Choosing which games to highlight from the dozens present at BitSummit wasn't easy, but we've selected five of the very best present at first conference for independent game developers in Japan, and packaged our discussions with their respective developers in brief videos below.
Gero Blaster is the product of Daisuke Amaya and Studio Pixel, best known for the cult smash-hit Cave Story. As the blaster-toting Gero, you're on a mission to rescue your kidnapped girlfriend in this pixelated 2D action game. It doesn't deviate too far from Studio Pixel's previous work, but it's designed for mobile iOS devices and features an entirely new control scheme suited to the platform. It's estimated to be available sometime in May of this year, with the potential for a port to the Nintendo 3DS further down the road.
This iOS puzzle game from the Winning Blimp indie duo may appear all too simple, but appearances can be deceiving. In Mosaique, you control a colored block and fire it across the screen to whittle away at the remaining blocks in the middle. You can destroy a block only by hitting it with another of the same color, and hitting more than one block in a single swipe yields a power multiplier that eventually lets you clear blocks in a more efficient manner. Each level is grounded in Mosaique's music, and it's up to you to make the most of the time allotted before a level and its song come to an end. Winning Blimp's previous title, Ambi-ON, is also featured in the video above and is currently available in the Apple AppStore for iOS devices.
Tengami is an adventure game with a relaxed pace and a captivating art style that's set within the confines of a pop-up book. You have to flip virtual pages to solve puzzles and progress further into the game's minimalistic story. The atmosphere is influenced by Japanese designs that, when coupled with somber colors, invite you into the relaxing, puzzle-filled world. Nyamyam plans to ship Tengami for iOS devices by fall 2013, with potential support for Windows and Mac PCs further down the road.
Indie developer Lexaloffle has harnessed the power of voxels (3D volumetric pixels) to create Voxatron, a work-in-progress 3D shooter with a built-in editor that lets you create your own destructible levels with an intuitive interface and toolset. Voxatron is still evolving as Lexaloffle continues to push the once-simple arcade game into the adventure realm (among other genres), but there are prerelease versions of the game available from the company's website, and it was part of an Indie Humble Bundle in 2011.
La Mulana isn't a new game, but it's the first Japanese-developed game to find success in Valve's Greenlight program, and a shining example of what BitSummit's creators are hoping to accomplish by bringing Valve and Japanese indies together at the event. It's also an excellent 2D adventure game with an intimidating level of difficulty and lots of secrets to uncover, built around the popular formula established by modern Castlevania and Metroid games: navigate an expansive world while collecting hard-to-find items to enhance your abilities in combat and exploration. You can currently find La Mulana on Nintendo's eShop as a WiiWare title, and on the PC through the Good Old Games and Playism distribution services.