Recently me and Dan were at Tobacco Dock for EGX Rezzed. The event is a mostly indie convention which housed a lot of indie games. Some were better than others, but here are my personal standouts in no particular order. Trailers/links/screenshots are attached where possible.
Where to even start with this game? I met the 19 year old behind this game at a party on the Thursday of EGX Rezzed. He explained he made the game himself and it went on to win a BAFTA and had been picked up by a publisher. I popped down on the Friday and checked the game out. It’s a first person puzzle game that centres around colours. The player has a scanner that shows a colour (it’s always white when you start a level). You have to have the correct colour on your scanner to pass through the colour coded gates to get to the exit. Say you need red. You scan the red cube, you get red on your scanner; but the white from your scanner is now on the cube that was red. This leads to you actually having to plan your scans to solve the puzzles. Some strategically placed colour gates and pads that allow you to walk on walls means that this game is one you have to keep an eye out for!
At first I was unsure about 8-Bit Armies. I walked past it a few times and didn’t really give it the time of day. It’s a strategy game with pixelated visuals. I’m not personally a strategy person. However curiosity got the better of me and I decided to play. The game is a charm to play. It’s mechanics are extremely easy to understand. I played on PC with an Xbox One controller. RB builds units, LB builds facilities. You can assign soldiers/vehicles to either squad X/Y/B when you craft them. Then say you have all helicopters in squad Y and you need to explore the map. Hit Y, then move your cursor and hit A. Done, it’s that simple. There are even audio cues to tell you what you need. For instance I needed more power but didn’t realise. I hear a voice in my headphones telling me I need more power. This game isn’t one for those of you who enjoy in-depth strategy games, not by any means. For those of you like myself who like the concept of a strategy game but would prefer a much simpler approach to the genre, this charming little game is for you.
The Town Of Light
The Town of Light (TTOL) is a game that caught my interest a while back. I’d gotten a few press releases about the game and my curiosity was piqued. At EGX Rezzed I got talking to one of the guys from Wired Productions and told him how I had played Victor Vran: Overkill Edition and he recommended TTOL. I figured I should play it while I was there. The gentleman from Wired Productions explained to me that the guys behind TTOL visited an actual, decommissioned mental institute in Italy and recreated it in game. To the point where the placement and design of the in-game graffiti was replicated from real graffiti. The story of the game follows Renee as she reenters the institute to understand what happened to her while she was there. It’s very much a walking simulator, but one done well. Very well, a la Firewatch. It’s the small things in TTOL that make the game. I was promised no jump scares, and in the 20 minutes I played there wasn’t an inkling of one. The atmosphere of the game just oozes creepy. I won’t say much more, we have a full first impression piece coming out tomorrow so stay tuned for that.
The DRG Initiative
This little gem was tucked away in the basement floor of EGX Rezzed, in the corner room by the rather small VR room (along with The Town Of Light strangely enough). I met Gareth from Slingshot Cartel at the EGX Rezzed party. We began exchanging job info. He began telling me about his game. I’ll be honest at first it just sounded like another 3v3 team shooter. Then Gareth started explaining how they had integrated the game with Twitch to allow a host to fly a drone around the map so Twitch viewers could see everything happening. Then the host can hold polls where viewers vote for which team they feel deserves the loot. So I went and played it two days later (busy doing interviews and the like) and immediately fell in love with the game. When you start you choose two of four characters. You pick a character to go first and one to go second. Huh? That’s right. Permadeath. If you die as the first character, you become the second character. Die again and that’s it for the round. You then get to cycle through cameras and inform teammates of enemy locations.
The gameplay is smooth and I experienced no issues while playing. Something that, even though the devs are developing veterans, is impressive considering I was playing 5 months worth of work. It’s a much slower style of gameplay. The emphasis is on teamwork and strategy. There’s a lot of “Enemy sniper on the bridge” and “Enemy spotted at X”. The reload speed is slow, easily twice that of CoD or Battlefield. However that just highlights the importance of strategy and stops you from just spraying and praying. If you play this game as a fast-paced shooter your character will die. You will run out of ammo. You will lose. A lot. Oh and the best part? Friendly-fire is on so seriously, communicate with your teammates. I HIGHLY recommend this one, if you’re at a show and see it play it.
RiME was the first thing that you saw when walking into the Unreal room at EGX Rezzed. I was somewhat aware of RiME. I had had press releases about the game before the show. You play as a little boy exploring the world around you. I spent my time in the demo being guided by a little fox. I would begin to drift off, hear a bark and then head in that direction and find the next puzzle I needed to complete to progress. You find these statues that you activate by pressing triangle (I was playing on PS4). This strange floating head looking thing comes out and attaches to an emblem on the wall. The puzzles are formed by having to activate 4 of these statues at the same time so that all of the emblems are activated at the same time and then the puzzle is solved. The entire game’s visuals are done in a cell-shaded style that creates this really colourful (and honestly beautiful) world. The game is worth a shot if you get the chance to play it. If you’re unsure you can check out the trailer below.