In many ways, it could be argued that the heart and soul of mobile gaming lie within those unique and different games being developed on a daily basis by the indie community. We’ve seen many of them rise to stardom, such as Florence and former Big Indie Pitch winner Hidden Folks. However, as the number of indie games being developed continues to grow exponentially, it can be hard to discover the next big indie hit.
Well, this problem is exactly why we set up our regular international competition for indie developers, The Big Indie Pitch, around 8 years ago. From San Francisco to Hong Kong and everywhere in between, we currently run around 20 of these global events a year in order to showcase all the amazing new indie games in development. Of course, there are prizes and international recognition, but the reward is the chance to show all of you readers some of the latest games in development.
Understandably, 2020 is proving to be a challenging year for all in the industry. As such, we felt it was important to continue to highlight all of the indie talents in any way we can and took the Big Indie Pitch digital, with our first digital pitches taking place at our recent Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #1.
However, we found this wasn’t enough, with the pitch having more than double the number of entries we could fit. So, rather than stop there, we decided to bring the pitch back in May in order to give all the developers waiting in the wings a chance to showcase what they had to offer. And let me tell you, we’re sure glad we did.
Much like with our physical pitches, we were able to bring together over 15 of the most exciting mobile developers from all over the world in order to showcase their latest works to some of our most established judges.
As always the pitch couldn’t have been closer, mainly thanks to some very high-quality games. In fact, even after a tie-break, we couldn’t separate two of the games, meaning we did the only fair thing and gave both developers the prize for joint second.
Thankfully, here we don’t have to pick a top three and instead can highlight every single one of the games pitched as a part of the competition. So read on in order to discover some of the most exciting indie games currently in development.
Oh, and if you want to take part yourself. Then all you have to do is check out the Big Indie Pitch website for a list of all the upcoming pitches, and find out how you can get your game in front of our panel of judges.
1 1st Place – UnderKnight by TruePlayers
UnderKnight is a unique RPG Roguelike crossover developed specifically for mobile. What does that mean though? Well, for one, it means a control scheme and presentation that’s been developed specifically with landscape and one-touch gaming in mind.
Beyond this, there are also procedurally generated magical worlds in order to ensure each playthrough is unique. Gameplay takes the form of combo-focused battles in which players are rewarded for battle flow. Of course, there are power-ups and abilities to assist you in this, but the developer has focused on easy to grasp, hard to master mechanics in order to appeal to a wide range of gamers.
Finally, the game looks stunning from top to bottom with appealing and vibrant worlds meaning that there is no reason for this game not to have the potential to be an engaging and encapsulating mobile title that players definitely should keep their eyes peeled for.
2 Joint 2nd Place – Hexicon: Strategy Word Game by Scatterbrain Studio
Hexicon is a deep strategy filled multiplayer word game in which players must create words and control territory within a hexagonal grid. Within the game, two players take it in turns to connect paths of adjacent tiles and in turn capture territory in the form of the lettered tiles. Once these tiles are locked they are removed from play, and the first player to capture 16 tiles wins!
Understandably this takes a simple and popular premise but gives it a new twist my loading it full of strategy. What’s more, the game also features online multiplayer, challenging AI opponents, and daily challenges in order to compliment the accessible and deep gameplay. Finally, it looks gorgeous too thanks to its minimal and bright aesthetic.
3 Joint 2nd Place – WordPath by Puzzles & Games
WordPath is a game that encapsulates everything that is appealing and well-loved about the wordplay genre. First up it looks absolutely gorgeous with a clean UI and visually strong presentation. Of course though, much like with our finalists, presentation is only one part of a winning puzzle.
Unsurprisingly though, WordPath also has easy to grasp and addictive gameplay. One in which players are tasked with selecting specific letters in order to create a path that represents the correct word. While it may be simple in premise, it offers an extraordinary amount of challenge and will test your puzzle-solving skills.
4 Krystopia: Nova´s Journey by Antler Interactive
The first thing that you notice when you see Krystopia is just how stunning it is, and thankfully the game’s quality doesn’t stop there. Offering players an exciting puzzler with deep and varied mechanics all wrapped around an exciting story.
This story will see players take on the role of Nova Dune, an intrepid space explorer who follows a mysterious distress signal and is led to a desolate desert filled alien planet. However, in good mystery fashion, not all is as it seems, and the planet holds more than one secret as you discover the fate of the island’s inhabitants.
5 Summer of Joy by Hypernova Interactive
Summer of Joy is a romantic musical game. One which relays the story of Joy and Blue, two people who meet as children and throughout their time together grow to discover the joy and pain of love, alongside developing an unbreakable bond.
The gameplay takes the form of an interactive puzzle game that is crossed with rhythm gameplay elements. In addition, the loveable and heartwarming presentation only aids in immersing players in Joy and Blue’s tale. The judges ultimately saw shades of the of award-winning titles such as Florence and Assemble with Care within Summer of Joy, and think that this is definitely a title to be excited for.
6 Fighting Pride – The Manny Pacquiao Saga by Ranida Games
Manny Pacquiao is one of the most famous boxers to ever step into the ring. What’s more, he’s one of the most iconic people in Phillipino history. As such, he’s the perfect person for a homegrown Phillipino studio with fighting pedigree to take and turn into a fully licensed casual action title that encompasses the story of his life and his most iconic battles.
With easy to grasp and highly accessible gameplay, alongside some gorgeous 2D artwork that brings the characters and the story to life, this really is a game for fans of both the brawler genre and Manny Pacquaio alike to keep their eyes peeled for.
7 Zombo Buster Advance by FIREBEAST
Zombo Buster Advance is a cute and loveable tower defence title in which players must utilise interchangeable elevators in order to deploy troops and take down the waves of approaching zombies.
Alongside the strong comic book inspired art style, FIREBEAST has also taken steps to specifically gear the gameplay for mobile platforms, including short level length and clever gameplay tweaks. For fans of titles such as Plants Vs Zombies, this could just be the next game to grab hold of your time.
8 Dragon Online MMORPG by Nedi Games
Dragon Online MMORPG is a multi-platform online experience that looks to combine all of the best bits of the MMO genre. As such, players can look forward to not only a range of PVP and PVE battling but also a plethora of customisation options and building elements.
In fact, players will be able to not just craft their own weapons, but also build their own private islands, guild zones, and more before either keeping these private or sharing them in the public build area. Finally, in a twist, you’ll not be controlling a human character on this occasion, but instead, you’ll actually be a dragon. So get ready to breathe some fire and take control of a fully customised land.
9 Sea-monster Hunter by Silver Stream Studio
Described by the developer as Monster Hunter crossed with Pirates of the Caribbean with a little Cookie Clicker over the top for good measure, Sea-monster Hunter is an appealing prospect. What’s more, you take control of a cursed pirate captain as you travel the high seas hunting down a plethora of dangerous creative monsters, all in order to return to the land that you long for.
It certainly is an appealing blend of different ideas, one that the judges applauded for its grand vision.
10 Mandala – A Game Of Life by Digital Future Games
In this digital board game, the object is to move your pieces towards the centre of a decreasing series of rings. By reaching the centre ring you’ll earn a point before returning back to the start in order to do it all over again, with the first to 6 points taking the win. In addition to this players can also land on their opponents pieces to capture them and score a point alongside utilising a range of strategies in order to keep them ahead of their competition.
Interestly though, this isn’t a brand new game, but actually an adaption of a classic board game from years gone by. One that was influenced by the likes of Hindu and Buddhist traditions, alongside Islamic art and the Celtic cross of Christian iconography.
11 Make A Square by Sandwich Generation
Make A Square is a puzzle game with simplicity at its core. In fact, our judges found that this simplicity in both the presentation and gameplay proved to be the game’s greatest strength. This and the game’s stylish and soothing soundtrack.
Within the gameplay, players must reshape the Tetris-like shapes in order to form perfect squares, hence the game’s title. Of course, there’s a lot of depth in the simplicity too, as you’ll also spend time creating 3D squares alongside 2D ones as well as being forced to move multiple blocks at the same time amongst other challenges.
12 Isoblock by Made With Jam
Isoblock is a fast-paced casual arcade game in which players must dodge the tumbling rocks, acquire gems and utilise power-ups, all in order to ultimately survive. Made With Jam hasn’t just focused on the core gameplay though, with the isometric design being stylish and very appealing too.
The game is still very much in the early stages of development, but what we’ve seen so far points to a very promising title.
13 Wasteland Punk by Try Hard Games
Set within a post-apocalyptic future, Wasteland Punk is a turn-based mobile party RPG built around the exploration of large tile-based maps that are all filled with a variety of differing procedurally generated encounters. These encounters range from core story-based quests all the way to simple combat-based ambushes. What’s more, players will be able to utilise fully customisable four-person squads alongside taking advantage of base building elements.
As such, players can expect not only a deep game but a game that is unique to each and every player. An addition that is even more important when you learn that the game also includes online social interactions through a guild system as well as a PvP ladder.
14 Meditation Fun by Conscience Awake
Taking some time in order to clear your mind and relax is becoming ever more important in today’s increasingly busy society. So what better way to do that than with a game specifically designed to help achieve this?
Well for anyone who feels the same, then Mediation Fun might just be for you. In this game, players will be guided on a path towards the improvement of your mind through meditative practice. This will be achieved through a story mode that will guide players through the Chakras of meditation alongside a Free Will mode where players can progress at their own pace. Alongside this, there will be a wealth of additional features too in order to guide the player ever closer to a state of inner peace.
15 Rock, Paper, Cherry Bomb by Danger Games
Much like the famous Rock, Paper Scissors game, Rock, Paper, Cherry Bomb is a game all about quick thinking and decision making. Of course, this is all condensed into platforming gameplay that is easily accessible and well known to gamers.
That’s not all though, as this game also has a lot of charm too, thanks to its visually appealing art style and relaxing soundtrack that takes away elements of stress that some people might find when having to make fast decisions.