With so much emphasis placed on companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, it’s easy to forget that people make video games outside of Asia, North America, and Europe. In fact, we recently visited São Paulo, Brazil to attend BIG Festival 2018, a celebration of indie games from Latin America and the rest of the world. Held at the Centro Cultural, the sixth installment of the yearly event showcased some of the coolest indie games available now and coming soon, and the host country chose to spotlight some of the most promising titles from Brazilian developers. With this in mind, these games left a lasting impression.
No Heroes Here (by Mad Mimic)
Winner of best Brazilian game at this year’s BIG Festival, No Heroes Here is a tower defense effort where you join forces with other players to save a variety of castles from invaders. In this game, either you communicate with teammates or the 54 levels quickly descend into chaos. Someone, for instance, must craft cannon balls while another person makes gun powder; you even need a player to scrub cannons after firing them. Controls are simple to get the hang of, and the retro 2D artwork gives the game a cool NES vibe. One of the biggest reasons why we enjoy No Heroes Here, though, is the four-person couch-co-op. You can play online, but having other people in the room to high-five, scream at, and even elbow (if you’re that kind of player) makes this game a party favorite.
FoFuuu (by Fofuu Solucoes Tecnologicas para Saude e Educacao LTDA)
Another BIG Festival award winner in the best game for kids category, FoFuuu is an educational game that helps children (or anyone, for that matter) learn how different sounds are used to form words; they complete objectives by making sounds into their smart devices. This unique approach to speech therapy allows parents to set daily goals for their little ones, while the kids figure out how to speak a language in a fun and interactive way. At the moment, FoFuuu supports Portuguese, but there are plans to branch out with English at some point. Depending on the localization plans, there’s a good chance that FoFuuu will become not only a a valuable tool for speech therapy, but also a way for people to learn new languages.
Lenin the Lion (by Lornyon)
Lenin the Lion is a unique game in the sense that it openly deals with depression; it took home the award for the BIG Festival’s social matters category. Lenin is the only albino lion in his village, which draws unwanted attention from bullies and other anthropomorphic characters that don’t understand him, including his mother. While in control Lenin, you must navigate the story making choices that impact the plot. There are no battles or health bars to speak of. Instead, you help Lenin face his fears while on a journey for acceptance. Although we have not heard of any plans for Lenin the Lion to appear on the Switch, old school Nintendo fans should appreciate the game’s Earthbound-inspired graphics, and depending on the quality of the plot, there’s a chance that Lenin’s unique adventure might stay with you for some time, long after the credits roll. Fortunately, you can play the Lenin the Lion demo right now to see how things are shaping up.
Albatroz (by Among Giants)
Although it’s early in development, Among Giants’ Albatroz looks promising; the team’s previous game, Distortions, has a “Mostly Positive” score on Steam. Details are still being worked out, but it’s essentially a backpacking game inspired by such movies as Into the Wild and The Motorcycle Diaries, where the primary goal is to survive beautiful forest and mountain treks. It is a puzzle game of sorts, where you must think about which items belong in your backpack before setting off on the next journey. What makes us interested about Albatroz is the fact that the developers are avid backpackers, so we look forward to seeing this passion rub off on the game.
Patuanu (by Andurá Studio)
When it comes to Patuanu, Andura Studio had us at the words hack and slash, but there’s more to this game than simply mashing buttons. The developer incorporated Brazilian mythology into this title to flesh out its backstory. The result is a narrative that integrates culture from the Marajoara and Tupi tribes, along with a great battle fought between two gods, Anhangá, an evil being bent on corruption, and Girador, who created men and other living things. Hero Patuanu is caught in the middle of this chaos, and must gain support from the four kingdoms of creation (animal, vegetable, mineral, and spiritual) in order to defeat Anhangá and avenge her tribe. Still waiting for more gameplay details, but thus far, we dig Patuanu’s story and artistic design.
Tetragon (by Cafundo)
With every second that passed playing Tetragon inside of a noisy meeting area, we desperately wanted to retreat to a quiet place to spend several hours getting lost in the game’s puzzles. In it, you guide Lucios the lumberjack through a variety of unique stages where you literally rotate the environments via touchscreen to activate switches and exit through the goals. Spinning each game board is easy, but figuring out how to reach platforms without Lucios falling to his death is the tough part.
This isn’t like Tetris or Lumines, both of which force you to make split second decisions. Tetragon is more of a slow burn, where you might stare at the screen for several moments before making a single move. The animation and graphics, which remind us of the cult retro game, Flashback, are an added bonus.
Until Dead: Think to Survive (by Monomyto)
While on the subject of puzzles, we have a zombie game that doesn’t ask you to mindlessly gun down hundreds of flesh eaters. Instead, Until Dead forces you to think. Playing as a detective who is still alive despite the zombie apocalypse, you take turns moving him the desired number of spaces and then watching as the zombies move in response. The goals? Collect clues, avoid becoming lunch, and successfully escape through the exits. And if you do encounter a zombie, the best way to take it down is to attack from behind. Play Until Dead today on iOS and Android devices.
Galaxy of Pen & Paper (by Behold Studios)
Available since 2017, Galaxy of Pen & Paper channels the spirit of the classic Dungeons & Dragons role-playing experience, complete with a game master setting the stage, but with space aliens and a plot that takes place in 1999, complete with dial-up Internet and floppy disks. Customize your party, then set out to explore the cosmos to discover new planets, take part in spaceship battles, and kill enemies while enjoying a retro soundtrack and humorous dialogue. Gamers of all ages will enjoy Galaxy, but if you grew up playing D&D, you might have a soft spot for this one.
La Hacienda (by DCF Studios)
Despite being a prototype, La Hacienda has the potential to provide tons of jump scares. Set on a farm that actually exists in the real world, you must avoid a serial killer who casually strolls around in his underwear; nice abs, by the way. What’s cool about this one, as you’ll see in the video, is the fact that whenever the killer is close by, your character appears to suffer a panic attack and the screen becomes distorted, but it only happens when you see the killer. Skip to the 2:45 mark and everything seems relatively normal until the maniac sneaks up behind his victim. Depending on how La Hacienda evolves and improves with time, we could see this game being a favorite amongst YouTube and Twitch enthusiasts.