The Independent Games Festival Awards have announced their finalists, as soon as extra reflecting the esteemed opinions of RPS writers. Sad mutant blueberry simulator Mutazoine is the favorite for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, and is additionally within the operating for the Art, Audio and Narrative awards. Two thirds of Alices agree that it is properly good.
Other grand prize contenders embody AI and unhappiness visible novel Eliza, uplifting flap-about A Short Hike, irresistible card-pusher Slay The Spire, and irritable waterfowl punter Untitled Goose Game. Also within the operating is Anodyne 2: Return To Dust, the one recreation on the checklist that somebody at RPS hasn’t thrown lavish reward at. Soz, Anodyne.
You’ll discover most of these video games in our picks for the most effective video games of 2019, which non-coincidentally additionally consists of a few of the greatest writing of 2019. Here’s Alice O on Mutazoine, an journey recreation I didn’t do justice to with that glib abstract. It’s about coping with ecological and interpersonal fallout, typically by accepting which you could’t. (Here’s Alice Bee’s Mutazoine evaluation, too)
“Mutazione is perhaps the only game with dialogue options where I often chose not to press matters further, where I didn’t want to wring everyone for all their stories and secrets. I wanted to know because I liked them but I couldn’t demand it. I didn’t fear rejection, I feared that these gentle people would tell me secrets they weren’t ready to share because they didn’t want to make me feel hurt.”
Graham referred to as A Short Hike “spiritually refreshing”. It’s up for the Excellence in Design, too. Bird-based island exploration didn’t resonate with me to fairly the identical diploma, although I nonetheless discovered it pretty. Top flapping, however:
“These movement systems would be nothing if the world itself wasn’t so delightful. The island is rendered with Nintendo 64-style polygons and jagged lines, but it’s teeming with detail. Flowers sway in the breeze, wind swooshes overhead, butterflies flutter around bushes, a sparkling ocean laps along the shore. Even when you stop your climb, A Short Hike’s world keeps breathing. There’s variety, too: climb far enough up the mountain and you’ll reach snow, which brings its own challenges and beauty.”
For Eliza, which is additionally up for the Excellence in Narrative award, Sin’s Eliza evaluation says all of it. Then it retains saying issues till you might be as offended on the world as you must have been, however hopeful nonetheless. It’s top-of-the-line examples of how a critic can elevate an already glorious recreation.
“This is a gorgeous recreation not nearly making an attempt to assist folks, however concerning the need to assist folks. What can we do with it, in a world the place something helpful we create can be taken by rich males and used to suck extra marrow from our bones? Should we stroll away from one thing that isn’t working, or keep and attempt to affect it for the higher? Is it proper to desert this challenge that may be performing some good, simply because it additionally contributes to the identical parasitic system principally every little thing else is additionally shackled to?
“How do you get again into life after a protracted interval of grieving and isolation? Can you return? Should you?”
Katherine’s “only real complaint” about Untitled Goose Game was that she wished extra of it. Check out her Untitled Goose Game evaluation to listen to her honk about the good things. fittingly, Goose Game is additionally up for Excellence in Audio.
Here are the finalists in full. There are too many worthy nominees within the different classes for me to say all of them, however I’ll briefly spotlight Knights And Bikes, which is up for awards in each Art and Audio. It’s an motion journey recreation concerning the perils and delights of childhood, with so many neat touches it might qualify as a masseuse. I stated as a lot in my Knights And Bikes evaluation.
IGF will announce the winners on March 18th, through the Game Developers Conference.
(Disclosure: Hannah Nicklin, who has written for us, is studio and narrative lead for Mutazoine builders Die Gute Fabrik.)