Video games are packed with layers of thrilling challenges and captivating graphics designed to keep you playing. While these games are already fun, having an idea as to the minds behind them adds another layer of excitement and allows us to appreciate them anew. At the Indie Games Accelerator, Google Play’s program aimed at supercharging indies and helping take their games to the global stage, we got to meet some of the most brilliant independent game developers in the APAC region who took risks and reaped rewards.
Nikko Soetjoadi, CEO and Co-Founder
Niji Games, Indonesia Nikko has always loved playing games as a kid, and in high school, he learned that game development was a craft he could pursue. Niji Games, the game studio he co-founded, is a team of people who share the same love for games as Nikko does. Their goal is to develop fun and original games that would bring happiness to players. Niji Games is among the first game development studios in Indonesia to get a Google Editor’s Choice for its title Cute Munchies, and has just released a new dating game called Jones: Jomblo is Happiness.
Dinh Khanh Nguyen, CEO
WolfFun Game, Vietnam Like most game developers, Khanh had a nine-to-five work that brought him more stress than fulfilment. He found game developing and has since then “doesn’t work anymore.” WolfFun was founded in 2014 by a team of four casual game developers. The game studio based in Vietnam focuses on the development of PvP and multiplayer games. Their title Tank Raid has over 5 million players and was also awarded Google Play Editor’s Choice.
Richmond Chaisiri, CEO and Co-Founder
Bit Egg Inc., Thailand Bit Egg is a game studio led by people who previously worked for top social and mobile companies. Richard, its co-founder, shares that their goal is to be the best game studio in Thailand. One of the reasons why he found his way into the game developing industry is his desire to put Thai-made games on the map, as the industry is currently very young but there’s great talent and passionate people waiting for opportunities to open. And Bit Egg will help grow this industry through fun and awesome mobile games.
Keerti Singh, Co-Founder
Octathorpe Web Consultants, India Before getting into the game development world, Keerti worked in the oil sector as well as for Amazon. Though work was stress-filled, she would have these small game sessions that allowed her to get lost in a world and come out refreshed. Keerti, with the thought of helping more people have a taste of these small victories and get away from tension, found game developing. Octathorpe, the startup she works for, was founded in 2011 and has churned out hit sports + gaming title, Hitwicket.
Asfandiyar Khan, Co-Founder
Dreamnode Studios, Pakistan Asfandiyar had a game concept he really wanted to do when he was 19 years old. He found that he could research and learn about the industry of game design and development like Nikko of Niji Games, and so he did. His game studio, Dreamnode, hopes to show Pakistan’s talent in creating awesome games that can be enjoyed across the world. Their vision is to create simple yet engaging games that grant people endless fun.
Desmond Wong, Co-Founder
The Gentlebros PTE., LTD, Singapore The pioneers of Gentlebros used to work for a Japanese game development studio Koei Tecmo. While they had the privilege to work on hit titles such as Dynasty Warriors, Desmond puts working for a big company quite draining. But since he and his peers had this immense, collective love for games, they decided to start their own game studio, pouring this passion and expertise into the games they develop. They first put out Slashy Hero and found success in their cat-themed open-world RPG Cat Quest.
J-Son Ho, CEO
Gameka SDN BHD, Malaysia Previously working for a corporation, at the age of 35, J-Son encountered a book Halftime which tells of living life with no regrets. The book by Bob Buford shares that, in life, you need to call a timeout to reassess and seek what you really want to do in life. For J-Son, it was making games. Gameka believes in making impactful games. An area the studio focuses on is education, and their goal is to make learning fun for the younger generation who are digitally inclined. The studio is coming out with a game called Networth, which is aimed towards helping young ones become financially literate.
Howard Go, CEO and Co-Founder
Mochibits LLC, Philippines Mochibits started out as a two-man team, and is now running with four people at the helm. One of its founders, Howard, was a VP for a local telco before coming into the game development world. He notes that the best part of being a game developer, is getting to do what you want, something of which was challenging in the corporate life. Howard enjoys exploring innovations and taking risks—risks that eventually bore fruits. Mochibits is best known for Hexar.io and Left vs Right. The games each have over 10 million downloads, with one of them having an Editor’s Choice badge in Google Play.
Allen Tan, CEO and Co-Founder
Monstronauts Inc., Philippines Monstronauts was established by IT professional and writer Allen Tan. It started out as an outsourcing company, providing consulting services for mobile and web applications. However, they were also working on a game of their own on the side. While the game was soft-launched, their team never got around to finishing the game. Monstronauts became official in 2015 and first found success in a cooking game with a fantasy twist, Potion Punch. The self-funded game dev studio’s goal is to create world-class, fun-filled games that would get your imagination going.
In this tile puzzle game, players must help cute creatures navigate an obstacle-filled game area and get all the munchies to advance to another level. As players unlock levels, the game becomes more challenging and exciting but hints are available to help players progress. Players can also build their own level.
Tank Raid Online Premium
Tank Raid is a 3v3 online tank shooter you can play with friends. The game has 20 unlockable tanks, each designed with a special skill and weapon that can work to the player’s advantage. Players can challenge their friends in seven stunning arenas and four different multiplayer modes: 3v3 Galaxy Football, 3v3 Team Death Match, 1v4 Solo Death Match, and a soon to roll out 1v4 Solo Death Match.
Monster Cafe is an endless bubble shooter game with adorable cute ghosts and monsters as servers. When players successfully match three or more bubbles of the same color, they get points—or in the game’s concept, these turn into food to be served to customers. When a customer request is fulfilled, players get a powerup that will allow combos.
Hitwicket Cricket Strategy Game: 2019
Cricket is a sport that has around 2.5 billion fans around the world. Cricket strategy game, Hitwicket, enables players to experience the game as a cricket team owner. Players can lead their teams to victory by selecting top players, managing finances and talent, creating strategies, building a stadium for the team, and ultimately winning matches.
Loops: Color Pop
The game is simple at face value but is more challenging than it lets on. The player must pass through as many loops as possible through quick but mindful taps. The ball changes color as it passes multi-colored, spinning loops. The game also packs four different play modes and various customization options to keep you entertained.
Cat Quest is a purr-tastic open-world, combat cat adventure game. The game lets you take on the role of an adorable feline in pursuit of evil Drakoth to save a cat in distress. The whole of the Felingard world is filled with hours of playable content, with 60 side quests and dungeons and caves to explore.
Spell Master: Word Adventures
Ace spelling in a fun way. Spell Master: Word Adventures is a typing game that lets you learn while banishing evil on the side. You play as a wizard tasked to fight off evil through word-spelling mastery. In the game, there are over 20,000 words to play with as well as skills you can use to beat other players around the world.
Just when you thought IO games couldn’t get any better, Hexar.io comes along. This addictive game brings out your competitive side as you gather hexagons to grow and overcome other players. There are a wide variety of skins for customizing your avatar so you stand out in the battlefield.
Potion Punch is not just your ordinary cook-and-serve game. In the game, you are teleported to a fantasy world of humans, witches and wizards, and otherworldly creatures where you concoct spells and potions as well as exotic food in the time given.
Also published in Gadgets Magazine March 2019 issue
Words by Mia Carisse Barrientos