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Best Indie Games from BIG Festival 2019

We dodged a ghost, experienced shmup racquetball, and jumped across grids at Brazil's popular indie game show.

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BIG Festival is Brazil’s premier indie games show. The event, which takes place in the city of Sao Paulo, brings together a variety of companies from around the world. For many upcoming developers, this event lets them pitch their games to publishers outside of Brazil in the hopes of getting funding and support. For a select few, these meetings will change their lives forever.

With this in mind, we descended upon Sao Paulo for BIG Festival 2019, where we played more than 70 games in various stages of development. Considering last year’s event marked the first time we laid eyes on Motion Twin’s smash hit side scroller, Dead Cells, we couldn’t help but speculate on which title at BIG Festival will become the next big thing. On that note, these are some of the best indie games that we played at BIG Festival 2019. Obrigado!

Bedtime Fright (RevStudio)

Bedtime Fright is a turn-based strategy game where you navigate a child through different rooms of his home, turning off the lights while a ghost gives chase. The goal for each stage is to switch off all the lights and make it to his bedroom without stepping into a single dark room, or it’s game over; the boy pees his pants whenever the ghost catches him. Both challenging and visually appealing thanks to the pixel art graphics, we feel that Bedtime Fright has a lot of potential.

She Dreams Elsewhere (Studio Severe)

She Dreams Elsewhere
She Dreams Elsewhere

Another mesmerizing game with cool pixel art, She Dreams Elsewhere is a turn-based RPG that that seems to take place in the modern world, but you still have access to magical powers, like using spells to freeze and burn enemies. Additionally, the game’s protagonist, Thalia, struggles with low self-esteem and perhaps depression, which is reflected in her thoughts and interactions with NPCs. There’s a risk that the game’s mature themes might be too heavy handed, but based on the 30 minutes that we played, She Dreams Elsewhere has a solid foundation in place.

Sky Racket (Double Dash Studios)

Sky Racket
Sky Racket

Sky Racket is the type of game that would have come out on Super Nintendo back in the 90s, but only in Japan, making it highly desirable amongst collectors abroad. What Double Dash Studios has done is mix a 2D side-scrolling shmup with the old school mechanics of Breakout, with promising results. You control a flying character armed with a tennis racket, and you’re able to destroy enemies by returning some of their projectiles back to the other side of the screen. Throw in hundreds of bullets to dodge, a colorful cartoon art style, and one angry boss banana, and we expect nothing but greatness from Double Dash Studios’ Sky Racket when the game releases this year.

Jumpgrid (Ian MacLarty)

Jumpgrid
Jumpgrid

Of all the games that we played at BIG Festival 2019, we thought about Jumpgrid the most because it’s so challenging and addictive. The idea is to quickly move along a grid gathering collectible items and then reach the exit without being destroyed. And while it’s cliché to say this sort of thing in gaming these days, Jumpgrid is the Dark Souls of arcade grid games. The action (and your inevitable demise) happen fast, but the game immediately restarts you at the beginning of the current level each time you die. It’s the kind of game where you sit down to play for ten minutes and wind up playing for an hour. Awesome stuff.

Quantum League (NGD Studios)

Quantum League
Quantum League

There’s nothing quite like Quantum League. Yes, it’s a 3D arena shooter, but one versus one, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the game’s complexity. If you die, you’re able to go back in time to prevent that character from dying by killing your opponent before he or she fired that fatal shot. It can be a tricky gameplay feature to wrap your head around, but if NGD Studios pulls this off, you might be looking at the next big thing in competitive games.

Spaceline Crew (Coffeenauts)

Spaceline Crew
Spaceline Crew

Overcooked in space. Don’t be concerned if that’s the first thing that pops into your head after seeing Spaceline Crew. Admittedly that’s what everyone thinks, but while Coffeenauts’ game might draw inspiration from the aforementioned indie darling, its unique elements help set it apart. For starters, you don’t team up with friends to make signature dishes. Instead up to four people manage a spaceship. This means steering the ship, playing with gravity, making repairs, and doing other tasks while keeping your customers (aliens) happy. Spaceline Crew was a crowd favorite at BIG Festival, and we look forward to seeing how the game evolves.

Gravity Heroes (Electric Monkeys)

Gravity Heroes
Gravity Heroes

If you like Super Smash Bros. even the smallest bit, then you might want to give Gravity Heroes some love. Similar to Nintendo’s beat-em-up, you gather around the screen with three other people and beat each other up, but the two big differences here are the pixel art SNES graphics and most importantly (and as the title implies) you have the ability to manipulate gravity, allowing you to latch on to ceilings and walls. Fans of couch co-op should definitely keep their eyes on this one.

Goroons (Epopeia Games)

Goroons
Goroons

Speaking of couch co-op, Goroons is another four-person game with potential. Every player controls a monster with a unique ability, and you must rely on each character’s strength to get everyone to each level’s exit. Leave even one monster behind and you must restart the level from the beginning. Clever and bathed in neon, Goroons is a game we plan to watch closely.

Quadradit (Killabunnies)

Available to play on iPad, each level in Quadradit puts one or more characters on the screen and challenges you to guide these little creatures to the exit. Except instead of controlling the characters directly, you affect gravity by spinning around the game board, causing the critters to fall into place. They’re in a near constant state of movement, so in order to complete most of the game’s levels, you’ll need to wait until one or more of the characters walk into the desired spot before spinning left or right. Quadradit works great on the iPad, and we think it’d be right at home on Switch as well.

Which of these indie games from BIG Festival 2019 do you most want to play? Let us know!

Freelancer

Christopher's earliest gaming memory was playing Cookie Monster Munch for the Atari 2600. Little did he know that devouring virtual sweets as a youngster would transform him into Shacknews freelancer at age 39! These days, he spends his time parenting the Dark Souls of children, while his video game backlog rises like the finest of pizza dough.

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