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2016 Independent Games Festival Finalists:
 
 
 
 


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Seumas McNally Grand Prize:

Honorable mentions: Affordable Space Adventures (KnapNok Games and Nifflas' Games); Cibele (Star Maid Games); OXENFREE (Night School Studio); PANORAMICAL (Fernando Ramallo and David Kanaga); Soft Body (Zeke Virant); That Dragon, Cancer (Numinous Games); The Beginner's Guide (Everything Unlimited Ltd.); and Twelve Minutes (Luis Antonio).
 
    
 


Excellence in Visual Art:

Honorable mentions: Alto's Adventure (Snowman); Astroneer (System Era Softworks); Epistory - Typing Chronicles (Fishing Cactus); Forkride Grilltime Sloth (Black Pants Game Studio / Sebastian Stamm); Future Unfolding (Spaces of Play); and Kingdom (noio and Licorice).
 
    
 


Excellence in Design:

Honorable mentions: Chaos Reborn (Snapshot Games); Duskers (Misfits Attic); Gang Beasts (Boneloaf); Imbroglio (Michael Brough); Soft Body (Zeke Virant); and TIS-100 (Zachtronics).
 
    
 


Excellence in Audio:

Honorable mentions: GNOG (KO_OP); Heart Forth, Alicia (Alonso Martin); Inside My Radio (Seaven Studio); Kingdom (noio and Licorice); OXENFREE (Night School Studio); and The Beginner's Guide (Everything Unlimited Ltd.).
 
    
 


Excellence in Narrative:

Honorable mentions: Cibele (Star Maid Games); Contradiction (Tim Follin / Baggy Cat Ltd); Orion Trail (Schell Games); OXENFREE (Night School Studio); and The Writer Will Do Something (Tom Bissell and Matthew S. Burns).
 
    
 


Nuovo Award:

Honorable mentions: Affordable Space Adventures (KnapNok Games and Nifflas' Games); ENOUGH (Cabbibo); Future Unfolding (Spaces of Play); Sage Solitaire (Zach Gage); Sentree (Glitchnap); TIS-100 (Zachtronics); and Vignettes (Pol Clarissou and Armel Gibson).
 
    
 


Best Student Game:

Honorable mentions: Anarcute (Anarteam); BADBLOOD (NYU Game Center); FAR (Zurich University of the Arts); Gathering Sky (A Stranger Gravity); Not Everything is Flammable (Carnegie Mellon University - Entertainment Technology Center); and Sumer (New York University).
 
    
   
 
2016 IGF Finalist Descriptions:
 
   
 
Ape Out
Gabe Cuzzillo (To Be Announced)

Finalist: Best Student Game

You are a gorilla. Smash your way out of captivity, using your captors as weapons and shields, crushing everyone and everything in your way. Fight for survival with only an innate, unthinking drive towards freedom. Procedural levels and restricted visibility force you to react only to immediate threats and a frenetic jazz soundtrack heightens the intensity. You've got to have freedom.

Ape Out Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @gabecuzzillo
Screenshots and video available

Armello
League of Geeks (PlayStation 4, Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Finalist: Excellence in Visual Art

Armello is a grim fairy-tale board game come to life. Full of swashbuckling adventure combining deep, tactical card play, rich tabletop strategy and RPG elements. Wage epic single and multiplayer battles, cast spells, hire agents, and prepare poisons and ruses on your quest for the throne!

Armello Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @armellogame
Game download (full paid version) available

Beglitched
Jenny Jiao Hsia and Alec Thomson (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Finalist: Best Student Game

Beglitched is a game about insecurity, in our computers and ourselves. In a pastel world of networks where nobody truly knows what they're doing, hacking is a magical art and the notorious Glitch Witch is the most premium archmagi of the net. By random circumstance, YOU are her new apprentice. You must use your wits and cunning to unravel the mechanisms of an alien computer and survive amongst a veritable web of clowns, leftclickers, and filedraggers.

Beglitched Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @q_dork
Screenshots and video available

Black Closet
Hanako Games (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Finalist: Excellence in Narrative

Command your minions to solve mysteries and cover up scandals in a high-class boarding school, where the competition is cut-throat and image is everything. But be careful - one of your minions is a traitor!

You are the newly-elected Student Council President of an exclusive all-girls school. It is your job to defend the school's reputation by any means necessary. Question suspects, search rooms, lock criminals in detention, and try not to get caught. After all, a lady should never get her hands dirty.

All cases are freshly generated for each playthrough, and the traitor is randomly selected every time. You must rely on your skills to solve the mysteries and work out who's trying to stab you in the back. Between cases, socialise with the girls to learn their motives, build loyalty, and pursue romance.

Black Closet Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @HanakoGames
Game download (full paid version, demo) available

Chambara
team ok (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Finalist: Best Student Game

Chambara is an elegant reinvention of hide-and-seek in a world of two colors. Players disappear against solid-colored backgrounds, and reveal each other by shifting their perspectives. They must sneak and seek across stylish, abstract landscapes to defeat the opposing side.

The core mechanic of Chambara is disappearance - a unique marriage of visuals and design. Dual, flat colors allow players to hide in plain sight by camouflaging against like-colored areas. This makes hiding intuitive, but spatially challenging. Competitive combat elements make disappearance consequential, by rewarding sneaky attacks and spatial mastery with combat advantage.

Chambara Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @teamokgames
Game download (demo) available

Cibele
Star Maid Games (Windows and Mac)

Finalist: Nuovo Award
Honorable mention: Excellence in Narrative and Seumas McNally Grand Prize

Cibele is a game based on a true story about love, sex, and the internet. You play as a 19 year old girl named Nina who has become close with a young man she met in an online game. Her relationship with him heats up, becoming more and more intimate with each phone call and private chat.

The game unravels in three acts. The player plays as Nina, going into her online game, exploring her desktop, chatting with her friends and going about her daily life as she plays her online game. It is a narrative game which strives to help the player walk in Nina's shoes as she plays her online game, becoming more and more intimate with her lover as each act unfolds.

Cibele Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @hentaiphd
Game download (full paid version) available

Circa Infinity
Kenny Sun (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Finalist: Best Student Game

Circa Infinity is a brain-melting circular platformer by Kenny Sun, with a pulse-pounding soundtrack by Jack + Jim Fay.

Circa Infinity Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @KennyYSun
Game download (full paid version) available

Darkest Dungeon
Red Hook Studios (Windows and Mac)

Finalist: Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Visual Art, and Seumas McNally Grand Prize

Darkest Dungeon is a challenging gothic roguelike turn-based RPG about the psychological stresses of adventuring. Recruit, train, and lead a team of flawed heroes against unimaginable horrors, stress, famine, disease, and the ever-encroaching dark. Can you keep your heroes together when all hope is lost?

Darkest Dungeon Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @DarkestDungeon
Game download (Early Access paid version) available

Fantastic Contraption
Northway Games and Radial Games (Windows, Mac, and HTC Vive)

Finalist: Nuovo Award

Fantastic Contraption was originally a building game made way back in 2008. Millions of people played it obsessively and saved over 12 million contraptions. For years we loved the idea of a three dimensional Fantastic Contraption but just couldn't figure out how it would work. Then we tried the Vive.

The new Fantastic Contraption has been designed from the ground up to be a room-scale VR game. Imagine walking around a grassy island floating in the sky making a contraption the size of a horse with your hands then watching it roll out into the world. It's a VR experience you and your friends will play for hours.

Fantastic Contraption Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @colinnorthway, @sarah_northway, and @RadialGamesCorp
Screenshots and video available

GNOG
KO_OP (PlayStation 4, Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS)

Finalist: Excellence in Visual Art
Honorable mention: Excellence in Audio

GNOG is a puzzle game set across a universe of playfully interactive monster heads. Explore a myriad of unique interconnected heads and the worlds they carry within, as you try to decipher each one's quirks and advance to the next.

GNOG Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @KOOPmode
Screenshots and video available

Her Story
Sam Barlow (Windows, Mac, and iOS)

Finalist: Excellence in Design, Excellence in Narrative, Nuovo Award, and Seumas McNally Grand Prize

Her Story is a crime fiction game for PC, Mac and iOS that takes place entirely on the desktop of a 90s era police computer. Players search through a database of interview room video footage to piece together the story of a woman questioned seven times by the police.

Her Story Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @mrsambarlow
Game download (full paid version) available

Infinifactory
Zachtronics (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Finalist: Excellence in Design

Infinifactory is a sandbox puzzle game by Zachtronics, the creators of SpaceChem and Infiniminer. Build factories that assemble products for your alien overlords, and try not to die in the process.

- LIKE SPACECHEM... IN 3D! Design and run factories in a first-person, fully 3D environment.
- HISTOGRAMS ARE BACK! Optimize your solutions, and then optimize them more when you see how much better your friends did.
- VISIT EXOTIC ALIEN LOCALES! Explore a story-driven campaign with 50+ puzzles, audio logs, and more.
- BLOCKS THAT MOVE! Go beyond the campaign and push the limits of Infinifactory's next-generation block engine in the sandbox.
- STEAM WORKSHOP INTEGRATION! Create, share, and play custom puzzles on Steam Workshop.

Infinifactory Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @zachtronics
Game download (full paid version) available

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Steel Crate Games (Windows and Mac)

Finalist: Excellence in Design, Nuovo Award, and Seumas McNally Grand Prize

One player is trapped in a virtual room with a ticking time bomb they must defuse. The other players are the "Experts" who must give the instructions to defuse the bomb by deciphering the information found in the bomb defusal manual. But there's a catch: the experts can't see the bomb, so everyone will need to talk it out – fast!

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @KeepTalkingGame
Game download (full paid version) available

Kingdom
noio and Licorice (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Finalist: Excellence in Design
Honorable mention: Excellence in Audio and Excellence in Visual Art

Wise Rulers know their kingdom will fall,
Brave Rulers do not despair.
Great Rulers know their riches can rule,
And spend every coin with great care.

In Kingdom, each coin spent can tip the balance between prosperity and decay. Attend to your domain, border to border, or venture into the wild to discover its wonders and its threats. Master the land, build your defenses, and when the darkness comes, stand with your people, crown on your head, until the very end.

Kingdom Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @noionl
Game download (full paid version) available

Lumini
Speelbaars (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Finalist: Excellence in Audio

Lumini is an emotional atmospheric adventure game in which the player controls a swarm of creatures on a journey to restore balance to their homeplanet. On this journey you'll encounter enemies, puzzles and mysteries that you'll need to solve in order to fulfill your goals.

The Lumini in your swarm adapt and evolve themselves based on your playingstyle, each type with their own abillity to help you succeed better at restoring balance. This sometimes adorable and heartwrenching story is told through the environment and historical places across the planet.

Lumini Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @Speelbaars
Game download (full paid version) available

Mini Metro
Dinosaur Polo Club (Windows, Mac, Linux, and Online)

Finalist: Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Design, Excellence in Visual Art, and Seumas McNally Grand Prize

In Mini Metro, you take on the task of designing the subway layout for a rapidly expanding city. Your city starts with three stations. Draw routes between these stations to connect them with subway lines. Commuters travel along your lines to get around the city as fast as they can. Each station can only hold a handful of waiting commuters so your subway network will need to be well-designed to avoid delays.

The city is growing. More stations are opening, and commuters are appearing faster. The demands on your network are ever-increasing. You'll be constantly redesigning your lines to maximise efficiency. The new assets you earn every week will help immensely — as long as they're used wisely.

Eventually your network will fail. Stations will open too quickly. Commuters will crowd the platforms. How long the city keeps moving is up to you.

Mini Metro Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @dinopoloclub
Game download (full paid version) available and playable online

orchids to dusk
Pol Clarissou (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Finalist: Best Student Game and Nuovo Award

orchids to dusk is a short contemplative wandering experience. You are an astronaut stranded on an alien planet, with only a few minutes left to live. The game navigates notions of acceptance and legacy, and explores asynchronous multiplayer dynamics.

orchids to dusk Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @PolClarissou
Game download (full free version) available

OXENFREE
Night School Studio (Xbox One and Windows)

Finalist: Excellence in Visual Art
Honorable mention: Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Narrative, and Seumas McNally Grand Prize

Oxenfree is a single player adventure game that's equal parts coming-of-age tale and supernatural thriller. You play as Alex, a bright, rebellious teenaged girl who brings her new stepbrother Jonas to an overnight party on a decommissioned military island. The festivities are framed by a dangerous sneak to a forbidden beach, celebrating with friends and navigating prickly situations with enemies. But the night takes a horrifying turn when you unwittingly open a ghostly rift spawned from the island's cryptic past. How you deal with these events, your peers, and the ominous creatures you've unleashed is up to you.

OXENFREE Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @nightschoolers
Screenshots and video available

PANORAMICAL
Fernando Ramallo and David Kanaga (Windows and Mac)

Finalist: Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Visual Art, and Nuovo Award
Honorable mention: Seumas McNally Grand Prize

In PANORAMICAL, players manipulate the look, sound, and feel of more than a dozen mesmerizing landscapes in an immersive musical adventure through space and time. Turn peaceful mountains into thumping valleys into jazz solo forests into ominous caves, turn day into night, turn oceans into deserts into atmosphere and the soundscape transforms with you. Each of the 15 unique worlds consists of 18 different audio-visual dimensions under your control.

Fernando Ramallo is an Argentine game designer and maker. He's been an independent developer since 2010 and is always tinkering with abstract graphics, generative visuals and strange interactive installations. He is also a digital nomad and has worked on PANORAMICAL while in Argentina, Mexico, all over Europe, and in several areas of the US. He's currently based in Portland.

David Kanaga is best known for his dynamic and procedural musical scores for island exploring Proteus and synaesthetic racing game Dyad.

PANORAMICAL Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @panoramical
Game download (full paid version) available

Pitfall Planet
Bonfire Games (To Be Announced)

Finalist: Best Student Game

Pitfall Planet is a couch co-op puzzle solving adventure game set in space!

In a faraway galaxy, two robot astronauts have crash-landed on a mysterious planet. They embark on a mission to scavenge enough ore to fuel their trip home. Their adventure brings them deep into the caverns below, solving puzzles and collecting ore using their trusty grappling hooks. However, ore isn't the only thing that is hidden underground.

Play with a friend! Use teamwork to complete levels and uncover the secrets of the mysterious planet. Pitfall Planet will put your friendship to the test; will both of you make it out alive?

Pitfall Planet Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @pitfallplanet
Screenshots and video available

Progress
Tim Garbos, Martin Kvale, and Joel Nyström (iOS)

Finalist: Nuovo Award

Interact with your iPhone or iPad in ways that you never thought possible! Be puzzled and amazed as you shake, shout, and dance your way through 100 playful puzzles!

Visuals and interactions are characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality.

The best experience is to show the game to a group of friends and see them struggle while you stand smiling, knowing all the solutions.

Progress Website
IGF Info Page
Vimeo Video
Twitter @progressto100
Game download (full paid version) available

SUPERHOT
SUPERHOT (Xbox One, Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Finalist: Excellence in Design and Seumas McNally Grand Prize

SUPERHOT is the first person shooter where time moves only when you move.

With its mesmerising gameplay and unique, stylized graphics SUPERHOT aims to finally add something new and disruptive to the FPS genre.

See the bullets crawling towards you as you carefully plan your steps and aim your gun. Enjoy the mayhem that is unleashed as you put that plan into motion. Dodge bullets. Take out your enemies. One step at a time.

SUPERHOT Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @superhotthegame
Playable online (demo)

That Dragon, Cancer
Numinous Games (Windows, Mac, and Ouya)

Finalist: Excellence in Audio and Excellence in Narrative
Honorable mention: Seumas McNally Grand Prize

"This is where we go to remember our son Joel, up through here along this path. We want to show you who he was, and how his life changed us. Can we walk here together for a while?"

Follow Ryan and Amy Green on a journey of hope, memories, and sacred longing. Explore a world untethered from time but filled with the laughter of Joel Green, a brave knight who fought cancer for four years.

Using mostly first-person, point-and-click interaction, the player is invited to slow down and immerse themselves in a deeply personal memoir featuring audio taken from home videos, spoken word poetry, and in-game tributes to the loved ones of over 200 Kickstarter backers.

Can you find hope in the face of death?

That Dragon, Cancer Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @ryangreen8
Screenshots and video available

The Beginner's Guide
Everything Unlimited Ltd. (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Finalist: Excellence in Narrative and Nuovo Award
Honorable mention: Excellence in Audio and Seumas McNally Grand Prize

The Beginner's Guide is a narrative video game from Davey Wreden, the creator of The Stanley Parable. It lasts about an hour and a half and has no traditional mechanics, no goals or objectives. Instead, it tells the story of a person struggling to deal with something they do not understand.

The Beginner's Guide Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @hellocakebread
Game download (full paid version) available

The Magic Circle
Question (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Finalist: Excellence in Narrative

You are the protagonist of an unfinished 1st person fantasy game, trapped in development hell. The designers (played by James Urbaniak, Ashly Burch, and Karen Dyer) are god-like, but so indecisive that they've given you no powers whatsoever. With the help of a mysterious disembodied voice (Stephen Russell) you must seize the tools of game development from these unworthy 'gods', uncovering more of the darkly comic story as you go. Rather than traditional puzzles with a single solution, the incomplete state of each environment is a question that you answer in your own way. Trap the designers' creations, steal their behaviors, and re-mix them to explore and master this world-in-progress. Can you out-think the game gods? Can you ship The Magic Circle from inside it?

The Magic Circle Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @magiccirclegame
Game download (full paid version) available

UNDERTALE
Toby Fox (Windows and Mac)

Finalist: Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Narrative, andSeumas McNally Grand Prize

UNDERTALE is an RPG where you don't have to kill anyone.

Also, you can pet a dog.

Length: 6 hours

UNDERTALE Website
IGF Info Page
YouTube Video
Twitter @undertale
Game download (full paid version, demo) available