Indie Game News Roundup: Monument Valley Wins Awards, Indie Games To Shine At PAX Prime, And Gryphon Knight Epic Unveils More Teasers

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 29 August 2014
Category: News Comments View Comments


It's a busy time for indie games (although, to be honest, when isn't it?). Monument Valley has been winning awards, indie games will be in the spotlight at the PAX Prime expo in Seattle, The Nightmare Cooperative has gone mobile, and find out how you can get the Duet soundtracks for free - it's all in this roundup.

Indie Game News Roundup: Monument Valley Wins Awards, Indie Games To Shine At PAX Prime, And Gryphon Knight Epic Unveils More Teasers

High Profile And Highly Regarded Indie Games To Be Showcased At PAX Prime This Weekend
PAX Prime, the annual US expo devoted entirely to gaming, is being held in Seattle, Washington, at the Washington State Convention Center, from today until Monday. At the show indie-game fans will be able to check out the PAX 10, a selection of 10 indie games chosen by 50 industry experts as being best for the year in terms of gameplay and enjoyment factor, rather than technical achievements or sales figures.

YouTube link

The 10 games are: Duet, Flickers, Framed, Life Goes On, Mushroom 11, Nova-111, Poöf Vs The Cursed Kitty, Skullduggery!, and Stikbold!.

They run the gamut from an action platformer to puzzle platformers, arcade action, and themed tower defense games, and there is even a narrative puzzle game.

Expect to see more coverage of these games and their developers on in the future but in the meantime have a look at the developer web sites for more information.

YouTube link

In related news, Double Fine will be at Pax Prime showcasing playable demos of Costume Quest 2, Massive Chalice, and Gang Beasts and various members of the team will make appearances at the Double Fine booth (117) for signings and chats, where you will be able to buy merchandise from these and previous games. Team members will also be appearing on various panels during the course of the expo and Massive Chalice will be presented in depth at Act Theater (700 Union Street) on Saturday from 18:00 to 20:00.

More Information: Pax Prime, Pax 10

The Nightmare Cooperative Is Now Available for iOS devices
At the beginning of this month Lucky Frame, the Scotland based developer of The Nightmare Cooperative, a puzzle-based dungeon-crawling rouge-like strategy adventure (it defies succinct classification), posted a teaser on Twitter hinting that it was working hard on the mobile version of the game, which at that point was only available via Steam for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

Yesterday this mobile version debuted in the iTunes App Store for iOS devices (and will run on anything from iOS 4.3 upwards):

YouTube link

The Android version is still in the works and will be released soon and the PC version of the game is now also available via Humble and, although that wasn't announced with as much fanfare.

The game, which I have been testing on Mac OS courtesy of a copy from the company, is equal parts challenging, addictive, and frustrating as you guide a group of adventurers, each with a special skill, through dungeon levels with the intention of grabbing as much gold as possible. The caveat is that each directional decision controls all the characters so you have to be very careful in how you navigate around. Additionally, the more wandering you do on a level the more enemies start spawning so you have to balance grabbing gold and not accidentally getting a party member killed with getting the hell out of there.

Meanwhile, yesterday Lucky Frame also tweeted about these little guys, which are hanging around the team's space in Edinburgh. I suspect some The Nightmare Cooperative papercraft downloads might be appearing soon.

In other news, the company also recently took a stand in support of diversity in the games industry by publicly declaring its disappointment with the panel lineup of Develop Live, a one-day game conference that will be taking place in Edinburgh on 2 October.

The company has chosen not to attend the event due to the "inexcusable [...] homogenous lineup". It's great to see indie-game developers take the problem of a lack of representation and diversity seriously. Hopefully more developers will follow suit.

Indie Games Hold Their Own Against The Big Players In The Unity Awards
Monument Valley by Ustwo won two awards last week at the Unity Awards 2014 event in Seattle, Washington, US, an annual awards ceremony that recognises, among other things, excellence in visual achievement in games and products that use Unity products for development.

Monument Valley won the "Best 3D Visuals" award, beating heavyweight contender Hitman GO by Square Enix Montreal, as well as indie puzzle game The Room Two by Fireproof Games, among others, and the "Community Choice" award, which is voted for but the Unity community, and this time it beat heavyweight Hearthstone by Blizzard Entertainment (which, itself, was a big winner on the night) and indie game Gone Home by The Fullbright Company, among others. (As an aside, Gone Home's developer The Fullbright Company is based in Portland and the first-person-perspective exploration adventure game is set in the Pacific Northwest.)

Monument Valley was also nominated for the "Golden Cube" award, the big award of the evening, but lost in that category to Hearthstone. Hearthstone's other win was "Best Gameplay", in which Gone Home and maths puzzle game Threes! by Sirvo, were also nominated, among others.

The Unity Awards are the latest notable achievement for the studio, which recently celebrated the one million downloads milestone - a notable feat considering that the game, which is available for iOS and Android devices, has never been free.

Gryphon Knight Epic Announces A New Cameo And Releases More Teasers
To celebrate Gryphon Knight Epic, a 2D pixel-art shoot 'em up scroller, reaching its funding goal on Kickstarter this week, its developers, Cyber Rhino Studios in Brazil, have released a teaser video of the sea stage that features the boss character Lorraine Learn and showcases improved flight animations for your character - Sir Oliver - on his gryphon Áquila.

YouTube link

The developers also announced a new gaming-character cameo appearance - Rocket Ranger from Cinemaware's Rocket Ranger games, who will be hidden in one of the stages. Previously the team announced a Shovel Knight cameo.

The game still has two days to go on Kickstarter so if you have any extra cash consider chipping in to help the development team reach some of the stretch goals. If you can't use Kickstarter you can also donate via Paypal, a mechanism the developers set up today to help with meeting more stretch goals.

Speaking of stretch goals, the team also announced a tweak to the tiers today to try and make it easier for the game to reach at least some of them more quickly, notably the development of a seventh level, which will be a stage designed by one of the backers. The team is also looking further to the possible eighth stage, and unveiled the boss and environment for it today as well: Amadi Eko, an undead necromancer.

Indie Game News Roundup: Monument Valley Wins Awards, Indie Games To Shine At PAX Prime, And Gryphon Knight Epic Unveils More Teasers

The Paypal system will continue to take orders after the Kickstarter campaign ends on Sunday, which means it's much more likely that the development team can add more of the great content it has in mind, but if you pledge on Kickstarter before the campaign ends you'll be able to pick up a copy of the game, which will be available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, slightly cheaper.

Cyber Rhino Studios: Official Site

♫ Get The Duet Soundtracks For Free
The soundtrack for Duet, an action-puzzle game for iOS and Android that has been selected as one of the Pax 10 games for this year's Pax Prime (see above), is available for free on Bandcamp. The 11-track collection is by Tim Shiel, a composer from Melbourne who appeared as a multi instrumentalist in Gotye's live band.

The ambient-electronica soundtrack features some standout tracks, including "Tempa", which, of all the tracks, is most reminiscent of some of the work on the soundtrack for the indie game Machinarium, "Laps", and "Patinkin". You can listen to all the tracks above and download the album directly from Bandcamp. Although it is free it really is worth tossing in a few dollars. The music is immersive and relaxing and best listened to with a good pair of headphones.

Shiel also produced a second album, Duet Duets, which features music from the soundtrack remixed by artists from Melbourne. You can also listen to all the tracks using the widget above and download this album for free on Bandcamp.

Tags: #games, #music, #portland

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