IndieCade East 2014: Seven Incredible Titles To Watch From ‘Show And Tell’ Day One [VIDEO]

indieCade East 2014
(photo: indiecade)

The vibe at IndieCade East 2014, running from Feb. 14-16 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, NY, is guardedly optimistic. Understandably so, as the exhibitors at the "Show And Tell" gaming showcase run the gamut from fresh-faced young college students with pragmatic expectations to industry pros who abandoned the safety net of AAA paychecks to pour heart, soul and savings account into a passion project. Everyone is hoping for the best, but the possibility of failure weighs harder on some than others. IndieCade can be World 1-1 on the pixelated path to fame, fortune and the occasional princess.

"IndieCade East offers a lot," explains IndieCade Founder and CEO Stephanie Barish. "It's an opportunity to meet gamemakers and potentially see the next big game."

Barish's words ring true when you browse MoMI's top floor exhibition, "Indie Essentials: 25 Must-Play Video Games." Thirteen of the games on display are former IndieCade award-winners, including hits such as Gone Home, Braid and Towerfall. It's not hyperbole to suggest that one of the more than 40 games being featured in this year's "Show and Tell" could become a classic.

Before that happens, though, this year's "Show And Tell" games will get played by the mostly-bearded and occasionally-unwashed indie enthusiasts roaming the ramps of MoMI. Although we can never pinpoint all the intangibles that makes a game hit-worthy (Flappy Bird, anyone?) we can still get excited about the titles that typify the spirit of indie gaming: creativity.

The following seven titles are the ones that caught my interest and held my attention during day one of IndieCade East's "Show And Tell" exhibition. That's the only criteria. These games aren't judged by graphics or length or hype, these are just seven games that made me smile and made me want to keep playing. And isn't that really all that makes a game good or bad? Read on and decide for yourself.

Chasm

In development since Oct. 2012, Chasm is among the more well-known titles being featured at IndieCade East this year. With lip service from the likes of Kotaku and Destructoid, as well as a successful Kickstarter campaign, Chasm is in a much better spot than many of its peers. James Petruzzi, founder of Chasm developer Discord Games, says the game is based on "a foundation of stuff I like." So you're not crazy if you detect elements of Metroid, Castlevania, Diablo, etc. It's a procedurally generated world based on hand-crafted environments so the details are rich and match the gameplay. My limited amount of time with Chasm (disclaimer: I consider anything under 8 hrs to be "limited" playtime for a game I like) revealed a game with solid controls, mouth-watering art and wonderful music. Look for this game to release in Fall 2014 on Windows, Linux and OSX.

Treachery In Beatdown City

Treachery in Beatdown City may look like a basic, button-mashing brawler but NuChallenger's Playstation Mobile offering is anything but. Shawn A. Allen, the creator of Treachery in Beatdown City, describes it as a "tactical brawler," and after getting my mitts on the game I have to agree. It's not a button masher (as made evident by the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek 'Winner Don't Button Mash!' load screen) and it's not mindless. A sprite-filled ode to New York, Treachery in Beatdown City feels like the video game Martin Scorsese could've made instead of "Taxi Driver." From Mayor Mike Moneybags to "Learn Guitar" background flyers, Treachery in Beatdown City is bursting with that 2-1-2 flavor and some thoughtful social commentary, too. The good news is that Treachery in Beatdown City just started its Kickstarter campaign to bring it to PC/Mac. If you've ever wanted to get in on the ground floor of a new gaming genre then this is your chance. The bad news is the game won't be with us until 2015.

How Do You Do It?

 

How Do You Do It?
(photo: indieCade)

This game is just silly, simple fun. There are no levels, no goals or checkpoints. Just a ten-year-old girl mashing naked dolls together trying to figure out the mechanics of sex. How Do You Do It? is based on the real-life experiences of co-creator Nina Freeman, who along with Emmett Butler, Jonathan Kittaka and Deckman Coss, accurately capture the bashful crotch mashings of a girl using asexual dolls. The game is free to play, right now, on Nina's website. Find out how many times you might have done sex.

Kulak

 

Kulak
(image: komradestudios)

Just because a game is at IndiCade East doesn't mean it has to be a video game. They feature board games too. What? Just because a game is a board game it has to have a board? Please. Kulak is a game that understands that games are about one thing: rules. And in Kulak, the rules are pretty simple. One player controls more acres of land (i.e. beads) than other players. The other players can work together to take beads away from the so-called Baron, or fight amongst each other and try to surpass the Baron's power on their own. There are 10-sided dice. Power goes to people's heads. Someone will curse loudly. You can download the latest version of the rules and play now, but check the website regularly. Kulak is still being finetuned and some cool changes could pop up.

Galak-Z

"Yeah, it looks like a spaceship shooter," Jake Kazdal, CEO of 17-Bit (the studio behind Skulls of the Shogun), explained of their new venture Galak-Z. "But it's more like Far Cry 3 in 2-D"

If that sounds lofty and, well, weird I can assure you that it isn't. Galak-Z takes your typical space shooter format and introduces realistic physics, sophisticated AI and multiple factions to create a procedurally-generated experience that's never the same thing twice. Well, almost. One thing is the same: It's fun every time. The AI actively hunts you or calls for backup, nothing is predictable and there are a ton of alien life forms that indiscriminately attack you or your enemies. Galak-Z was featured as part of Sony's E3 press conference for good reason.

"I designed the game," said Kazdal. "And I don't know what's going to happen in it."

Crimson Searchlight

Crimson Searchlight creator Dillon Rogers calls his game "Gone Home meets 'Blade Runner'" and if I was a studio exec that would be enough for me to throw piles of money at him. Alas, Rogers has no such fortune and has been developing the game himself with help from a modding buddy who lives in the U.K. The game is in Steam Greenlight right now, and Rogers hopes to have it released by May of next year. Crimson Searchlight is immersive and experience-oriented. It's not about winning or losing the game, there are no points or lives. Just you, investigating the apartments of people suspected of being androids in disguise. People who know each other. And, eventually, know about you.

What Hath God Wrought?

 

What Hath God Wrought?
(photo: mo mozuch/idigitaltimes.com)

 

Perhaps the most unique title I experienced during day one of IndieCade East 2014's "Show And Tell" was Mike Lazer-Walker's ode to the great-great grandaddy of the Internet: the telegraph. The game's title is a nod to the inventor of the telegraph, Samuel Morse, who sent the phrase "What Hath God Wrought?" as the first official telegraph message. The game consists of players banging out telegraph messages on (hopefully) the device pictured above, which Lazer-Walker thinks could be part of his Kickstarter package. Anyone who experienced last year's phenomenal Papers, Please knows there is fun to be found in monotonous bureaucracy.

Make sure to check back with idigitaltimes.com or follow Mo on Twitter to get all of our IndieCade East 2014 coverage.

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