If you’re into the idea of either (A) meeting Adam Sessler or (B) winning a thousand dollars by luck alone, then you may want to vote for the winner of Gamestop and G4’s Indie Game Challenge. The best game nets its developers $100k, and one voter will be randomly given a Sessler-guided tour of the G4 studios along with a thousand bucks of spending cash.
The nominees themselves are something of a mixed bag: many are great, a few aren’t, and some don’t even have playable demos (I guess you’re supposed to vote for them based on how cool their trailers are). I’m personally rooting for AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!
Go here to vote, or hit the jump for my (brief) opinions on all the nominees I played.
Waker: Waker is part of a pretty cool experiment: make two mechanically identical games, one wrapped in a cohesive narrative and one made entirely abstract, and see which of the two does a better job of teaching players the physics concepts behind its core mechanics. In practice, however, the gameplay feels clunky and gets uninteresting rather quickly.
Gear: Initially seemed like a boring combination of CarneyVale Showtime and Bionic Commando, but eventually won me over thanks to its simple, fast-paced level design.
Galactic Arms Race: The concept is pretty cool — the game procedurally evolves your arsenal based on which weapons you use — but the combat itself isn’t really all that fun; a game of this sort might have benefitted from more strategic, less Diablo-esque combat.
Fieldrunners: I don’t play tower defense games, so I didn’t really get that much out of it. Dig the art style, though, and people who do play tower defense games seem to consider it the bee’s knees.
Vessel: I couldn’t get the damned IGF build to run properly on my computer, which is irritating: based on the trailer, Vessel looks incredibly interesting. For the first time ever, I am excited about simulated fluids.
Dreamside Maroon: A relaxing anti-game. Nothing to do but explore and grow.
Miegakure: I first heard about this at the 2008 Experimental Games Workshop. I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t understand it now — my mind literally can not comprehend exactly how the fourth dimension (not time) works in this game, or how you’re supposed to utilize it, or what it is. Just looking at screenshots makes me feel stupid.
Altitude: Fast, arcadey fun with a surprising amount of depth. Were I any goddamn good at it, I’d probably play it all the time.
Cogs: The ultimate slider puzzle game. I personally can’t stand slider puzzles, but one still has to admire the way Lazy 8 studios manages to make each new level feel fresh and unusual. But, again — if you hate slider puzzles, you won’t play it for more than an hour.
Aaaaaaa(etc): Really good.