2013 IGF Finalists: Excellence in Visual Arts
I struggle to find words to describe Incredipede. I look at it and want to compare it to other games, but when I think about it, that seems awfully silly. While Incredipede bears superficial similarities to some other physics-based puzzle games like Happy Wheels, it really attempts to set out on its own, both in art style and mechanics. This leaves it in a very odd position. Incredipede is both familiar and very, very alien, and this combination makes it far more interesting than it looks at first glance. It also helps that the puzzles are devilishly difficult and really tax my mental muscles.
You play as the titular Incredipede, a creature that can extend bones, flesh, and muscles at a whim. You must use this strange and gruesome talent to grab fruit and then make it to the exit of each level. It’s not that easy, though, as obstacles such as steep hills, lava flows, and sharp falls prevent you from simply strolling to your objective. Once the game stops pushing you towards the correct solution with half-completed puzzles, you will start to appreciate just how difficult creating a functioning creature can be.
What really sets it apart from other physics games of this kind – besides the inclusion of musculature – is the art style. Incredipede boasts a wood-block style that smacks reminiscent of Central American works while retaining its own identity. It’s gross and fascinating at the same time, which makes watching your grotesque muscle-and-bone monster’s journey all the more interesting. I can’t imagine any art style that fits the theme of the game better than this one, and the excellent presentation is no doubt why it is a finalist. You can buy Incredipede from the Humble Store, and a Steam release is coming soon.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
I absolutely love same-screen multiplayer titles, despite how much of a pain it is to set them up and find players. There’s just something about that arcade experience you get when you play them that you can’t get anywhere else. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, much like Samurai Gunn, is in this category of games that are best played in proximity to the other player. It is far less gory and competitive, however, and instead pits two players against the forces of a hostile universe.
There is no real coherent plot to Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, besides what meaning you personally give to it. Rather, it’s all about the cooperation between people. Both you and your partner are stuck inside of a Death Star-looking spaceship. It has a full complement of guns, engines, defensive shields, and even a doomsday laser. Unfortunately for you, you are the only two people onboard, and there are seven stations to man. Thus you must run from station to station and man them at the right times in order to survive.
It is a very satisfying experience, and the focus on cooperation to overcome the lack of control is a brilliant one. Running from station to station as your buddy attempts to fend off a wave with the turrets is a great bonding experience. It is also a very lovely looking game, which shows that the developers have some excellent visual talent as well as the requisite design chops. I think it would be great no matter how it looked, but the crisp lines and strong colors help elevate it from an interesting premise to a fantastic game. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is slated for later this year.