ESGS 2016: Indie Lane
Amongst the noteworthy events last ESGS, the highlights of summit include: the Game Fest ’16 (by GDAP) and the Indie Arena. With locally and internationally developed games, the Philippine gaming industry continues to grow despite its small scale population. ESGS has been one of the supporters of the gaming scene and strives to achieve the industry’s full potential through featuring events that celebrates independent local (and welcomed international) game developers.
Check out some of the games the Flipgeeks Team had the honor to try out (most of the games here are in Alpha/Beta stages):
1. Sky’s the Limit (Wong Thong Productions)
Started out as an entry for PLDT Mobile VR Game Jam, the team composed from iAcademy students made a mobility game that features “soaring above the skies” themed VR experience.
Sky’s the Limit (STL) is a virtual reality game where players will travel across floating platforms and try to go as high as possible, avoid drowning and dodging ducks within the given time limit. True to its name, STL basically challenges players to achieve high scores through moving among ranks of floating islands and hitting them by a simple tap. The gameplay involves the player to take a seat and fly through the skies with the concept: the higher, the better.
The game has simple features that bring nostalgia to Millennials especially those who lived through the evolution of platform gaming. With its point A to point B system, even children and adults alike can have fun and be challenged through a natural level of difficulty as opposed to complicated gameplays. Since the game is still in its Alpha stage (and was born from an intensive straight two-day planning and developing), there are still windows for improvement but nevertheless, the developers were able to stage an interesting take on VR utilizing dexterity and focus for the players.
On a side note, the meaning of going higher (to score better) is a good message for kids (a reminder to adults as well) to “aim higher” than to settle with average day-to-day routines.
2. Experiments in Game Feel (Snack Studios)
One of the most refreshing games (albeit not-yet-game) in the Indie Arena was Game Feel. Naturally, the concept itself is a bit confusing since the focus is not on the mechanics or the overall narrative but on the “feels” on playing. With a rather amusing take on personifying negative emotions into monsters the character battles with, the player should deal with their inner demons (Insecurity, Doubt, etc.) in order to defeat them literally.
A lot of games nowadays take music, art, and stories into huge accounts which actually helps to put the player into the story, but with Experiments of Game Feel, Javi Almirante (Creator) recounts how he played with the different elements in the game that gives the players monsters without enough context (depending on how they’re going to fight it.) The game itself is as simple at face value and the interface of the monsters look cute enough to not actually defeat it, but like Javi said, it’s more like an existential journey of the player. Confronting emotions and setting grounds on how to feel the game and not just what to feel. Since the game is still in its (very) early stages, the game has a lot of potential and definitely something worth putting your money into. True to its name, Experiments in Game Feel is a unique gaming experience that will take your feelings (negative or positive) into play.
3. Political Animals (Squeaky Wheel)
With an ingenious plot and timely gameplay, Political Animals is an election simulation game set within a fictional world populated by corrupt crocodiles and meritocratic mice. In a world where corruption is evident, the players are challenged between playing as a mouse with integrity versus a croc with hidden agenda. Based on the Philippine lore of crocodiles (Buwaya) as corrupt officials and use of dirty politics, Political Animals is a wittily crafted game that challenges the players to “how incorruptible” they could be.
The turn-based game, developed by Squeaky Wheel and published by Positech Games, is a good strategy induced mock-up that lets the players have the ropes on winning votes or buying them. By natural campaigning and salvaging their integrity, it tests generally ‘good vs. bad’ decision making skills. The overall goal is to use several strategies to win the majority’s votes and preserve what may be left of their honesty.
Political Animals is interesting in itself with its colorful graphics alone and easy-to-understand game features. At first impression, it looks like adorable Aesop version of the characters where players can choose different animals as their main character. Basically, you can pick characters based on your personality; a map and a district where you can settle, and eventually win over the townsfolk. Indeed, with its cute interface, Political Animals tests your budgeting, campaigning, and even logistics taking skills of the players.
Political Animals will be available on Steam this November 2016.
4. Panty Thief (Secret 6)
Born from the internal Game Jam in Secret 6, Panty Thief emerged as the funny and witty take on pervy thieves and unlikely prizes. Panty Thief, in its very essence, is the adventure of Bogart – who scales through buildings to collect “panties” and should avoid getting caught.
With its pick-up-to-play concept, the developers chose a theme that would take a funny spin of collecting and while I’m some people like collecting stamps, Bogart collects panties. S6 presented Panty Thief as one of the up-and-coming games featured in ESGS. Graphics and gameplay are friendly and visually appealing enough that rookie players will definitely enjoy it. Perfect game to play to pass time and several attempts of getting high scores (and even acquiring rare undies!), players can find themselves engrossed in this fast paced free-to-play exploit.
5. The Letter (Yang Yang Mobile)
It’s not a secret that Filipinos have a knack of scaring each other, whether watching horror films or going through crazy ghost-themed parks. “The Letter” is inspired by several notable Asian horror films up to date and gives the player the experience of walking in the shoes of seven characters. As a visual novel, (and non-chronological to top it off) the whole game itself lives up to their expectations regardless that the game is still in its beta phase.
After reading an unknown letter, seven people are trapped inside and later on experience the mysterious (if not otherworldly) happenings in the prestigious 17th century mansion. The premise of the story revolves around decision making skills and to solve the puzzle around the horror that enshrouds the mansion.
With stunning visuals, intricate backgrounds, and intriguing butterfly effect story line, The Letter will definitely have the players step into the shoes of the characters and decide their own fate.
What are the games you tried out last ESGS? Know any indie game you’d like us to review? Send us a message!