Meet all 34 IGF 2018 nominees

Find out what indie games made the cut this year.

There are 34 games in the IGF 2018 nominees list, all indie games worthy of recognition in a year best known for more great AAA titles than you can shake a joystick at. Like us, some of them may have passed you by while you were out sweeping up shrines and power moons, so we’ve gone and got the lowdown on all of them. Here’s a quick primer on the IGF 2018 nominees, the indie games you should be checking out.

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)

Nominated for: Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Excellence in Design, Nuovo Award

What is it?

Getting Over It is a game about trying to get over a mountain as a man in a cauldron using only a sledgehammer. Of course it’s all a metaphor for, well, play it and find out but you don’t have to be an academic genius. You do have to have the patience of a saint though.

Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)

Nominated for: Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Excellence in Visual Art, Excellence in Narrative

What is it?

NITW is a very real story about post-adolescence coming of age in a tough economic and political climate for rural US states. But everyone is an animal. It’s very funny, and touching, and sad, all in equal measure.

West of Loathing (Asymmetric Publications)

Nominated for: Seumas McNally Grand Prize

What is it?

West of Loathing is a black and white slapstick comedy of an RPG, like a weird stick-figure Skyrim in the Wild West. Graphics are every bit as good, too.

Into the Breach (Subset Games)

Nominated for: Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Excellence in Design

What is it?

A turn-based strategy from the Faster Than Light devs, with giant mechs fighting off massive alien threats to Earth.

Heat Signature (Suspicious Developments)

Nominated for: Seumas McNally Grand Prize

What is it?

Tom Francis’ (Gunpoint) space hijacking game. It’s sort of like Hotline Miami where you’re sneaking aboard procgen spaceships but you can pause time and teleport behind people.

Baba is You (Hempuli)

Nominated for: Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Excellence in Design, Nuovo Award, Best Student Game

What is it?

The real dark horse of the IGF, a student game out of leftfield with FOUR nominations. It’s a puzzle game where you can change the rules and logic of the game to help you solve levels. It's kind of mind-breaking.

Cuphead (StudioMDHR)

Nominated for: Excellence in Visual Art, Excellence in Audio

What is it?

You know it, it’s that Xbox One exclusive with the 1920s cartoon-style Fleischer animation. Looks like Steamboat Willie, plays like a sidescrolling shooter with some tough bosses and bullet hell elements.

Echo (ULTRA ULTRA)

Nominated for: Excellence in Visual Art

What is it?

A third-person sci-fi adventure, with stealth elements and environment manipulation. The Palace you explore changes to antagonize your playstyle.

Luna (Funomena)

Nominated for: Excellence in Visual Art

What is it?

Luna is a tactile, interactive fairytale in VR about a young Bird who swallows the last piece of the waning Moon and is blown far from home. You help it get home by restoring its memories of plants and animals, helping to grow them in little terrariums.

The Gardens Between (The Voxel Agents)

Nominated for: Excellence in Visual Art

What is it?

The Gardens Between is a puzzle game where best friends Arina and Frendt find themselves in a surreal world of garden islands. Travel back and forth through time to discover each garden's secrets and reveal a story about friendship, childhood and growing up.

Chuchel (Amanita Design)

Nominated for: Excellence in Visual Art

What is it?

Chuchel is an upcoming comedy adventure game from Amanita Design, the creators of Machinarium, Botanicula and Samorost. The aim of the game is to help Chuchel get his cherry back, which involves a number of insane (and fun) scenarios.

Tormentor X Punisher (e-studio)

Nominated for: Excellence in Audio

What is it?

A hyper-violent ode to 90s shooters with arenas, neon colors, and combo scores for murdering demons. There’s a lot of swearing as well, but it’s the “eardrum rupturing soundtrack” that gets the nod from the judges. Pumpin’.

Vignettes (Skeleton Business)

Nominated for: Excellence in Audio

What is it?

A casual exploration game for mobile, it’s got some cutesy kaleidoscoping visuals but the whimsical sound design is what had judges fawning over it.

Rain World (VIDEOCULT)

Nominated for: Excellence in Audio

What is it?

It’s a survival platformer where you play a….slugcat? It’s pretty cute, and there’s tons of different rooms and environments to traverse, with lots of *SECRETS*, and of course rain, which apparently sounds really, really good. Excellent-sounding rain.

Uurnog Uurnlimited (Nifflas Games)

Nominated for: Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Design

What is it?

Uurnog is a 2D platformer where you need to steal animals and that’s all the plot you need. The music algorithmically adapts to your gameplay and NPCs are all “chaotic neutral” and can mess up your game.

Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

Nominated for: Excellence in Audio

What is it?

Celeste is from the creators of TowerFall and is a platformer about climbing a mountain and trying to outrun your reflection. There’s 600 levels, eight chapters, hardcore B-sides of chapters like Meat Boy.

Shenzhen I/O (Zachtronics)

Nominated for: Excellence in Design

What is it?

Shenzehn I/O is an open-ended programming puzzle game that challenges players to build circuits using a variety of components. While working in a Shenzehn factory.

Wilmot's Warehouse (Richard Hogg, Ricky Haggett, Eli Rainsberry)

Nominated for: Excellence in Design

What is it?

The minds behind Hohokum make another stylishly cartoonish little experience for the Humble Original bundle. It’s about stocking a warehouse with lots of different wares. But it’s more compelling than that. Like reverse Tetris.

Tacoma (Fullbright)

Nominated for: Excellence in Narrative

What is it?

Gone Home devs take the prying through people’s lives to orbit on a deserted space station. You’ve got to get the station’s AI, but to do that you accidentally have to learn what happened between everyone on the station.

Attentat 1942 (Charles University and Czech Academy of Sciences)

Nominated for: Excellence in Narrative

What is it?

A sombre experience that tells the story of Nazi occupation from the viewpoint of those who experienced it firsthand. Built on interviews with survivors and authentic historical footage.

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (Dim Bulb Games)

Nominated for: Excellence in Narrative

What is it?

It’s a collection of stories, inspired by American folklore and the Great Depression. Sting (the singer) voices a wolf. It sounds amazing to be honest.

Butterfly Soup (Brianna Lei)

Nominated for: Excellence in Narrative

What is it?

It’s a Visual Novel about baseball and also Asian-American girls falling in love with each other.

Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games)

Nominated for: Excellence in Narrative

What is it?

Tooth and Tail is an RTS! Where animal armies fight each other! Flamethrower Boars! Mustard gas Skunks! Paratrooper-puking Owls! A whole bunch of online and local multiplayer modes too.

Tarotica Voo Doo (TPM.CO SOFT WORKS)

Nominated for: Nuovo Award

What is it?

This Japanese hand-drawn escape room game has been in development since 1993. As such it doesn’t really follow modern gaming conventions. It’s a bit of an experience, to say the least.

10 Mississippi (Karina Popp)

Nominated for: Nuovo Award

What is it?

A stop motion game about daily routine that you repeat over and over again. There’s meditation in there, and an appreciation for the beauty of mundanity.

A Mortician's Tale (Laundry Bear Games)

Nominated for: Nuovo Award

What is it?

A game where you run a funeral home. You have to embalm bodies, attend their funerals, listen to loved ones opine about them. It’s all about death, and how some people’s lives are all about the one thing we try not to think about.

Cosmic Top Secret (klassefilm)

Nominated for: Nuovo Award

What is it?

A short adventure game over six levels through a unique viewpoint. A uniquely surreal one, at least. The protagonist’s mum and dad fought the Red Menace in the Cold War and she only stumbles on this truth aged 39.

Everything Is Going to Be OK (Nathalie Lawhead)

Nominated for: Nuovo Award

What is it?

The Nuovo Award is always one for the more outlandish, bizarre or experimental experiences offered through the interactive medium. This zine collection marks most of those boxes with its artstyle and social commentary.

Kids (Playables)

Nominated for: Nuovo Award

What is it?

There’s...basically nothing out there about what this game actually is. It’s 20-30 minutes long, part of an art collaboration for a short film and short game, and is “an experimental project about the psychology of the group.” It’s out sometime this year on iOS, Android and Steam so keep an eye out, I guess?

IO Interloper (DANG!)

Nominated for: Best Student Game

What is it?

This student entrant is a desktop-based corporate espionage hacking game, where you use drones, security cameras and databases to try to steal valuable company secrets.

Don't Make Love (Maggese)

Nominated for: Best Student Game

What is it?

You are a Praying Mantis in a relationship. You’re really, really in love and want to have sex. But that will lead to the decapitation of the male Mantis. And neither of you wants that. Try your best to convey your feelings.

Penny Blue Finds a Clue (DigiPen Team Cactus Curse)

Nominated for: Best Student Game

What is it?

A mystery game! It’s all animated with a 2D paper art style in 3D environments and you (a babysitter) and a tween detective (who you are babysitting) explore a big hotel to figure out who done a murder! Sounds brilliant.

We Were Here (Total Mayhem Games)

Nominated for: Best Student Game

What is it?

A sort of Firewatch-like if that’s a genre? You’re in an unfamiliar, abandoned castle in a frozen wasteland and all you have is a walkie talkie with a familiar voice on the other end. It’s familiar because it’s your real life friend and it’s a two player game where you’re trying to find which room one of you is trapped in. Co-op hide and seek but with puzzles! Really ace concept.

Guardian of the Gears (DigiPen Team Studio 76)

Nominated for: Best Student Game

What is it?

A 3D puzzle game where you’re trying to restore a lifeless world to its once former glory. Exploration and discovery goes hand-in-hand with puzzle solving and clockwork mechanisms, hence the gears.

Editor-in-Chief

Chris is the captain of the good ship AllGamers, which would explain everything you're seeing here. Get in touch to talk about work or the $6 million Echo Slam by emailing chris.higgins@allgamers.com or finding him on Twitter. 

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