As Insomnia 62 drew to a close, Gaming editor Roshni Patel picked her top indie games from the show floor
After many years of attending games conventions for Redbrick Gaming, I must say the indie zone is always my favourite area of any exhibition, and I have certainly always found many quirky games with quirkier stories there. This year’s Spring Insomnia, i62, was no exception, as they crammed as many great indies into the show as they could, with many of them featuring innovative stories and game play which I couldn’t resist writing about in my top picks from the show.
Sunburnt by Static Shell Studios
Typically when you think zombie survival games, you think zombie hoards and double barrel shotguns, and perhaps a sharp melee weapon for when they get a little too close and bitey. However, for this game, you’d only be partly correct, as Sunburnt is a game where there are no shotguns, no melee weapons, no dangerous weapons at all really, just light sources. Developed for a game jam, where light was the general theme, Sunburnt tasks you to take out the zombie apocalypse with torches and lanterns, as you give zombies, as the name suggests, lethal sunburns.
Featuring comical ragdoll physics for seemingly unending waves of zombies, and a great mechanic of both looting and self sustainment for powering your torches, Sunburnt throws you headlong into a zombie apocalypse with a twist. And considering most games will give you a melee weapon that never runs out of ammo, and Sunburnt has no such equivalent, there is a sense of urgency to the game, as you need to find or recharge your batteries before the zombies overwhelm you.
While Sunburnt is currently out in early access, there is a lot left to do, with the freshly graduated developers eager for user feedback and suggestions to help create a game that everyone might enjoy.
Cyber Stealth by Golem Games
After finishing Dishonoured last year, I’ve come to love the stealth genre, where hiding in the shadows was imperative and dispatching enemies swiftly and silently was an art. Cyber Stealth features all of these qualities and more, with its quirky design, where instead of playing as a master assassin, you are a reprogrammed service robot with a glitch and a nefarious mission. However there is a catch, there’s only 3 robots, thus 3 lives, and the refitting and reprogramming has left each bot with a fault battery, which loses charge with every move and every shot.
Set in a darkened futuristic cityscape, this game was a lot of fun to play, as I snuck around, taking out security droids and completing missions, often times losing my bots to unexpected security droids who snuck up on me as I took out their companion. Still in development and due for release sometime in 2018, Cyber Stealth still has some rough edges to tidy up, though I have no doubt that this game will certainly be an interesting addition to the genre.
Coin-Op Kingdom by Canalside Studios
It’s not often that I go back to my gaming roots, when I used to play management simulators like Zoo Tycoon and Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis on a rainy day indoors, however this weekend Canalside Studios’ Coin-Op Kingdom called me back, pulling me into the humourous world of arcade management. Though this was no ordinary arcade, as my clientele were all animals, alive and extinct, and each came with their own preferences for their ideal arcade design.
Tasked with earning £6000 in the demo level, I set about filling my empty arcade with machines, food stalls and of course toilets. I hired a mole to manage my machines, a turtle for my front desk and a slug to clean my floors and bathrooms. Before long I had patrons streaming through my doors, playing on my multicoloured and multigenre machines, filling my coffers. But it didn’t take long for the angry faces to appear above heads, and the bouncer to be called out as the developer and I realised that my prehistoric patron had been littering in frustration, a fun feature and mechanic, which is sure to make anyone smile as they kick out a fuming velociraptor.
Developed by students at the University of Huddersfield, the game has the same amusing and engaging design as the management sims of old, drawing in players of all ages to play with well designed characters and levels, many of which are to be expanded on as development continues, with some of the character animations yet to be applied.
These are just some of the great games that were available to play on the show floor, with so many more I couldn’t fit into my article, so be sure to check out my co-editors Emma and James’ top indie picks of Insomnia 62 as well, to find out what else caught our eye at this Spring’s Insomnia.