The judges have deliberated. Over 33,000 votes have been cast. And we can now reveal that Colt Canyon has been crowned ‘Best Game’ and LUNARK ‘Most Anticipated’ game of the year, at the GameMaker Awards 2021.

Created by German-based developer Retrific, Colt Canyon is a stylish western-themed pixel art shooter combining roguelike elements with real-time combat. The judges were impressed with Colt Canyon’s highly engaging gameplay and heavily pixelated artist style. While in the popular vote, members of the GameMaker and Opera GX communities voted Colt Canyon the clear winner.

The other finalists for ‘Best Game’ included: Chicory: A Colorful Tale, Jet Lancer, Post Void and Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?!.

The winner of ‘Most Anticipated’ game is LUNARK, from Canari Games. LUNARK is a 2D cinematic platformer, designed in the vein of ’80s and ’90s classics. The game challenges players to run, jump, hang, climb, roll, and shoot their way through a kaleidoscope of different environments. These include mysterious alien ruins, a flying penitentiary, a high-tech megalopolis, and a majestic forest.

The judges were blown away with how the Canari Games team have pushed the creative limits of cutscenes and pixel art in GameMaker, to create a game that is both visually stunning and great to play. Set for release later this year, LUNARK also made a big impression with the voters – who overwhelmingly crowned it the ‘Most Anticipated’ game of 2021.

The other finalists for ‘Most Anticipated’ game included: NYKRA, Jitsu Squad, APICO and Toodee and Topdee.

The GameMaker Awards, in partnership with SpecialEffect, a charity that uses video games to enhance the lives of those people with physical disabilities, celebrate creativity and innovation in Indie game development, honouring the best games created using GameMaker Studio 2 as well as the Indies and Studios that designed them.

From over 200 entries, only 5 games for each category were selected by an expert panel of industry peers, including GameMaker Studio CTO Russell Kay, Opera GX Product Director Maciej Kocemba, and Into Indie Games Editor Harry Cole.

Russell Kay, CTO, GameMaker Studio, said: “This year’s GameMaker Awards has redefined what we’ve come to expect from the indies and studios that choose GameMaker as their creative engine of choice. Each of the finalists have demonstrated  both amazing creativity, plus the technical ability to harness GameMaker’s powerful functionality to design a game that really pushes the boundaries. Given the incredible standard of this year’s entries, I am only glad that the final decision was left in the hands of our loyal GameMaker and Opera GX communities.”

Jonathan Mannshoven of Retrific, said: “Colt Canyon wasn’t a bestseller when it launched last year. It wasn’t free from criticism either. But by working closely with the community, I’ve been able to make many improvements to the game which have helped turn a lot of criticism into positive feedback. Having all that hard work now paying off with Colt Canyon winning ‘Best Game’ at the GameMaker Awards 2021 is an overwhelming and surreal feeling – just incredible!

“GameMaker has always been my engine of choice as it is just so easy to use yet also powerful, enabling me to reach maximum productivity. Which as a solo developer is extremely valuable. Put simply – I wouldn’t be a game developer now if it wasn’t for GameMaker.”

Johan Vinet of Canari Games, added: “LUNARK started as a passion project to create a game in the genre I loved in my youth. Making it a reality became so clear that I decided to quit my job, start my own studio and launch a Kickstarter campaign. Winning the “Most Anticipated Game” award is an incredible recognition from the players and the GameMaker Community, which brings some welcome legitimacy and a massive confidence boost to actually finish the game! Thank you!”

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