It feels like an age since we began hosting digital pitches in response to the global situation.
However, despite the circumstances that necessitated this move, our digital pitches have only gone from strength to strength. Allowing us to host an ever-increasing range of diverse brand new gaming experiences from some of the world's most exciting indie developers.
Most recently that meant hosting our digital PC+Console Big Indie Pitch in conjunction with The Indie Arena Booth 2021 and sponsored by our season sponsors Kwalee. An event we hosted in part due to the overwhelming talent coming from indie developers at this time.
This time around we saw even more exciting and interesting indie developers pitch their latest works to some of our most established judges and journalists, with 10 battling it out for the crown. As always, the competition was extremely tough with nearly all of the games picking up votes in the final round of judging, and a 4-way tie for 3rd place. Nevertheless, the judges did, in the end, settle on the top games from the pitch, with the winner finally being settled on. That winner was Empires of the Undergrowth, a real-time strategy set in the world of ants.
For those not in the know, The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event run by the makers of PCGamesInsider.biz. It gives indie developers the chance to pitch their games to industry experts and journalists in a speed-dating-style format. Teams get the opportunity to get valuable feedback on their games, as well as win great prizes such as promotional packages and opportunities to promote their game.
Of course, Empires of the Undergrowth, as you already know, was the winner, but if you want to learn more about not only Empires of the Undergrowth but also our runners-up and honourable mentions from The Digital Big Indie Pitch (PC+Console) #9, then simply read on.
Empires of the Undergrowth is a fast-paced highly tactical real-time strategy game on which you must manage your ant colony and they look to not only survive but also thrive. Within the game, players will be able to tunnel deep underground, construct complex nests, collect resources both above and below the ground, and take part in miniature battles with a variety of insects and creatures that threaten the colony.
Interestingly, developer Slug Disco Studios has developed the game with the aim of remaining as close to nature as possible, with the majority of the ants and other creatures based upon real-world counterparts. What's more, the events within the game also look to accurately represent the struggles that everyday ants face while living as a part of a colony. Finally, all of the playable missions are narrated from the perspective of a documentary filmmaker studying the ants, something which in turn will help the player thanks to the filmmaker's insights and expertise.
Described by developer PartTimeIndie as a hack and slay roguelike deck builder, School of Magic is a game that looks to seamlessly blend slow methodical strategy with refined precise action battling, all whilst wrapping it within an enchanting world of spells and magic. This might on the face of it seems like a very tall order, but thankfully it's something that PartTimeIndie have pulled off.
As such, in School of Magic players must combine spells, face daunting magical creatures and consider every decision carefully as they look to pass the entrance exam and gain entry to the illustrious the School of Magic. What's more, thanks to the seamless blending of fast and frantic hack & slash combat with the slow deep decision-based deck building, PartTimeIndie is set to offer players a new way to approach two very popular gaming genres.
Fall of Porcupine is a unique narrative-focused story-based adventure. One which looks to closely examine the unconscious blending of our work and daily lives all through the eyes of trainee internist doctor Finley. At first, Finley is making all the right moves and is excited to be at the hospital and to be working with his new colleagues and helping a variety of patients. However, not long after the daily grind begins and Finley finds himself overwhelmed with stress, overtime, and nasty colleagues.
This premise sets players on a narrative adventure that examines the balance between work and personal lives, alongside what the meaning of life and happiness truly is. From helping sick and needy patients at the hospital, to discussing the decisions he has made in his life with friends down the pub, and even potentially the beginnings of future relationships, this is a game all about examining both Finley's life, and the lives we lead outside of the game. If you were Finley, what would you do? and what would you consider the most important decisions and the healthiest work-life balance?
Additionally, as mentioned, there was a 4-way tie for 3rd place. As such, so that everyone can check out these amazing games too, we've added their trailer (or in the case of Lo-Fi Samurai a teasing screenshot) below and awarded them all an honourable mention.
Lo-Fi Samurai by Pure 235 Games