying up and hopefully the beta will help fix up those little kinks.
Developer: Yeti Culture
Brrrainz is an upcoming action zombie game to be released on Steam. What is cool about this game is that we play as a zombie trying to overcome the weak human race and take over the land. It features quirky character designs and rather strategic gameplay in order to meet certain requirements to proceed to other areas of the map. It aims to take a different perspective to the abundant zombie games on the market.
Dread Nautical is an upcoming turn-based action RPG. You play as a character that needs to rummage through a cruise liner to find something in each level in order to proceed. It is procedurally generated which adds a unique twist. Dread Nautical has fantastic visuals and the game design itself is very reliant on strategy and planning. This game is rather challenging but one that could be has us intrigued with a good balance of nice visuals, good atmosphere and smart gameplay.
Developer: Grave Danger Games
Aftergrinder is a fast-paced runner. Think about it as something like Geometry Dash meets Speed Runners. The concept is quite simple. You need to navigate the player up and down to avoid the walls and other obstacles. However, the speed demands the players to hone their quick reflexes. Aftergrinder’s retro arcade style is definitely a winner with its neon colors to boost its presentation.
Aftergrinder is currently available on itch.io for free. Remember to hone those skills (especially if you are in the Montreal area) because there is a tournament on November 30th. We’re still debating if we should join in.
Developer: North Peak Games
Astral Tides is a puzzle adventure game featuring a celestial being called Qilak (which looks like a magical wolf) that has gone to the nordic lands to retrieve the fallen stars of the constellation. There he learns that he can rise and lower the tides to help him on his journey.
Astral Tides has an intriguing concept. The gameplay itself has a few angle issues, possibly bugs that needs to be fixed. However, the game is still in development. It features rather interesting puzzles where rising and lowering the tides makes certain floating ice caps move and others won’t. There is a killer whale swimming around the map which we can only assume is the enemy. The concept here is unique with rather enchanting graphics. The question is whether it is more puzzle heavy or plot heavy or optimally a balance of both. We can only wait till it is released to find out.
If you want to check out the game, there is a playable prototype available on their website HERE.
Possibly one of the more low key and odd games at the Festival, Infini carries a simple animation and even more simple gameplay. The objective is to navigate a falling character through the different paths and avoid the walls and obstacles to reach the infinity sign (which is the end of the puzzle). There is no doubt that Infini has some more work before it is ready especially as the developer told us that he plans on adding a backstory to the adventure the character goes through and mentioned something about hope. The gameplay itself feels familiar although the parallel draws a blank at the moment.
Infini does not have a release date yet. It is hard to place any solid impressions on it without knowing the story direction it chooses and what other maps appear.
Red Se3d Studio
Developer: Red Se3d Studio
Land of Traps is a cute 3D platformer game featuring cute little creatures that need to complete objectives and dodge traps. There is no doubt that Land of Traps is appealing for younger players. Something about the colorful maps and the adorable creatures and the simple traps and treasure designs are pleasant to look at. The game itself runs pretty smooth and it's quite a bit of relaxing fun to play. It does have some tricky parts on the level we played but it is charming and lighthearted for the most part.
Land of Traps is still in development but has a demo on Gamejolt to try out.
Floor Kids is a touch dance mobile game featuring super cute kids expressing themselves through street dance moves. The music is upbeat and fun. The controls are pretty simple. We only played one level where it introduced the gameplay and what moves could be performed. It looks like a ton of fun especially if you like this sort of game.
Floor Kids is still in development and will be available for iOS and Android.
The S. Crew: Under the Seas
Developer: The S. Crew
The S.Crew: Under the Seas is extremely early in development. It is a multiplayer team game which should have three to five players playing different roles in a futuristic world where submarine crews are where everything is. At the festival, they featured their three prominent roles: The Pilot, The Navigator, and The Gunner. As a team, the pilot can control how fast the sub moves and where, the navigator scouts out the seas for what is around them and looks at their specs while the gunner will deploy the torpedoes of necessary. The developer talked about this hopefully landing on mobile devices so that it could be available for anyone on the move however nothing is set as this is a team game and possibly, Steam could also be a good option to maximize on the great design they have done already.