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Meet game developers and play upcoming indies at NYC's Playtest Night!

The NY Games Forum is now hosting quarterly indie expos at Microsoft’s Midtown Offices in New York City, and we had the chance to check out their second event last week. If you're curious about game development or simply want to see some fresh indie games, the event, titled “Playtest Night” will be one to look out for in the coming months.

This last event was host to over 25 indie games and developers, all in different states of completion. On the one hand were titles like Blood of the Werewolf, which is out now on Steam (we even reviewed it!). On the complete opposite side of the spectrum was Sombrero, which developer Nick Robalik hadn’t shown to anyone until that night. There was even some new tech on display in the form of Voxiebox, a bit of hologram technology that has to be seen in person to fully appreciate. Oh, and there was free pizza too!

We had a chance to play a handful of games, and while much of what was on display wasn’t ready for prime time, that was a big part of the charm. Playtest Night is an opportunity for gamers or those interested in development to get hands on with early games and give feedback to the guys and girls working on these projects. Here’s a bit of what we saw:

The Hero Trap

The Phantom Force

Planned for PC, MAC, and PS Vita, this dungeon crawler feels like a more chaotic and modernized spin on Gauntlet. With four players, four classes, and only a couple buttons to work with, the action is closer to the arcade style beat ‘em ups of old than the more modern Diablos or Torchlights of the world. What struck me most about the game was how the chaos and frenetic action, especially during the boss fight, had a feel almost like a bullet hell shooter. If developer Smashworx can build on that chaotic, arcade feel, they may have something unique in a genre notorious for maintaining the status quo. (The Hero Trap website)

Sirtet: A Secretly Social Game

Sirtet: A Secretly Social Game

Sirtet is available now on iOS, but as a work in progress. With its “Secretly Social” moniker not fully realized, its full potential isn’t quite there either. It’s a fun enough puzzle game, with a concept that involves a deconstruction of Tetris, but I’d be more interested to see the final concept. The idea is that while one player is deconstructing Tetris, making Tetrimino-sized color matches to eliminate blocks, another player is receiving those eliminated pieces to build with. (Sirtet website)

Sombrero

Sombrero

Following in the footsteps of Towerfall and Samurai Gunn, Sombrero is a 4-player combat party game that drew a lot of attention at Playtest Night. The game is unique for focusing less on killing the other players and more on collecting treasure and stopping at campfires around the map. It doesn’t have the same finesse of gameplay as those aforementioned titles, but considering that this was its first showing, I can imagine that the final product will be something special. (Sombrero)

Digits

Digits

Digits was a pleasant surprise. It’s a mobile, touchscreen puzzler in the vein of Picross or Sudoku, in which you must reduce numbered tiles on a board by tapping on them. Get every tile down to zero and you proceed to the next round. It’s a deceivingly simple game that grabbed me immediately with its clean interface and brain-teasing gameplay. It just goes to show that with a bunch of small games like this, you never know what might catch your eye. (Digits developer website)

Voxiebox

Voxiebox

Voxiebox is really something that needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. It looks like a three dimensional cube with an old school arcade game playing within. Imagine a game world that exists in a cube instead of a 2D screen. It's impressive technology, and I really hope it can be refined. Unfortunately, the game I played, a Voxiebox version of Voxatron, was pretty hard to see. It was playable, but it wasn’t “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.”-crisp. Still, it’s that kind of magic tech that makes indie events like this feel special. (Voxiebox Facebook page)

Again, if you’re in the area and looking for a fun way to spend an evening, events like Playtest Night are a great way to meet new people and try some games you might never play otherwise. According to the NY Games Forum, this will be a regular event, so keep an eye out for the next one!

Enjoy random thoughts about the latest games, the Sega Saturn, or the occasional movie review? Follow me @JoeDonuts!

Feature image credit to Nick Robalik

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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