At Casual Connect Asia 2016, held at Resorts World Sentosa’s Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, the cream of Filipino indie game development was showcased among the best in the world. Here’s a look at five of the games and their creators.
1. LITHIUM CITY
Lithium City is the Excellence in Audio winner of the recent International Game Festival China – coming from a field of 350 games in the Asia-Pacific region. In the game, you play as a synthetic heroine shooting your way out of a world taken over by computers. The game design evokes tension and excitement. The art is convincing as a portrayal of a dystopia with its austere aesthetic reminiscent of 80s Neon. The music ties it all with its dark yet upbeat synth style. Lithium City is developed by Nico Tuason and its music is composed by John Camara. Casual Connect Asia’s Indie Prize honored them with a nomination for Best Game in Development.
In Warstache, you get to be a gentleman in a brawl-and-shoot world set in the 1800s. It won over crowds through its dark humor, Victorian visuals and a good dose of competitive mayhem. Warstache is developed by Figment Games which was co-founded by Dominic Cabrera and Matt Whyte. Figment Games is the first Filipino studio to be accepted in GameFounders – a global game start-up accelerator originally based in Europe and now expanding into Asia.
3. POTION PUNCH
In Potion Punch, you are the boss of your own potion shop on a mission to conquer the palate of the Medieval world. A take on the classic resource management game, it distinguishes itself from the pack in its use of color theory to add a pleasant layer of challenge to preparing items in the game. Potion Punch is developed by Monstronauts, a self-funded studio of nine people with Allen Tan as its CEO. Like the team’s previous project – the much-admired Face Mountain – Potion Punch delivers in terms of solid craftsmanship in art, music and game design.
4. GRAYWALKERS: PURGATORY
Graywalkers: Purgatory first made news when it received about $50,000 USD in funding through the crowd-funding site Kickstarter.com. That puts the game among the top 5% of the 300,000+ projects on the site. Graywalkers: Purgatory is being developed by Dreamlords Digital – a development studio with teams in Manila and Las Vegas headed by its CEO, Russell Tomas. In this game of grand stories and striking graphics, you play as the prophesied leader of the Graywalkers – 36 Hidden Ones who walk the line between the darkness and the light. It is your task to gather them all and lead the war to reclaim the world for humanity.
5. DUNGEON SOULS
Dungeon Souls was created by Mike Reñevo while he was still a college student at Bicol University. It won the Best Game award in the last Dubai Indie Dev Fest at the World Trade Center Dubai. In Dungeon Souls, you are challenged to go as deep as you can into a dungeon filled with monsters. It earned critical praise for its ambitious scope as seen in the variety of its characters and features while keeping its gameplay balanced and tight.
A FORCE TO RECKON WITH
Filipino games have always been a force to reckon with at Casual Connect Asia since the latter’s beginning in 2012. Every year, the bar is being raised and Filipino games have risen along with it. It has been a dream of Filipino game developers to make the Philippines a regional hub for game development. With the talent evident in this year’s crop of games, that dream might be closer than previously thought.
Khail Santia of Moocho Brain and The Bamboard Game Project
To (mis)appropriate the words of Chef Albert Roux, as a gamemaker, the first thing you must understand is you are a distributor of joy. So I do my best. Making games is the ultimate metagame for me; but more than that, I do think it can transform the world for the better.