Celebrating Montreal’s unique and active gaming scene is a huge part of what we do at Girls on Games and we recently got a chance to sit down and enjoy some of the best in Montreal’s indie scene during IGDA-Montreal’s annual DemoNight.
If you haven’t heard of IGDA-Montreal, it’s the local branch of the International Gaming Developers Association, a non-profit membership organization that aims to connect and support all individuals who partake in game development. If you want to read more about their mission, or are an aspiring game developer, check out their website here.
The event that we went to, DemoNight 2015, is just a slice of the awesome community-driven activities that IGDA aims to bring to the art of game creation. The evening was divided into three parts, each showcasing 7 games with a short intermission in between, allowing you to stretch your legs, grab a drink and mingle with Montreal’s gaming scene. While some of the games demonstrated have already grabbed our attention in the past (William Dubé’s Jotun and KitFox Games’ Moon Hunters), there were quite a few games that came as a surprise and impressed us. Here are my top favorite games (in no particular order) that caught my eye, and why they should be on your radar too.
Subaeria by llogika
“The 3D game for PC, Subaeria, is the first original title of llogika. Currently in development, this game takes several elements from the roguelike genre and features story-driven gameplay. It will immerse the player in a futuristic dystopia where water levels have risen drastically. Through the lives of various characters, each belonging to a different social class, the player will progress into a complex world, governed by powerful multinationals, political trickery and injustice. The player will require brains, not brawn, in order to survive and defeat his enemies.”
Why We Loved it
As a huge science-fiction fan, the obvious reason for my attraction to the game is its story, which is set in a dystopian future. The gameplay is pretty innovative as well, especially considering the context of the game. In most films/shows/games that are set in a dystopian world, the protagonist shoots his or her way to freedom. In Subaeria, you have to be clever and quick and use your environment to destroy your foes. Another neat aspect of this action-adventure platformer is that you have four different characters to choose from, each with their own narrative and story options, leaving a 0% chance of the game becoming stale after a playthrough.
If you’re interested in the game, and want to keep up to date with the development, check out their facebook page.
Black The Fall by Sand Sailor Studio
“Experience the alienation of a post-industrial era in a thrilling, atmospheric sidescroller; a strange and unexpected black and white. Black The Fall is a sharp, modern action game set in a post-communist industrial world. As amnesiac Black, you explore, solve puzzles, and decide how to deal with the strange, hungry things that live in this haunting place. Inspired by Amiga classics Flashback and Another World, Black The Fall is a 2.75D game about choice: you can use weapons and confront challenges with violence, or stay hidden from threatening marauders. It’s an intriguing mix like a movie made by Tarkovski, Tarantino and Rodriguez.”
Why We Loved It
As the demo started, the presenter told us the hard truth behind the inspiration of the game: growing up in the post-communist era. The result is an eerily beautiful and haunting political backdrop for an action game. And the imagery is just phenomenal. Set in black and white with a splash of red, the art necessarily evokes emotions which is oftentimes lacking in AAA-games. To boot, the video I added above starts with an Edgar Allen Poe quote, which is one of my all-time favorite authors.
Check out their website here for more information, screenshots and updates of this intriguing little gem.
Ultimate Chicken Horse by CleverEndeavourGames
“Ultimate Chicken Horse is the ultimate challenge in platform gaming. You have to masterfully build each game level to stump your foes and ensure your path to success. You and your friends take turns placing items from our huge inventory of blocks, projectiles, traps and contraptions before running through the level. If you can make it to the finish but your friends can’t, you get a point! The cycle repeats as you add and modify the level before trying to run through it again.”
Why We Loved It
This game had me at “screw over your friends”. Ultimate Chicken Horse is the perfect party game in which competitiveness and the thrill of seeing your friends lose by your hand comes together in this gloriously goofy 2d platformer. The goal, simply finishing the level, is rather easy except that your opponent has a say in the way you do it. “Oh, jumping on that block is easy for you? Let me just add some spikes to that.” The animation is quite cute too, and I *think* I saw the horse and chicken do a little dance when they reached their goal. A+.
So yeah, if you’re evil and experience immense joy at seeing your friends suffer while laughing maniacally then head over here and check them out! Don’t forget to support them on Steam Greenlight too.
Dead Years by ZeroByte Games
“The game is taking place six months after a virus outbreak. You are one of the few remaining survivors, exploring the wastelands with the only friend you have left, your dog!”
Why We Loved It
This open world survival action game caught my eye the moment I realized it reminded me of Fallout 3. It gave me the same feeling of desolation and despair that Bethesda so readily entrenched me in, and it’s a big factor in why that series is one of my all time favorites. Dead Years, however, made those feelings even more real. During the demo, the protagonist was completely isolated except for his companion, his puppy. What better friend to have in the wastelands than one who won’t try to kill you, steal your shit and probably eat you (maybe the last part yes, but still)? Also, your dog is quite the useful companion. The game allows you to enter his skin and scout the area before you advance, allowing you to take note of enemies (which are zombies) and enable you to plan your attack. Another bonus point is that the game allows you to explore everywhere and scavenge everything, so junk collectors rejoice!
Head over here to learn more, and keep up-to-date with the game.
Gardenarium by Paloma Dawkins with KO-OP Mode
“Gardenarium is a chill adventure taking place on a cloud in the sky. You land as a stranger and struggle to gain access to the mysterious Depot by picking up trash and watching the world come alive.”
Why We Loved It
This was probably the most surprising demo I had seen all night, being the epitome of artsy video games par excellence. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a trailer or video of the game anywhere but it is one visually trippy, psychedelic first-person game (you actually will never be able to see who your character is). Inspired by Kafka’s The Castle, you have one mission, and one mission only: to collect cans to bring it to the can depot. The world literally unfolds as you advance and the results are stunning. The imagery is a mix between The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine and, as Leah accurately stated, Adventure Time on acid. There’s not much else to say other than this game is stunning, weird, artsy and wondrous all at the same time. And the music is on spot. Kudos, Ms. Dawkins!
Head over to KO-OP Mode’s facebook page to get more info.
If anyone else went to IDGA-Montreal’s DemoNight 2015 and was impressed by a game not listed here, let us know in the comments below!