Bytten Ernie Awards 2011
Blimey, Easter already! A year doesn't seem as long as it used to. Here's my annual roundup of the best and bizarrest of our recent offerings:
Best Overall - Din's Curse by Soldak Entertainment
A real-time RPG in which your actions affect the way the game plays, Din's Curse was a very impressive game in every aspect - visual, audial, gameplay, longevity, style and more. At heart it's a simple concept - your character goes into the dungeons and fights monsters, and in the process finds equipment and supplies to enhance their abilities. Do well and save the town; save enough towns, and the god Din will release you from his service. The only aspect of the game I found less effective was the sudden deluge of help that appears at the beginning - it can be overwhelming and, until you start getting into the basics, somewhat meaningless to the new player.
One of the aspects that particularly made this stand out was the shared stash - putting spare equipment into a chest that all your characters can access. If your mage finds an Ego Longbow he can't use, he can pass it on to your Ranger. Din's Curse now has an expansion pack - Demon War - which adds new monsters, classes and gameplay options to the original game.
Most Ambitious - Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box by PassionFruit Games
Interactive fiction is still a somewhat unusual genre, and almost entirely confined to the independent community. It is thus always good to find a well written one amongst our submissions, and Tiger Eye is certainly that. Based on a novel, it provides a number of hidden object scenarios and minigames alongside a main story of fate, love, magic and mystery.
Asset heavy, these games are always a risky genre to pursue and I hope this risk pays off. This is only half of the story - the fate of Hari and Delilah is yet to be resolved - but I await the conclusion with great interest. Here's hoping PassionFruit's ambition hasn't overreached itself.