Here's a little run down of some of the many games that jumped out at me at EGX Rezzed last weekend. There were so many I wanted to try out but never got a chance to, so I've got my eye on them as they develop. Here are a few of the ones I actually managed to play. All of these are ones I'll be looking at buying when they're available, because ten minutes at a convention just isn't enough!
♥ Enter the Gungeon
I'm brand new to this sort of game. I'm also very bad at it, which is unfortunate given how much fun they can be when you do them right. Enter the Gungeon is a twin-stick Roguelike shooter, and my limited experience of it involved me flipping tables, barrel-rolling around and dying. A lot. Each floor was full of colourful bad guys and props at your disposal (yes, you really can flip tables for cover). The dungeons are procedurally generated, and having looked into the game since coming home from Rezzed, they look like they really get tough. Like, Bullet-Hell tough. Wish me luck.
♥ Crystal Rift
Crystal Rift has just been Greenlit on Steam, and it's a game I'd most certainly be checking out if I owned an Oculus Rift (or indeed any form of gaming VR (cough Vive cough)). It was a wonderfully old-school three dimensional dungeon crawler, with simple, grid based controls. The first few rooms on their demo were very simple, but I found myself craning my neck around to view down crevices in the walls as the feeling of claustrophobia creeped in around me. A few rooms in, it got a little tougher. Glowing green orbs of light flew towards me and I had no time at all to react before they reached me. I tried again, this time realising it was a puzzle – I had to dodge the orbs before they reached me, and avoid more from the other side. The route was narrow and dangerous, and I felt like I was a participant on Nightmare as the panic set in, and my fingers fumbled, and I walked endlessly into the orbs. I tried several times but eventually, my lives spent, I had to leave in time for the Valve VR panel. It was definitely a game I wanted to go back to, and it's most certainly one I'll be seeking out when I finally do get my hands on a VR headset.
♥ Schrödinger’s Cat And The Raiders Of The Lost Quark
This game was just wonderful. If I wasn't acutely aware of my surroundings and the fact that other people wanted to play, I could have happily stayed here for hours. It's an old-school, very familiar feeling puzzle-platformer with new fun mechanics, a great (if sometimes sigh-inducing) sense of humour and smooth, dynamic graphics. The game has you collecting different quarks which follow you around and enable you to perform various actions based on which type of quark you have. Each quark has a different property and ability which can be enhanced or adapted based on the combos you form. Yellow quarks, for example, create a helicopter to lift you into the air, but if you combine them with red (solid, platform making) quarks, you get a moving ledge to stand on. There were loads of different combos and the first few levels were a perfect introduction to the game while just scratching the surface on what you'll be achieving later. Schrödinger's Cat is already out on Steam and I really recommend it if puzzle-platformers are your jam.
♥ Tembo the Badass Elephant
I can't find an actual website for Tembo, which is a shame because it'd be nice to read some more about it. Developed by Game Freak, Tembo instantly drew me to its booth for the colourful, almost Beano-esque style. Like Schrödinger's, it was a fun 2D platformer, but this one was action packed and fast, reminding me of the older Mega Drive era of platform gaming. The basic principle was 'blow stuff up' while rescuing people along the way. It was very fun, but as the action unfolded on the screen I noticed some pretty significant frame rate lag. It was pretty jarring, but I'm going to remain faithful that it's one of the bugs they'll iron out before official release. Interestingly, I don't think this game is due out on WiiU, which is odd considering the developers, but I'll probably pick it up on the PC if they fix the little niggles.
♥ The Weaponographist
The Weaponographist was actually the first game I sat down to play at Rezzed and oh, look, it's a bloody Roguelike! I swear I hadn't even heard of this genre two years ago and now they're everywhere and I'm still obscenely bad at them. It hurts, because the few I've had the pleasure of playing, including The Weaponographist, have been so much fun and so satisfying in the few moments I've done it right, that I just wish I was better at this genre in general. What set The Weaponographist apart from the others I've played (aside from the gorgeous art and great sense of humour) was the weapon swapping element - if you kill a guy with a yo-yo, he might drop said yo-yo and provide you with your newest weapon. It meant fun variety as you adapt your play style and technique depending on the range and ability of your newest weapon. Why have a machine gun when you can use a pogo stick? This one's coming out in Summer and I'll pick it up on launch because, despite several attempts, I couldn't get past the fourth room and I refuse to let my sheer incompetence at this genre keep me away from something as fun as The Weaponographist. So there. Take that, Roguelikes.
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