Welcome to the Editors Choice award for Indie of the Year 2011. Here the editors of IndieDB have their say on the most prolific Indie games both released and unreleased to grace our presence over the past year. The awards have been split up into smaller categories, for more information on why that project was selected for the award please keep reading after the video below.
Most unique use of player interaction
Interaction is a complex and strange beast, it could be as simple as removing traditional controls or as complex as breading a new strain of camera controls. Interaction is not limited to just what lay between the keyboard and the chair. The winner of this award needs to reinvigorate our perception on how video games should be played, and Dungeon Deities does all of that and more.
Rob the nest is a fantastic concept, we all played it as children. The aim is to take and defend your own stash of goodies from other people. Dungeon Deities works the same. Players create a dungeon to house their treasures, other players login to your work and attempt to take what is yours. It is really unique and the game plays really well.
Most unique use of gameplay/game direction
To say that a game is creative in it's design is a little like saying it is hip to be different (sometimes). The Indie title needs to stand out from the pack in both the direction of the gameplay and the overall look and feel of the project. Magicka is one of those games.
Delivering an experience so very different from anything we have seen this year Magicka is not afraid to poke fun at anything and mix the arcane arts dangerously. Name one other game where you are both working together to stay alive from the world and each other, the co-op is so maniac, the story is so wacky, Magicka is so good!
Best use of music/original score
Music can be used for so many different applications, within movies it is used to influence how the audience is supposed to feel during a scene, in a game it could define a game's genre. The use of music can not be overlooked with games, some make better use of it then others. To win this award the game needs to have music be intertwined into the game and have a kickass OST too boot. Sword & Sworcery EP is that game!
Sword & Sworcery EP is just flat out fantastic, the music is stunning, matching the game beep to bloop. When a project mixes this well you cannot have one without the other. No other game this year has made music such a big part of the overall experience. This is why Sword & Sworcery EP has won this award.
Most complete realisation of a virtual world
Just about anyone can create a world in a game, you could simply say this boxed room is a world and be done with it. That will not cut it for Editors Choice. To even be considered for the Worldly Award you must first create a world, then fill it with lore, places to explore and no shortage of a looming threat helps as well. Bastion is a fine example of this.
Bastion has done right by all of us, the narrator is well executed example of how to engage your player in the story you want them to know, without slowing down the pace of the game the narrator gives instant player feedback on what you are doing in the world. Equip different weapons and you are told a small story of the weapons, find parts new parts of the world and you are in for a little bit more history. The story and history of Bastion is compelling and you WILL want to know more!
Best unreleased/alpha indie title
New unreleased/alpha Indie game appear all the time, it takes something really special to announce and make an impression. You need to have something considerable to show, have an intriguing presence/idea and capture the attention of a large audience not just on IndieDB. Project Zomboid did just that.
A zombie city sandbox done right. Freedom and the struggle to stay alive are the main aims of Project Zomboid. While you can currently pre-order the game for instant access to the current Alpha version of the game Project Zomboid still has a ways to go before the developers deem it perfect. The foundations are in place for one of the best Zombie games yet!
CEO's Silver Spoon
IndieDB's founder mod selection award
Now I see a lot of things every day here on IndieDB. The founder of the site however spends a lot of his time on business related tasks and site expansions. Once in a blue moon he will take notice of a project, the reasons are mostly unknown to myself, maybe it reminds him of a younger self, maybe it tickles that primal urge we have as gamers, maybe he just enjoys the name. Whatever the reason this is his selection based on what I have seen him react to throughout 2011. Honestly you have to be something special for that to happen.
King Arthur's Gold comes from the mind that braough you the sidescrolling epic Soldat. Now with a medieval theme and world building (and destroying) abilities. Build and protect your castle the only way your medieval mind knows with VIOLENCE! It is possible that KAG reminded the founder of when he was a knight at the round table, yeah that explains it.
Best released multiplayer focused indie game
To even qualify for Best Multiplayer for Editors Choice you need two things. First you need to be released and a new IP within 2011 and secondly you need to be super fun with other people. Frozen Synapse gets two ticks!
Frozen Synapse is quite possibly the longest and quickest turn based strategy of all time. You first plan your attack down to the finest point, then hit execute and watch as you win or loose within a few seconds. You could spend hours working out the best plan only to have it ruined within seconds, this is what makes Frozen Synapse so compelling. You will want more and more. Best Multiplayer Indie game by a long shot.
Best released singleplayer focused indie game
2011 has seen so many awesome singleplayer Indie games, it was very hard to pick just one winner, just take a look at our top 100 to get a vague idea of the quality we were dealing with when we made this selection. However in the end there NEEDS to be a winner, and that winner is To The Moon.
It is very very hard to pull yourself ahead of the pack when you are a RPG game (even one made on RPG Maker) what you need to do different will always cull off the audience who likes that particular genre. To The Moon however does it right, a very deep story about a man who get his dying wish granted from the help of two doctors. This is a must play in 2011!