Best of 2012 Nominations...
It's adventure time and
ape time! Adventure Apes and the Mayan Mystery is a retro-inspired platform adventure from ScaryPotato that shares a few genre points with games like La-Mulana, Cave Story, and many other metroidvania games. As you quest about through the jungle, opening up new areas to explore as you find new tools and power-ups, you'll need to keep an eye out for coins, keys, treasure chests, and relics, all while dispatching common enemies and squaring off against more formidable boss foes. It's all action and adventure, and it's all good fun, from beginning to end!
Michael Molinari uses basketball and surreal, dreamlike imagery to explore love and family in this stunning indie title. Go one on one against nightmare creatures in your quest to find your sister, or solve platform puzzles in strange dimensions. It's a swanky, gorgeous, strange journey that overcomes somewhat clunky controls to deliver a beautiful and unique experience you don't have to love sports to enjoy.
Inspired by a retro game? Check! Precision platforming tactics? Check! Melt-your-eyes gorgeous visuals? That's a check! It looks like we have another heavy-hitting indie game on our hands! Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams began life as a spiritual sequel to the original Commodore 64 platform game The Great Giana Sisters. What emerged from that Kickstarter project is something cleverly old school, supremely challenging, and more gorgeous than still images could possibly convey. You're going to have a great time yelling at the screen because you died at the same place for the 18th time in a row!
I Wanna Be The Guy
was a small indie platform game
released way back in 2007, and if you're wondering what took it so long to get a sequel, you obviously never played the original. A quick refresher: you could be killed by falling apples. You could be killed by apples that fall upwards. If you avoided the apples, a cloud could drop out of the background... and kill you. And that would be how you got past one screen. The sequel ups the insanity and makes you wonder if you really do want to be the guy.
Back in 2005, Takumi Naramura released a retro-styled exploration game called La-Mulana. Starring an archaeologist professor named Lemeza, it introduced modern players to an aesthetic not seen since the days of the MSX home computer, bringing with it all the convoluted puzzles, items, and high level of difficulty retro gamers love. Fast forward to 2012 for the worldwide release of a graphically enhanced update to La-Mulana that carefully reworks the look and feel of the old game to spruce it up for a new audience. Nigoro has done a fantastic job with the new La-Mulana, and the translation to the slightly-less-retro modern version is almost flawless!
In the year 20XX, Dr. Wily has been defeated by Mega Man (again). He escaped capture and life returned to normal, his eight robot masters returning to storage until the day their circuits may be modified to aid society. As it turns out, that day is today! Dr. Wily wasted no time attacking once again, unleashing a super virus that has disrupted Mega Man's systems and turned computers across the globe into enemies of humanity. With no other options at his disposal, Dr. Light releases the eight robot masters, hoping their virus-free circuits can defeat Wily once and for all. So begins Mega Man: Day in the Limelight 2 by Fusion Team, a retro platforming action adventure that's sure to bring a twinkle to the eye of any child of the 8-bit generation.
Combining elements of exploration, puzzle solving, and some good old fashioned robot building, Mobiloid from Montrezina plays like the best parts of Metroid and Q.U.B.E. blended to perfection. It's a game that allows you to use almost two dozen accessories to create functional (or, you know, not so functional) contraptions that help you stick your nose in every corner of the world, uncovering new items, new parts, and new puzzles along the way.
Offspring Fling is a poignant game about the dedication of family, the scary beauty of nature, and the lengths to which a parent will go to protect their kids. Of course, it's also a game about throwing children, so don't think that it gets too sappy. Developed by Kyle Pulver, maker of Depict1 and Verge, Offspring Fling's central puzzle platforming mechanic of carrying and throwing bouncy offspring is so clever and fun, it's surprising no one else thought of it first.
The latest in the "absolutely amazing" sub-category of platform adventures, Out There Somewhere from MiniBoss puts you in a world of not-so-intelligent aliens (well, there are a few smart ones), falling blocks, massive pits of lava, mysterious sky-facing beams of light, and seemingly impassable corridors, all standing between you and the pieces you need to fix your ship. Explore a non-linear world filled with puzzles and passageways, using your teleportation gun in some very crafty ways.
They say it's all in how you look at things... and they might be right! Perspective, by the fine students of Digipen, is a unique game that combines two-dimensional platforming with three-dimensional worlds to explore. As you switch back and forth between the two modes, you'll see that there's more to this well-crafted challenge than first meets the eye.
Quantum Conundrum is a light-hearted puzzle adventure game from Airtight Games. Taking pages from releases like Q.U.B.E. and, of course, Portal, Quantum Conundrum pits you against a series of challenges that require some fine manipulation of physics in order to solve. In this case, you have the dubious honor of being able to switch between four unique dimensions that affect everything in the game in a different way. Work your way through your uncle's mansion as you help him attempt to solve the riddle of where exactly he's gotten himself lost this time!
Scribblenauts Unlimited is a new and improved release in the Scribblenauts line from 5th Cell Media. Giving you the power to create objects at will, you embark on a quest to bring happiness to the world, helping people in need by granting them objects from your magic notebook. That's all fine and good and such, but the fact of the matter is you can create just about anything you want, so while that pedestrian is in dire need of a glass of water, wouldn't it be so much more fun to give her a gigantic angry flying shark instead?
On the surface, it's easy to put Thomas Was Alone in the puzzle platform genre, citing games like The Lost Vikings when you discuss the gameplay mechanics and mentioning VVVVVV as another possible source of lo-fi indie inspiration. But after you've spent some time with the game, you suddenly realize it's much more than just a platformer. Thomas Was Alone is an interactive, character-driven puzzle experience with a beautiful audio visual presentation and gameplay controls/physics that were no doubt fine-tuned with fastidious precision.
What could be worse than some cretin named Big (who also happens to be your brother) stealing the pair of mystical underpants left by your departed grandfather? Nothing, as far as the folks at Black Pants Studio are concerned. With the team's first release, the sandbox-oriented action and physics game Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers, we get to see just what happens when you give a guy a raygun, a grapple-device, and unlimited rockets, then turn him loose in a sun-parched ruined desert world to find his pants-thieving brother. To put if briefly: a whole lotta rocks will get sliced, tossed, juggled, and destroyed.
If you grew up in an age where dithering was a a common graphical trick to get around color limitations and were excited when CGA was succeeded by EGA which gave way to VGA, just seeing a screenshot of You Have to Win the Game will turn you mad with nostalgia. The exploration platformer from Pirate Hearts shares a lot of design elements with Terry Cavanagh's VVVVVV, Lyle in Cube Sector, and Celestial Mechanica, though its main trick is emulating the computing environment of a decades-old PC. But even if you don't get excited by 16-color CRT monitors, You Have to Win the Game is a thoroughly enjoyable ride!