To get to this point though, our top 3 really had to overcome some seemingly insurmountable odds as this year's Big Indie Pitches and Awards have broken all of our records. In fact this year we saw an incredible 400 developers enter the competition. These 400 games were then reduced down to a longlist of 60 games, before we reconvened our expert judges in order to create our top 20, and in turn a top 10. So these developers really do deserve all the attention and plaudits that are being bestowed upon them.
Nevertheless, whilst the games from 20-11 were revealed before the ceremony, the time has now come for us to reveal to the wider world what those at the ceremony saw last week, namely our countdown from 10-1, and the reveal of our all important top 3.
So without further ado, let me introduce you to the top 10, and three finalists who walked away with our prizes.
Taking first place at the Big Indie Pitch at Develop:Brighton 2018, Devs Must Die’s Skybolt Zack is a super-slick fast-paced platformer for Nintendo Switch with combat mechanics inspired by rhythm games. In fact, you could think of this as a bizzare mix of Sonic the Hedgehog and Rhythm Heaven. Honestly, we're not joking.
It may be different, but it certainly works. As Skybolt Zack will see players punching and dashing their way across a diverse range of cleverly designed stages through the use of an intuitive lock-on attack. It's fun,, frantic, intuitive, highly addictive, and offers multiple different paths through each level.
9 - Tiny Bubbles by Pine Street Codeworks
Tiny Bubbles is a puzzle game set in a microscopic marine world, one in which players must organise clusters of soap bubbles, whilst also mastering the strange physics of surface tension and pressure.
It’s beautiful to look at and a tremendous amount of fun. It’s also set to offer players a massive amount of content, featuring seven different worlds with over 180 levels, each with unique goals and a variety of challenges.
8 - Aeon Must Die! by Limestone Games
Aeon Must Die! is like an anime come to life right in front of your eyes. Utilising a breakneck risk-reward tactical fighting gameplay mechanic that represents something of a cross between Batman: Arkham Asylum and Street Fighter 2, this upcoming Switch game offers one of the most stylish and well polished experiences we’ve ever seen.
It’s not just the presentation and gameplay that’s engrossing either, as the story also offers up a level of moral ambiguity and mystery as players go on a violent journey with a disgraced symbiotic emperor, a fuel-blooded amnesiac with a hole in his head and a sentient hoverbike.
7 - Golf Club: Wasteland by Demagog Studio
Golf Club: Wasteland is set in the aftermatch when most of Humanity has perished following a catastrophic Ecological disaster. The only people to survive were the ultra rich in society, who all migrated to Tesla City on Mars. Now these very same individuals who survived the disaster are using their enormous wealth the return to earth in order to simply play a few round of Golf amonsgt the ruins of Earth.
Featuring golf like you've never seen it before, combined with exploration, jet-pack flying, a unique original soundtrack, and an atmospheric visual narrative based around one survivor's inability to give up the home he once knew on Earth, Golf Club: Wasteland really is a unique blend of genres. Happily for everyone, this unique mix seamlessly blends together in order to create one of the most original experiences seen.
6 - OIL by Wee Door
Think Battleships crossed with Minesweeper and you’ve already got the idea for this new and highly entertaining digital board game. Set in an early 1900s America - loosely inspired by the movie There Will Be Blood - OIL is all about searching for that rare black gold.
Where OIL differs from classic board games though is in its innovative use of a space and shared resources. Players must strategically compete for the oil on the board without giving away too much to their opponent. Set for release this year, OIL will be shipping with 10 unique levels alongside both single and multiplayer game modes.
5 - Too Many Cooks by FINIFUGU && friends
Too Many Cooks is a three-to-six player co-operative party game in which you and your team work together in order to run a kitchen restaurant. You’ll have to learn how to chop, steam, wash, and of course cook, all while working together as a team as you constantly pass items and food backwards and forwards
That’s not all though, as the game looks absolutely gorgeous and is filled with life and character. It’s also great fun for all ages too, whilst also being really intuitive and easy to pick up and play. This is definitely one that fans of co-operative party gaming should keep their eyes closely peeled for.
4 - Horizon Chase Turbo by Aquiris Game Studio
Based on the successful mobile title, Horizon Chase Turbo brings all the retro racing fun to the Nintendo Switch, alongside other leading consoles and Steam. Described by developer Aquiris Game Studio as a homage to classic 16-bit racers that defined a generation of high-speed, frenetic arcade fun, Horizon Chase Turbo certainly lives up to that description. Horizon Chase Turbo presents gamers with that instant retro design and nostalgia feel, blended with catchy contemporary chiptune music and modern gameplay. There's even traditional local multiplayer and live challenges alongside more than 109 tracks that cover a plethora of real-world locations.
3 - Grand Mountain Adventure by Toppluva
Built using a completely in house built engine, Toppluva’s Grand Mountain Adventure offers a slick and stylish open world experince. One in which players can ski around to their heart's content, whilst also finding challenging slopes to show off their skills.
Toppluva's game is one of the nicest looking games we've seen on an mobile device full stop. It's also intuitive, extremely relaxing, and fun to play. Something it achieves without not alienating those who want a bit of challenge in their life. However, what's potentially even more impressive, is that the game is entirely being developed by just two brothers, making it's achievements to date even more impressive.
2 - Hamsterdam by Muse Games
In Hamsterdam, players must dish out a mix of reactive, precisely timed attacks and good old-fashioned button mashing in order to retake the town of Hamsterdam from the clutches of the evil crime boss Marlo “The Chinchilla”. That’s not all though, as the hero Pimm must also rescue his Grandpa from Marlo’s clutches too, and the only way to do this is to rediscover the fabled Hamster-fu and rally the citizens.
It's slick, well presented, fun, and a perfect blend of old school retro gaming and more modern gaming sensibilities. Hamsterdam has not only taken multiple Big Indie Pitch prizes, including being the runner up at our first ever The Big Indie Fest's Big Indie Pitch, but was also a top 20 finalist in last year's awards too. So given the added development since last year, it's definietly one to watch in this year's race for the crown.
1 - WHAT THE GOLF? by Triband
Described by the developers as “the golf game for people who hate golf”, What The Golf? begins like any normal game of golf with you hitting a ball into a hole. However, from there the action begins to get crazier and crazier with players having to whack houses, cars and even yourself into the hole to win.
All in all, it’s the best kind of crazy and a game that manages to beautifully differentiate itself in what has now become a fairly crowded market.
Developer Evangelist & Big Indie Pitch Manager / Special Features Writer
Queen of all things Indie. Sophia is Steel Media’s Big Indie Pitch Manager and Developer Evangelist. She’s also a global speaker and lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that she’s written a thesis on one and lived in the other.