The Year In Tech: The Filipino-made games you should check out

From Nathan Drake’s final adventure in Uncharted 4 to pushing the payload with your friends in Overwatch, 2016 has given us a ton of great games that gave us a lot of awesome experiences and more to add on our backlogs. But let’s not forget our local game developers that are making waves this year with their newest games. Here we pay tribute to the best Filipino-made titles that not only entertained this year, but also gave us a glimpse of the promise of this burgeoning industry. 

Political Animals (Steam)
Squeaky Wheels

Screengrab from Political Animals

Politics in the Philippines is so colorful that it wouldn’t be a surprise if someone decided to create a game about politics. Lo and behold: the folks at Squeaky Wheels finally made an election simulation game. Political Animals lets you campaign your way into winning the hearts of the people with your promising platforms or choosing the dark side and bribing, wheeling and dealing all the way to victory. You then pick a politician in a form of an animal whose personality fits a few political archetypes. 

The game is very spot on with the common references found in actual elections that the developers actually made an analysis of the 2016 US Elections using Political Animal’s game mechanics. 

Flippy Bottle Extreme (Android & iOS)
Most Played Games

Bottle flipping became a viral trend for 2016 and Flippy Bottle Extreme lets you recreate the frustrations. Your goal is to flip the bottle in certain locations and hope that it lands in an upright position, it may sound easy but it takes a lot of patience and concentration to perfectly land a bottle upright especially when flipping a bottle towards a hard to reach location.

And when we mean patience, expect to repeat the level for a hundred times before you can nail it. There are different modes that you can choose to test your skills; there is even one mode that lets you flip bottles and you have to land it head first.

The hit game has already reached more than a million downloads worldwide and became number 1 on over 16 countries on Google Play.

Agent Aliens (Android & iOS)
Indigo Entertainment

Debuting at ESGS 2016, Agent Aliens is reminiscent of classic run-and-gun arcade games that combine old school platforming and squad-based mechanics. You control one of the cuddly aliens as they try to escape from captivity. You can choose to play as one of the aliens or the entire crew as you navigate around the levels and dodge enemy bullets. What makes this game stand out is that each alien has its own special ability that can provide different ways to clear out levels – and their abilities can be upgraded. But be warned, the game is very difficult that it will going to test your skills and patience.

Screengrab from Agent Aliens

This was Indigo Entertainment’s first project and so far they’ve made a really impressive game. 

Barangay Basketball (Android)
Synergy88 Digital

Filipinos have that passion for basketball and Synergy88 shows that love by creating a basketball game with a twist. Following the story of Wax who dreams to become a basketball superstar, he has to face tough challenges from the four master in Barangay 143 to prove that he's got the skills to become a legend. The game tacks on levels with different challenges such as dribbling, shooting and blocking to help Wax learn the basics of basketball. It also features a one-on-one match to test your moves as a basketball superstar.

Screengrab from Barangay Basketball

Synergy88 is also preparing a TV anime series based on Barangay Basketball in collaboration with Japanese broadcasting company TV Asahi. 

Heroes Above (iOS)
Unlibox

A game that was inspired by the tower defense gameplay of Plants vs. Zombies and the strategic town building elements of Clash of Clans, Heroes Above provides a unique combination of the two. You recruit and train heroes to help you with battling other ships on your quest for domination. Each hero plays a different style which encourages players to build their team depending on their own playing style. Fans of competitive strategy games will enjoy Heroes Above as it is designed purely for PvP (Player versus Player) gaming.

Screengrab from Heroes Above

Heroes Above was awarded as one of the Top 100 Games of Casual Connect Indie Prize in Singapore last May of 2016.

Tamagogo (Android & iOS)
Ingenuity Games

Typical games let you play as a brave hero that must vanquish all evil in the land, but in Tamagogo, you play as a monster where you must hatch and rescue baby monsters before the heroes can try to catch you. It is more of a stealth game where you must sneak past the heroes and away from their field of vision and try to hatch as many eggs as possible and escape the level. Just make sure the heroes don’t catch them; otherwise you or your baby monsters will be instant XP (experience points) for them.

Screengrab from Tamagogo

Tamagogo has won several awards from the recent GDAP (Game Developers Association of the Philippines) Game Awards 2016, including Best Art, Best Mobile/Handheld Game and Best Gameplay. 

Nightfall: Eclipse (Steam & Oculus)
Zeenoh

More of an expansion for Nightfall: Escape, Eclipse focuses on new characters and retells the events that happened before the first game. Now the game has added VR support to bring the horror game experience to the next level. Featuring famous Filipino mythological creatures including the tiyanak, you survive the game by avoiding the clutches of the monsters – without any real weapon to fight back with. Succeed and you'll discover what really happened with the crew that disappeared. 

Screengrab from Nightfall: Eclipse

In order to play Nightfall: Eclipse, a full version of Nightfall: Escape is required. – Rappler.com

Chad has been an avid gamer since childhood, and up to now his passion for gaming remains the same. He previously worked for local and international game publishers and is now involved with local gaming communities. Chad is also the founder of gaming & geek website The Reimaru Files.