MANILA, Philippines – The local gaming scene is growing fast and the eSports and Gaming Summit (ESGS), a premier gaming convention held at the SMX Convention Center from October 28 to 30, aimed to show just that.
Inside the same hall where big gaming companies like Sony, Capcom, Bandai Namco Entertainment showed off their popular titles, Filipino independent game developers also got to showcase their wares – and prove that the country is an emerging player when it comes to creating games.
From a fun strategy game to an action-packed first-person shooter, here are 4 Filipino indie games that turned our heads during ESGS:
1) Political Animals by Squeaky Wheel
Aristotle did say that we are by nature, political animals. But this game by indie game company Squeaky Wheel took this line of thought to a whole new level with a PC-game about actual animals doing politics.
This turn-based strategy game is all about corrupt crocodiles, meritocratic mice, monkeys with monkey businesses, and other animals with political aspirations racing to presidency.
Your goal is simple: get your candidate to win the elections.
You get to choose your candidate from a variety of animals with different backstories, abilities, and personalities to suit your campaign style. All you have to do is go around different cities, identify their problems and key concerns and campaign accordingly.
The game allows you to sway voters in different ways – you can take the high road and campaign based on issues or take the easier route: bribe other animals, establish blockades to keep your enemies away from other cities, etc. But you’ll have to be careful with taking the low road because it might just get you involved in a political scandal – just like real-life politics. Customizability is indeed a key pillar of the game, allowing you to decide everything from the candidate to your platforms and strategies.
Just a few minutes into the game and you can also already see its Filipino influence. The map itself has a cartoony resemblance to the Philippines. Will you be a greedy and corrupt crocodile or a slow but passionate turtle? Try it out and see what style fits you.
2) Lithium City by Games by Nico
Nico Tuason, the game’s developer, said that he wanted to make a fast-paced and skill-based shooting game similar to Hotline Miami.
From this desire came a game set in the fictional Lithium City in a violent and neon-drenched world. You take on the role of an unknown girl fighting battle droids floor after floor to get to your ultimate goal: the Heart of the City.
Unlike Hotline Miami, Lithium City is played with an isometric point of view. Electronic music is played in the background, complementing the game’s beautiful neon-themed design. You may choose to fight the droids in a variety of ways – fist, blades, or with the guns you pick along the way.
The music, the art, and the fast-paced gameplay all blend well to create this visually appealing and ultimately beautiful game. In terms of style, one wonders if any other game on the show floor could top this local gem.
The game will be released on Steam but the date is still yet to be announced. Visit their website for updates.
3) Bayani by Ranida Games
In this post-apocalyptic world, history is reset and the Republic of the Philippines is now known as the "NeoPublic of the Felippines" and Jose Rizal – known in the game as Joe Rizal – does not hold a pen but a sword. Rizal uses that sword to battle other historical figures in this fighting games that features characters based on Philippine heroes and lore.
The game is said to have been inspired by Adult Swim’s Bible Fight, a fighting game that reimagines biblical figures as sparring warriors.
According to Ranida Games, the original concept art for the game was released in 2011 as a tribute to local heroes. But it was in 2015 – at the peak of the hype for the movie Heneral Luna – that the concept artworks went viral and got the attention of the media. The concept was eventually picked up by Ranida Games who is now developing the game.
Photo by Don Kevin Hapal
The gameplay is similar to most fighting games with every character having unique skill sets. Andre Bonifacio (based on Andres Bonifacio), for example, uses a dual sword (Tagalog bolo knives) and a revolver. Rio Mabini (based on Apolinario Mabini) meanwhile, can summon an "Anito," a nature spirit covered with vines that he uses against his enemies.
The game stages are based on real-life Philippine landmarks such as the Luneta Park and the Vigan Wind Farm.
The developers say that they plan to release the game by the last quarter of 2016. Follow their Facebook page for updates.
4) Xandata by Secret 6
If you loved Quake, then you’re probably going to like Xandata, a first-person shooter created by Secret 6. This game developer has headquarters in California, USA but their production facilities are all in Manila.
Photo by Don Kevin Hapal
The gameplay is pretty similar with Quake and players battle it out in a neon-filled deathmatch arena. But the real strength of this game is customizability.
Xandata allows players to choose from a variety of classes and 'G-mats', which is basically your element (ie. wind, lightning). Every character type and g-mat give you special abilities.
There is a diverse selection of weapons as well, with each player allowed to carry three types of weapons: primary, secondary, and a heavy weapon. Ammos are scattered across the map. You may also carry around a hidden gun or opt to kill using melee attacks. All these features make sure that the game can be enjoyed by people with different playstyles.
Did we miss your favorite Filipino indie game? Tell us about it in the comments! – Rappler.com