This year's BitSummit 2015 exhibited many very promising indie games. Two that particularly stood out are the 2D horizontal scrolling Earth Wars and the bizarre but comical Octodad.

Earth Wars, Octodad, and more exhibited at Japan’s BitSummit 2015

This year's BitSummit 2015 exhibited many very promising indie games. Two that particularly stood out are the 2D horizontal scrolling Earth Wars and the bizarre but comical Octodad.
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The 2-day long celebration of indie games, BitSummit 2015, was hosted this year at the Kyoto – Miyako Messe (Exhibition Center).  This year marked the third BitSummit, the largest exhibition thus far, with 18 playable title works exhibited at the SCE Booth.

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Two games in particular that stood out were Earth Wars from oneoreight and Octodad from Young Horses Games.

Earth Wars

Depicted with elaborate graphics, Earth Wars is a horizontal scrolling 2D action game for the PS4 set on earth in the near future. Players assume the role of members of the A.N.T.I special strength forces unit, locked in a life or death struggle with weapon-like creatures called E.B.E.

Players can choose between male or female, then customize their avatars deciding things like hair style, etc. Males can shoot missiles. Females can make fast slashing attacks and mow down enemies with firearms.

From the first stage, with a city of crumbling buildings in the background, players are attacked by swarms of scorpion-like creatures.

The game mechanics seem very smooth. The dash is particularly strong, by attracting the opponent’s attack and then dashing forward to hit them from the rear. Then you can cut and cut and slice the defenseless enemies to bits. This feels considerably good. Every aspect of the UI (User Interface) is stylish.

There is an overall good feel to the gameplay.  Enemies have the appropriate allotment of stamina and the fights are well-paced.  Players also have access to special finishing moves that allow them to rapidly cut through enemies.

Development company oneoreight was founded by former Imageepoch staff members Komura Issei and Kuroki Takashi. Currently, it is a developing company with about 5 staff members, but the small size of their team has not stopped them from making a formidably high quality and original game.  Some have described Earth Wars as ‘the first of its kind’.

Earth Wars is slated to be released this summer on the PS4 (with plans already made for a release on the Xbox One).

Octodad – “Don’t Call Me an Octopus”

Players become the Octodad. A dad who is an octopus. Yep. In order to not reveal that you are an octopus, you pretend to be human and live with a family in this strange game.

Walk by pushing R2 and/or L2 on the controller, and depending on the length the corresponding right and left feet will stick out. Using these controls to emulate the movements of a human is extremely difficult.  Even walking is a challenge. To make matters worse (or better?), soon skills utilizing the R1 button and the left and right sticks are also added to the player’s repertoire.

Since it is very difficult to move, attempts at playing the game frequently result in the Octodad looking like a ridiculous comedy star.  That frustration is the source of the enjoyment as you cannot help but smile and laugh.

BitSummit was founded for the purpose of allowing Japanese independent game developers to showcase their games to the rest of the world.  It has only grown over the years, from a small industry event of 200 people to a a grandscale festival attended by thousands.  It has become an event that truly carries the enthusiasm for indie games.  It seems safe to assume that we can only expect even better games in BitSummit’s future.

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Sam Yoo
I'm here, I'm queer, and I'm very tired.