Hey guys, it’s Hugo “The Great White Spark” Fitzpatrick here with a round up some of the games from Microsoft’s Beautiful Game competition of which we were sponsors.
The winners of Microsoft’s Beautiful Game competition have been announced and over here at GameSparks we’ve been checking out some of the finalists. The competition aimed to encourage growth in the UK Games Industry and received 148 submissions from over 100 developers . The number of developers that entered and the amount of high quality titles submitted is a great sign that the UK mobile games scene continues to grow and brings some of the best quality games to market. It’s fantastic to see so many up and coming developers creating new games and we’re proud to be part of a competition like this which cultivates this sort of creativity. With prizes ranging from new Nokia Lumia phones to Unity licences and additional free GameSparks capacity it was certainly a competition worth entering.
The growth and innovation this competition encouraged is just what we like to see here at Gamesparks and it was a big incentive for us to partner as sponsors. It’s from the small, independent development teams that much of the innovation in the games industry comes and having a competition such as the Beautiful Game Competition is a great way to shine a light on the work these teams are doing.
Since the announcement of the finalists we’ve been having great fun checking some of them out. A lot of the games have big potential so keep an eye on them in the app store and give them a go.
Gunfinger is a triple threat: looks fantastic, plays great and is super addictive. It makes for a game that’s easy to sink a lot of time into. It’s a first person rail shooter in which you pop the cranium off nasty zombies with the tap of your finger. The game is a brilliant example of what Unity can achieve on mobile and the team over at Pixel Toys have done a great job putting together a really solid package. The tap-to-shoot controls work perfectly and they’ve designed an upgrade system and loot that keeps us coming back for more. By the way – stay tuned – the next version of this game due out at the end of the month is running on GameSparks. Pleased to have these guys on board!
Commando Jack is a tower defense style game. It takes the idea of controlling enemy movement and really builds on it. Enemy movement is largely unobstructed and it’s up to you to lay out the path they will take by blocking movement with your turrets. Levels are a fun puzzle to solve, especially when we’re trying to maximise turret efficiency to beat each others leaderboard position. Of course, if coming up with an efficient solution to the level is too much there’s always the gun turret to man that lets you take down the enemy in first person.
This humorous little game comes out of Wales Interactive and will appeal to anybody who still has a bit of an Angry Birds itch. It’s a physics puzzler in which you sling a team of space faring badgers out into the void. It has some interesting twists on this type of game, such as wormholes that jump the character across the screen and gravity-bending planets that will alter your velocity when entering their orbit. This is one that will sit on the phone for a while as it’s super easy to just pick up and play for a couple of minutes at a time – the perfect snack game.
Circix by Graham Barber and Russell King
Ciricix is a two man project that has produced an impressive little puzzle game. Like all great puzzle games it has the trifecta of easy to learn, difficult to master, impossible to put down. The central mechanic for the game revolves around connecting chips with a specific number of circuits to finish every level. It has a throwback green-on-black art style that meshes well with its old-school tech theme. The game can be a real test of your mental capacity – it might be a while before some of us here at GameSparks finish it.
The winner of the Beautiful Game competition, Harmony Isle is a charming resource management social game. It comes from veteran developer Rebellion and shows that they understand what features are required to be successful in the mobile free to play game market. We spent some downtime gathering resources and building up a little island town into a thriving resort. Coming from a developer as seasoned as Rebellion shows in the level of polish they’ve brought to the game. While it’s a level smaller devs might not be able to reach right now, it’s great to have a team like Rebellion leading the way and showing what an independant team can achieve. They’ve been around for years so this isn’t just a flash in the pan, they know their stuff and here it shows.
That’s just a short list of the games we’ve had a chance to check out so far. You can find the full list of finalists over at http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/developers/articles/week01sep14/announcing-the-winners-of-the-beautiful-game-competition. The top winners received a Unity Pro Licence and Nokia Lumia phones. Every one of the top 20 finalists received 20,000 free MAU credit on GameSparks, but even if your game didn’t make it to the final list don’t worry: GameSparks still offers 10,000 free MAU credits to every sign up. Head over to portal.gamesparks.net to sign up and start building your game.
Congratulations to the winners and all the participants. We have to thank you guys for entering and giving us an awesome competition. Also have to give props to Microsoft for putting the competition on in the first place. This wont be the last you’ll see from us on the competition front though – we look forward to sponsoring future events just like this one alongside Microsoft and Unity. That’s all for now, don’t forget to check out the games mentioned here and some of the other finalists too.