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IndieGames.com is presented by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, which runs the Independent Games Festival & Summit every year at Game Developers Conference. The company (producer of the Game Developers Conference series, Gamasutra.com and Game Developer magazine) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers.

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2012 Independent Games Festival Opens Submissions

June 30, 2011 2:53 PM | Michael Rose

IGF2012.jpgOrganizers have officially opened submissions for the 2012 Independent Games Festival, being held at the Game Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco next March 5-9.

The Independent Games Festival is the longest-running and highest-profile independent video game festival, summit, and showcase, and is now accepting entries to its 14th annual edition, with deadlines in the Main and Student Showcase categories by October 17 and October 31 respectively, and finalists to be announced in January 2012.

All games selected as finalists will be available in playable form at the IGF Pavilion on the GDC show floor from March 7-9, 2012, and will compete for nearly $60,000 in prizes, a significant increase from last year.

This includes the high-profile $5,000 Nuovo Award, honoring abstract, short-form, and unconventional video game development, and previously won by designers including Jason Rohrer (Between) and Messhof (Nidhogg).

In addition, awards for Excellence in Visual Art, Audio, and Design, Technical Excellence, Best Mobile Game, the Best Student Game, and the Audience Award each now receive a $3,000 prize, and the signature Seumas McNally Grand Prize for the independent game of the year (won by Mojang's Minecraft in 2011) has been increased by 50 percent to a record $30,000.

iPhone Game Pick: Pocket Academy (Kairosoft)

June 30, 2011 11:00 AM | Michael Rose

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Is there anything more exciting than a new Kairosoft game release? Probably, but it's definitely got to be up there with the best things in life. Pocket Academy is the first Kairosoft English release not to feature the word 'Story' on the end, which is interesting, as it's also the first English release from the developer which feels rather different from its other games.

You are the principal at a school, and you must build facilities, hire teachers and attract students, while competing with all the other schools in the area. While the interface feels familiar and there are plenty of stats to level up as per usual - it's pretty similar to Hot Springs Story - there's a very distinct and different feel to this one. It's a little more confusing to start with, as it doesn't feel like there is as much direction. It also feels a little slower, with weeks passing where you simply stare at the screen and watch things happen.

That doesn't make it any less addictive - Kairosoft has, as always, nailed that 'just one more hour' feel, so prepare to lose many more hours to it. Pocket Academy is available from the App Store for £2.39 / $3.99.

Oh, and while you're at it, the original Game Dev Story (still the best one) has had its price slashed for a short time - grab it now for £1.19 / $1.99.

iPhone Game Pick: Hard Lines (Spilt Milk Studios)

June 29, 2011 11:00 AM | Michael Rose

I've wanted to give Hard Lines a go for a few weeks now, but the agony of owning a simple first generation iPod touch with inadequate firmware was denying me the chance. Fortunately, the lovely people at Spilt Milk Studios heard my cries of pain from afar, and released an update that was compatible with my age-old device. Not that I can be bribed into writing about your game, but it's nice to see a developer going beyond the call of duty like that.

Imagine if, after all that, the game had turned out to be rubbish! Thank the heavens above, then, that Hard Lines is pretty much essential iPhone-ware. Over six separate game modes, you're thrown into a Snake/Tron lightcycles world of glowing neon lights and coloured lines who sporadically shout cute catchphrases about life and death.

Each game mode is different enough from the others that it offers a completely different experience. You've got your classic Snake, as well as the Tron-like survival mode. Then there's Time Attack for scoring as much as possible in a short space of time, the mental and tense Gauntlet, and a mode that focuses on killing other players called Pinata.

What's really noticeable about the game is the level of polish, as each different game mode smoothly rolls between the main menus and the next play. You've also got OpenFeint scoreboards, which I will no doubt be tried to climb over the course of the next few weeks (aka months). $1.99/£1.19 will bag you the game from the App Store.

Cow Trouble is Free for Today Only

June 28, 2011 7:00 AM | Tim W.


Cosmind and Blue's debut physics-based puzzle game for the iOS was very well-received when it was released earlier this year, and for today only Cow Trouble is available to download from the App Store at the cost of nothing (originally priced at $1.99). The cows are trying to jump to the moon and leave us humans with no milk to drink, so it's up to you to knock them off the clouds and bring them back down to earth with the help of a pair of beach balls. Later levels introduce more and more cows into each area, but you'll have gained a set of new balls with different sizes and properties to use as well.

If you didn't get a chance to win the free codes we gave away back in March, then here's another opportunity to download it completely gratis. Cow Trouble can be found in the App Store by clicking here.

iPhone Game Pick: FishMoto (Overpowered Games)

June 21, 2011 10:00 AM | Michael Rose

A homage to the original Elasto Mania biking puzzler, FishMoto has been released for iPhone and is just as mental as its inspiration. Physics-based action that requires spot-on precision ahoy!

You control a catfish in a jar, which is also attached to a couple of bouncy wheels. Collecting bags of fish is your task, and as you can tell from the above video, it's not always simple... that is to say, it's an incredibly difficult game. But when you do manage to pull off one of the variety of insane stunts on show, including altering gravity and riding along the walls, it's all worth it.

FishMoto is available from the App Store with a price tag of $1.99. Head over to the game's official site for more details.

Trailer: ASYNC Corp. (Powerhead Games)

June 20, 2011 10:00 AM | Michael Rose

ASYNC Corp. is an iPhone puzzler coming soon to the App Store, from the guys who made Glow Artisan, winner of the IGF Best Mobile Game Design in 2010. The game revolves around a company which is trying to make the world a more synchronised place.

I honestly don't fully understand how this game is going to play out, as the action in the video is pretty vague. It seems like you match blocks and colours on both sides to make them synchronise and disappear... maybe? Whatever the case, it looks pretty vibrant and fun, and will hopefully be a good one to play on long commutes.

The game has been submitted to the App Store, so expect to see it within the next couple of weeks.

Trailer: Continuity 2 (Ragtime Games)

June 15, 2011 11:00 AM | Tim W.


Having already been delayed several times before, the sequel to Ragtime Games' award-winning puzzle platformer will finally be available to purchase from the App Store starting this June 16th, 2011. If you played the browser-based version previously, then you should be pretty familiar with how the game works - use your fingers to arrange pieces of a level, then guide the onscreen character to a key that will unlock the exit door before proceeding through it for the next puzzle.

Players can switch between playing or arranging a level by tapping the screen with their fingers twice (as demonstrated in the video below). Place your finger on either side of the screen to move your character, and swipe upwards to make him jump. The iOS version features new elements like switches and doors, an achievement system to reward players who did well with the puzzles, and fifty new stages to complement the original thirty found in the prequel.

You might also want to keep an eye on the official site for Continuity 2 or Ragtime Games' Twitter account, in case the development team decides to give away a few promo codes to their fans or followers in the next couple of days.

Q&A: Zach Gage on Bit Pilot 2.0

June 15, 2011 5:30 AM | jeriaska

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Game designer Zach Gage at the 2011 E3 Expo in Los Angeles

Options for sidestepping asteroids in the mobile game Bit Pilot just got more expansive, as the iOS title received a free update today providing universal support. Previously exclusive to the iPhone, high resolution gameplay is now supported on the iPad, as well as iPhone 4 and latest genertation iPod Touch retina displays. Meanwhile, Apple's Magic Trackpad now syncs up with Bit Pilot for the Mac as a wireless controller interface.

The 2.0 version update has added Game Center support, OpenFeint Ranking, cumulative score tracking and in-game achievement screens. There is also a different intro song and three additional music tracks by chip music artist Sabrepulse (Ashley Charles).

The demo, which requires a trackpad, Magic Mouse, or Magic Trackpad, is free to play (containing all of the content of Bit Pilot 1.0), while the full title is currently priced at 99 cents on the Apple Store. We caught up with designer Zach Gage to hear what brings him back to Bit Pilot.

What is it about the gameplay for this game that you felt was intriguing enough to you as a designer that you wanted to adapt it to additional platforms?

Zach Gage: Creating the control scheme was really satisfying. While coming up with new modes I played a lot of Geometry Wars and other dual-stick shooters, though none of them ever ended up feeling as tight as the controls on Bit Pilot are. I feel like the game has succeeded not just in approximating a dual-stick shooter on the iPhone, but having the kind of very exact control setup that can't really be done on other platforms.

Browser Game Pick: Extreme Road Trip (Guillaume Germain)

June 13, 2011 3:30 PM | Michael Rose

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When developer Guillaume Germain sent me Extreme Road Trip last month, it felt a little too simple to bring to the attention of IndieGames readers, although there was no denying there was a certain something to it. Now that it has been given the extra edge of a SoulEye soundtrack, there's just enough that I feel you should give it a few minutes of your time.

Gameplay is incredibly simple - you pick a car, then rush along a set of hilly terrains, flipping in the air and trying not to spend too much of your fuel. Every time you pull off a crazy stunt and land perfectly, you'll earn nitro boost, which will save on using your normal fuel. The idea is to get as far as you can without crashing or running out of gas.

It's still very tech demo-y, but there's a reason for that - Guillaume is planning on turning it into an iPhone version, and wanted to see whether people enjoyed it on the PC first. Give it a go and see what you think - it's strangely addictive.

iPhone Game Pick: Greedy Bankers (Alistair Aitcheson)

June 13, 2011 7:00 AM | Tim W.

The iOS version of Greedy Bankers is an updated port of Alistair Achiteson's Windows prototype for a puzzle game he designed back in mid-2010. You play as a banker trying to get his hands on as much loot and money as he can, since the game will end if you don't meet the cash objective before time runs out.

Larger gems can be created by combining the smaller ones, and you'll earn yourself a decent score bonus when a big jewel is collected as well. The further you get in Greedy Bankers, the harder it'll be to meet the level clear requirements. Robbers will also appear and try to steal your precious gems before you can cart them off to your treasury coffers.

Though a Windows version of Greedy Bankers exists, this bite-sized puzzle game does work better with touch screen controls. You won't find too many features in the iOS port - there's just the standard puzzle mode and little else outside of the instruction manual and credits screen.

Greedy Bankers can be downloaded from the App Store by clicking here.
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