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Eurogamer Expo 2012 – IndieGarden Special
The Eurogamer team have been investing more and more into the Indie gaming scene recently, not only with their traditional Indie Games Arcade at the Eurogamer Expo but also creating a secondary game show specialising in PC and Indie games earlier this year with the help of the Rock, Paper, Shotgun team called Rezzed.
At this years Eurogamer Expo I got a chance to play some of the games that featured at this years Rezzed Expo.
Created by Xpod Games, Genix is a very basic line art shooter with rudimentary controls. Whilst not looking like much it’s actually quite addictive – reminding me of some of those Flash games you end up playing for a few hours at a time (strangely, much like Plants Vs Zombies did for me when it first came out) which means that there is something more to Genix that keeps you playing it.
Featuring basic gameplay elements like coloured keycards to open new sections of the levels, Genix doesn’t exactly break the mould when it comes to indie games, but it is addictive nonetheless. XPod games are also working on a new game, Hypoxia which is yet to be released but from their write-up and tech demos on Youtube it promises to be something special.
UPDATE: Demo now available: http://xpod-games.com/?page=genix_demo
A curious little game from Gamoso due to be released on Facebook in the near future. Reminding me of the tile based RTS mechanics of games such as Final Fantasy tactics and Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. You control one of the four coloured teams and your aim is to destroy your opponents teams through unit placement and active time battles. Helping you do this you have a number of ‘backup’ units which can be retrieved at any time and deployed into your home base.
The only unfortunate thing I found about the game was the controls. Too often I would click a unit behind a wall and end up selecting the wall instead or in some extreme cases I would select the unit to move them behind a wall and they would attack said structure instead of moving behind it.
Much like Monstermind quickly became a runaway success shortly after being featured at the Eurogamer Expo 2011, I’m sure that DV8 will become very popular once it hits Facebook
Chompy Chomp Chomp
One of the curveballs of the Eurogamer Expo 2012 the brilliantly titled Chompy Chomp Chomp was created by a development house called Utopian World of Sandwiches. With both an excellent name for the game and their development house you would expect Chompy Chomp Chomp to at least be half good, right? Well, you’re exactly right!
Coming from the inspiration of Bomberman, you control one of four cartoon-esque characters on the screen, each character is a unique colour and beneath your character is a coloured disc – this disc represents the character you have to Chomp! (by running into them) but you need to remain mindful that there will always be someone after you also. The game can quickly turn into a frantic mess – but it’s the good kind of frantic mess that makes you have fun. The game also includes items which you can use in game such as a cloud of gas or a puddle of sticky goo to slow your enemies down.
Chompy Chomp Chomp is currently available on XBLIA and to be honest this was a surprise to me – with the amount of polish that the game seems to have I expected it to be a ful XBLA game so it’s well worth 80MSP
Dear Esther has a lot to answer for these days – not only has it introduced us to the genre of ‘interactive story-telling sim’ but it means that anyone can basically stick together a few well rendered environments with no semblance of action whatsoever and call it a ‘game’ – if Dream is the next step in this ‘interactive story-telling sim’ category then I say we owe Dear Esther a lot and I’m very happy for it!
I’m delighted to finally take a look at Dream – created by Hypersloth (a team of three students) over the last three months has been an incredible effort. With excellently rendered scenes and a sense of a much deeper story at hand, Dream offers you very little in a way of a backstory. You are essentially a character called Howard Phillips who, unsure what to do with his life decided to explore his own dreams. Moving through your dream you find different environments such as deserts, dynamic snow storms and featuring some truly brain-tingling puzzles it’s a great example of what the right people can do in the right place with the right motivation.
Dream is scheduled for full Stream release roughly this time next year – oh, and it’s already got Steam Greenlight approval.
People aren’t going to like Hotline Miami – for pretty much the same reasons they didn’t like the original Grand Theft Auto – it’s top down perspective hides a brutally dark and sinister violent streak that – unlike GTA – isn’t afraid to go that extra mile to hammer its point home.
Created by Dennaton Games, Hotline Miami takes place in a seedy neon filled Miami in the 1980′s – imagine Magnum PI meets Saw and you’re close. Your character is a silent guy, lives in a respectable little apartment, drives what appears to be a Delorean…oh, and he’s a ruthless and sadistic killer – let’s not forget that.
Starting out in Hotline Miami I awaken in my bedroom after being taught the controls through the medium of a guide who presumes that I’ll “just die anyway” (he’s right, too) I move with the WADS keys and aim with the mouse, mouse button one fires the current weapon in my hand and mouse button two either picks up a new weapon or drops my current one. Simple enough. I end up exploring my apartment until I notice that an arrow points me towards my answering machine. Getting a cryptic message from someone describing the ‘dropping off’ of a package I make my way (via my trusty Delorean) to a local subway station where a group of gentlemen carrying baseball bats seem to want me dead. After a number of restarts I made my way through the subway station – dispatching the goons as I went.
This isn’t the kind of game where, if injured you can go and hide in a corner and suck your thumb until you’re all better – if you get clipped by one piece of buckshot, one bullet or one crack to the noggin from a baseball bat – it’s game over and please restart at the checkpoint.
After the mission was complete, my character found himself visiting a pizza takeout place- served by a man who seems to know him, my character got his pizza and left for his apartment.
The levels are spaced out very much like this description, you answer your phone, get a message, go to mentioned location, kill everyone there in increasingly more difficult and gruesome situations and then either end up visiting the pizza store, video store or local bar – all of which seem to be manned by the same gentleman who still seems to know our protagonist.
At the start of each mission you also have the option of a different rubber mask to wear prior to your gruesome tasks. These usually bestow some kind of bonus such as starting with a knife, being harder to spot or my personal favourite, starting with a completely random weapon. This goes hand in hand with the ‘dream’ sections where our character converses with different people wearing his rubber masks asking question of the protagonist which you yourself as a player want to find the answers to. Hotline Miami even has a great soundtrack that, whilst being nothing hugely complicated, began to drift my brain almost into an Alpha state of mind and I seemed to be playing unconsciously. People won’t like Hotline Miami – they’ll love it!
Guns of Icarus Online
I’m stood looking out into the distant clouds, the wooden deck creaking slightly as I shift my weight to reach for the large wooden wheel in front of me. I turn the wheel slightly, the sound of ropes creaking around me is the only noise as my three crewmates stand motionless at the stations.
“There! Captain!” The crewman on the main front gun shouts. I look forward into the nearby clouds and notice the familiar dark silhouette of an approaching airship. We ready the guns and I set our airship to maximum speed on a intercept course for the other airship – this is Guns of Icarus Online.
Created by Muse Games, Guns of Icarus Online is the online multiplayer version of Muse’s previous Guns of Icarus title after launching a successful Kickstarter campaign. Now this might not sound like much but Guns of Icarus Online is a brillient title, allow me to elaborate…
Imagine it, you and three other friends are different classes of character onboard your airship, one playing the captain, two gunners and an engineer. The Engineer being the most important class as this person is able to put out engine fires. You’re battling other airships in the sky to maintain superiority. Communication is key as the captain can only see ahead of him when handling the airships wheel and the gunners can only see to the sides of the ship when controlling the guns. Teamwork is paramount and a misunderstood order or mistaking ‘left’ for ‘right’ or ‘port’ for ‘starboard’ can spell disaster on board.
You take a step back and look at the individual components of Guns of Icarus and you cannot help but think to yourself ‘why has nobody done this before?’ it seems like the separate parts, the multiplayer aspect, the airships, the steampunk ascetic has all been trailed in other games separately but in Guns everything comes together in a wonderful arrangement of cogs, gears, balloons and comradery! Muse Games have also vowed to add more content after launch, including bigger and better airships which will also include the option of housing biplanes aboard them.
I’m very proud to nominate Guns of Icarus Online as Slimgamers Indie Game of Show at the Eurogamer Expo 2012.