During her coverage of PAX East, Mina spent a lot of time looking over the many Indie games that were on hand. As such she has created a look at the best options for gamers to enjoy.
- City of the Shroud by Abyssal Arts
Abyssal Arts’ City of the Shroud is a unique episodic campaign where player feedback changes the story for everyone.
After having just moved to the city, a fight with a trans-dimensional monster causes players to become a heroic figure in a city quickly approaching civil war. The five city leaders all try to persuade the player to use their notable influence to support them as a mysterious force field descends, trapping everyone in the city and preventing their escape as more monsters invade.
Combat is done through a compass-like puzzle wheel. To use a combo hit, save up “action points” and follow the pattern of the displayed on the ring to defeat enemies. The combat style takes a bit of getting used to, but settings can be sped up, slowed down, or even modified from real-time to wait mode, which allows players to pause a fight and enter moves. During the game, players will explore the city and answer questions posed by NPCs and their feedback will directly influence and change the narrative direction of the following chapters. If this user-directed style is well received, it has the exciting potential to revolutionize the way we as players interact with and influence games and their development. It begs the questions: who are you, who will you become, and how will you change the story?
The first of four chapters will be available this summer on Steam, with new chapters planned to release every three months, and the full game can be preordered on their website here. Preordering also comes with a free test campaign to try before the official Chapter 1 launch. Once the interactive experience has ended after the last chapter debuts, a “definitive” edition will be provided to all preexisting players, and available for purchase.
- Solo (April 26 on steam)
From Madrid-based Team Gotham comes Solo, a puzzle game determined to get to the heart of the matter—which in this case, is matters of the heart.
Players find themselves on an island on which they must reach a lighthouse and awake a sleeping totem with the light. The totem, now awake, asks the player a question about love. Each island poses a new puzzle and new question, and every answer the player gives changes what questions may be asked next. For example, if you’ve established that you’re in a relationship, the totem may ask if you want it to last forever. Once the multiple-choice question has been answered, the player will help to pull a new island out of the sea for further exploration.
Solo is unique in that its focus is on both the virtual world it presents, as well as the player independent of the game. It’s an introspective gaming experience that gives the player a comfortable and safe environment to explore the sometimes-difficult questions on love that are at its core. Players can solve puzzles, explore the game’s island geography, simply sit and enjoy the view, or even take a selfie or two with the local wildlife as they contemplate life and love. Creator Juan de la Torre understands that expressing your feelings and understanding what love means can be a difficult process, and attempts to make it less stressful—and even pleasant. That doesn’t mean that the gameplay takes a back seat though; if anything, the game is more engaging in order to allow players to focus on something while they contemplate life’s great mysteries.
Find solo on Steam on April 26th, 2018.
- Monster Prom (April 27 2018)
A local multiplayer dating sim ideal for parties, Monster Prom is a hilarious and fun experience whether you’re alone or hanging out with friends. Make new friends and flirt your way through Spooky High’s eligible monster population as you try to find a prom date and maybe find time for a few human sacrifices along the way.
The decisions made in each turn affects player D&D-style stats which reflect your character’s burgeoning personality. Be careful though, different monsters are attracted to different things, so your highly creative but shy character may not appeal to someone looking for a bold and charming date. Through hope and heartache, the tongue-in-cheek writing is snappy and fresh; guaranteed to prompt genuine laughter while also building real vested interest in the characters.
Multiplayer games can include up to four players and 36 total interactions within the game, though single players can opt for a longer 18 round game. With a total of 400 possible character interactions, Monster Prom’s replayability certain hit’s creator Julián Quijano’s goal of being an interactive TV show rather than an one-off movie experience.
Release is set for April 27th on Steam.
- Florence (out now on Android and iOS)
Described as “an interactive story about the ups and downs of two people in love,” I can say with certainty that if any game is going to make you cry, Florence is the one. Mountains Games manages to combine an evocative narrative, stunning visuals, and simple yet effective interactive features into what can only be called a true work of art.
Players watch 25 year old Florence Yeoh go about her daily routine, and help her perform the intimate daily work of helping her snooze her alarm clock as long as possible and brushing her teeth by swiping side-to-side on the screen. Users help Florence follow the music she hears on the street and lead her to Krish the cellist, then help her navigate the winding and sometimes difficult journey of being in love.
The minigames keeps players engaged with the story, but they do more than make sure you’re still paying attention. Players help Florence through her day, and take an active role in her life by gently guiding her journey. Every action draws player and characters closer together, illustrates her emotional state, and serves to emphasize the ways in which our mobile devices play an increasingly involved part of our lives both in the game and in the real world as well.
Florence is a virtually textless game; colorful, blank speech bubbles are used to represent whole conversations. True to form, playing Florence is less of an experience easily described in words and much more of a feeling; it rings authentic and doesn’t shy away from the messy realities of love and relationships, while also evoking a certain fond tenderness.
Florence is currently available for Android and iOS.