Once again I attended to the BIG Festival in São Paulo (Brazil) and the first thing I must happily point is the monster doubles every year. I’ll be sad if it ultimately need to leave CCSP (Centro Cultural São Paulo) due to physical constraints but it’s hard to imagine it fitting there if it gets any bigger. That’s one of those good problems, I guess. :)
This time around I’m going to put things a little differently: gotta talk about some trends affecting the indie industry–and, more noticeably, our own Brazillian scene here–and in the end point my top favorites in the show overall. Press on!
Trends! As in fashion–or any art/entertainment form, truth to be told–games at times get carried on trends, some by simple influence, some for money sake and some for plain goddamn collective unconscious–yep, it seems it does exist. Whatever be the reason there are games which work their way around the problem of repetition and offer something new in their niche; other fall victims of their own choices. To the cases…
Gimmicky rhythm mechanics. Maybe this is a bigger problem within the BIG Festival rooms since we usually get such games nominated for “Best Audio” awards. Last year Crypt of the NecroDancer was well received (as for me it didn’t go much further than gimmickry, but still), but this time we had a bunch of lesser experiences that don’t quite get the right feeling of what they pitch at us. (As a reference I can’t recommend Nintendo’s Rhythm Heaven series enough.)
Talking about music… I was at a panel on videogames soundtrack production and our local scenario couldn’t be worse in my point of view. We still have marketing people doing this job here and they still think “a original score only comes into play if the developer doesn’t have money for licensed tracks”. Seriously, people were saying things like that up there.
Handcraft. Hand-made assets are a global trend (last E3 brought Yoshi’s Woolly World and Unravel center-front, for instance) and this means, to say the least, more eye-candy into our lives. That not always translate into good experiences, of course, but two games there seemed to be in the right track: the slick Lumino City (State of Play Games) and The Coral Cave (Atelier Sentô).
The Coral Cave can feel a little clumsy in how it is structured, but it has an undeniable amount of heart.
Narrative games are hard to sell at festivals. Their pace are usually too slow to hook people up in such a messy environment.
Top Games! Let’s get right down to my my top 3. Whithout further ado… :)
#3: Synonymy (Christopher Cinq-Mars Jarvis)
Filed under the “Education” category, Synonymy presents its semantic challenges very elegantly and accomplishes much more than a regular “learning” game usually does. (It’s sound design is quite cool too.)
#2: Circa Infinity (Kenny Sun)
A puzzle action game with endless forms of exploration of its premise and an easy entry fee–I mean, controls wise. Better than staring at this screenshot is playing its demo.
#1: Nova-111 (Funktronic Labs)
A distracted passerby could mistake Nova-111 for a common casual game but once you stop to pay it proper attention everything changes. It’s unbelievably polished inside-out (mechanics to presentation), the real-time twists in its turn-based environment are perfectly tuned, the pace in throwing new things at the table is quite right, its personality is unmissable… I’m really eager here to play the full version anytime soon. :)
That’s it for now, hopefully I’ll be there again next year to meet more and more cool people in our rainy city. :)
See ya, take care!