Frostpunk wins Best Game at BIG Festival

11 bit Studios' society survival title earns tops honors at Brazil's Independent Games Festival

Frostpunk, a society survival game that puts you in charge of the last city on Earth, has taken home top honors at the BIG Festival this week. The city-building title is from 11 bit Studios, the same renowned Polish developer that made This War of Mine which has been lauded by critics for its examination of civilian life during times of war.

Frostpunk was released back in April and quickly gained momentum, selling over 250,000 copies in just three days after launch.

Other notable winners at BIG included Dim Bulb's Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, which won for Best Narrative, and Funomena's Luna, which earned the award for Best VR Game. This year BIG added categories for Best Multiplayer Game, Best Student Game, Best Game for Kids, and BIG Brands.

Games were selected by an international jury that included Lauren Freeman (EA's Senior Manager, External Development), Reginaldo Valadares (Head of Studio - Rovio), John Comes (CTO - tinyBuild), Luis Wong (Overseas Operations Manager - IndieNova) and David Wood (Business Development - Bandai Namco Entertainment America).

A complete listing of the nominees and winners, as provided by BIG Festival organizers, can be perused below. 

[Note that the categories indicated with an asterisk (*) have not been evaluated by the festival's international jury. The games awarded in these specific categories have been chosen by specialized juries, listed in each case.]

Best Game: Frost Punk, 11 bit Studios, Poland

Nominees
-Dead Cells (Motion Twin, France)
-39 Days to Mars (It’s Anecdotal, New Zealand)
-Semblance (Nyamakop, South Africa)
-Cultist Simulator (Weather Factory, U.K.)
-Galaxy of Pen and Paper (Behold Studios, Brazil)
-Unsighted (Studio Pixel Punk, Brazil)

International Jury Commentary
“Its ingenious gameplay achieves a new benchmark by combining strategy, emotional connection and fantastic art style.”

Best Brazilian Game: No Heroes Here, Mad Mimic Interactive, Brazil

Nominees
-Rock & Rails (Black River Studios)
-Unsighted (Studio Pixel Punk)
-Galaxy of Pen and Paper (Behold Studios)
-Hexarmonic (6 Side Studios)
-Alkimya: Memories of the Last Alchemist (Bad Minions)
-Radar Warfare (DreamRoad Productions)
-Roguemance (Lucas Molina)
-Until Dead – Think to Survive (Monomyto Game Studio)
-In (Epopeia Games)

Jury Commentary
“Frantic friendships and chaotic gameplay. That's what couch co-op is all about.”

Best Latin American Game: Iron Marines, Ironhide Game Studio, Urugai

Nominees
-Ship Ahoy! (OKAM Studio, Argentina)
-Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder (ACE Team, Chile)
-The Last Friend (The Stonebot Studio, El Salvador)
-Darkestville Castle (Epic Llama, Argentina)

International Jury Commentary
“The great achievement of perfectly translating an RTS to mobile.”

Best Art: Chuchel, Amanita Design, Czech Republic

Nominees
Dead Cells (Motion Twin, France)
39 Days to Mars (It’s Anecdotal, New Zealand)
Semblance (Nyamakop, South Africa)
Luna (Funomena LLC, U.S.)
The Gardens Between (The Voxel Agents, Australia)
Haimrik (Below The Game, Colombia)

International Jury Commentary
"It's like being in a children's show, impossible not to smile."

Best Narrative: Where the Water Tastes Like Wine,
Dim Bulb Games, USA

Nominees
-Path to Mnemosyne (Spherical Pixel S.L, Spain)
-39 Days to Mars (It’s Anecdotal, New Zealand)
-Tacoma (Fullbright, U.S.)
-The Mooseman (Vladimir Beletskiy, Russia)
-All Walls Must Fall (Inbetweengames UG, Germany)
-Stay (Appnormals Team, Spain)

International Jury Commentary
"A narrative achievement. A collaborative team of 21 writers joined together to craft this cohesive collection of interactive fables."

Best Gameplay: Dead Cells, Motion Twins, France

Nominees
-Frostpunk (11 bit Studios, Poland)
-Keyboard Sports – Saving QWERTY (Triband, Denmark)
-Semblance (Nyamakop, South Africa)
-Cultist Simulator (Weather Factory, U.K.)
-DYO (Team DYO, Germany)
-Slime Rancher (Monomi Park, U.S.)

International Jury Commentary
"Refreshing mechanics combined with beautiful art direction catch the eye of even those who never heard of the metroidvania genre."

Best Sound: Rhythm Doctor, 7th Beat Games, Peru

Nominees
-Double Kick Heroes (Headbang Club, France)
-Chuchel (Amanita Design, Czech Republic)
-Luna (Funomena LLC, U.S.)
-39 Days to Mars (It’s Anecdotal, New Zealand)
-Hexarmonic (6 Side Studios, Brazil)

International Jury Commentary
"You can’t beat its heart."

Innovation: Haimrik, Below the Game, Columbia

Nominees
-Tacoma (Fullbright, U.S.)
-DYO (Team DYO, Germany)
-Cultist Simulator (Weather Factory, U.K.)
-Motif. (Yeta Game, Turkey)
-At Sundown (Mild Beast Games, U.S.)
-Frost (Kunabi Brother, Austria)

International Jury Commentary
"Innovation is the word. Literally."

*BIG Impact – Best Educational Game: Marvellous Inc, Marvelous Soft, Brazil

Nominees
Rango Cards (Fira Soft, Brazil)
Alphabet (Spacefrog, Brazil)
Slice Fractions 2 (Ululab, Canada)
Geração Água (Feevale University – LOA – Laboratório de Objetos de Aprendizagem, Brazil)

Jury
Jean Rafael Tomceac
Researcher and specialist in Digital Media and Technology in the Education area, acting in various private and government organizations in Brazil and abroad.

Fernanda Sarmento
PhD in Design at FAU-USP and a professor at FACAMP. She has worked at her own studio since 1994, having been awarded many prizes. She has achieved prominence in the Design and Sustainability fields.

Beth Carmona
Recognized for her work with youth, she has been at TVE, Disney Brasil, Discovery Kids, TV Cultura, among others. Currently she is the general and editorial director at comKids.

Jury Commentary
"It introduces players to the world of programming, delivering a solid and engaging experience."

*BIG Impact – Social Matters Category: Lenin The Lion, Lornyon, Brazil

Nominees
-Fofuuú (Fofuuu Soluções Tecnológicas para Saúde e Educação LTDA, Brazil)
-The Mooseman (Vladimir Beletskiy, Russia)
-Florescer (PugCorn, Brazil)
-Headliner (Unbound Creations LLC, U.S.)

Jury Commentary
"Lenin the Lion approaches an important complex social issue such as depression via simplistic and compelling gameplay."

Best Student Game: Motif., Yeta Game, Turkey

Nominees
-DYO (Developed by Team DYO at the HTW Berlin Institution, Germany)
-Muddledash (Developed by Slampunks, at the University of Edinburgh Institution, U.K.)
-At Sundown (Developed by Mild Beast Games, at the University of Southern California Institution, U.S.)
-Impulsion (Developed by Driving Force Games, at the Institut de Internet et du Multimedia, France)

International Jury Commentary
"A geometric kaleidoscope of fun."

*Best Brazilian Student Game (Honorable Mention): Wild Glory, LAJE Studios and Manalith Studios, Brazil

Games developed by students are getting more and more popular in Brazil and around the world. In this year's edition of BIG Festival, a jury consisting of professors from seven Brazilian universities decided to grant an award the best game developed by Brazilian students. The jury features the following members: Ana Beatriz Bahia (UDESC), Breno Carvalho (Unicap), Felipe Ferreira Costa (IESB), João Ricardo  Bittencourt (Unisinos), Lizie Nascimento (Unifor), Lynn Alves (UNEB) e Rodrigo Motta (Unifacisa).

International Jury Commentary
"Frantic competitive multiplayer gameplay where charismatic characters duke it out before a fanatical audience. Guaranteed fun, but be careful not to ruin your friendships.”

Best Multiplayer Game: Muddledash, Slampunks, United Kingdom

Nominees
-Arena Gods (Supertype, U.S.)
-No Heroes Here (Mad Mimic Interactive, Brazil)
-At Sundown (Mild Beast Games, U.S.)
-Treadnauts (Topstitch Games, U.S.)

International Jury Commentary
"A unique, adorable, accessible take on the racing game genre."

*Best Game for Kids: Fofuuu, Spacefrog, Brazil

Nominees
-Chuchel (Amanita Design, Czech Republic)
-Alphabet (Spacefrog, Brazil)
-Luna (Funomena LLC, U.S.)
-St. Ives (StoryMax, Brazil)

For this category's debut in the festival, the games have been evaluated by the greatest specialists in the whole wide world: kids themselves. We invited the children from GRAACC – Support Group for Children and Youth with Cancer – to help us in this incredible mission. The nominated games were made available for them in the hospital's play room.

International Jury Commentary
"A game that introduces empathy and fun in speech therapy."

Best Virtual Reality Game: Luna, Funomena LLC, USA

Nominees
-Ship Ahoy! (OKAM Studio, Argentina)
-The Invisible Hours (Tequila Works, Spain)
-Primordian (Stonepunk Studios, LLC, U.S.)
-Rock & Rails (Black River Studios, Brazil)

International Jury Commentary
"A lush, immersive playground which is perfect for VR."

BIG Starter – Best Educational or Social Impact Game : Mompas, Studio Nebulosa, Brazil

Nominees
-Cleaver (Equipe CLEAVER)
-Projeto Ticolicos (Lost DEVS)
-Mompas (Studio Nebulosa)
-AmbIA (Imersys)
-Legally Addicted (Nonsense Bull Games)

Jury
Carlos Estigarribia - Gazeus
Diego Nyco - BNDES
Erica Dalessandro  - Ancine
Marcus Alvarenga - Finep
Mariana Gomes - Apex Brasil
Mario Lapin - Virgo Game
Samuel Lange - TV Escola

Jury Commentary
"Fun, educational and competitive. It takes into account the player's individual knowledge."

*BIG Starter – Entertainment: One Beat Minute, Pixjuice, Brazil

Nominees
-Little Dude The Game (Initial Tape)
-U.A.I (Umbu Games)
-Epic Golf 2D (Estúdio Vaca Roxa)
-Jamie's Dream (Cartonbox Studio)

Jury
Carlos Estigarribia - Gazeus
Diego Nyco - BNDES
Erica Dalessandro  - Ancine
Marcus Alvarenga - Finep
Mariana Gomes - Apex Brasil
Mario Lapin - Virgo Game
Samuel Lange - TV Escola

Jury Commentary
"A different proposal, with unique aesthetics, cultural approach and sales potential."

*BIG Brands – Best Game: PSG Football Freestyle, Hermit Crab Studio, Brasil

Nominees
-Steven Universe Beach City (Drifters Avix Games, for Cartoon Network)
-Guardiões de Terradoce (Midnight Creators, for Florestal)

Jury
Vince Vader
A game designer who has released more than thirty games. He also works as a researcher and professor for Digital Creation at the Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM), where he oversees the Gamelab.

International Jury Commentary
"It is approaches the theme of football in a rather interesting way, with challenging mechanics and dynamic visuals. PSG Football Freestyle delivers a nice casual experience and really values the client's brand"

*People’s Choice Award: No Heroes Here, Mad Mimic Interactive, Brazil
Chosen by BIG Festival's visitors.

Disclosure: BIG Festival organizers paid for GameDaily's travel and accomodations to attend the event.

Editor-in-Chief

James has been covering the games industry since the early 2000s and was most recently the editor of GamesIndustry.biz. He loves Zelda, Metroidvania-style games, action adventure and single-player narratives. He's also the proud father of twin boys and is obsessed with good coffee and Yankees baseball. You can reach him @bright_pixels on Twitter or you can email him at james.brightman@gamedaily.biz.