It was a beautiful sunny day as my son and I caught the train to London to check out the latest Indie games on show at EGX Rezzed, which as usual was being held at Tobacco Dock in the heart of the city. This venue is the polar opposite of the large open spaces of the NEC in Birmingham, as it is an open air venue with lots of small rooms. My previous visit there in 2016 left me disappointed, as there were lots of people crowded into these small rooms, and with no queuing system in place there was more than a small amount of mayhem! Apparently feedback has been taken on board by the organisers, so let’s see what they have to offer.
With over 100 Indie titles on show, including a large presence from the folks at ID@Xbox, I knew we were never going to see everything on show, so a list was made whilst on the train, and our priorities were set. Here are my thoughts on some of the highlights of the day.
The newest racing game from Codemasters and developed by the team previously known as Evolution Studios, who were responsible for Driveclub on the PS4. ONRUSH is not your usual racing game where the winner is the first one to reach the chequered flag. This is an all-action team based car fighting game, where your aim is to takedown the opposing teams cars whilst racing around an off-road circuit. First impressions of Onrush is that it is quick, frantic and immense amounts of fun! We had an absolute blast on the four games we played, all on the Countdown game mode which require you to gain extra time by driving through highlighted gates. I was intrigued with what I had seen in previews, but after playing I am now really excited by what Onrush will deliver. Releasing on 5th June this is definitely one to watch.
We were also lucky enough to snag a goody-bag in one of their giveaways, which made my son’s day!
We have a WINNER!
— ONRUSH // (@onrushgame) April 14, 2018
This is the one I was most hyped about going into Rezzed after seeing it and watching the dev session at EGX 2017. Strange Brigade is a Boys-Own style adventure game, with up to 4 player co-op. Each level sees you battling the undead, mummies and statues that have come to life. The areas are set with traps to help you destroy the hordes of enemies, and there is nothing more satisfying than luring the undead into one of them before shooting it and watching the blades scything through them. This is possible my most anticipated game of 2018, assuming it comes out this year!
The devs have been actively promising more news soon and commented that the playable demo was an old build, and that the new build is looking and playing much better. I cannot wait for Strange Brigade!
This one came as a suprise to me as I knew nothing about it before the show. Anyone visiting the room they were located in couldn’t fail to miss the colorful stand and stop to see what Insane Robots was all about. Developed by Playniac it is a single player and multiplayer card battling game which eschews the deck-building element so frequently found in the likes of Hearthstone. Instead, all cards are randomly allocated during the battle and these must be used to attack and defend, along with additional bonus multiplier cards in order to defeat your opposition.
Insane Robots was colourful and full of energy, and will be released in 2018 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Check out the official website.
Visitors to previous EGX events will remember the buzz around Gang Beasts, with huge crowds watching as well as playing. Well, Tyred had that same buzz. The premise is simple. You take control of a Tyre and battle against other tyres in a series of mini-games. Fans of the TV show Wipeout will be very familiar with Tyred and a massive amount of fun was had by all. It does need some tweaking as some of the games were over-long, but there is definitely a diamond in here. Developed by the UK team at SekritGames, Tyred is only currently available on Steam Early Access.
Big Crown Showdown
Yet another game that I knew nothing about, and another that caught my eye based on its graphical style. Big Crown Showdown is a four player battle game where you have to battle against three other players whilst also navigating a treacherous world with traps and chasms. Great for family get togethers and drunken couch co-op but will also have online capabilities added for launch. The graphical style is medieval inspired but also very cute and pretty as well, with lots of charm. Big Crown Showdown is developed by Hyper Luminal Games and coming out soon for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Check out their official website for more info.
Located in the same room as Double Fine – which due to the nature of the game was quite apt – Phogs is an interesting game where your have to control a dog with two heads using a control system very reminiscent of OctoDad. Developed by Bit Loom Games, Phogs is a puzzle platformer where the two dogs heads can attach to items by licking them, and then dragging them to a desired location. The body between the dogs can be stretched as well, and provided great moments where one head grabbed a light ball to allow the other head to function like a long stretchy torch. I smiled my way through this demo and look forward to what the devs will bring in the full game. Phogs was developed in conjunction with Coatsink and will be released in 2019.
Ah, the long awaited Below. This was one I was most excited for. Originally debuted at E3 2013 before disappearing in order for Capybara to concentrate its efforts on finishing the game, Below is now resurfacing with extended gameplay trailers and demo’ing at both PAX and EGX Rezzed. I hate to say it but I wasn’t as blown away as I thought I would be. But that’s not intended as a negative as I believe that Below is not a game you can immerse yourself into for 5 minutes on an Xbox with other gamers queuing behind you for their shot. Below will need time and concentration in the peace of your own home.
Below is an action-adventure game viewed from a top-down perspective with your character being a “tiny warrior exploring the depths of a remote island”. The game is about exploration, though that goal is contingent upon the character’s survival. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer described the game at E3 2013 as a “creative take on roguelike gameplay” in a “mysterious world”. The environments are randomly generated.
Below is still a huge one-to-watch for 2018, and I for one cannot wait to immerse myself in the world that Capabara Games has invented.
So, thats my review of EGX Rezzed. Was it better than my previous visit? Yes, without question it was loads better! There was plenty of time to chat to the wonderful developers, and minimal queuing for games. The game rooms felt larger than previous, although finding the games you wanted to play in these rooms was sometimes difficult. We did come away without seeing at least one title that was on our wish-list. But it is safe to say that Rezzed is on our to-do list for the coming years and my 13 year old son now prefers it to the larger main EGX that takes place in the larger venue.