The Independent Games Festival is kicking off 2018 by announcing the finalists for its annual award show. It runs alongside the Game Developers Conference industry event in San Francisco, where nominees will also get to showcase their work. It will announce winners on March 21, about halfway through GDC.

In recent years, indie games events have popped up around the world, such as A Maze in Johannesburg and BitSummit in Japan. The Los Angeles-based IndieCade festival just celebrated its 10th year, and Sega is sponsoring the Leftfield Collection indie showcase at the annual EGX festival. IGF was first to the fray 20 years ago. It hands out a number of awards, including the $30,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize, as well as the alt.ctrl.GDC Award for innovative alternative controllers.

The 35 nominees for the 2018 IGF Awards feature titles like Studio MDHR’s fiendish run-‘n’-gun Cuphead and Brianna Lei’s charming coming-of-age visual novel Butterfly Soup. A few games are in the running in multiple categories, such as the quirky Baba Is You from Hempuli, whose cleverness earned nominations for four different awards. Bennett Foddy’s contemplative rage-quit simulator Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy and Infinite Fall’s stunning rust belt gothic narrative adventure Night in the Woods have both earned nominations in three categories.

The IGF Awards finalists for 2018 are:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

  • Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)
  • Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
  • West of Loathing (Asymmetric Publications)
  • Into the Breach (Subset Games)
  • Heat Signature (Suspicious Developments)
  • Baba is You (Hempuli)

Honorable Mentions: Tacoma (Fullbright); Rain World (VIDEOCULT); Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator (Game Grumps); Cosmic Top Secret (klassefilm); Hollow Knight (Team Cherry); Cuphead (StudioMDHR); Everything Is Going to Be OK (Nathalie Lawhead)

Excellence in Visual Art

  • Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
  • Cuphead (StudioMDHR)
  • Echo (ULTRA ULTRA)
  • Luna (Funomena)
  • The Gardens Between (The Voxel Agents)
  • Chuchel (Amanita Design)

Honorable Mentions: Jettomero: Hero of the Universe (Ghost Time Games); Dead Cells (Motion Twin); AER – Memories of Old (Forgotten Key); Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games); Rain World (VIDEOCULT); Shape of the World (Hollow Tree Games); Hollow Knight (Team Cherry)

Excellence in Audio

  • Tormentor X Punisher (e-studio)
  • Cuphead (StudioMDHR)
  • Vignettes (Skeleton Business)
  • Rain World (VIDEOCULT)
  • Uurnog Uurnlimited (Nifflas Games)
  • Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

Honorable Mentions: Tumbleseed (Benedict Fritz, Greg Wohlwend, Joel Corelitz, David Laskey and Jenna Blazevich); Hollow Knight (Team Cherry); Tacoma (Fullbright); Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games); Million Onion Hotel (Onion Games); Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)

Excellence in Design

  • Into the Breach (Subset Games)
  • Shenzhen I/O (Zachtronics)
  • Wilmot’s Warehouse (Richard Hogg, Ricky Haggett, Eli Rainsberry)
  • Baba Is You (Hempuli)
  • Uurnog Uurnlimited (Nifflas Games)
  • Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)

Honorable Mentions: Heat Signature (Suspicious Developments); Dead Cells (Motion Twin); Factorio (Wube Software); Space Pirate Trainer (I-Illusions); Battle Chef Brigade (Trinket Studios)

Excellence in Narrative

  • Tacoma (Fullbright)
  • Attentat 1942 (Charles University and Czech Academy of Sciences)
  • Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (Dim Bulb Games)
  • Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
  • Butterfly Soup (Brianna Lei)
  • Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games)

Honorable Mentions: A Mortician’s Tale (Laundry Bear Games); Lost Memories Dot Net (Star Maid Games); Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator (Game Grumps); Bury me, my Love (The Pixel Hunt, Figs and ARTE France); Cosmic Top Secret (klassefilm); West of Loathing (Asymmetric Publications); Rakuen (Laura Shigihara)

Nuovo Award

  • Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)
  • Tarotica Voo Doo (TPM.CO SOFT WORKS)
  • 10 Mississippi (Karina Popp)
  • A Mortician’s Tale (Laundry Bear Games)
  • Cosmic Top Secret (klassefilm)
  • Everything Is Going to Be OK (Nathalie Lawhead)
  • Baba Is You (Hempuli)
  • Kids (Playables)

Honorable Mentions: Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (Dim Bulb Games); IO Interloper (DANG!); The Norwood Suite (Cosmo D Studios); Cheap Golf (Pixeljam); Witchball (S.L.Clark); Million Onion Hotel (Onion Games)

Best Student Game

  • IO Interloper (DANG!)
  • Don’t Make Love (Maggese)
  • Penny Blue Finds a Clue (DigiPen Team Cactus Curse)
  • We Were Here (Total Mayhem Games)
  • Baba Is You (Hempuli)
  • Guardian of the Gears (DigiPen Team Studio 76)

Honorable Mentions: Crewsaders (Titan Squad); A.L.F.R.E.D. (Hugo Lefevre, Joseph Reichenbach, Romain Jaohar-Gaillard, Garance Royere Lebigre, Nicolas Tham, Marion Speiser, Delphine Migeot de Baran, Song Huang); MOLOCH (Seemingly Pointless); Kyklo’s Code (Cube Factory); Membrane (Perfect Hat / Seth S. Scott); That Blooming Feeling (The Tots Team); Tell Me What You See (Pesky Bees)