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8 Unusual Games Spotted at IndieCade

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Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 6:30 AM
click to enlarge "Invaded!" by Jason Torchinsky - LIZ OHANESIAN
  • Liz Ohanesian
  • "Invaded!" by Jason Torchinsky

Last weekend, IndieCade, the annual event dedicated to independent games, took over a stretch of Culver Blvd. for indoor and outdoor events. Whether they're 3-D video games, iPad puzzles or physical games, the products showcased at this festival aren't just new -- they push the boundaries of how we play. Below, are eight unusual games we spotted at IndieCade.

click to enlarge IndieCadeScreenCaps2.jpg

8. Desktop Dungeons

Earlier this year, Desktop Dungeons won an IGF award for "Excellence in Design." It was the first African game to be nominate, let alone win a prize. Developers Danny Day and Marc Luck of QCF Design are based in Cape Town, South Africa and have spent about a year-and-a-half working on the puzzle game that takes about ten minutes to play.

With Desktop Dungeons, you're exploring a new kingdom where the biggest export, according to Day, is "monster bits." Your character gains more health by uncovering uncharted terrain in the kingdom. With more health, you're able to defeat more monsters. The developers note that one of the unusual aspects of the game is that you will always start as a Level 1 player, but the terrain changes with each play. I played Desktop Dungeons three times in a row, with essentially the same character, but none of those games featured exactly the same layout.

A beta version of Desktop Dungeons is available for free download through the site.

click to enlarge IndieCadeScreenCaps1.jpg

7. Bit.Trip

Bit.Trip is a series of six, rhythm-based games for Nintendo Wii and 3DS with an old school arcade flare from Gaijin Games.

"It's basically our take on what would rhythm games look like if they were made in the late '70s, early '80s," says developer Alex Neuse.

This might not seem particularly odd, but what makes the Bit.Trip series a little different is the philosophy behind it, with "music and rhythm" becoming symbols of the human experience. The first game in the series, Bit.Trip.Beat, says Neuse, is relatively simple. Games gradually get more challenging.

"It follows this rhythm that I think we have in life," says Neuse. "As you grow, things change and eventually you die and return."

Halcyon Trailer from zach gage on Vimeo.

6. Halcyon

Created by Zach Gage and Kurt Bieg, Halcyon is an iPad game that is also a musical instrument.

"It is a spacial, ambient, action puzzle game, which is a lot of words," says Gage with a chuckle.

In Halcyon, your job is to match up triangles of the same color as they move across strings. Dragging triangles towards each other essentially forces you to pluck the string, so the soundtrack is constantly evolving based on how you play the game. There are several different levels of the game and each one has a theme like wind or sea, so there's a constant change both in color scheme and music.

Halcyon is already available. Check it out through the game's website.

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