Being fortunate enough to be able to attend EGX: Rezzed last week, I managed to mix it up and chat with the majority of the indie dev studios that exhibited at the Tobacco Dock location in East London. Being that this particular event focuses a lot more on game development and certainly a lot more on independent studios than it's larger scale counterpart, I left yearning for another day to delve into some of the other treats on display. Upon (surprisingly enough) chatting to Ken Levine, we were both in agreement that Thursday was a fantastic day to attend. No big crowds or queue's just a nice amount of people to add to the buzz of an exciting time in video gaming culture. Below is a brief summary of each game in the 'Indie Room' that I chose to focus on. For a look at the gameplay, check out the video with footage from the event!
To whet your appetite:
Brainchild of creative director Adrian Lazar
You land on a living alien world, exploring the planet and experiencing the ecosystem. It’s a linear story based game in which you, as the player can control the day/night cycle. Plants and animals change and can attack you. Finding out what’s happened on the planet before you arrived and 'potentially' saving it will be the initial focus. Planet Alpha is approximately a year away from release on Xbox, PS4 and PC.
City Of The Shroud:
A tactical JRPG; it’s been described as Xcom meets Streetfighter, with lots of sarcastic writing thrown in. In terms of development time they’re aiming for a last quarter 2017 release on Steam for PC and MAC. Chapter one steam keys are available at the moment for supporters on BackerKit and chapter two will be written upon feedback from player’s as it’s a community story driven title. There’s also a demo on itch.io.
Living The Deal:
The new game by RPG Tycoon developer - Matt Gamble. I'm told It’s The Sims meets Monopoly. The tagline is 'Make Deals, Get Rich or Die Trying'. The latter, being no joke. In addition to making deals and getting rich it’s important to manage your basic life stats such as eating, getting enough sleep and watching your personal hygiene. If you're not careful you'll fall foul of a heart attack pretty soon in, so keep an eye on that stress meter! The primary resource in the game is time. Living the deal doesn’t yet have a specific release date but It’ll be available on Steam for PC and possibly MAC.
Children Of Zodiarcs:
This is a 'deck and dice' tactical RPG in a similar veign to Shining Force and Fire Emblem with turn based combat on a grid. The combat based on cards and symbol based dice which work in synergy. Each roll of the dice adds changes the effect of the cards that you’ve just played, such as healing, extra cards & extra turns. The dice that you bring into battle are, I'm told, always positive. The only negative effect possibly coming from an opposing players turn. There’s deck building with 115 different cards in the game but you’re started off with a deck and can switch things in and out to build on and mould your decks smoothly.
The Siege And The Sandfox:
Cardboard Sword partnered with Chucklefish
Described by the dev as a 'Stealth-vania' title. Although stealth isn’t the main focus the player is rewarded for playing as such. Built in Unreal 4 it’s also caught the eye of 'Epic Games' who took the studio to GDC! You play as the Sandfox, thrown into an underground dungeon for a crime you didn’t commit. whilst there, you uncover a plan to take over the kingdom by the people who imprisoned you. The player can form alliances with the various factions encountered whilst imprisoned to thwart the evil scheme. With light, sound and touch triggers for stealth and 'game over' upon getting caught it’ll test your mettle. I'm informed that upon alerting an enemy there is, however, opportunity for the player to escape, so it doesn't seem too unforgiving. Looking to be launched on PC as well as consoles, there's no release date as of yet.
I first saw Forgotten Anne at EGX 2016 and immediately fell in love with it. Catching up with Alfred the creative director and later Ingvi the assistant producer who was the ThroughLine game presence at Rezzed, I’m told that there’s still no official release date. A new longer demo should, however, be available later this year. Forgotten Anne is a 2d, cinematic adventure, side scrolling game in development for PC and consoles. It really does look beautiful.
“Imagine a place where everything that is lost and forgotten goes; old toys, letters, single socks. The Forgotten Realm is a magical world inhabited by Forgotlings, creatures composed of mislaid objects longing to be remembered again...”
- Through line Games
See You On The Other Side:
Tunnel Vision Games
A noir inspired puzzle game not too unlike Portal, only it’s based around shadows. You Start in a warehouse type building after sneaking in via the inside of a fridge. The player can walk physically traverse the shadows whilst following a sinister character who seems to be up to no good. Hoping to release early next year on PC and possibly consoles, It’s a student project that Tunnel Vision games are now breathing more life into. It certainly seems like an easy one to pick up as the controls are essentially the movement of the character and one key.
'On The Day' EGX: Rezzed Summary Video!:
Described as: what you'd imagine to be the love child of Worms and Spelunky; Phantom Halls is a procedurally generated, comedy-horror haunted house game. Just out in early access on Steam, it’s an easy to pick up side scroller with some straightforward controls for interaction and attacking. For those Evil Dead fans – Ash is included! Chainsaw 'n' all. Infused with an eighties high school feel, you can also play as archetypes such as a Jock, Goth, Cheerleader, Metal Head and Nerd... all of them trying to explore the mansion with different objectives. In regards to dev time, they’re hoping to have everything fixed and ready to go on PC - early 2018 and currently exploring a possible release on Xbox and PS4.
Oh Sir! The Hollywood Roast:
A follow up to the original Oh Sir! Insult Simulator, this time featuring movies and actors. Release date is looking to be late this Spring on Steam for PC. It’ll also be available on mobile and consoles, unsurprisingly it’s made with Unity.
The Gamers Charity
Special Effect are a video games charity who were also exhibiting at Rezzed. Special Effect modify controller systems and on show we were able to see a chin controller, soft touch buttons, and joysticks with adjustable sensitivity.
'By using technology ranging from modified joypads to eye-control, we're finding a way for people to play to the very best of their abilities.
But we're not just doing it for fun. By levelling the playing field, we're bringing families and friends together and having a profoundly positive impact on therapy, confidence and rehabilitation.'
- Special Effect
Please do check out their site for more info.
Exploring new planets with her robot buddy - Ruby Rei is a video game focused on language learning. At the moment the current build is built around English people learning Spanish and Spanish and Portuguese, learning English. Ruby Rei is available now on iOS and android and looking to releasing in May for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Arabic speakers to learn English. I loved what I'd played, It really is a charming title with all elements of pressure removed from the game, there’s no right or wrong, no tests, just pure immersion.
Darby tells me that this is a fast paced Bomberman style game. You pick a sheep and try and take out your opponents focusing mainly on the use of homing missiles. A demo is currently available on Steam Greenlight, with console release on PS4, Xbox, and possibly Switch later this year.
Bedtime Digital Games
Playing as two very lovable looking characters called, if my audio notes in a noisy room serve correctly – Dusky and Piker. The duo are traversing the dreams of an actual person, the object being to eliminate the fears deeply rooted inside the sleeper. Described as a Broadway musical within a game, it’s strongly driven by audio being as the boss battles are all played out through song. The beautiful art style is very close to the original concept art with brush strokes still evident within the game. The finished product will hopefully have thirteen worlds, at least fifteen hours worth of gameplay and will hopefully release this summer on steam. Bedtime Digital are also currently in talks for a possible release on Xbox one , PS4 and Switch.
A hand drawn, 2d, dynamic stealth game set in 1970’s America. Not unlike Mr. Wolf from Pulp Fiction, the serial cleaner is called upon to 'solve problems'. Stepping into the main character's shoes you'll need to clean up blood, collect bodies and hide evidence whilst staying hidden from police officers. They'll quickly (and I do mean quickly) give chase and end your turn if you're seen and fail to outsmart them. I was also told that the original soundtrack, which I thought was fantastic upon playing, has been created by five different composers. Covering the whole decade we are treated to genre's such as disco, hip hop and heavy metal. Available in early access on Steam at the moment, the dev tells me that 20 Levels will be included in the finished build, including cut scenes and challenge modes such as 'Drunk Mode'. Serial Cleaner is looking to be released at the beginning of summer 2017 on Steam, Xbox One and PS4 simultaneously.
Antioch: Scarlet Bay
Midnight Mood Studio
Antioch is an online cooperative interactive fiction game and I must say, a fantastic title. I jumped straight into playing this cooperative gamebook with one of the studio’s translators and cant wait to try more of it! The writing is engaging, pretty self aware and often hilarious.
'Based on a story written by FibreTigre (the award winning author of Out There), you’ll play as one of two detectives working together to solve an intriguing crime. The adventure will bring you to the city of Antioch, a dark metropolis surrounded by mountains and sea.'
Antioch: Scarlet Bay is availableon the 6th April 2017 on iOS and Android
South American, Columbian and Aztec are the influences for Pawarumi. It's a shooter with colour based tactics, great for both hardcore and casual gamers. Choosing your weapon colour will have one of three different effects depending on the enemy colour. Like for like colours will heal you, the opposite colour will deal double damage and the third (or weaker colour) will not do as much damage but will fill up your 'super attack' bar. No other ship add-on's or upgrades are featured as Manufacture 43 have aimed to keep it all nice and simple. Released hopefully in June on Steam and iOS, the developers are hopeful that consoles versions are a possibility in the long term. Pawarumi was great fun to play and is currently on Kickstarter to enable Manufacture 43 to further, flesh out this great looking title.
King Under The Mountain:
Rocket Jump Technology
Predominantly a village management game in a similar veign to Rim World. Trying to keep your villagers happy, we are presented with Dwarves, Humans and Orcs with racial specialities of tool crafting, trading and battle respectively. Currently on Kickstarter, I'm told that it's a PC only title at the moment and looking to be released late 2017. There’s also a possibility of adding further characters such as Wizards, Necromancers and Dragons. For those wanting to dive in early - the pre-alpha build of King Under The Mountain is currently available to download on indiedb.com.
A comedy game which started out as a silly joke about a dad using their child as a weapon by throwing them at enemies. Lovely stuff! I’m told that the dialogue is very self aware, breaking the fourth wall. Chapter one has been released in early access on Steam with no currently announced plans for consoles. Dad Quest certainly looks like one that’ll raise a dark little chuckle or ten....
INOPS reminded me of the early oddworld games. Its a 2d, side scrolling, puzzle based game for mobile platforms with a possibility of it reaching consoles. Per level there are ten INOPS in all. Starting out as the first, your main objective is to traverse the puzzles and collect the other nine. Each level features different themes and backgrounds along with stars and gems to unlock other levels. The dev informs me that it'll probably be a free title with upcoming DLC’s.
So that, ladies and gents is a mere taster of the Indie Room at Tobacco Dock. I'm looking forward to this September's EGX Rezzed Sessions already!
Let us know in the comments which forthcoming titles tickle your pickle.