The Best Indies at BIG Festival 2018
São Paulo’s BIG Festival is one of the most important gaming events in South America, focusing on awarding the most recent independent titles, as well as showcasing the most promising upcoming games from Brazil and other countries.
WTMG attended this year’s event and shortlisted the most interesting and promising titles seen at the show, all of them being developed by Brazilian teams with one exception from El Salvador.
Kaze and the Wild Masks
A true love letter to 90’s platformers, Vox Game Studio’s Kaze and the Wild Masks combines elements from mascot games such as Donkey Kong Country, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Rayman as well as slight hints from Majora’s Mask in order to create a challenging but fair platformer involving precise jumping, secrets to unfold , and special masks that turn you into different creatures with special abilities.
The boss fight present in the demo was extremely challenging, but far from unfair: moves could be predicted and the controls were extremely tight. My deaths were result of my mistakes. Kaze retains the unforgiving but gradual level of challenge reminiscent of games from the Super Nintendo era and that’s extremely worthy of praise.
Kaze and the Wild Masks is slated for an early 2019 release.
The Last Friend
Developed by StoneBot Studio from El Salvador, The Last Friend tries to spice up the repetitive and saturated nature of the tower defense genre by bringing beat-em-up elements to the table.
The short but effective demo showcased how simple but potentially addictive the gameplay can be: the tower defense acts more as an extra topping to the beat-em-up gameplay than the other way round. Movement and building are limited to only three layers, but the combat feels good enough for you to ignore the limited space you can play in.
You don’t see many Brazilian developers trying to tackle indigenous folk mythology that often when designing their games. That was one of the reasons Patuanu, developed by local team Andura Studio, impressed me. This is our country’s straight answer to games like God of War, taking advantage of the Marajoara tribe tale of the titular character, an amazon thrown into the middle of a war between Marajora deities.
The combat can roughly be describe as a mix between God of War and Diablo, especially when it comes to its perspective. Patuanu also features an interesting “rock-paper-scissors” mechanic when it comes to the usage of special attacks: animal-infused special powers are better used against plant enemies, for instance.
The game is clearly in its early stages of development: despite not crashing, the framerate still needs a bit of tinkering and the control responsiveness needs to fixed. Despite all this, I can see the potential behind Patuanu. Brazilian pre-colonial culture is rich and diverse, and I’m glad some devs are trying to show this to the whole world. The game is slated for a late 2019 release.
We have previously talked about Dolmen, an extremely promising mixture between Dark Souls and Dead Space, in our “Best of Brasil Game Show 2017” article, but much has happened since then.
Despite some setbacks in its crowdfunding attempt at Kickstarter, the guys at Massive Work Studio thankfully haven’t given up. The game is now being funded via Crytivo, with early backers still being able to play an early alpha demo once backing it up. The developers are still considering giving the game another shot at Kickstarter, but nothing has been confirmed as of July 2018.
The graphics have received some improvements and the framerate looks a lot more stable than its BGS 2017 demo. The game still looks fairly impressive for an indie title and its gameplay is pretty solid.
Dolmen is currently slated for a December 2019 release. We’re hoping this game will finally find its way into the market after all its setbacks.
Scrash is more of a proof of concept than an indie title per se, but its sheer simplicity and multiplayer fun were more than enough for me to nominate the title as one of the most interesting indies seen at BIG Festival.
Scrash can be described as a new take on what’s basically the oldest form of videogame possible: Pong. The objective remains mostly the same: knock a ball into your opponent’s goal. The new twists include physics (your dot needs to jump in order to hit the ball in the air) and being able to charge a shot. There is also a dodgeball mode.
Scrash was actually released in Early Access during BIG Festival, but you can download the game for free on Steam. Bear in mind it’s local multiplayer only as of now.
We also tested another game by Cat Nigiri at BIG Festival: the Playstation Vita port of their previously released Necrosphere game.
Sword of Yohh
Developed by the São Paulo-based team Undevs, Sword of Yohh is another local multiplayer-focused title styled around a pseudo fighting game. The objective is to destroy the opponent’s totem statue by controlling and throwing a mythical sword at it three times, while also manipulating the nearby environment in order to avoid being hit by the same sword. You can play either against one opponent or on two-versus-two battles.
The game caught my attention due to is interesting visuals and premise. After playing it, I have to admit I also liked the level design, as each arena is filled with objects to manipulate and natural traps. The rules are extremely simple and the game isn’t exactly deep, but it has potential to become a nice local multiplayer hit.
Alkimya: Memories of the Last Alchemist
This action-RPG was included no thanks to its demo, which was actually quite glitchy and with extremely faulty controls, but due to its exciting premise.
Alkimya‘s gameplay is a mixture between your usual isometric action-RPG and those typical “alchemist” games you can find in stacks on mobile app stores. Besides your sword-based combat, you can combine various elements in order to create potions and magical attacks. The developers claim that more than 75 different effects will be present in the final product.
Alkimya doesn’t have a release date yet, but it’s slated for a PC, Xbox One and PS4 release. Due to the messy state of its demo, I assume the game is still far from being launched.
Did any of these games spark your interest? Be sure to let us know in the comments!