Video Games

Boston Festival Of Indie Games: Highlights

Ben Franchi ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer


The  Boston  Festival  of  Indie  Games  recently took  place  at  MIT,  and  Emertainment   was  lucky  enough  to  receive  early  access  and  coverage  to  the  projects  presented  there.  Here are  some of our highlights and impressions from the show!

  Ninja  Tag:  This  4-­player  local  versus  game  was  evocative  of  nostalgic  Newgrounds   flash  games.  A  simple  brawler  with  surprising  depth,  the  goal  of  the  game  is to  grab  the  katana  in  the  arena  and  use  it  to  kill  your  rival  ninja  competitors.  Each  player  could  use  smoke   bombs  to  teleport  around  the  arena  or  crossbows  to  disarm  the  lucky  sword-­swinging  shinobi.   The  game  needs a  little  polish,  but  the  build  presented at BFIG was  still well-made  and  extremely  fun,  and  will  include  multiple  modes  in  the  final  project.  This  could  end   up  as  a  popular  Friday  night  pastime,  should  marketing  pan  out  in  its  favor.

(c) Happy Box Games
(c) Happy Box Games

The  Forgettable  Dungeon:  A  3D  pixel-art  roguelike,  developed  by  Happy  Box  Games,   that  brings  to  mind  3D  Dot  Game  Heroes.  The  Forgettable  Dungeon  boasts  completely   customizable  characters,  the  ability  to  use  any  usable  object  as  a  weapon,  and  scrolls  that   cause  crazy,  game-­changing  effects.  As  your  character  takes  damage,  the  pixels  that  comprise   them  blow  off.  As  such, one of Emertainment’s demos ended in playing  most  of  the  game  as  the  torso  of  Solid  Snake.  The  game  looks   a  little  buggy  right  now,  and  the  explosive  pixel  effects  makes  it  a  little  hard  to  see  what  is  going   on  onscreen,  but  the  title  shows  a  lot  of  promise  as  an  underground  homage  to  the  retro   classics.

Fat  Mask:  An  adorably  grotesque  little  competitive  title  made  by  Paper  Cult  Games.  Fat   Mask  has  up  to  four  players  as  sumo  wrestlers  push  matching  blocks  together  in  order  to  create   mutated  blobs.  The  person  with  the  most  blobage  by  the  end  of  the  round  gets  a  point,  and  first   to  three  points  wins.  The  more  blocks  on  a  player’s  combo,  the  longer  it  takes  for  the  blocks  to   lock  into  a  mutation,  and  players  can  steal  the  combos  of  opponents  by  smacking  blocks  onto   them  before  they  finish  mutating.  The  game  is  very  tense  and  strategic,  and  balancing  offensive   and  defensive  blob  creation  is  key  to  obtaining  victory.  The  developers  tell  Emertainment  that  in  the  final   product,  creating  blobs  will  also  grant  players  power-­ups  as  well.  Nevertheless,  the  build  they   currently  have  is  extremely  fun,  and  hopefully  will  gain  much  traction  upon  its  final  release.

(c) Hypersect
(c) Hypersect

  Inversus:  Inversus  can  be  described  in  three  simple  words:  Othello  meets  Lightcycles.   Developed  by  Hypersect,  this  game  has  two  players  trying  to  shoot  each  other  with  lasers  on  a   black-­and-­white  square  board.  As  a  laser  crosses  the  board,  the  territory  it  passes  turn  into  the   opposite  color  of  the  shooter,  allowing  them  to  move  across  it  or  barricade  the  traversable   territory  of  their  opponent.  Each  player  has  limited  ammunition  for  their  shots  and  can  charge  up   shots  to  cover  three  rows  at  a  time.  This  game  was  one of our favorites at  the   festival,  as  managing  your  ammunition  while  planning  where  you  want  to  move  and  cut  off  your   opponent  keeps  both  the players’  brain  and thumbs  moving  at  high  speed.  Simple,  yet  fast-­paced,  and maybe  a  new  contender  in  the  competitive  gaming  scene.

Ultimate  Chicken  Horse:  UCH  is  a  game  that  is  sure  to  destroy  some  friendships  upon   release.  The  point  of  the  game  is  for  players  to  reach  the  goal,  while  using  obstacles  to block the  progress  of  their  opponents.  At  the  start  of  each  round,  players  can  plant  an  obstacle  almost   anywhere  they  want  on  the  map.  Doors,  spikes,  saws;  the  list  goes  on.  Players  then  try  to  make   it  to  the  goal  while  navigating  the  increasingly  difficult  maze  of  danger  and  frustration  before   them.  Will  you  make  it  easy  for  yourself  and  place  simple,  non-­intrusive  obstacles?  Or  will  you   pile  on  the  hazards  and  crank  up  the  pain  for  both  yourself  and  your  enemies?  Needless  to  say,   this  game  will  make  a  hell  of  a  splash  once  it  meets  the  market.

  Fuego:  This  little  PC  title,  developed  by  Radiostatic,  has  two  players  placing  cute   animals  stacked  on  each  other  in  trenchcoats  around  a  randomized  Western  town  in  order  to   blast  the  hell  out  of  each  other  in  a  Mexican  standoff.  The  name  of  the  game  is  to  shoot  banks,   which  grant  the  player  cash.  The  person  with  the  most  cash  at  the  end  of  the  standoff  wins.   Players  can  also  shoot  opposing  banditos  to  neutralize  them,  or  aim  for  churches  to  ricochet   bullets  off  for  trick  shots.  The  main  gimmick  is  that  the  shooters  that  players  place  can  boast   either  one  to  four  guns  in  random  directions,  and  the  more  guns  a  slinger  boasts,  the  later  in  the   shootout  they  fire.  Strategy  is  the  name  of  this  game,  and  Battleship  came  to  mind  during  our  fourth  round  of  trying  it  out.  Smart,  addictive,  and  with  characters  designs  that  evoke  memories   of  Sly  Cooper,  Fuego  is  a  solid  title  for  those  who  prefer  a  more  laid-­back,  mentally  stimulating   gameplay  experience.

Other games worth an honorable mention post BFIG include:

Xeero:  A  3D  platformer  similar  to  the  PS1  titles  of  old,  where  you  play  as  a  kid  named Xeero  trying  to  wipe  out  literal  computer  bugs.  The  cyberspace  environment  is  interesting,  but  it   could  use  a  little  more  gameplay  depth  and  character.


  Mecha-­Tokyo  Rush:  A  Mega  Man-­inspired  side  runner  where  you  play  as  one  of  eight   different  characters,  each  boasting  a  different  weapon,  making  your  way  through  8-­bit  levels.   While  the  characters  are  unique,  it  needs  a  little  more  polish  before  it  can  stand  out  as   something  beyond  a  Mega  Man  clone.

Loose  Nozzles:  A  cute  little  game  created  by  a  father  and  son  duo,  this  title  has  the   player  control  a  rocket  ship  in  a  crayon-­drawn  world  to  collect  stranded  spacemen  and  return   them  to  your  ship.  An  adorable  pasttime  that  could  find  itself  a  place  in  the  market  for  children.   Just  don’t  play  the  game  with  the  volume  too  loud.

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