The Average Gamer

Rezzed PC and Indie Games: Part 2

Yesterday I talked about the big PC games I saw at the Rezzed expo in Brighton: Far Cry 3, XCOM: Enemy Unknown and more. Today I’m talking about the ones you may not already know. The central corridor of the show was dedicated to indie games, with a whiteboard style presentation.

Developers and attendees were scribbling all sorts of cute nonsense around and above their games. If you ask me, it was a lazy but also a neat idea. I won’t describe all of them, but a few of the ones that stood out to me were:

A 2D Portal-esque kind of game (in a cute nod, the designer had even crossed out the word portal and written “gateway” in the tutorial), where you navigate a scientist around some platform levels, with the ability to shoot two ends of a portal to solve puzzles. Where it differs from Valve’s excellent entrant in the “genre” is of course the platforming – you can literally jump on enemies’ heads, Mario-style, to dispatch some of them.

The other difference, is that later on the portals can be created in different sizes, so that your bald-pated protagonist can shrink himself down to fit into tiny passages. The game was fun, but I found myself often unsure of where to go next. Hints would cost “orbs” (some kind of currency that you pick up), and I often found myself spending them only to find out that I didn’t have an item to solve the puzzle… and the game doesn’t tell you what that item is.

I absolutely loved the presentation of this game. You play a little TV trying to survive as you meander through various treacherous levels filled with deadly drops and laser beams. Yes, fricken LASER BEAMS. It reminded me a little of Super Meat Boy and perhaps may present some similar challenges, but what stood out was the superb pixel art style and the fade to test spot transitions. The game had a lot of charm.

Ring Fling
This was an iPad game being shown off by the developer himself, who was very gregarious and talkative. He got my attention when he described his inspiration for the game as coming from a 2-player board game called Crossfire where each player had to fire at a puck in the centre of the board and knock it into their opponent’s goal. Sort of like Air Hockey, except you shoot ball bearings at stuff. Anyway, the Crossfire ad was fantastic, and although the game he’s created doesn’t have that same 80s nostalgia sheen (looking more like a Pearl and Dean sting), it looked like a fun party game, meant to be played with friends around the living room or down the pub.

Gunpoint was also coming along well, the game where you can not only jump and fall from a great height due to your technologically magical trenchcoat, but where the player can rewire all sorts of systems from lights, to elevators, to security doors. I love this game’s oeuvre, and can’t wait until it’s officially out.

Talk about a great visual style; Guacamelee is a self-confessed “Metroid-vania” action platformer, but the gameplay looked to have lots of fighting game influences. I love the toonish visuals, with haughty Luchadores facing off against undead hombres. The game looked fun and funky.

Of the rest of the games at the show, I only had a chance to get a quick look at them, and some I was already aware of or had seen at previous shows, like Skulls of the Shogun.

The ones worth mentioning are:

That’s Quick Understanding of Block Extrustion: a Portal-esque puzzle game where your FPG (First Person Gloves) can pick up and manipulate various different coloured blocks in the environment to progress. Looked pretty snazzy.

End of Nations
And “MMO-RTS” with persistent units and world mechanics. Petroglyph’s game seems to be coming along nicely. It looks like a top tier RTS title, but the persistent world mechanics should offer something interesting above the StarCrafts and, um… StarCraft 2s of the world.

Shootmania Storm
From the makers of Trackmania comes… an eSports shooter! Just what everyone wanted!! Okay, so maybe I’m in the minority, because lots of people are fans of Trackmania and you might say there is some overlap with FPS fans on that Venn diagram. The game looked like a souped up version of Unreal Tournament, and although I couldn’t quite get what was going on, it looked interesting.

Strike Suit Zero
One would be forgiven for thinking that this game was just another space sim (those being so prevalent these days), but given the title, I expected to see at least one transforming robot. Apparently all the people playing this game didn’t feel the need to use Robot mode, as they were all just dogfighting and constantly circling around, trying to get behind one another.

Which is pretty much my experience of X-Wing and Tie Fighter multiplayer at LAN parties back in the day.

This is a truly gorgeous iOS title that looks like a papercraft feudal Japan. You have your little hero navigating the environment, folding and unfolding different sections in order to solve puzzles. Tengami is being put together by some ex-Rare developers, so is definitely one to watch.

I look forward to future RPS Indie game events. As evidenced by Rezzed, it’s more than just a burgeoning space of games, but really has become a major movement and force throughout the industry.