Every year at GDC, the Indie MIX gives us a chance to see some of the latest and greatest games from small, sometimes one person, teams. This year at GDC 2023 was no different with a veritable cavalcade of amazing games occupying two massive levels at the Terra event center in San Francisco. While I only had so much time to explore and play some games, I did my best to try out everything I could. With that in mind, here’s a quick look at some of the games I was able to get a glimpse of while I was there.
This game had a real Asteroids/Geometry Wars vibe going on not only gameplay-wise, but in its very minimalist presentation. In this overhead twin-stick shooter, players can change the color of their ship to match that of their enemies and do extra damage. As you play through a level, more and more enemy crafts will spawn in an attempt to blast your tiny triangle spaceship to dust. Fortunately, you’ll be able to grab health boosts to keep you alive as you try survive the onslaught. I found Tri-Ger to be immediately addicting and found myself pushing to get that high score on leaderboards right away. It was a fun and straightforward experience, but its classic arcade vibes got its hooks into me immediately.
If you took the classic arcade game Forgotten Realms and made it about a child having nightmares, Neverawake is what you’d get. This game features a massive amount of side-scrolling levels where players must twin-stick shoot their way out of bullet hell. Along the way, players are able to swap out weapons and unlock new abilities. Fighting a giant vegetable with eyes all over it was probably the highlight of my demo time. It was just so nasty looking and creepy. Neverawake definitely has a dark vibe to it, and it works very well with the gameplay mechanics.
Mechinus piqued my interest due to my fidgety nature. While probably still more of a concept than a full-on game, Mechinus puts players in the role or a gear living in a very steampunk inspired world. You are literally a cog in the machine and must work your way through platform puzzle levels in order to survive. Honestly, the soothing sound of the living cog clicking its way through the side-scrolling levels is what pulled me in initially, but the brass and steam aesthetic and creative platforming kept me engaged. I have no idea if Mechinus will ever come out honestly, but I’d love to see more of it.
This odd FPS title was definitely chock full of personality. Players will take on the role of a priest whose church has just burned down as they enter a cave full of goblins and other nasty creatures and begin their ascent into its depths. Visually it’s sort of a minimalist pixelated cel-shaded art style somewhat akin to Minecraft, but nowhere near as blocky. Most of my brief experience was spent hunting down a pistol and ammo to fight off goblins. It was fairly straightforward, but enjoyable and had a dark vibe to it while keeping things simple.
Astro Duel 2
If you like titles like TowerFall, Duck Game or Samurai Gunn, odds are you would get a kick out of Astro Duel 2. The game arenas are made of an outer space area and an internal base sort of area. Outer space combat is kind of similar to Asteroids. Each player has a ship class they select before a match; some are faster, some have more power or armor. Players can shoot it out in space or go indoors and fight melee-style or maybe grab a laser gun to blast peoples’ heads off. Everything is present in a pixelated 16-bit motif giving it some style to go along with its addictive gameplay.
Blake Morse posted a new article, Our top picks from the Spring Indie MIX 2023