Other Highlights IGF 2009

To close my coverage of the IGF’s finalists I wanted to highlight some of the most interesting designers and games in the rest of the competition. There weren’t that many amazing games left, but Dyson and Blueberry Garden managed to spice things up and lift my spirits. I take a closer look at them in this post. Next to that I’ll discuss some of the more promising, yet not so inspiring finalists as well.

Dyson by Rudolf Kremers and Alex May

First I thought that this wasn’t the game for me, since I don’t care much for asteroids and I don’t like taking things violently. Then I convinced myself to play it, since I liked the aesthetics and it was incredibly fun! It is indeed about conquering different asteroids and when you’ve conquered all the asteroids you’ve won the level. There are currently 6 levels available (v 1.10) and although I conquered level 1 without any difficulties, I had tremendous trouble with level 2. It’s an extremely challenging game with a very nice unexpected depth to it. The subtle and intuitive controls combined with the clean graphics and environmental background music makes this game incredibly fun and almost hypnotizing.

Blueberry Garden by Erik Svedäng

The name of this little game made me enthusiastic and the trailer on its official site encourage this even more. It seems like a platform game with a childish, dreamlike atmosphere. The environment keeps changing, growing almost and you can manipulate the environment as well. Its designer is Erik Svedäng has won quite a few awards already in Sweden and is now going into international waters with the IGF. Erik has made several games with a lot of variety, from a s serious game about development and environmental question to an aggressive massive multiplayer game.

Apart from these two there are a couple of games that I’d like to point out, although they didn’t fascinate me like Dyson and Blueberry Garden did. Incredibots by Grubby Games is a fun little platform game where you have to build a robot that can complete the challenge for you. For instance, in one of the levels you’ll have to get a fish out from under a stack of bars, what robot would you build? Another game is Music Box, it almost has to feel of a retro point and click game, yet it has a wonderful new puzzle-solving mechanic for you to master. Very fun and playful game.

Then there’s Osmos by Hemisphere games which is a mature and more difficult version of Fishy, a game I used to play years ago. I don’t love this the same way as I do Fishy, but it’s a fun and challenging version of the same concept with bubbly and shiny animations. Last but not least I’d like to mention Snapshot by Kyle Pulver and Peter Jones, which is a regular platform game with one extra detail: you can take snapshots of the environment and with this manipulate your surroundings. Watch the video below for some gameplay examples:

The IGF 2009 has some great independent designers, but also a lot of disappointing finalists. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s filled with loads and loads of platform and or puzzle games! It’s ridiculous. Independent games are so innovative and at this moment there are so many of them that are redefining what games are and then the IGF has to pick some of the least inspiring ones to be their finalists. It’s just plain silly.

I hope you enjoyed reading my coverage of the IGF and even after my little critique, I’m still curious to find out who’ll be the winner and I’ll report on that extensively after the event!

For an overview of my articles on the IGF 2009 go here.

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