It takes a lot of effort and heart to create indie games, and we know it takes even more guts to put your game out there for the world to see and pitch it to anyone who will listen.
This list for #PitchYaGame round 3 is made up of my favorite story rich games out of the dozens that were pitched directly to Indie Story Games last Tuesday. Thank you to everyone, including those not on this list, who reached out and brought your game to our attention—we're so glad you did because there were a lot of gems that we wouldn't have discovered otherwise.
Game Director Story
Game Director Story is an unflinching and satirical look behind-the-scenes at how big-budget AAA games are made. Based on first-hand accounts by industry veterans, Players experience the emotional roller coaster of guiding a team through the agonizing decisions and compromises needed to ship a game.
What better game to begin with than the aptly titled Game Director Story developed by Double Blit Games? This animal-filled story coming in late 2020 is not only super cute, but also has a story relatable to all in the game development industry.
When working and talking with a lot of indie game developers these days, I catch glimpses of their hardship in creating games, but I know I can't completely grasp just how much they go through to get their game to the finish line and on people's radars. Being able to experience the life of a game director no doubt appeals to me, and I can already tell I'll have to make hard decisions and juggle the emotions of my team with the tight deadlines of executives. But I'll have fun doing it with my cute animal team!
Verne: the shape of fantasy is a pixel art narrative experience based on the life and works of Jules Verne, which merges exploration, puzzles and interactive dialogues with the imagery of one of the most famous science fiction and adventure writers.
Verne: the shape of fantasy is another one of those really amazing looking pixel art games that immediately catch my eye and invoke my bias. On top of that, it's a non-linear narrative experience in a parallel world with puzzles, fantastical adventure, and interactive dialogue... Count me in!
In this explorative game, you'll help Jules Verne—yes, the same one who authored of all those books on your childhood shelf—and his crew aboard the Nautilus face a petrifying enemy who threatens to wipe out imagination and creativity. Can't have that happening to all the indie devs and creatives out there, right? Check out this game and save our minds.
Frogsong is a heartfelt adventure where it's okay to be small. Chorus is a little frog with huge dreams of protecting the world. Being a tree frog, however, society expects them to lead a life of religious studies, instead of training to be a warrior. Explore a beautiful, atmospheric land and fight monsters on your journey to find your place in the world.
I can't lie—I have a soft spot for games with a cute, diverse array of frogs. There aren't enough good games with a heartwarming narrative where I can play as a frog, but it looks like my problems are about to be solved.
Frogsong, developed by Brandon Braun, tells a story of a tiny frog who aspires to be a hero and fights monsters instead of studying like a good frog. Watching the trailer made me so excited for all the adventures I could have and all the frog friends I could meet along the way in this quirky and colorfully drawn 2D world.
Alongside A Frog's Tale, I now have two frog games to look forward to! The only downside: I'm going to have to wait longer than I want for them to come out—I'd like to buy them tomorrow.
Embody a violinist and awaken a gigantic, forsaken world in this highly poetic platformer! Using your violin and bow, move towards the core of the realm to understand your role in this universe and play the best Concerto!
While Symphonia is not directly story-driven, it is a very unique platformer where the music and the journey itself speaks to the narrative it embodies. You'll embark on a poetic adventure, follow the footsteps of past musicians, and move the world (literally) with your beautiful music.
As a musician who plays a variety of instruments, I have a feeling me, my ears, and my heart will thoroughly enjoy this one. Watch out for a full article on this in the future because I'll no doubt be playing it soon. And you can too... for free! I know, I couldn't believe it either because of the quality of the game. Believe me: there is no excuse to skip this one.
A first person next-gen horror game taking place in New Orleans, Louisiana. It follows 2 cousins whose pasts are deeply intertwined with the notorious voodooo culture.
Now I don't usually do horror and like to leave it to the other writers at Indie Story Games, but the graphics of Divination made me do a double-take. They were beautiful, and it was no wonder the studio received an Unreal Dev Grant in 2018. Despite my tendency to shy away from horror, there was no way I would not include this.
In this dark game with very high quality graphics, you'll play as both Julian and Antoine, cousins who uncover their own history as well as that of New Orleans' voodoo culture when they become entangled in the dark craft. There's little other information about this game as of yet, and I haven't been able to find a trailer. However, I plan to dig deeper in an interview with the developers at RedG Studios soon enough because for once, I don't think I'm horrified enough to stay away.
I mean, just check out these visuals.
Greyhat is a hacker detective adventure where you solve mysteries by snooping around other people's computers. Clues, passwords & solutions are randomized and may change with each playthrough.
Want to do some narrative driven snooping in a desktop UI reminiscent of the Emily is Away series, but spookier? Greyhat is your game. If it isn't yours, it's certainly mine. I love a good mystery and pretending to hack—even though I am actually a software engineer outside of writing for Indie Story Games.
There's just something so enjoyable about doing computer stuff in a semi-realistic UI in a make-believe world where I have to solve some mysteries and uncover secrets. I've actually not found a good game to sate this craving in quite some time now, so I'm very glad this was brought to my attention. It is right up my alley, and I can't wait to try the demo and learn more about the game.
Live the adventures of being a wizard student in a magic world. Spend days learning spells, growing mysterious plants, meeting other students, exploring the world outside the academy!
It's the decade of life sims and, apparently, witches. I've seen a good amount of witch-oriented games in these recent years, but it never gets old because each one is unique in their art styles and gameplay. The one I found out about most recently is Witchery Academy, which has the potential to be a very fun, relaxing, and visually appealing game with a narrative to boot.
From what we can currently see, Witchery Academy doesn't look quite look like it's story rich, but that's because it's still early in development. This witch life sim will let you live a witch's life, farm and explore to your heart's desire, but will also eventually have a main story, quests to go along with it, and even side quests. If you're not convinced yet, just wait until you see the breathtaking image at the end of this article. I was blown away and completely convinced I need to follow this game's development.
Reflecting on the Amazing Indies
The more time I spend in the indie game and dev community, the more I appreciate the games and stories that come out of it. All the hard work and perseverance of devs and designers makes for great results, as you've seen in this article.
However, there were a lot of amazing devs in #PitchYaGame round 3, and no one article could contain all the great story rich games we see each month during the event. As such, this is only the first of a series of articles about indie games we discovered and loved during #PitchYaGame, so look forward to more soon!
Alongside that, I'm still working to schedule interviews with many of the developers behind these games, who I'm sure we're all curious to hear more from. If there are any other games (especially those with a tale to tell) that you think the writers at Indie Story Games should take a look at, don't hesitate to shoot us a message on Twitter or through other methods of contact.
I'll leave you now with this beautiful image from Witchery Academy. Here's to more amazing games.