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Presenting the Indie Prize Finalists from Europe Part 2

May 24, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Indie Prize at Casual Connect Europe 2018 has attracted many entries from all over Europe, including Italy, France, Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, as well as the United Kingdom. And the innovation in these games is remarkable. Competitive games have a variety of new twists that require speed, precision and skill to succeed. Adventure and narrative games pit the player against novel situations and obstacles. Settings range from the historically accurate (or inaccurate) to fantasy or dungeons or even the player’s mind. And a variety of puzzle games challenge players’ thinking in different ways. Whatever kind of gaming you prefer, there are games here you will enjoy. These fantastic games total 38 from Europe. The finalists have been broken up into two parts. To see the other 19, see this article.

Game Title: Falling Sky
Developer: Falling Sky
Platform: Desktop Win
Country: United Kingdom/Norway

Falling Sky is a cinematic 3D mystery game. It was developed at the National Film and Television School and the project leader and sole developer was Jonathan Nielssen. The game uses Unreal Engine and motion capture technology to create immersive, narrative-driven drama. It has a Twin Peaks influence and elements of open world adventure.

The characters of the game are brothers Daniel and Tommy, who are attempting to solve the mystery of their mother’s disappearance. Guided by a series of cryptic messages, the boys set off on a quest to find the truth.

Falling Sky was nominated for Best Student Game at the Game Awards. It has also been receiving attention in the press.

Game Title: Lost Words
Developer: Sketchbook Games
Platform: Desktop Win
Country: United Kingdom

Lost Words is an atmospheric puzzle game that is set between the pages of a diary and a fantasy land. The narrative of the game is tied into the gameplay in an unusual way, having the player running on and solving puzzles by interacting with words.

Lost Words won Best Indie Game, Best Casual Game and and Most Original Game at Game Connection 2017 in France. It was also nominated for Best Idea at AzPlay 2017 in Spain and won UK Game of the Show from UKE at Gamescom 2017 in Germany. It also received the Special Selection Indie Award at Reboot Develop 2017 in Croatia.

Game Title: Super Chicken Catchers
Developer: Game Design : Maxime BODIN, Rafael LOPES Game Art : Benoit RICHARD, Sylvain LACERES, Etienne POV, Marion CHABROL SUPT Game Programming : Alexis COEURDEROY, Yanis HAMEL, Ilyes OUHABI LESURTEL
Platform: Desktop Win
Country: France

Super Chicken Catchers is a 2v2 game set in a multi-player arena. Each team of two players is made up of the mount, who chases the chickens, and the rider, who must catch the chickens with his yo-yo.

Game Title: Naraa: The Living Book
Developer: Game Design : Nicolas DUVAL, David BIRGE-COTTE Game Art : Perrine LOZINGUEZ, Charlotte COUDERC, Julie MIZREH, Violaine BERTHOUMIEU Game Programming : Rémi CARREIRA, Benjamin HADDAD, Matthieu JAGU
Platform: Other mobile platform
Country: France

Naraa: the Living Book uses augmented reality to explore the landscapes of Mongolia with a real children’s book. In this story Naraa wants to become a shaman but she needs help from the player. The realms of the spirits have been invaded by the villainous Iblis. To win the trust of the spirits, Naraa must have help from the player to free them from the Iblis; only then can the player wake up the Great Bear.

Game Title: Planet’s Revenge
Developer: Planet’s Revenge team
Platform: Android
Country: France

In the Planet’s Revenge, the Nias have escaped from their planet and are invading the universe. Only the player can stop this parasitic invasion. To do it you must clean each planet by creating tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes and unleashing other destructive powers.

Game Title: QUBE 2
Developer: Toxic Games
Platform: Desktop Win
Country: United Kingdom

Q.U.B.E. 2 is the sequel to the first-person puzzle game Q.U.B.E. As Amelia Cross, a stranded archaeologist, the player mysteriously awakens in the ruins of an ancient alien landscape. Your goal is to find your way home, but to do it you must manipulate and travel through this forgotten world. Your only help comes from another, although distant, survivor, Commander Emma Sutcliffe.

Q.U.B.E. 2 has won the following awards: Outstanding Gameplay – Reboot Develop 2016, Game of the Year – Reboot Develop 2016, Global VR Challenge 2016, Kotaku – Best of British 2018.

Game Title: Mission 1545
Developer: City Quests Media
Platform: Desktop Win, Desktop Mac, Web
Country: United Kingdom

Mission 1545 is a rescue mission adventure set in Tudor London of the 16th Century. Spies are everywhere and players must stay out of sight, avoiding enemy light comes. They must win the eight themed gate towers in a night-long race along the city wall in order to reach the Tower of London. Then they must find and release the prisoner held there.

Mission 1545 is the first game for City Quests Media. The team is dedicated to making games set in English history, using an outstanding cast and a comic book art style, soundtrack, acting and script.

Game Title: Gaze
Developer: Franck Morgand, Clément Mezelle, Grégoire Chamberland, Lothario Areski Peon de Schuyter
Platform: Android
Country: France

Gaze is a game that combines speed, observation and sculpture. Players must find the anamorphic shapes printed on the sculpture using the camera of their smartphone. Once they find the anamorphosis, they take a picture to validate it and receive a score. And the player with the highest score wins.

Gaze was an official selection at Indiecade Europe 2017. It has been reviewed on a number of websites that include Shake That Button, Factornews, Game Side Story, and The Broadcast Show.

Game Title: Over the Alps
Developer: Stave Studios
Platform: iOS, Desktop Win
Country: United Kingdom

Over the Alps takes players on a race through the Switzerland of 1939 in a text adventure/point-and-click adventure. They explore scenes inspired by vintage travel posters and read postcard written in invisible ink. They must navigate the intrigue of wartime Europe, trying to stay undercover while being chased by a Nazi spycatcher. They must escape the spycatcher, rescue the Watchmaker and unlock the secrets of the past.

Over the Alps has been accepted into the Leftfield Collection and has appeared in Gamesmaster.

Game Title: Ruya
Developer: Miracle Tea
Platform: Miracle Tea
Country: United Kingdom

Players of this game find tranquility as they match the characters of Ruya‘s world. They visit surreal landscapes while decorating themselves in flowers and introspect. Ruya offers a calming experience with interactions and color combinations designed to make players feel at ease. And the dreamlike soundtrack pulls you into the state of peaceful flow.

Ruya has been featured in the Top 10 Charts in the App stores worldwide and was rated 9.1 on App Advice. It won Game of the Show at Game Anglia 2017 and was an Official Selection at Casual Connect Asia 2017. And it was a winner at Trazfuser 2016.

Game Title: Disco Flip
Developer: ALL CAPS
Platform: Android
Country: Denmark

Disco Flip has players navigating obstacles and enemies through a unique twist of music and action in an endless runner game. This game is filled with different characters and the players must traverse a dangerous path while everything, even the trees, moves to the beat of the music.

Disco Flip won the People’s Choice Award at GameScope 2017.

Game Title: Swim Out
Developer: Lozange Lab
Platform: iOS, Android, Console, Desktop Win, Desktop Mac
Country: France

Swim Out is a strategic turn-based puzzle game. It takes place in the refreshing, relaxing atmosphere of a sunny day by the pool, the river or the sea. But you must plan each of your strokes wisely so that you never cross another swimmer’s path in order to enjoy the view from a cozy chaise longue.

Swim Out was a finalist for Best Mobile Game at Ping Awards 2017 and was a finalist for Best Puzzle Game at TIGA Games Industry Awards 2017. It has been receiving very positive reviews and comments, for example, “Swim Out is a gorgeous, stylish pool puzzler” from Rock, Paper, Shotgun. It has been featured in the AppStore, Google Play, itch.io and GameJolt.

Game Title: Kawaii
Developer: kickAlive
Platform: Android
Country: France

Kawaii is a game that lets players, with their friends, breed hundreds of creatures such as cats, dogs, dragons. And you build their world.

Kawaii was soft launched in France. It acquired 100 users and gained 100,000 in return.

Game Title: Too Many Cooks
Developer: FINIFUGU && friends
Platform: iOS, Android
Country: United Kingdom

Too Many Cooks is a local cooperative game for 3 – 6 players. The players join together, each using their own phone, no central screen is needed. In the kitchen where the game is set, each player has different job objects – one might have a crate to gather ingredients, one might have a board for chopping, a rice cooker, perhaps the sink for cleanup. But players can also pass around objects or jobs they would rather not have. Each player can help others finish their jobs.

Too Many Cooks won the Very Big Indie Pitch 2018 in London and was nominated at the SXSW’s Gamers Voice Awards.

Game Title: Still Here
Developer: David Smit
Platform: iOS, Android
Country: Germany

Still Here is 2D flight game set in the near future and focused on a central question: Why did mankind leave the earth? The game takes the player, as the character Pip, on a journey through a dystopian world full of secrets and unique locations. As Pip journeys, he befriends and helps artificial life. Their plight sets the course for the adventure among the remains of the long gone human civilization. But there are rewards to unlock that will help Pip on his journey.

Still Here was featured in Early Access for over eight months. It gained more than 200,000 players and a 4.5 rating from Tip Tap in China and similar players and ratings throughout the world.

Game Title: Smash Tanks
Developer: Dumpling (Design Ltd)
Platform: iOS, Android
Country: United Kingdom

Smash Tanks is an augmented reality game with destructive its defining feature. Players take turns to launch their tanks into enemy territory to take out the enemy, grab supply crates or topple the towers. The game continues until only one team is left.

Augmented reality turns Smash Tanks into an ultra-exciting experience. Anywhere can become a battle arena, the living room, kitchen or even outdoors. Soon players are moving around and getting close to line up the trick shots.

SmashTanks was selected by The Guardian as one of the best games of EGX 2017. It was demoed as part of Apples AR Showcase and it was the #1 selling AR and board game app during the Christmas season.

Game Title: Silent Streets: Mockingbird
Developer: Funbakers
Platform: iOS, Android
Country: Ireland

Silent Streets: Mockingbird is a detective adventure game that features augmented reality. The immersive story is set in the Victorian Era and has crime scene investigation with ARKit technology. The game includes beautiful artwork and impressive sound and voice over. It has been localized in French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Silent Streets: Mockingbird has received positive coverage from Touch Arcade and Pocket Gamer as well as other media.

Game Title: Castle Cats: Epic Story Quests
Developer: PocApp Studios
Platform: iOS, Android, Other mobile platform
Country: Sweden

Castle Cats: Epic Story Quests is a humorous RPG narrative game blended with cat collecting and hero management. When you play this game, you become the leader of a guild of cat heroes saving the Kingdom of Catania by defeating the evil Pugomancer. You can recruit from over one hundred cat heroes including knights, mages or flying dragon cats, and send them on quests to earn prestige and loot for your guild. You train your cat heroes and send them on dozens of different quests and to fight enemies such as wolves and zombie chihuahuas.

Castle Cats has a rating of 4.8 on both iOS and Play Store and almost 2 million downloads. It was featured on NewsWatch TV and has raised $17000 for animal charities.

To view all of the Indie Prize finalists for Casual Connect Europe, visit indieprize.org.

EventsIndustry

yellowHEAD to provide key UA insights at Casual Connect USA

July 14, 2017 — by Casey Rock

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yellowHEAD will be on hand at Casual Connect USA this August in Seattle to provide developers and publishers with valuable insights on UA, ASO, SEO, and more. The company has a long and storied relationship with the conference, including recently at February’s European show where yellowHEAD Head of ASO Sagi Dekel discussed effective ASO strategies. At Casual Connect USA, Head of Social Ori Meiry will join a panel of experts on user acquisition and retention – where he will discuss yellowHEAD’s unique approaches to these topics and how they’ve helped others meet their marketing goals and grow their business.

The company also often hosts a booth at Casual Connect conferences – and Casual Connect USA will be no different. yellowHEAD Head of Growth Merav Katz Gershuni notes that it provides a dedicated space to meet game developers and publishers and discuss ways to help them succeed in their advertising and UA goals. “We’re also looking forward to meeting our clients and friends, catching up on their new games, and raising a glass or two to our fruitful cooperation,” Merav says of Casual Connect USA.

EventsIndustryNews

Casual Connect USA: A Place For Casino & Non-Casino Gaming Alike

June 21, 2017 — by Casey Rock

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Computer Games Association will be hosting three days of high-profile casino-oriented content at its upcoming Casual Connect USA conference this August 1-3 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. The conference has hosted tracks dedicated to online and mobile social casino and real money gaming for years – and this show will be no different, showcasing big names from various different areas in the casino industry during its casino track. However, the track will also feature content important to non-casino game developers as well – especially in regards to a new emerging market: land-based casinos.

EventsIndustry

Esports, Vsports, Skill Games: Why Casinos Need Non-Casino Game Devs

May 27, 2017 — by Casey Rock

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“The casino industry doesn’t have the depth of knowledge on who their future consumer is.” Those were the words spoken by Rahul Sood of Unikrn during GiGse 2017 in San Diego last month. Indeed, a major focus of the three-day casino gaming industry event surrounded video gamers instead of traditional slots and table-game players – showing that the door is open to a new and lucrative market for non-casino game developers.

Skill-Based Games

In one panel, experts from UNLV’s Center for Gaming Innovation, GameCo, Rover Strategic Advisors, Zeal Networks, and Guru Games, barely touched on traditional casino fare and focused entirely on how to merge skill-based games with gambling.

GameCo’s Blaine Graboyes noted that the average gamer is 35 years old and is looking for VIP experiences that the casino industry is adept at – but with a video gaming slant. “I’ve been producing games for over 20 years and there’s just a level of interactivity and engagement that isn’t available in slot games.”

EventsIndustry

Alternative Markets: Out-of-Home Applications for VR Gaming

April 30, 2017 — by Casey Rock

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While GiGse touched on virtual reality’s place in the casino industry last year, this year it was a major focus. In its Day 2 opening lecture, KWP Limited Director Kevin Williams dove into VR gaming and what it could mean for the casino industry.

Kevin comes from the digital out-of-home entertainment (DOE) industry which, historically, has not overlapped much with the casino industry – although the two industries have sometimes competed for customers. However, with consumer trends toward entertainment shifting, the two industries have recently started working together. Kevin noted, for instance, that people are beginning to see casinos as experience destinations instead of gaming centers.

Alternative Markets

Kevin brought his experiences with VR from the DOE industry to share with those at GiGse who might be mulling VR setups in their casinos – listing various ways VR is already being used. He noted that many places are looking to VR to supplement their current entertainment options or provide something new for guests.

EventsIndustry

Casual Connect Asia to Host Major Players in Social Gaming

April 18, 2017 — by Casey Rock

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Some of social gaming’s major players will be on hand at Casual Connect Asia this May to discuss success, failure, and the industry at large. Executives from PlayStudios Asia, KamaGames, Huuuge Games, Murka, and more will speak on topics ranging from social casino content to skill-based tournaments.

At a glance

The Social Gaming track takes place on Day 2 of the conference and will kick off with a fireside chat with KamaGames. Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer of KamaGames Daniel Kashti will discuss the social casino industry at large and KamaGames’ strategy within that – as well as discuss the influence of genres such as MMOs and RPGs on the social casino ecosystem and the introduction of meta-games designed to attract the mainstream gamer.

Speakers such as Murka VP of Strategy Mark Beck and Huuuge Games Chairman Wibe Wagemans will discuss innovation and user acquisition in social casino while GameDesire VP Maciej Mroz will talk about different approaches to revenue for free-to-play (F2P) games. PlayStudios Asia Managing Director John Lin will discuss the APAC social games market and whether it is worth diving into for companies.

EventsIndustryNews

GiGse 2017 Looks Toward Next Generation in Casino Gaming

April 17, 2017 — by Casey Rock

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When GiGse 2017 touches down in San Diego later this April, it will be with an unflinching eye toward the future. While there will be a variety of topics discussed at the conference – virtual reality, social casino, skill-based games, esports, mobile integration, and more – all of it will focus around the next generation of casino gaming: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

EventsIndustry

Casual Connect Announces Major Changes to Conference Rotation

March 17, 2017 — by Casey Rock

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The Casual Connect game development conferences are about to get even more accessible for professional developers everywhere. The conference’s parent organization, Casual Games Association (CGA), recently announced that they will begin rotating where their conferences take place in order to provide people in different regions with new opportunities to participate in the no.1 casual games development conference in the world.

EventsIndustryStudio SpotlightStudios

Storm In A Teacup Works to Put Italy on the Map

February 28, 2017 — by Casey Rock

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In a world full of competition and business, Storm In A Teacup subscribes to a very unique philosophy: There are no competitors or clients, only friends. This mindset has seen them through the last few years, since their founding in 2013, and guided their growth.

The studio was founded by Carlo Ivo Alimo Bianchi – who has worked for many major gaming companies across the world. However, despite his career success, he ultimately decided to come back to Italy to fund his own gaming company. Along with him, he brought many ideas he’d developed and seen during his time in other gaming jobs.

Lantern 1
Lantern is Storm In A Teacup’s latest game.
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