“What’s that? Judge a selection of super-intelligent Swiss indie games, you say? Well, if you insist…”
Last week, we took part in the Swiss Games 2012/2013 Awards, as part of the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival in Switzerland. Our mission? Play a load of games and pick the one we liked best.
It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.
All of the games that were nominated for the award were very heavily influenced by fine art, both in their look and content. It’s not every day that you get to play games that base their style on Cubism, Surrealism and traditional Central European design – luckily, the Miniclip team are true culture vultures.
Here are the finalists!
ANTYZ (iPhone / iPad / Android) – DNA Studios
Fun and fast, Antyz stands out for its slightly unusual premise: an invisible fossilised micro-organism turns into an insect. We loved this game’s plot, which we won’t spoil, but it’s superbly written. And, naturally, contains more palaeontology references than all the Jurassic Park movies put together.
DON’T KILL HER (Mac/PC, browser game) – Jérémy “Wuthrer” Cuany
A game designed to provide a unique experience to every player, Don’t Kill Her has a strong visual style with nods to the French painter Jean Dubuffet and the traditions of Swiss and Central European design. As for the game itself, on the surface it appears to be a simple platformer, but underneath is a mystery waiting to be unravelled.
DREI (iPad/desktop browser) – Etter Studio
Three builders have to work together to build a tower – that’s Drei. Sounds simple, and that’s its strength: an easy concept with universal appeal. Yet, as with many of the finalists, Drei wraps this simple concept in a wonderfully artistic style, combining quotes from a variety of cultures with abstract geometry and a minimalist look.
JOURNEY OF A ROACH (Mac/PC) – Koboldgames GmbH
A comic adventure game, in Journey Of A Roach you play… a cockroach. It tells the story of Jim, a naive but friendly roach, living in a world where humans have become extinct as a result of nuclear war. Puzzle-solving and exploration are at the game’s core.
MIRAGE (Mac/PC/iPad) – Mario von Rickenbach, Andi Bissig
In Mirage, you play an underwater top hat that has partnered up with a human foot. Yes, this is a game steeped in Surrealism, and takes place in some very odd imaginary worlds. With quotes from movies such as A Clockwork Orange and Blow-Up, Mirage’s influences include film as well as fine art.
NED&TED (Mac/PC) – Simon Kovatsch, Marc Gruber
A co-op game, Ned&Ted’s loony look matches its subject matter as the player helps the two heroes – a pair of lunatics – escape to freedom. Packed with pop culture references as well as nods to Cubism and Dadaism, Ned&Ted also evokes classic silent movie double-acts in its frenetic action.
UNMEM (iPad / iPhone) – CAUSE (Karian Foehr)
Humans have always depended on signs and words to communicate. Unmem takes this as its core idea and inverts it: a shapeshifting game where everything is changing and nothing is permanent. The composer of Unmem’s sound composition, Elliot Vaucher, was honoured by an international jury at NIFFF for its innovation.
After many hours playtesting – and brushing up on their fine art – the Miniclip judges sat down to deliberate over their favourites. After much discussion, the verdict was delivered… and DREI was announced as our winner!
We particularly liked Drei’s crisp, clear-cut design, as well as the quality of its multiplayer mode – a feature that is very much in line with the Miniclip gaming philosophy. As well as receiving the award, Drei will also be published on Miniclip.com in the near future – look out for it soon!
What do you think?
Do you like the look of these games? Tell us which ones you’d like to play in the Comments below!