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The Amazing Indies of the GDC

Don’t miss these 4 award-worthy independent games.

Every March, game makers big and small gather at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco for a week of trendsetting summits and behind-the-scenes talks. But for the nominees of an Independent Game Festival award (IGF), the event can be life-changing.

Dating back to 1999, the IGF counts some of the most influential indie hits among its winners—from the visually stunning Limbo to a little game about building blocks called Minecraft.

The 2019 IGF Awards recognized four iOS games. Will this year’s class reach such lofty heights? Only time will tell, but you can at least say you knew them when.

Alto’s Odyssey
Nominated for Excellence in Visual Art, Excellence in Audio

This sequel to the snowboarding hit Alto’s Adventure isn’t just a retread of that wintry classic. Set in an endless desert, Alto’s Odyssey keeps the core intact—you ride your board down sandy slopes set against gorgeous backdrops—while adding brilliant new mechanics: A backflip is cool; a wall ride into a backflip is even cooler. And no matter how you perform, its beautiful visuals, crisp audio effects, and soothing soundtrack ensure it always looks—and sounds—perfect.

    Alto's Odyssey

    Discover the endless desert

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Holedown
Honorable Mention: Excellence in Audio

What lies at our planet’s core? According to Holedown, it’s a giant black ball, and we need to destroy it by hitting it with smaller balls. Imbuing brick-breaking gameplay with humor and style, Holedown is a study in streamlined, strategic design. Collect crystals for upgrades and aim in just the right spot to maximize your impact.

    holedown

    A Ball Bouncer With Depth

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Supertype
Honorable Mention: Best Student Game

Word puzzlers are all the rage, but Supertype turns the concept on its E-A-R by making the letters themselves the puzzle pieces. A top-heavy P becomes a cudgel to knock an O down an incline, while an L easily squeezes between gaps. With stylish delivery and inventive design, Supertype is wordplay at its finest.

    supertype

    acrobatic letters

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Marbloid
Honorable Mention: Best Student Game

No one knows for sure where the marbles came from, but we know where they’re headed: into holes, provided you can safely tilt them down precarious paths and bounce them over dangerous gaps. While Marbloid’s gameplay is immediately understandable, its style—an explosion of pastels, emoji, and technological artifacts like cassette tapes—sets it apart from, well, just about everything.

    Marbloid

    Tilt & Tap to the Billion!

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Looking for more? Past IGF grand-prize winners include the phenom Minecraft (2011), the mind-bending platformer Fez (2012), and the gripping detective yarn Her Story (2016). Last year, Getting Over It took home the IGF Nuovo prize, and the charming Chuchel won for Excellence in Visual Art. Device 6, 80 Days, FTL…the list of games recognized at the IGF Awards includes some of the App Store’s greatest indies.

    CHUCHEL

    An adorably mad adventure

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    Her Story

    Games

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    Getting Over It

    with Bennett Foddy

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    Minecraft

    Create, explore and survive!

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    FEZ Pocket Edition

    Games

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    80 Days

    Travel across the world

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    DEVICE 6

    Games

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    FTL: Faster Than Light

    Games

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