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Return of The Obra Dinn, Paratopic and Hypnospace Outlaw headline IGF's 2019 finalists

Hypnospace Outlaw

The finalists for the 2019 Independent Games Festival award ceremony on March 20th have been announced, and they remind me just how joyful a challenge it is to keep up with indie development. Every category is packed with exciting, creative endeavours both complete or still in development – a reminder that 2018 was a great year for games, and 2019 stands to be even better. Now I’ve just got to keep track of all of them.

Among the headliners for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize are RPS favourites like low-fi groundhog day adventure Minit, the excellent maritime mystery Return Of The Obra Dinn (which Andreas Inderwildi picked apart earlier today) and the bizarre Hypnospace Outlaw, a deep dive into a fictional 90s internet dream-world. Also in the running is virtual voyeur sim Do Not Feed The Monkeys, and the upcoming physics-driven platform roguelike Noita. Every category is full of exciting games, though – check out the full list on the IGF page here, or below.

SEUMAS MCNALLY GRAND PRIZE

Minit (Kitty Calis, Jan Willem NijmanJukio Kallio & Dominik Johann)

Opus Magnum (Zachtronics)

Noita (Nolla Games)

Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope)

Hypnospace Outlaw (Jay Tholen, Mike LaschXalavier Nelson Jr., Corey Cochran)

Do Not Feed the Monkeys (Fictiorama Studios)

Honorable Mentions: Wandersong (Greg Lobanov & A Shell in the Pit); Subnautica (Unknown Worlds Entertainment); Mirror Drop (Ian Lilley); Moss (Polyarc); Unavowed (Wadjet Eye Games); Iconoclasts (Joakim Sandberg); Virtual Virtual Reality(Tender Claws); Beat Saber (Beat Games)

Opus Magnum

 

EXCELLENCE IN VISUAL ART

Forgotton Anne (ThroughLine Games)

Alto’s Odyssey (Team Alto)

Hypnospace Outlaw (Jay Tholen, Mike LaschXalavier Nelson Jr., Corey Cochran)

Just Shapes & Beats (Berzerk Studio)

Mirror Drop (Ian Lilley)

Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope)

Honorable Mentions: Beat Saber (Beat Games); Wandersong (Greg Lobanov & A Shell in the Pit); Subnautica (Unknown Worlds Entertainment); Moss (Polyarc); Iconoclasts(Joakim Sandberg); Guildlings (Sirvo Studios); Paratopic (Arbitrary Metric)

Forgotton Anne

EXCELLENCE IN AUDIO

ETHEREAL (Nonsense Arts – Nicolás Recabarren and Tomás Batista)

Hypnospace Outlaw (Jay Tholen, Mike LaschXalavier Nelson Jr., Corey Cochran)

Moss (Polyarc)

Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope)

Alto’s Odyssey (Team Alto)

Paratopic (Arbitrary Metric)

Honorable Mentions: Creaks (Amanita Design); Holedown (grapefrukt games); Pikuniku (Sectordub); The Messenger (Sabotage); Distance (Refract Studios); Wandersong (Greg Lobanov & A Shell in the Pit); Wattam (Funomena)

Return Of The Obra Dinn

EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN

What the Golf? (Triband)

Do Not Feed the Monkeys (Fictiorama Studios)

Noita (Nolla Games)

Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope)

Dicey Dungeons (Terry CavanaghChipzel, and Marlowe Dobbe)

Opus Magnum (Zachtronics)

Honorable Mentions: Subnautica (Unknown Worlds Entertainment); Carto (SunheadGames); Black Room (Cassie McQuater); JUMPGRID (Ian MacLarty); Mirror Drop (Ian Lilley); Hypnospace Outlaw (Jay Tholen, Mike LaschXalavier Nelson Jr., Corey Cochran); Beat Saber (Beat Games)

Noita

EXCELLENCE IN NARRATIVE

Wandersong (Greg Lobanov & A Shell in the Pit)

Genital Jousting (Free Lives)

Unavowed (Wadjet Eye Games)

Seers Isle (Nova-box)

Watch Me Jump (Jeremy Gable)

Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope)

Honorable Mentions: Do Not Feed The Monkeys (Fictiorama Studios); The Hex (Daniel Mullins Games)

Speed Dating for Ghosts (Copychaser Games); after HOURS (Bahiyya Khan, Claire Meekel, Tim Flusk, Abi Meekel); Fortune-499 (AP Thomson); Marie’s Room (like Charlie); Tango: The Adventure Game (Gualicho Games)

Unavowed

NUOVO AWARD

Circle0 (yesyes)

eCheese Zone (Seemingly Pointless)

Noita (Nolla Games)

Mirror Drop (Ian Lilley)

Black Room (Cassie McQuater)

Paratopic (Arbitrary Metric)

Do Not Feed the Monkeys (Fictiorama Studios)

Nth Dimension[al] Hiking (Zachariah Chandler)

Honorable Mentions: All Our Asias (Sean Han Tani); Hypnospace Outlaw (Jay Tholen, Mike LaschXalavier Nelson Jr., Corey Cochran); Cyberpet Graveyard (alienmelon); levedad (solimporta); Subserial Network (Aether Interactive); macdows 95(gamebra.in); The Norwood Suite (Cosmo D); Nerve Damage (Dennis Carr)

Paratopic

BEST STUDENT GAME

It’s Paper Guy! (Paper Team)

Grace Bruxner Presents: The Haunted Island, a Frog Detective Game (Grace Bruxner)

After HOURS (Bahiyya Khan, Claire Meekel, Tim Flusk, Abi Meekel)

En Garde! (En Garde! Team)

levedad (solimporta)

Sole (Gossamer Games)

 

Honorable Mentions: We Should Talk (HeartBeetStudio); Coffin Rot Brewing Co.(Rosser-McGraw Studio); Fling to the Finish (SplitSide Games); Indecision. (Bilge Kaan); Seasons (David Su and Dominique Star); supertype (Philipp Stollenmayer); Atlas’ Fate: Between Light and Darkness (Baby Robot Games); Marbloid (Supyrb)

The Haunted Island, A Frog Detective Game

I’m surprised to see Noita nominated for so many awards, but it does look like a fine (if potentially frustrating) bit of physics’y rogueliking. I’m personally rooting for first-person unsettler Paratopic, which I finally got the chance to play over the holidays. It’s a brilliant little horror short, and while it didn’t feel like it had much impact at first, I’ve been thinking on and off about it ever since – it gets under your skin. We’ll find out who the winners in each category are on March 20th, although I personally feel all the games already out now deserve a trophy – 2018 was wild.

Disclosure: Hypnospace Outlaw, which is in the running for the IGF grand prize, features narrative design by RPS contributor Xavier Nelson Jr. He still refuses to tell me what story twists are waiting in the final version of the game.

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