Another EB Expo in Sydney has come and gone, ending yet another successful (if highly commercialized) showcasing of video games to get excited for on all the current and next-gen consoles. While the stars of the show were no doubt triple-A titles like Battlefield 4 and Assassin Creed 4, tucked away in the Community Hub was a treasure trove of Australian indie developers, who I’m glad to say had a great Android and mobile showing. What follows is an indie roundup from EB Expo to give you an idea of what these great developers have already achieved and what’s coming soon.
OTTTD (coming soon, early 2014) by SMG Studio
First game in this roundup is OTTTD being developed by SMG Studio. While the title of the game looks like an interesting cacophony of letters, the two most important letters are the last two, “TD”; yes, OTTTD is going to be of the tower-defence genre, but with some interesting hybrid features. The traditional mechanic of building towers and a winding path still features, but in addition to these standard towers, you will have several “hero” units which you can move and place in different locations depending on the situation. And as your towers can take damage from the creatures that traverse the winding path, you’ll need to stay on top of where your heroes are placed.
I had a try of what was described to me as a “pre-alpha” of OTTTD, and while there’s still a little bit to be worked on, I really liked the art style, particularly the over-the-top gore when you eliminate an enemy. SMG Studio is planning to have OTTTD out on Android by early 2014 so if you’re interested in following the progress of the game, you can follow SMG Studio on Facebook and Twitter.
Below is a development video from OTTTD, showcasing just a small snippet of the art style of the game as well as the Unity tools that are being used to create the game:
Formula Legend (out now) by BeerMogul Games
As a Formula 1 racing fan, I feel like there’s a real lack of good Formula 1 management simulation games out there, fewer still that are available on Android. Well, as it turns out, BeerMogul Games already has us fans sorted out with Formula Legend. The simulation-based management game made by the Wollongong-based studio features current drivers with modifiers that help the game better reflect a driver’s ability in real life, and this attention to detail extends to the tyre degradation, fuel consumption and your driver’s driving style.
As well as all this impressive number crunching, there are also a series of mini-games that pop up randomly during the race to keep you on your toes. Once the race has ended, you’ll receive your winnings and return to your garage where you can make general upgrades to your car, however these upgrades will only last a certain period of time, better reflecting the upgrades that happen in real Formula 1 and the diminishing advantage it affords you as your competitors make similar upgrades.
Formula Legends really does seem like a Formula 1 fan’s game made my Formula 1 fans, and as it’s out now on Google Play, you can try it out HERE and see if you can bring about a different result to this year’s Formula 1 drivers championship. If you want to check out BeerMogul games and see what else they have on offer, you can visit their website here.
Cell Surgeon (coming soon, late 2013-early 2014) By InJoy Labs
After the successes of the Trauma Center games on Nintendo DS and its innovative use of touch interfaces in the genre of medical emergencies, it’s almost surprising to see that there are so few mobile games that capitalize on this genre since it would be perfect for mobile platforms. Cell Surgeon is one such game with a unique take on tackling this genre and bringing an incredibly adorable and captivating art style with it.
The control scheme is pretty simple: drag to rotate the cell and tap to pop the adorable little viruses that appear on the cell’s surface. I was only able to play the game briefly on a 2013 Nexus 7 but it played pretty well and look great. There were only a handful of levels available at that time, but I’ve been told there will be more levels to be added. Developer InJoy Labs says that they are hoping to have Cell Surgeon out by the end of the year, though that might be pushed till early 2014 depending on how development goes.
If you want to follow InJoy Labs and their progress on Cell Surgeon, you can visit their Facebook page here.
TapShot (coming soon, early 2014) by Game-Synesthesia
Do you miss the days of arcade shooters like Time Crisis? I know I do. Well, indie developer Game-Synesthesia might have just the thing for you, but with an old-western theme. TapShot is a shooter where your only controls and worries are to shoot by tapping and reloading your six-shooter by tapping the barrel icon in the bottom left. Unlike Time Crisis, however, there is no taking cover, so you better be quick to reload and take your enemies out.
The version I played on iOS played pretty well on an iPhone 4S and I can only imagine it would be even better on a high-end Android device with a better screen. If you’re feeling game, you can also submit your score where it will be added to a leaderboard where you can see how fast your hands are compared to the best shooters in the West.
Game-Synesthesia said that the game needs a little more work and is likely to be released by early 2014. If you want to follow TapShot’s development, be sure to follow Game-Synesthesia on their Facebook page here.
VoxelNova (coming soon) by Playground Heroes
Plenty of games claim to be retro in one way or another these days, however, how many of those games include mini-games like Galaga and Space Invaders? The answer is actually a few, but one of those few is VoxelNova created by developer Playground Heroes. The primary mode of gameplay looks a lot like the flying shoot-em-ups of old, however, you won’t be shooting anything (at least, not yet). Instead, you’ll be avoiding obstacles that you come across while simultaneously trying to pick up valuable fuel and power-ups.
To avoid obstacles, you tilt the phone to move your ship left or right, and should you fail to avoid obstacles, you have the option to repair your ship simply by tapping the screen. While this sounds like a relatively simple prospect, I did fail to get significantly far into the game on multiple attempts. And as I mentioned earlier, there are mini-games featured in the game which will allow you to play retro classics such as Galaga or Space Invaders and get a bonus for successfully completing the mini-game.
VoxelNova will be out on Android soon, but in the meantime if you want to check out Playground Heroes’ work, visit their website which you can find here.
Jelly (coming soon) by Liz Threlfo
The last game on this roundup is Jelly, a cute little game created by Liz Threlfo. The game has you take control of a jellyfish in the deep blue as you collect gems of varying sizes and colours to increase your score while trying to avoid some of the dangers of the ocean like turtles and radioactive barrels. The game is very easy to pick up and play as it only requires a tap to move the jellyfish, though just one tap at a time might not suffice when you’re stuck in a tight situation.
A web version of Jelly is actually available to play already HERE, though Android and iOS versions are in the pipeline whenever the PC version has been perfected. If you want to follow Liz Threlfo during the development of Jelly and her other games, check out her website here.