This is a 2 part article – If you want a general, what was the experience overall like, then check out that post over here.
There were loads of games at Rezzed and I had a list to stick to and after the first day of trying to get a few games that were essential it was time to try out some different ones. Once again I failed to make it to the tentacle zone and yes ONE DAY I WILL DANG IT but here’s the ones you should keep an eye on or go look out for right now!
Untitled Goose Game – Switch
I really didn’t even need to play any of Untitled Goose Game to be hype for it. I love seeing it and the playable demo was showing the gardener and his allotment again. I’m super looking forward to this one and you should be to. It was nice the demo had a simple time limit baked in so when your time was up it went back to the start. I’m so ready to annoy the locals as an angry goose!
Kunai – Switch
This one had largely slipped under my radar but as I waited to have a go on Katana Zero I found myself watching someone play Kunai. It’s a fast paced platformer with a really unique retro look that ran really smooth on Switch. It’s the one game on the Nintendo Switch circle of games that stuck with me the most (other than Untitled Goose Game obviously)
Katana Zero – Switch/PC
Chances are you’ve already seen Katana Zero footage in some form and know if it’s the kind of game you want to play already based off that footage. It plays exactly how it looks, fast and satisfying. There was a lot of story to dig through and it’s one that I look forward to spending time on in future. Devolver Digital have a really strong IP with this one and it deserves the hype so far.
Lamplight City – PC
Now this game knocked me for 6. I never expected to be sitting down playing a retro looking, point and click adventure game and not wanting to stand up until I’d completed it. Especially a title like this that’s already out now at a games show with so many bright shiny games around. It’s incredibly well voiced, the visuals match the style nicely and everything about the game scratched that detective adventure itch I’d had for years. It’s been crafted by a long producer of adventure games and they wanted to make a different type of adventure where you can be a terrible detective and have consequences for your actions. From what I played of it I’d say they succeeded.
Unforeseen Incidents – Switch
Unfortunately going from Lamplight City to Unforseen Incidents was a huge step backwards. Primarily using touch screen controls and no option to skip any dialogue, you are forced through an intro that feels a little longer than it should be. Then placed in the protagonist’s home to find a multi-tool before going to work. Tapping on the screen as a way to click on items to examine them. It felt a little clunky and in need of some serious tuning to loading times especially but there was potential for the comic style artwork to lift it.
CrossCode – PC
Everything about this looks generic on paper, anime girl – check, retro theme – check, action gameplay – check. When you play it though? It is fantastic. Quick and responsive action with controls that click together nicely and an almost schmup platforming hybrid feel to the gameplay that made me want to go back to it a few times. From what I played the story appeared to be different to the expected tropes as well and it all came together in a fantastic way. Definitely one to hunt down and have a go for yourself on.
Luna – PC
Speaking of amazing artwork, Luna looks amazing. There’s no doubt about it. After a few minutes of playing I can safely say this sort of slow-paced 2D click on everything to figure out puzzles to progress gameplay isn’t the one for me but the visuals are definately something else. I almost bought a poster there and then as we’re talking Gris levels of artwork amazement on everything here. If you love slow exploring well drawn animation, check this out.
Oxyd – PC
An interesting new take on Marble Madness that I found myself enjoying for a short period but getting steadily more frustrated with until I had to step away rather than shout at. It’s going to get some incredible speed runs and I’d love to see more to see if it builds on the rolling systems.
Atomicrops – PC
The premise of Nuclear Throne mixed with Stardew Valley doesn’t really do Atomicrops justice. Sure the style is very unique (althought I’m not sure I’m 100% on it) but the truely standout aspect is the solid gameplay. There’s more of a survival aspect to this than farming and building. You have your field of crops that you plant and water while little monsters burrow around and then waves come at them to try to ruin it all. Blasting away the mutants to amazing sounds and music to level up and try again the next day feels fantastic. It all fits really well and I’m looking forward to more.
Warhammer: Chaosbane – PC
If you’ve ever wondered what Diablo 2 would look like in a modern Warhammer skin then wonder no more. The demo for Chaosbane had a level 50 Warrior or Mage class so naturally jumping into the game as a level 50 mage felt like loading Diablo 3 after 2 playthroughs. The levels were impressively disgusting with giant blobs of puss, slime and dirty water mills. There were monsters and gremlins everywhere and the enemy count was high, wave after wave of the buggers trying to swarm my character and although I felt over-leveled one or two of the bigger monsters still managed to do damage. The only thing that concerned me was that aside from regular loot there were 4 different colours of shards and my character was resurrecting used some of them, it had the whiff of a microtransaction economy about it. The beta is coming with pre-orders in a few weeks time so this will definitely be one to keep an eye on. Although hearing a mage yell, “This is just a taste of my power” over and over was fantastic and the ability to attack with spells on monsters on a platform below me at a distance was devious fun.
Songbird Symphony – PC
A charming 2D platforming delight, full of strange music based mini moments. The addition of a dedicated button to chirp is just terrific and sums up the games ethos. The platforming feels strangely like an old Master System title in the way it’s largely a little floaty and fast paced. Songbird already has its heartwarming hooks in me from the little story I played at Rezzed. Just from the start of the game you have an ugly duckling themed cutscene and a mini game with your dancing booty shaking uncle. Tooting terrific and worth keeping an ear out for this one coming.
Nanotale – The Typing Chronicles – PC
If you’ve been wanting to improve your touch-typing but you’re sick of yahoo games or the Typing of the Dead then this is for you. A really well polished RPG where combat spells and attacks are made by typing out words and phrases that pop up over the monsters and bottom of the screen. It’s incredibly polished, well made and there was a real buzz around the game. It’s one that will have you wondering why this hasn’t happened sooner and worth typing about.
Onitama – Board Game
Not a video game I know but when me and Elouise needed a break at Rezzed we headed to the Tabletop area and there were multiple games to try out, so we picked up this small tower of a game to open and roll out. The next thing we knew we’d figured out the rules and it was a pleasant mix of draughts, cards and chess that was a great way to pass the time. It was simply too good to not mention here and worth checking out if you need a simple but fun 2 player board game that doesn’t require a lot of stressful preparation to play.
Divinity: Fallen Heroes – PC
A return to strategy for Larian Studios (I remember buying Divinity: Dragon Commander) Largely built up from Divinity: Original Sin II and featuring a few characters from the game you get the really nice talking sections with multiple options before jumping into what is essentially a combat encounter from Divinity: Original Sin II but a lot more going on. The separate objectives feel quite tricky and your impulse to bunch the party together will quickly result in failing at the level (or at least it did for me) If you’ve played any Divinity and want more than this is definitely going to be for you.
Unsouled: The Soultaker – PC
The game is still coming along with the debugger still showing on the build I played but there was plenty enough to enjoy the game. If you’ve ever played Titan Souls it feels very similar but with a sword and a focus on countering and chaining movements to build up to a big flashy super attack. A lot more crowd control and an almost Ninja Gaiden combat system that blended with lush 2d sprites from a top down view as you whizz around countering with badass sword attacks all coming together very nicely. Keep an eye out for this in 2020.
Dreams – PS4 Pro
I spent nearly two hours in that beanbag chair in the room Dreams was being shown in and I could have easily spent all day there. The session was at 12 but I’d turned up early and the rep didn’t mind me sitting there to save a place and while I was sitting jotting thoughts of the day the devs were just playing with the music mode. I’d seen the articles about Dreams from the early access and previews builds, people saying how impressive the system was and how you could build anything from Dead Space to easy golf using the tools at hand.
The first thing to mention is yes Dreams is essentially a mishmash of multiple PC tools on the PS4. You can use either the PSmove or regular controllers (with motion controls) to simplify the process of crafting experiences. For the visuals you have a clay like system where blobs can easily be deformed and tweaked to work like a simplified 3DsMax/Maya program that all clips together nicely. For the audio you have an Ejay like system for cramming in samples that loop and perform using recordings to make some fantastic beats and sound effects. For the animation a pre-baked skeleton for the models exists and this can be tinkered with in many ways. All of these structures are all linked together in this fascinating node system where if you want to make a thing do something it’s a case of just linking them together and seeing what happens. Every single option used in the showcase had a modifier regardless if it were an object, event, animation or effect. The level of tinkering and how it all sort of conformed into the Dreams system was a wonder to see.
My main concern was how easy it would be to build something without planning too far in advance and it was good to see an undo button and easily useable controls. The devs regularly going, “oops” flicking between areas and bits like it was nothing and getting the game experience back on track. Online was a big pitch for Dreams and there will be moderation built-in after launch which means we can expect a similar setup to Little Big Planets share space but the difference with Dreams is that anything made can be copied to anyone else. You like a race car in a stage? Copy it into your dream space and make it a protagonist in a platformer for kicks. The level of trial error and experimentation was fantastic and the end result of a space level race with a Super Snailian was just the kind of surreal experience you’d want when mucking about with a “do anything” ethos.
There were many issues that came up during the testing that come up with game development naturally but it was such a welcoming system that encouraged this sort of wild experimentation that if it were anyone other than Media Molecule at the helm I’d be raising an eyebrow and being a little sceptical they could pull it off. I think personally Dreams is going to be huge and we’ll be talking about it for years. Early Access to Dreams should be coming for the 23rd April and I know I’ll be jumping into that toolbox to muck about as soon as possible, I just hope it runs that well on a regular PS4 as well.
This is a 2 part article – If you want a general, what was the experience overall like, then check out that post over here.
*Press Ticket provided by Eurogamer*
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