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E3 2014 | IndieCade Booth Gives A Taste Of What’s To Come This Autumn

By
Posted on June 23, 2014 AT 01:35pm

From October 9-12 the International Festival of Independent Games (better known as IndieCade) will be coming to Culver City, CA, and at this year’s E3 the organizers presented a good chunk of what’s to be offered at this year’s event. From video games to card games there were many different types and genres to check out around the booth. Of course with so many games and so little time I wasn’t able to go hands-on with all of them, but from what I was able to check out it appears that this year’s IndieCade will not be short of talented developers.

The first game I got to try out was White Lotus Interactive’s XING: The Land Beyond, a first-person puzzle game in the same vein as Myst that engulfs players in the world of the afterlife via the Oculus Rift. Throughout the game you will come across lost spirits, along with puzzles that will lead you to change the landscape and discover who you were as a person.

During my short time with the game I traversed through a few areas of the afterlife, taking in the beauty that was surrounding me. From the land’s gorgeous forests to the Mayan-like architecture the attention to detail was so staggering that you would never believe that it was made just by three people. While I wasn’t given much time to test out many of the puzzles the ones I was able to check out reminded me not just of Myst, but also a bit of Obsidian and even System Shock. Granted it has a bit more work to go before its release, especially when it comes to the Oculus experience, as I did experience a bit of motion sickness while playing it. Still what I was able to check out in XING was very promising.

Next up was CounterSpy, an upcoming side-scrolling stealth shooter from Dynamighty coming to both mobile devices and all of Sony’s consoles. Taking place in an alternate retelling of the Cold War you’ll be playing a spy infiltrating both the American and Russian military quarters to sabotage destructive plans that could hinder any chance of world peace. As a third-party spy under the C.O.U.N.T.E.R. organization you must shoot, hide, and destroy any sort of machinery in order to prevent the world becoming a smoldering crater.

As you play CounterSpy you are given a few chances to complete each level, and the more you die the less likely you’ll be able to accomplish a mission. In one instance I found myself with only one life left, meaning that if I didn’t complete my objective in one minute I would have to start the level all over again. Hiding from soldiers and taking them down stealthily was a lot of fun, while taking part in shootouts if you are caught had its challenges. It took a lot of time to make a clear shot on some of the soldiers due to some sluggish aiming, which caused me to die on a few occasions, so there’s a couple of kinks that still need some oiling until it goes gold. For what it’s worth, though, CounterSpy is looking to be a cool stealth title!

One of the more unique games I came across in the booth was Long Take, a platformer from Turtle Cream. In it you are a cameraman who is trying his best to get a great shot at the action happening on the screen. So long as the player can be seen on your camera, things will be good. If he goes out-of-frame, then you’ll have to restart all over again. Sometimes you’ll have hinderances trying to “kill” your hero, which must be avoided by timing your camera angles right.

Long Take is one tricky game. Many times I had to start all over again, as my player kept moving faster than I could zoom out or follow him around the screen. However while it got frustrating in some places I had more fun than I thought a “cameraman” should watching a scene take place. The more I progressed the higher the level complexity became, and as the challenge rose so did my curiosity of how far the developers can take this game. Perhaps there could be later levels with multiple cameras that have to be activated as a precise time, or more actors can be on the screen that you’ll have to follow. Wherever Turtle Cream plans to take this game, it has some high potential of bringing a one-of-a-kind experience. (Players can try out the game via the Kongregate site.)

The weirdest game I came across was one called Tetrageddon Games, a series of mini-games that were beyond the strangest of the bunch. During my time at their booth I gave one of the games featured in the title a whirl, one called Offender 2 (World War B: War On Rabbits). In it you suck up bunny rabbits onto your spaceship for points in a parodic vein of Defender. In one instance a few bunnies teamed up into a turtle shell, and attempted to projectile vomit on me. To defeat them I had to send back down the vomit, get the rabbit team to lie on its shell, and drop a bomb on them. All-in-all, a fun time-waster.

The final title I got to try out at the IndieCade booth came out of left field, a card game by the name of What?! Oh… For two-to-four players the task of the game is to keep the conversation going by following what the cards say, and by listening to the questions and commands from other players. Do something wrong, and you’ll lose the game and give the victory to the previous player.

Each round starts with a setting, an emotion, and a first line. Using improvisational skills you and the rest of the players then have to keep the scene going deepening on which cards you have. In some occasions you’ll be given the chance to draw new cards in case you have some real terrible ones or have the ability to change the subject at hand. What?!? Oh… is a pretty fast-paced game, so if you have more than four people wanting to play it then you can easily set it up so the next player takes over the one who loses the previous round. It’s tons of fun, and if enough word gets out it could very well become the next Cards Against Humanity.

If this is the kind of offering that the E3 booth had for IndieCade, imagine what a whole convention will be able to showcase. The world of indie gaming is large and vast, and it’s there where true innovation will be discovered. If you are looking for an event that’s built on discovering new ways to play, then you may want to give this expo a look.

For more information on IndieCade, visit the official website.

Evan Bourgault is an accomplished music, anime, and video game critic. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Evan joined the ElectricSistaHood team in 2008, where he is a contributing editor and host of one of the network's weekly podcasts. Follow Evan on Twitter at twitter.com/King_Baby_Duck


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