The BIG Festival (Brazil’s Independent Games Festival) is the biggest and most important independent games festival in Latin America. The festival will exhibit the most innovative indie games in the world whilst the event is also a meeting point for anyone serious in the video gaming business with lectures and workshops available over the five days. The BIG Festival will take place in Sau Paulo, Brazil from 26 June to 30 2019. You can check out the schedule here. 54 games have been nominated for the various awards that will be announced at the festival. The nominations can be found here but we have highlighted some of the more exciting categories below: Best Game Category There are seven nominations in total for the Best Independent Game of 2019. Included in this list is Spaceline Crew– a comedy sci-fi game made by Coffeenauts game studio that shares multiple similarities to the fantastically fun party videogame, Overcooked. Players (the game can be played by up to four people) take the role of flight attendants and space airlines and must co-operate with each other in order to take alien passengers back to their home planets. Players can purchase ships as well as upgrades and they can choose their destinations to fly to through space. The games alien passengers have dynamic AI that enables them to constantly react to events in the ship. They get tired, sick, bored and angry, as well as a variety of other emotions. The game is a mix of overcooked, Theme Hospital and Roller Coaster Tycoon and is extremely fun to play with friends. Another one of our favourites from this category is Pixel Ripped 1989. Pixel Ripped is a single-player retro inspired side scroller. In this game you step into the shoes of Nicola– an 80s child playing their favourite game Pixel Ripped. The game is a game within a game within a game where one moment you are playing a side scroller on your handheld games console, the next moment you are putting it down to do some third platforming or augmented reality boss fights. It is difficult to express the flow of this game with accuracy and it has to be played or indeed watched to be truly understood, although even if you do decide to purchase this game and play it, there are no guarantees that you will be any the wiser. You will certainly have fun though. Best Art Category As the years continue to pass by, video games continue to become more and more aesthetically pleasing. So-much-so that there are lots of video gamers that pick which video games to play based on how they look. The video game Creaks by Amanita Design studio in the Czech Republic has been nominated in the Best Art category at BIG 2019 and for good reason. The appearance of the game as well as the sound is simply beautiful and is like something from a Roald Dahl novel. The game itself looks like a side scrolling adventure game and is certainly deserving of its nomination in this category. The Blind Prophet has the appearance of a cartoon/manga inspired point-and-click game. It’s bold use of colours and images really ensure that the game stands out as one of the most original of this year. Your job in the game is to investigate a dark mystery, solve puzzles and look for clues as you delve deeper and deeper into the games dark and thrilling world. The Blind Prophet is described as a ‘deep and mature’ adventure game. The game reached its needed level of funding via KickStarter and is set for release at the end of this year. Best Multiplayer Category Five games have been nominated to win the award for best multiplayer game with one of them being the fun looking Hookbots, a game created in Costa Rica by Tree Interactive. Hookbots certainly looks extremely fun to play with friends and is described as a bot destruction game based on grappling hooks – look out for this game. Perhaps the favourite to win this category – along with the previously mentioned Spaceline Crew which has also been nominated for the award in the best multiplayer category– is Quantum League Training. Based on the sheer quality of the graphics as well as the smoothness of this first-person-shooter, Quantum League Training could be mistaken for a game developed by a fully-fledged games studio. Best Mobile Game Category Mobile phone gaming has quickly become one of the most popular ways to play video games. The mobile gaming industry consists of almost 50 per cent of the entire global games market whilst 2.4 billion people are expected to be playing mobile games this year. “Mobile gaming, as well as mobile internet usage, is expected to continue to grow exponentially within the next several years,” states Dennis Thor, the General Manager from the online gaming and slots website LabSlots. “India and China, especially, are seeing rapidly increasing mobile phone usage– 2017 saw that 89 per cent of all game revenues in India were generated by mobile games.” It should go without saying then, that independent game studios will look to take advantage of the popularity of mobile gaming… and they have. Not too dissimilar to Mario Kart, Starlit On Wheels by Rockhead Studios in Brazil is a racing game that allows you to drift and speed boost your way to success against your opponents. The game consists of racing around a racetrack. Admittedly, these games do tend to get a tad tedious after a while, however, there is a key feature to Starlit On Wheels that is unlike many of its predecessors it has a track builder function. The track builder allows users to create their own racetracks from scratch. Users have complete control over hat kind of track that they want to build, as well as the surroundings of their racetrack. Of course, once you have created your racecourse you can then race on it against others. The game also has a story mode which looks to be quite addictive to play. Our favourite from this category, however, is My Child Lebensborn which is created by Sarepta Studios AS in Norway. In this game you get to adopt your own child in post-World War Two Norway before helping and watching them grow up. You must go through life with them offering them advice and helping them thrive. The game is challenging, especially when your child come back home from school covered in dirt after being bullied. But the game is also full of beautiful moments where you will create fond memories with your adopted child. The story, however, is great and it is a beautiful original game that is perfect to play as you settle into bed in the evening.