Tunic Helps Lead The Pack At 25th IGF Awards

With three nominations, Tunic — along with Betrayal At Club Low — has earned a notable place at the Independent Games Festival‘s upcoming ceremony. As usual, the in-person event coincides with GDC, so attendees of the 2023 conference have a lot to look forward to. Below you’ll find all the nominations, and some of my colorful commentary on the choices.

Best Student Game
Gevaudan (Nicolas Bernard)
Mind Diver (Indoor Sunglasses)
Presenter Slides (Mathias Schifter & Brin Žvan)
Shutter (ARTFX 2022)
Skala (Gustav Almström)
Slider (randomerz)

Honorable Mentions:
A Mallard’s Song (Ducky Elford), Error143 (Jenny Vi Pham), Paper Planet (Doodlegames), The Longest Walk (Alexander Tarvet), zenosyne (Ezra Szanton)

I really appreciate the IGF’s habit of shouting out indies they considered for each category. It’s a great way to point fans towards games they shouldn’t miss. Hopefully, it’s also nice to get some recognition as the creators, even if their game isn’t in the running for a prize.

Excellence in Audio
Dome Keeper (Bippinbits)
Paradise Marsh (LazyEti)
South of the Circle (State of Play)
The Forest Quartet (Mads & Friends)
TUNIC (TUNIC Team)
We are OFK (Team OFK)

Honorable Mentions:
Betrayal at Club Low (Cosmo D Studios), Cult of the Lamb (Massive Monster), IMMORTALITY (Sam Barlow, Half Mermaid), Melatonin (Half Asleep), Neon White (Angel Matrix), Tinykin (Splashteam)

Unlike with the DICE Awards, Tunic lands a spot in IGF’s Audio category, which it so richly deserves. Just check out Power Up Audio’s Kevin Regamey’s fascinating thread on all the secrets he and the team managed to stuff into the game’s soundscape. Also, I’m giving three big cheers for seeing Paradise Marsh on this list alongside The Forest Quartet. Neither game got enough love last year.

Excellence in Design
Against the Storm (Eremite Games)
Betrayal at Club Low (Cosmo D Studios)
Mr. Sun’s Hatbox (Kenny Sun)
Neon White (Angel Matrix)
Stacklands (Sokpop Collective)
The Case of the Golden Idol (Color Gray Games)

Honorable Mentions:
Citizen Sleeper (Jump Over the Age), Cursed to Golf (Chuhai Labs), Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator (niceplay games), Swordship (Digital Kingdom), Terra Nil (Free Lives), Tinykin (Splashteam)

The Case of the Golden Idol needs to walk away with a golden idol in real life. It’s an amazingly designed mystery game with an unbelievable story, though I’m worried the higher-profile Neon White might give it some trouble. But that’s the fun thing about a completely indie-focused show. Mainstream numbers don’t always sway the votes.

Excellence in Narrative
Butterfly Soup 2 (Brianna Lei)
Citizen Sleeper (Jump Over the Age)
I Was a Teenage Exocolonist (Northway Games)
IMMORTALITY (Sam Barlow, Half Mermaid)
NORCO (Geography of Robots)
South of the Circle (State of Play)

Honorable Mentions:
Eternal Threads (Cosmonaut Studios), Queer Man Peering Into a Rock Pool.jpg (Fuzzy Ghost), Roadwarden (Moral Anxiety Studio), The Case of the Golden Idol (Color Gray Games), The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow (Cloak and Dagger Games), The Wreck (The Pixel Hunt)

I don’t envy the judges in this category. Some of the best storytelling in indies, nevermind 2022, is represented here. But this abundance of great games means anyone could win and I’d be happy. It also shows how many quality games are coming out.

Excellence in Visual Arts
Afterglitch (Vladimir Kudelka)
How Deep Is the Dark Water? (Rhett Tsai)
Potionomics (Voracious Games)
RPG Time: The Legend of Wright (DeskWorks Inc.)
To Hell With the Ugly (La Poule Noire, ARTE France)
TUNIC (TUNIC Team)

Honorable Mentions
I Was a Teenage Exocolonist (Northway Games), Melatonin (Half Asleep), NAIAD (HiWarp), Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator (niceplay games), Return to Monkey Island (Terrible Toybox), Swordship (Digital Kingdom), Terra Nil (Free Lives), Voodoo Detective (Short Sleeve Studio LLC)

To avoid being tedious, I’ll forgo my obvious response and just admire the visually compelling games on display.

Nuovo Award
Afterglitch (Vladimir Kudelka)
An Outcry (Quinn K.)
Betrayal at Club Low (Cosmo D Studios)
He Fucked The Girl Out Of Me (Taylor McCue)
Queer Man Peering Into a Rock Pool.jpg (Fuzzy Ghost)
Sylvie Lime (Love♥️Game)
Time Bandit (Joel Jordon)
Titanic II: Orchestra for Dying At Sea (Flan Falacci)

Honorable Mentions:
Atuel (Matajuegos), Ib (kouri), Not For Broadcast (NotGames), Of Moons and Mania (Absurd Walls), RPG Time: The Legend of Wright (DeskWorks Inc.)

One of the most prestigious prizes of the night, the Nuovo Award typically goes to a special type of game. The nominees get pulled from the far reaches of the indie space and usually exemplify the strange and wondrous places titles can go. This list seems to be keeping with tradition, and there’s more than a few I’ve never even heard of. I guess that means I have some games to try.

Seumas McNally Grand Prize
Betrayal at Club Low (Cosmo D Studios)
TUNIC (TUNIC Team)
The Case of the Golden Idol (Color Gray Games)
IMMORTALITY (Sam Barlow, Half Mermaid)
Neon White (Angel Matrix)
Not For Broadcast (NotGames)

Honorable Mentions:
Tinykin (Splashteam), Terra Nil (Free Lives), RPG Time: The Legend of Wright (DeskWorks Inc.), Roadwarden (Moral Anxiety Studio), Hardspace: Shipbreaker (Blackbird Interactive), Citizen Sleeper (Jump Over the Age)

We’ve got ourselves a category here folks. The top prize at the annual IGF Awards won’t be easy to win, and I love it that way. Sam Barlow has nabbed the award in the past for Her Story, and Tunic-publisher Finji saw another project it worked on, Night In The Woods, take top spot. But will a newcomer step out on that stage in March? I’m excited to find out.

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