Australia’s leading international student news website

The Best of the Independent Games Festival 2012 exhibition

Leon Saw

Thu Jun 21 2012


WHILE you poor souls were slogging away for the exams, Leon Saw was at the Best of the Independent Games Festival 2012 exhibition playing video games!

Chances are you would already be done with exams. If not, hah!

Well, your last paper shouldn’t be too far off.

In any case, you could check out the Best of the Independent Games Festival 2012 exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), either because there’s no longer an urgent need to hit your textbooks, or there’s an equally urgent need to get away from them.

The Best of the Independent Games 2012 exhibition showcases and allows you to play some of the video games featured earlier this year at the 2012 Independent Games Festival in San Francisco.

The exhibition area itself isn’t terribly impressive, being just a large room with game stations all around it. However, the 14 indie games on display more than make up for the rather lacklustre setting. They range from the artful and endearing Botanicula, and the simple, yet immensely challenging, Fingle, to the 2D platformer with a twist, Fez, and the incredibly complex tactical game, Frozen Synapse.


Botanicula is more like an interactive children’s picture book than a video game. You point and click your way through a series of puzzles, helping the five main characters of the game, botanical creatures, save a tree that is their home. The puzzles aren’t exactly revolutionary, but the point of the game is to be immersed in its story, admire the sublime visual design and animation, and feel like a kid again.


Fingle can be best described as Twister with fingers, in real time on an iPad. The objective of the game is simple. You’re to use your fingers and drag certain icons to designated boxes on the screen and keep them there for a certain amount of time. The catch (no pun intended) is that the boxes move, at times along mindboggling trajectories. The game is meant for two players, or someone with twenty or more fingers. I (human being with 10 fingers here) tried tackling the game solo and nearly wanted to kill myself.



Fez plays like the old Nintendo video game, Super Mario Bros., but with an interesting feature. You jump onto platforms collecting tokens to access the next level. The twist (no pun intended…again) is you can, and need, to rotate the view on the screen to reach certain platforms to progress. It’s really just a simple visual puzzle. Whenever you’re stuck on a level, just shift your perspective until you see a ledge you can jump onto.


Frozen Synapse

Frozen Synapse is essentially a turn-based, minimalist version of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six. You control a squad of soldiers by entering specific commands into the game’s interface when it’s your turn, and then sit back and watch how your orders pan out at the end of it. Where to move, whether or not to engage the enemy on sight, and which direction to look at, are just a fraction of the myriad of commands to be issued. Thankfully, there’s a lengthy tutorial to ease you into the game.


The other games at the Best of the Independent Games Festival 2012 exhibition are, Dear Esther, Dustforce, Proun, Spelunky, To The Moon, Lume, Proteus, ASYNC Corp, Beat Sneak Bandit, and Temple Run.

The exhibition opens daily from 10am to 6pm and goes on until July 8. Admission is free. Visit the ACMI website for more information.