A fairly new force in the world of mobile, Another Place has come out the gates with all guns blazing, with its playful card battling RPG Battlehand proving popular with players, critics and app store editors alike. Exuding character and wit, it does much to show there's still space for innovation in the CCG genre.
While the title might not make it immediately obvious, DogBiscuit presents a drawing application for very young children, re-imagined as a game. Despite its standing as an entirely new IP, such is DogBiscuit's quality and detail throughout, it could be easy to mistake Blackstaff Games' effort for a long-established brand.
An early star for the Samsung Gear VR, Omega Agent straps its users into a jet pack on a remote island training facility for cold-war super-spies. And it does so with aplomb, encouraging players to explore it's every nook and cranny, and rewarding those that do so with splendid detail and some especially smart puzzles.
One of the first released games to support iOS 9, Raceline CC evoked a powerful sense of classic arcade racers, without sacrificing a good dose of innovation and original style. Deftly juggling technicality and aesthetic grace, its sumptuous cityscapes almost stood out as much as the gameplay's renowned intensity.
Space Ape Games
Differentiating itself in a crowded genre through a concerted effort where world building and narrative were concerned, Space Ape's mobile strategy title employed the creative skills of highly-regarded game writer Rhianna Pratchet. Promising meaningful social features and a unique gameplay structuring, Rival Kingdoms has built a solid army of fans.
Part wildlife encyclopedia, part story book and part game, Safari Tales offered youthful players a chance to learn a little while shaping their own narrative and exploring exotic lands. And its star was certainly Darwin, a talking baby meerkat with a dizzying knowledge of the natural world.
Sandstorm: Pirate Wars
Once again demonstrating that shaping mainstream triple-A blockbusters need not come at the expense of developing creatively distinct gems, Ubisoft delivered something rather beguiling with Sandstorm: Pirate Wars. A bold action-adventure RPG, the game scores extra points for its sumptuous audio and considered, atypical atmosphere.
No stranger to a featured spot on Apple's storefront, Wonky Ship delivered a frenetic space puzzler that put the player at the helm of a spacecraft fighting the furious pull of a plasma-fuelled black hole. Kiz don't shy from tipping a hat to classic gaming styles, but there's plenty of contemporary wit on show in this playful, challenging pearl.
The Develop Awards 2016 takes place on Wednesday, July 13th at the Brighton Hilton Metropole, and honours the best in games development talent from across the UK and Europe. You can find a full list of this year's finalists here.
The awards are supported by headline partner CV Bay, with gold partners MoGi Group, Amiqus, Epic Games, Sumo Digital, Crytek, Perforce, Games London, UKIE, and King. OPM returns as table gift partner, alongside exclusive drinks reception partner Keywords Studios, table drink and gold partner Nordeus, and event partner Tandem Events. Epic Games are also an award partner, as are Aardvark Swift. Unity is award and opening video partner.
Contact Charlotte Nangle via firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about the opportunities available, both at the event and in editorial coverage before, during and after the Awards.