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Jupiter’s picks: 10 award-winning indie games from EGX 2018

You might have seen Jupiter Hadley brandishing beautiful glass trophies at this year’s EGX. Here are all the games she awarded them to and why she loves them.

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Powerless

You might have seen Jupiter Hadley brandishing beautiful glass trophies at this year’s EGX. Here are all the games she awarded them to and why she loves them.

There are tonnes of games at this expo from large AAA games to student projects and indie games, all appearing on the show floor. My focus has always been the indie games and student projects that are featured there. This year, I wanted to give away awards for the top ten games, as picked by me, on the show floor. I made some glass trophies and saw as many games as I could, then gave out these fancy awards to the ten that stuck with me. Now I’d like to tell you a bit more about them.

Misfolded

Misfolded

Misfolded is a 2.5D narrative-driven linear game where you play as a dark creature in a world full of light, called The Monomer. The world around you is very healthy and full of life, but everything you do seems to cause chaos and destruction. As you move through the landscape, the natives in the land move away from you and start to resent the things that you are mistakenly doing. You seem to be alone in this world, lost, and segregated from the ‘normal’ people around you. As you move forward, you must solve small puzzles and transform into various versions of yourself, each with their own movements and abilities.

Misfolded doesn’t have any words that tell the story. Instead, you follow the general feeling and beautiful scenes that show what is going on in this seemingly communication-less world. You start to become the evil creature people think you are; you cause destruction on purpose as it is the only way forward. Soon everyone fears you, and for very good reason.

I found Misfolded to be a touching, even with the small demo that was showcased at EGX. The emotions and feel of the game is perfectly shown through the world around the character, and I walked away thinking about how this character would continue to survive in their world.

You can find information on Misfolded on the developer’s website here, though there is currently no official release date.

Wargroove

Wargroove

Wargroove is a turn-based strategy game featuring beautiful pixel art graphics, in which up to four players each take control of an army and command its units against each other. You are able to purchase and create units of various types from your base – including cute, tiny, doggo-esque animals that will then fight for you. Once you have your army, during your turn, you can move and attack your enemy or conquer buildings that are on the map.

I got the chance to play 1v1, taking on a friend of mine who had previously played the game. I had a wonderful time moving my units, seeing their animations as they attack, and trying to beat their army. There are a few different ways to win in Wargroove – either by defeating your opponent’s captain, or by taking over their base. This game is just so polished and fun to play!

Wargroove is set to release this year, on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. You can find more info on the game’s website.

Powerless

Powerless is a mobile, interactive fiction that has you trying to survive in London after a global power cut. You follow the story of various individuals to see how they – and you – react to various disasters. Each of the individual Londoners featured in the story have their own backstory and own set of levels for you to take on. Not all of them will make it out alive, but as they do, they might drastically affect each other.

You aren’t completely alone in all of this. M.A.U.D.E, an AI that assesses your decisions and survival skills, will give you various tasks and talk you through your decisions at each situation. M.A.U.D.E doesn’t give away what your answers mean, often saying ‘interesting’ and asking more questions that make you question yourself.

In the personas I had the chance to experience, the writing is simply astounding. The nearly-destroyed world around you is perfectly described, and the options for survival are pressing and well written. There are a lot of ways to move forward in Powerless, all depending on the way you’d survive.

Powerless is currently out on iOS for $4.99.

The Collage Atlas

The Collage Atlas

The Collage Atlas is a stunning, hand-drawn adventure game where you get to experience picture book-esque world full of puzzles to be solved. Exploring around will reveal more of the world, as well as aspects of the world that you can collect. It feels as if the character is following memories, reading poems, and trying to piece together all that they can. You are able to collect paper lanterns, gather back broken bits of art, and see what you can find in a very unique world.

I find The Collage Atlas hard to describe, as it is more of an experience and feeling. When playing, I couldn’t bring myself to stop exploring the worlds, staring at the beautiful art, or wondering what would happen next. The world is truly unique, the story is open-ended, and it very much felt like playing in someone’s dream world, full of poems and small quests to discover more.

The Collage Atlas is due to release in 2019, on PC and more. You can see beautiful gifs of the game on the developer’s Tumblr.

Mable and the Wood

Mable and the Wood

Mable and the Wood is a unique platformer where you play as a young girl with a very heavy sword. This sword is an item you are tied to, always dragging it along behind you. This sword is not one that can be picked up and used to slice others – instead you use this sword to shapeshift into the monsters you have vanquished.

You start off being able to shift into a fairy – an ability that will help you move faster and get to higher ground, as the game does not allow you to have a sprint or jump. This ability is limited, forcing you back into your normal form after a few moments as a new creature. Additionally, a line is drawn between your sword and your person, which can be used to slice other creatures and destroy them.

You don’t need to destroy anyone in Mable in the Wood; you can play the game without hurting a soul. Mable in the Wood surprised me with their unique way of moving around the game. The sword you are dragging feels heavy, forcing you to sometimes fly just to take a break from it. There are also a bunch of characters dotted around the town and world – all with their own personalities and information to tell you.

Mable and the Wood comes to PC, Mac, and Linux in 2019.

The Echo Chamber

The Echo Chamber

The Echo Chamber is an emotional, story-driven puzzle game that sees you attempting to piece together memories in the mind of Cara. Cara’s twin brother has passed away when she was a child, and she has been haunted by this experience ever since. With only a vague memory of her brother, she has decided to go into those memories and see what can be found deep within her brain.

Out loud, you hear the instructions of a psychiatrist asking questions about your memory. Some objects aren’t quite where you remember them being, sounds are coming from seemingly nothing, and places need to be seen from different angles, revealing hidden messages.

As you bring these rooms back to the way they were when you were there, more of the memories you want to experience open up to you, allowing you to hear more of the voices that spoke and understand what has happened to your brother.

Putting back together memories through moving items, rooms, and seeing where things use to be, is a very unique way to play a game. The Echo Chamber not only provides really interesting rooms to explore, but also a touching story to discover along with it.

The Echo Chamber doesn’t have a public release date listed, but you can follow development through the developer’s Twitter.

Small Talk

Small Talk

Small Talk puts you at a party full of strange creatures, as the world ends. Some of these creatures are just enjoying their last day alive, while others seem to not really understand what is happening to the world. As you talk to various creatures who are at this party with you, you will learn their different takes on what is going on. Small Talk features so many different characters; a human with a head of a full breakfast, a giant robot who is outside the building, and a woman made of a martini glass.

At the very least, these characters will talk to you, telling you about themselves or what’s going on. Some of them, however, need a bit of help before the world ends. You can find yourself going into the mind of a new found friend and helping them come to terms with the world ending.

Small Talk is very unique in graphic style and subject, taking the time to bring you to a world of its own and I can’t wait to experience more of this.

Small Talk is coming soon to Windows, Mac, and PC – for now, you can sign up for their newsletter.

Kinoko

Kinoko

Kinoko is another stunning game, this time, where you play as a unique-looking creature, looking to bring spring to all of the other creatures of the forest. Single-handedly, you must wander around various winter islands – shaking the snow from trees, getting rid of piles of snow, and planting flowers so that spring will come. Some of these creatures are easy to recognize, like moles and foxes. Others, which make the most adorable noises, are mythical and equally invested in the start of spring.

Once you have moved all of the snow out of an area and planted all of the flowers, grass will grow, flowers will bloom, and the creatures will start exploring. You can then lower a totem to move onto the next area.

Kinoko has so many perfect details in the game – from the way the main character holds their hat when running to the subtle animations through the various creatures moving around. It’s a joyous, relaxing game perfect for any age.

Kinoko doesn’t have a public release date, but you can follow development through the game’s Twitter.

Flotsam

flotsam

Flotsam is a happy survival game where you are trying to rebuild your own trash island after the world has been taken over by trash and water. You and your fellow drifters are trying to make your own island in the water by scavenging from various items floating in the ocean. You start off with just a few people and a central point to your new world, but you are able to build off of this point, guide your townsfolk, and attempt to make the best world possible.

Along the way, other drifters might try to join you, but you will need to manage the resource you have to take care of them all. You can use your garbage and driftwood to make more boats, fishing areas, places to make clean water, and much more. Your town floats as you build and survive, moving around the world and showing you more interesting areas to explore.

Flotsam is a wonderful game with so much more coming to it. Between the beautiful graphics, interesting gameplay, and general feel of Flotsam –  I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Flotsam is coming to PC in 2019. You can find more information on the developer’s website.

Hypnospace Outlaw

Hypnospace Outlaw

Hypnospace Outlaw sees you policing the internet of the future, making sure web pages don’t have content they shouldn’t have, and attempting to earn some cash. You are an Enforcer – the police of the internet, given daily tasks to help keep the internet safe. Each day, you need to crawl through citizen’s pages, chat logs, and emails to find violations to then report. There is a lot to look through, many pages to explore, and a bit of cash to be earned. You can then spend that cash on backgrounds, music, and even a virtual pet to take care of.

Hypnospace Outlaw is full of web pages that look like they were made in the 90s. This game is so quirky, so fun, and the more you play the more you discover inside the internet of the future (while helping to keep the world safe, of course).

Hypnospace Outlaw is coming to PC in early 2019! You can wishlist the game on Steam or join it’s Discord through the developer’s website.


What were your favourite indie games from EGX 2018?

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Jupiter is a prolific indie game journalist, writing for various sites, all with a focus on smaller indie gems. She covers thousands of game jams and indie games on her YouTube channel, runs indiegamejams.com (a calendar of all of the game jams going on in the world), and is constantly travelling to judge jams and events, give talks, and seek out new games. You can support Jupiter via Patreon.

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