Events / Games

IndieCade 2015 day 2 recap

Here's a long list of our favorite Saturday games!

IndieCade banner image credit: Gabby DaRienzo (@gabdar)

The first day of IndieCade is always a blast for those that can take Friday off of work and come downtown Culver City to play some video games. With over 200 games across all the booths, and talks going on all day long, no matter what your interest is in indie games, there's a great chance you'll find something that pleases you.

Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to check out any of the talks being given on Friday, but we did get our hands on a good chunk of the games from the festival. Today's recap post will contain a list of our favorite games, which we highly suggest you take a look at if you'll be attending the festival Saturday or Sunday.


Darknet by E McNeill

Darknet is the result of a developer wondering what it'd be like to be put directly into a cyberpunk hacking program. Players use an Oculus virtual reality headset (we tried the Samsung Gear VR, however, the game was also available in the standard Oculus headset) to view a grid of servers, each ready to be hackIndieCade 2015 flew by so much quicker than the previous year, and I'm just now getting around to writing up my day 2 and 3 recaps. This post is meant to highlight the greatest games we ran into on Day 2 of IndieCade. You can also check out our day 1 recap in case you missed it.


Overland by Finji

Adam Saltsman gave me a pitch of this survival tactics game last year at IndieCade, and it sounded super promising. Just a year later, he's brought the game to the festival, and it's both very similar to the way I imagined it, but so, so much more amazing than the version in my head. Overland has a very simple premise: you're in the aftermath of the fall of civilization, and you need to collect resources while strategically making your way through the world, giving up things and leaving people behind to make sure you survive.

Donut County by Ben Esposito

Donut County's smooth and soft visuals provide a relaxing experience as you consume the world around you. Donut County is also the name of the virtual donut shop in the game, which is where most of the story takes place. A teenager girl receives a package of donuts from some raccoons, which end up creating holes all over the the city. Gameplay consists of players taking control of the holes to swallow objects, each making the hole bigger and bigger as you progress through each level. What consequences do consuming certain areas have on the overall city and its inhabitants? That, my friend, is a question you can only answer by playing through Donut Country yourself.


Aboard the Lookinglass by Henry Hoffman

Created as part of the 2014 Leap Motion 3D Jam in just over a week, Aboard the Lookinglass not only took home the first place prize, but has continued to leave a legacy at other festivals and shows. For those unfamiliar, Leap Motion is a virtual reality peripheral that tracks hands and other objects around you. After strapping on the Oculus with the Leap Motion attached to it, you find out you've been sent on a rescue mission, somehow possessing two opposite powers, each within your own hands. The story unfolds as you use your newfound powers to play with time: your left hand allows you to reach into the past, your right hand the future.


I Expect You To Die by Schell Games

I found out about I Expect You To Die, part of the VR Zone, just days before the festival. It quickly made its way to the top of my must play list, and am I glad I was able to get through the packed tent and become a spy myself. I Expect You To Die is a quirky Oculus based game where you play as a spy that has to use your wits to try to use items around you to escape the area you're contained it. It's very reminiscent of the old Escape The Room flash games from years ago, but in a first person perspective with a much more polished experience. The mission featured at IndieCade revolved around escaping a plane while you're trapped in a highly rigged spy car keeping you safe from poisonous gasses outside.

Codex Bash by Alistair Aitchenson

Alistair Aitchenson strikes again with another game that's rooted in the purest form of fun. The game uses four big bluetooth buttons that Alistair hopes to use in more games in the future. Codex Bash is the first of the "big bluetooth buttons" series that evolved from a single player experience to a team game, challenging players to use clues from the screen to find the perfect sequence of button presses to solve puzzles. Alternating between using your mind to solve puzzles and your body to lunge across the space to press the buttons, Codex Bash was a game we hope to run into again in the future!

Smooth Operator by Beardo Games

We bumped into Paige Ashlynn, who we had on indie(Radio); back in Season IV, and was introduced to the developers behind Beardo Games. Smooth Operator is their current title, and while they weren't showcasing it at IndieCade, they had a build available on their iPad. After explaining the concept to me, I gave it a try, and am super excited to bring it to parties when it releases this upcoming Valentine's Day. Smooth Operator is a two player game that takes place on a touch screen, where each player must try to follow an arrow moving around the screen with their finger. By successfully following the arrow and being in sync with your partner, the two avatars in game kiss and tongue each other, finishing with a move that gets more ridiculous per level.

We unfortunately weren't around for much of the Night Games, so we didn't have any of them on the list. We'll be posting the rest of our favorites from IndieCade tomorrow, but for now, check out the games above and get ready for fun!ed. Hacking in Darknet requires strategy, placing viruses onto nodes and making sure they don't get taken over by firewalls. It's definitely hard to put into words, so we'll leave this handy video here for you!


Puzzlets by Digital Dream Labs

Puzzlets, like many of the titles that we're sharing over the weekend, is one of those games that you would have never imagined seeing. Puzzlets is an educational platform that uses physical blocks, each illustrated with the action it represents, to teach core principals of logic, sequencing, and iteration to young children. The platform is currently available for purchase, and comes bundled with their first game, "Cork the Volcano." Unlike many peripheral based video games, the hardware will be available for use for more than one game. Future titles will be created and published by Digital Dream Labs. If you're looking for a fun, educational gift for a young one this holiday season, look into Puzzlets at


Throw Trucks With Your Mind by Crooked Tree Studios

The title is a lot simpler than the technology behind it. Throw Trucks With Your Mind uses an EEG headset to read your brain. We're not talking reading thoughts, but reading two stats from your mind: calmness and focus. Players then see on the screen the meters showing their current levels as they run around arenas against three other online multiplayer opponents. Each player is equipped with 8 power-ups, four of them corresponding to calmness, and the other four corresponding to their focus. The higher your meter is for each brain stat, the more effective the power-up is. Power-ups range from pull to push, super jump to shield, and offer some crazy opportunities to kill your enemies using objects in their environment against them.


Butt Sniffin Pugs by SpaceBeagles

Like Darknet, this was one of the five games we were super excited to get our hands on at IndieCade. SpaceBeagles brought the legendary soccer ball controllers (pictured blow) to give everyone the full butt sniffin' experience. The cute top down, two player game gives no explicit goals, and allows players to run around as pugs and interact with the environment around them. Sniffing the other player's butt (in the game, of course) cycles the interactions that can be used by a pug on their environment. Scoot, pose, bark, and bite your way through this adventure on Steam and PlayStation in 2016, as well as iPads further into the future. Don't worry, any future with this many pugs is a good one.


Prune by Joel McDonald

We couldn't release this list without a fantastic mobile game on it. Prune fills that role perfectly. Players draw a line from the ground, which sprouts a tree that grows organically upwards. The goal of each level is to shape the tree so it can avoid obstacles and reach the sunlight above. Prune is a gorgeous minimalistic experience that can be picked up for $3.99 on both the Apple App Store and Google Play.

And there you have it! These were a select bunch of the best games we found day one. We're sure there's still tons of hidden gems waiting for us to discover them at IndieCade. We hope to find them all and report to you what games are worthy of both your wish list and hype list. Check back in tomorrow for more IndieCade coverage.