Vancouver Film School's game design program is on a roll with two Unity Awards 2012 finalists emanating from its wheelhouse; Pulse and The Mask of Qi.
Pulse is a first-person "survival/suspense" game in which you play as a blind girl who must find her way through a cavern by tossing around adorable forest sprites called Makos. The sounds they make help her visualise the world around her ala Daredevil, but their noise also attracts monsters.
Developed by the five-person Pixel Pi team, the art style is far more colourful and cartoony than one typically associates with terror, but there's a grim bite to it where you're using the cute buggers as bait. The way they shiver and shake when danger is near especially lovable, making it even more heartbreaking to throw them about.
Pixel Pi would like to expand the game beyond the free playable build. "As for the content of the final game, we'd like to make it about four hours of solid, changing gameplay, with a number of different levels and challenges," said Pixel Pi's Maxwell Hannaman in comments to Eurogamer.
"Rather than adding more features, we're more likely to focus on what we have and spend time refining the rest of the game."
"Moving forward with the game, we'd be looking at a PC/MAC release via digital download, possibly other platforms depending on our situation. We're keeping an eye on Steam Greenlight as well."
This probably won't be for awhile though as the members of Pixel Pi just graduated last month and are busy gaining real world experience at such studios as Runic and DeNA.
See Pulse in action in the trailer below, then download the current build at Pixel Pi's official site.
Elsewhere, The Mask of Qi is a third-person platformer/action game starring a masked flying squirrel. Developed in over the course of five months by the four-person Team Kronk, it looks remarkably accomplished. Plus gliding is always fun.
The Mask of Qi is available at Team Kronk's official site as both a download, or as a browser release in a low-res version. Check out the trailer for it below.