The Average Gamer

EToo London: Final Day

EToo - Final DayThe light drizzle across London echoes the mood of Soho today as it signals the end of EToo. And while our big Californian brother might not suffer the same poetic cliché this morning, the feeling must surely be mutual. So many incredible games have been shown off in Loading Bar this week and, though I don’t want to do the other exhibitors the disservice of saying the best has been saved ‘til last, the standard today is exceptionally high.

Partially because Tom Francis, who yesterday announced his commitment to full-time development by leaving PC Gamer, has set up in the corner to show off the game that made his new career; Gunpoint. Spending three years working on the game in his spare time, Francis released his hack and crash spy platformer to massive success a few weeks ago. Combining all the right elements of fun gameplay to produce a compelling and addictive experience, Francis said the public reaction to his work has been incredible, and that it might have proven to be a bit too addictive. He said: “We’ve already had lots of people on the forums asking where are the new levels? We need more levels! And I’ve barely just recovered from launch day!”

Joining Tom in displaying the infinitely-restartable speedrunner genre was Dan Pearce, whose game 10 Second Ninja will have you looking back on Super Meat Boy fondly as a lovely, forgiving experience. While destroying 4 or 5 Nazi Robots in under 10 seconds may not be too pressing, beating Dan’s own times to earn 3 stars on each level is. Luckily the game is still in development and a neat little bug earned me my stars (it still counts!) but unfortunately everything should be ironed out for its PC release, hopefully in a few weeks’ time.

There was also a contingent from the old-but-new developer alliance in attendance today as classic games Minesweeper and Breakout saw their upgraded replacements in Godsweeper (who win today’s Best Freebies for their tower of cakes) and Caromble respectively. The former, Godsweeper, combines minesweeper with a RPG elements making a simple timewaster into something much, much more. The latter, Caromble has managed to capitalise on 3D graphics and physics in a way that other Breakout-alikes have always failed before. Combining bumper mechanics from pinball and actually bringing the ball pinging into the 3rd dimension, Caromble feels like a game with much more depth (ha, pun) than others in the paddleball genre. Also, the appearance of Dutch developers Crimson Owl makes the second exhibitors of the week (the first being Futuridium’s Italian creators MixedBag from Tuesday) making EToo a truly international event!

And for the final time, until next year hopefully, we come to the Exhibitor of the Day award which today, due to the extreme amount of swag talent on show is SHARED (hold your casino online gasps of disbelief/groans of unoriginality please). Today’s winners are all of us, the attendees! But seriously, it’s Trash TV and Pixel Escape. The first, developed by Lawrence Russell, found its fame after picking up a nomination for Intel’s Level Up award in 2011. Trash TV is a platformer based around puzzles with a dark and industrial feel – similar to a techno-themed Limbo with a VHS aesthetic. The second, Pixel Escape from two-man team Eugene and Jonny from Leeds, is what I can only describe as Lemmings and Linerider crossed with Bit.trip Runner. That overly-specific analogy comes from the fact your little teams of pixelmen are constantly on a crash course with whatever is in front of them with only a jump and a magical pen tool to help you avoid it. The pen tool helps you create bridges and ramps, or saves you from ill-timed jumps with spiky landings. A playable browser-based version should be available soon in order to secure sponsorship for steam and iOS/Android versions to follow. Both games well-deserving of their top spots from today’s offering and should see the light of day in the next couple of months.

Sadly, that’s it from daytimes at EToo, but you can still get in on the last of the fun by tuning into the Late Night Livestream from 7pm at Last night saw a surprise reappearance of Rufus Hound to judge the GameStick gamejam winners, and tonight promises a host of other big name figures in the gaming world, including Jim Rossignol, RPS writer and Big Robot founder, discussing the studio’s latest game Sir, You Are Being Hunted. Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of EToo!