This year’s Boston Festival of Indie Games (BFIG) this weekend was huge. BFIG features developers that are based in Boston and the surrounding region as they showcase their games and get player feedback. It’s a sensory overload perfect for anyone who loves anything about digital and tabletop games. Here are some of the titles we loved most from the festival!
You ever play a local four-player game with people you don’t know and it feels kind of weird? This was the opposite. This competitive multiplayer puzzle game throws up to four players together in one room as they each jump, double-jump, and wall-jump from different colored chunks lard to combine them with their colors. If this sounds gross to you, you clearly haven’t seen Fat Mask‘s adorable and sleek animation complimented by brilliantly whimsical gameplay mechanics. This game is the lovechild of any color-matching puzzle game and Smash Bros. And as someone who’s pretty abysmal at both, I had a blast with the unknown gamers I played with. Fat Mask gets the greenlight on Steam at the end of this month, but as designer/developer Michael Emond states, they’re hoping to release it on PS4 and Xbox One sometime in the future.
Having played roughly the first 45 minutes of The Town of Light, it quickly came to no surprise to me that it won two awards last year for Excellence in Story & Storytelling. We step into the shoes of a woman who’s exploring a children’s mental asylum she was admitted to at the age of 16. It’s important to note, however, that this story is based heavily on true experiences of the very real Volterra Asylum. When opening up the synopsis menu in-game, there are four options that let you rediscover objects and events you find throughout the game: Experiences, Documents, Memories, and Medical Records. Notice “experiences” and “memories” are two different categories. The narrative of this game takes mental illness and those who suffer from it very seriously and I’m eager to explore and learn more when the game releases in December of this year on Steam.
One of my favorite things I learned playing f**ktionary is that its creator, Vasanth Sarathy, quit his career as a lawyer (a lawyer) to take himself less seriously and create a game based on making people think dirty thoughts. My second favorite thing was learning that this game was rejected by several publishers for being “too dirty” before Ad Magic picked it up. Calling itself a “hilarious mix between Urban Dictionary and Balderdash”, it’s an excellent party game or a great way to get to know your in-laws. One player reads a word from one of the cards to the rest of the players. Each player writes down what they think it means on a small piece of paper and hands it in. The person who guessed it right wins that round but what really matters are all the ridiculous guesses. F**ktionary has been out since August of last year and has been garnering loads of attention.
Rain World felt extremely nostalgic to me for reasons I can’t explain. You take control of what’s been named Slugcat by it’s creators. It makes for an appropriate name given you’re very nimble, can crawl, and swim underwater. In the demo, I was instructed to find bats to eat and discover as many locations as I could. This world was cold and dark, but also cozy. Every location I found felt like it could be Slugcat’s new home and once I found an area with a significant number of bats, I found a way to hang out there and catch as many of them as I could. I couldn’t get over the smooth physics and animation and wanted to eat bats forever. “Maybe explore a little more,” I was told, which waked me from my bat-eating trance. I took Slugcat through a small pipe into the next area, climbed a pole to an area above, and through another pipe only to be stared at directly in the face by a green lizard monster that decided I was lunch. I ran, climbed, and jumped back to where I came from before my adventure came to an end. I can’t wait to pick it back up when it’s released on Steam in March 2016.
Sometimes, you or your significant other comes home from work and doesn’t want to play a complicated game of Magic: The Gathering. That’s what creator Emma Larkins had in mind when she created this casual card game for her boyfriend. Made for just two people, Heartcatcher is a casual competitive card game based on bluffing. You start out with three different colored heart cards that work very much like rock-paper-scissors. But things get a little more complex when you start throwing secrets under those cards that might add points, steal points, or steal their heart entirely. This is an excellent no-stress game for all ages, and is perfect for a rainy day. Matches are very short, running anywhere between 3-8 minutes and yo can pick it up some time in the first quarter of 2016.
There can be no shortage of political satire games and this resource management, school simulator takes it to hilariously dark levels. In No Pineapple Left Behind, you are the principal, in charge of hiring teachers adjusting their pay and “spells” that they cast on their students to make the school more money. You have two different types of students, however: human children and pineapples. Pineapples go to class, get good grades, and never get distracted. But human children are a bit more complicated due to their “humanity” stat. This stat makes them have friends, gives them quests like making more friends, being popular or asking someone out. These students to do not get good grades. But worry not, the teachers you hire can learn abilities that lower the humanity stat. Once a student’s humanity reaches zero, they turn into a pineapple. Ca-ching!
SKARA The Blade Remains is a multiplayer fighting game that feels like Dark Souls as a MOBA. Choosing characters from five cultures that are at war during the apocalypse, players will be pitted against each other free-for-all style in an arena to see who ends up on top. The development team is still working hard to work out kinks and make the graphics a little more easy on the eyes, and it’s already looking pretty close. The gameplay itself will continue the story of the game’s lore and will even have a novel releasing sometime in the future. It’s shooting for an early 2016 release on Steam but closed early access will be available soon.
What do you folks think? Which of these games are you most excited for? Let us know below!