Brazil’s Independent Games Festival 2019

Big dreams, big projects, big games and big smiles! In its 7th edition, the Brazil’s Independent Games Festival (or just BIG, for short) took place in São Paulo, the lovely city where I live, between June 26 to 30, approaching the public, independent developers, publishers and companies through forums, lectures and business meetings. A long-time player as I am, I’m ashamed to say it was my first year attending to the event.

I visited the event on Thursday and Saturday (my real job didn’t allow me to attend the event during the five days… yes, we have real jobs. Unfortunately, reviewing games doesn’t pay my bills). On Saturday, I had the company of my friend Odirley (who lives in another world and doesn’t have a Twitter account, so I can’t tag him here), what made things much more fun (playing with friends is always better!) and I want to thank him for coming along in this adventure. Now it’s time to share with you some highlights of the event and talk about a few of the many great titles showcased there. And believe me: there were loads of great game there!

You have already read other articles about events Life is Xbox team has covered for you, so let me first tell you what is so special about this event.

I simply love its logo!

The event

Not only a games exposition, but BIG is also considered one of the main hotspots for those who want a deeper understanding of the universe of gaming, from the creative process to its development. Presenting lectures, keynotes, workshops and the largest games business meeting in Latin America, here are the attractions included in the event:

BIG Forum: lectures, workshops and keynotes with professionals of the area.

BIG Business Meetings: an exclusive area for (guess what?) business meetings between companies and businessmen.

BIG Audio: debating music and its relationship with areas from the creative industry.

BIG VR/AR: public game showcase and discussion related to virtual reality.

BIG Brands: dedicated to games and interactive digital experiences under demand, part of the strategy of big brands.

BIG Careers: with info and tips for those who want to venture in this market.

One of the lectures of the festival. Photo by Claudio Rossi

BIG Creative Industry: with a lineup dedicated to creative economy areas with connection to games.

BIG Impact: dedicated to games with a positive impact that transforms the society.

BIG Diversity: discussing all kinds of diversity and social inclusion.

BIG Dev: with lectures oriented to game development including art, programming, game design, usability, production and many others.

BIG Latin America: with the main developers from (guess what?) Latin America.

BIG Ventures: approximating public and private investors, with a line up focused on entrepreneurship.

Besides the many lectures and workshops, there was also a cosplay contest, a game jam promoted by Facebook and a competition to elect the best games of the event. As you could expect, snacks bars and gifts shops could also be found in the event.

One of the fearsome gift shops and its Funko Pops. Protect your wallets!

In today’s article, I want to share with you the games elected by the jury in each one of the 17 different categories. And here are the winners:

Best Game: GRIS, from the Spanish studio Nomada Studio

A beautiful platform adventure released in 2018 for Switch and PCs. What about an Xbox version now, guys?

Best Brazilian Game: Adore, from Cadabra Games

It was one of my favorite games from BGS (Brazilian Game Show) in 2018 and again in BIG 2019. We will talk more about this game later.

Best Latin American Game: Quantum League, from the Argentinean studio NGD Studios

A competitive first-person arena shooter with an interesting time travel mechanic. It’s on closed beta phase for PCs at the moment, but the game already looks really promising.

Best art: GRIS, from the Spanish studio Nomada Studio

One of the most difficult choices due to some very beautiful games competing for this prize. But it was deserved: GRIS is astonishingly beautiful!

Best Narrative: Forgotten Anne, from Danish studio ThroughLine Games

I’ve already had the pleasure of reviewing this game in 2018. Here’s the link for Life is Xbox review http://www.lifeisxbox.eu/2018/05/16/forgotton-anne-review/

Best Gameplay: JUMPGRID, from the Australian developer Ian MacLarty

It’s hard to describe this game. A simple looking yet very addictive action game that consists in collecting cubes in a 3 x 3 grid while avoiding obstacles.

Best Sound: Unheard, from the Chinese Studio NEXT Studios

Already available for PCs, it’s an investigative game where your only leads to solving the crimes are records of voices… from the past! Only by following them you will be able to solve the cases.

Best Innovation: Pixel Ripped 1989, from the Brazilian studio ARVORE Immersive Experiences

A VR experience where you play games inside of a game. It’s a little confusing, I know, but that’s exactly what the game is. Control the game with a controller inside the game in this VR adventure for PCs and PSVR

BIG Impact: Educational category: Cidade em Jogo, from Fundação Brava e Brazilian studio Flux Games

A game where you will become the mayor of a city, defining politics and priorities of the government, facing all the challenges of this role. While providing a fun experience, the game aims to create a sense of responsibility, helping players to be better prepared to make a difference in their cities. Teachers will approve it.

BIG Impact: Social Issues category: Marie’s Room, from the Belgium studio like Charlie

A story exploration game with outstanding voice acting where you play as Kelsey while she visits her friends Marie’s room twenty years after something very serious happened. To discover what happened to them, all you must do is get the game on Steam because it’s already available and totally free to play. You can thank me later 😉

BIG Impact: Best Game About Diversity: ​Huni Kuin: Yube Baitana, from Bobware studio/Beya Xinã Bena

A platform adventure telling the story of one of the many Indian tribes from Brazil (no, my friends, the Portuguese seaman weren’t the first one in these lands), the Kaxinawá. Another free project (for PCs only) available at http://www.gamehunikuin.com.br/downloads/

Best Student Game: Burning Daylight, developed by Miyu Distribution from ISART Digital institution from France

One of the first games I tried during the event, Burning Daylight is a sci-fi adventure game with puzzle elements set in a dystopian future. The overall quality if the game really impresses and It’s already available on Steam for those interested. And, what’s even better, for free.

Best Mobile game: Starlit on Wheels, from Brazilian studio Rockhead Games

A beautiful, fast and highly customizable go-karts game for mobile platforms. Already available at your favorite app store. And guess what: for free! Yay!

Best Multiplayer game: Spitlings, from German studio Massive Miniteam

Coming soon to PCs and consoles (Xbox included! Yay!!), this colorful and fun game will require you to destroy bouncing balls by… well, spitting on them. Lines to try this game were really long, so I’m already expecting a great game!

Best Children’s game: ​It’s Paper Guy!, from the French developer The Paper Team

A cute and charming 2.5D puzzle-adventure game where you interact with the paper scenario by cutting it with your mouse. An interesting mechanic that promises a lot! I’m so looking forward to this clever game!

Best VR/XR game: Moss, from Polyarc Games

First of all, I must confess I’m not a big fan of VR games. I’m still waiting for the day when we will be able to do those Minority Report-things Tom Cruise did in the movie. But I must give credit when it`s due and this adventure for PSVR and PCs deserves all the credit it can have. Here you will help your little mouse friend Quill in an adventure through fantastic places.

Best Game by Popular Choice: Spaceline Crew, from Brazilian Studio Coffeenauts

Think about it as The Sims ® in space and you will have a brief but good description of this game where you play as flight attendants of commercial spaceships and try to handle your alien passengers in procedurally generated levels with up to three friends in co-op. Shut up and take my money!

There were two other prizes from partners of the event. The first one was Humble BIG New Talent Award, won by Space Routine, from the Argentinean studio MeNic Games. The second one was Nordic Game Discovery Contest, won by Grashers, from the Brazilian studio Pink Array. Congrats!

Phew!

Let’s call it a day. I will be back soon with the second part of this special coverage for you.

See you later!

Written by Rafael

Writer for LifeisXbox

Between an Excel spreadsheet and trying to conquer the world (one game at a time), he’s ready to share his experiences about every title he plays. Be it to praise a game or to bash it, you will always find an honest opinion in his texts.

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