The Indie Arcade at Eurogamer Expo is a horrible environment in which to exist. Crammed between two walls just a few feet apart, there is just space for people to sit and play some of the intriguing games there and push past people to get by.
I didn’t endure it for very long, though I wish I’d had more patience to stick it out in there. What I will say is that there were some lovely titles, and that I really hope that next year’s EGX gives them more space to breathe. It’s not like there wasn’t space for the walls to be spread further apart…
I Get This Call Every Day
This is a game which Peter talked about, back when David S Gallant was fired from his actual job for making it. It is simply a horrible and un-winnable experience brilliantly pastiched and crafted into a game which makes me pity the people who do actually have to put up with it every day.
The crude drawings are a pretty perfect way of making you despair already, but the manner in which your conversation with the person on the phone quickly descends into a never ending cycle of misunderstanding and misinformation just makes you want to throttle them. Of course, you have a hand in all of this, with subtly branching paths in the conversation based on how you respond.
Then you get fired.
I Get This Call Every Day has been out for a while, but is doing the rounds at games events lately. Even so, for $2 you can see what it’s like to be on the other end of the phone with the PC/Mac release. It will make you want to be nicer to the people, if not the idiotic organisation.
From the stressful to the serene; Skipping Stones is almost exactly what you’d expect from the title. You throw skipping stones onto a pleasantly minimalistic lake, and get to just sit back and relax. As time moves, the sun rises and falls, a huge storm comes in and thunders at you, but it’s all so very laid back.
At its core, there’s not much more to it than that, but what’s going to be quite delightful in the final game is the soundscapes which are crafted as you pass through a day-night cycle. Each skip of a stone pings a note from a piano on top of the environmental noises, and each throw gradually starts to move the time within the game.
Trying to play a game did start to creep in. I tried throwing multiple stones, discovering that the second stone has a different instrument like a Glockenspiel, and I even tried trick shots off the rocks on the side – better collision detection will come now that so many people tried to do this. The final release will let you wander around too, so an element of exploration and finding new places to skim stones from.
Skipping Stones is coming soon to PC and mobile devices. You can sign up to a newsletter on KO-OP Mode’s website here.
Tomb of Rooms
I only watched over the shoulder as people played Tomb of Rooms, but it looked like it was doing a pretty good job of the survival horror genre. The aim of the game is to survive each floor of a dark and mysterious tower, evading or killing monsters on the way to the next main set of stairs.
It naturally prevents you from being too gung-ho, forcing you to only have one thing equipped at a time, giving you limited weaponry and light and with one hit kills from the monsters. On your own, you’ll need to maybe throw a torch to the ground to pull out your weapon, and this even worked quite well as a kind of distraction or way of attracting the monsters to come at you.
It does ease the pressure a little when played co-operatively with both the male and female characters playing in split-screen. In that situation, one of you could carry a torch whilst the other carries a shotgun, for example, working together to spot and fight enemies. Even then, it’s quite a frantic struggle to reload your gun in a painfully slow manner, as your impending doom comes straight for both of you.
Tomb of Rooms is in pre-alpha right now, but their site says that a preview build should be ready for download in time for Halloween.
Fist of Awesome
We’ll round off today’s edition with Fist of Awesome, which is one of the silliest games at the show. Pared down to its bear facts, it has an excellent pixel-art style quite reminiscent of Swords & Sworcery, and it’s a bear knuckle brawl ’em up.
No, those aren’t typos when I’m writing ‘bear’, because the plot behind the game is just a little bit bonkers. Back in 1969 a strange event occurred which transports Tim Burr the lumberjack from that time to a present day in which bears are the dominant species, alongside all the other animals. Humans are food.
Thankfully, Tim’s hand starts talking to him – yes, thankfully – and imbues him with the knowledge and ability to fight against the odds. There’s a very silly sense of humour behind it all, which sees you heading to Bearhattan, and there are even hints of a trip further back in time to fight raptors… though to be fair, you’d be more likely to get eaten.
Fist of Awesome is coming to iOS, Android, Ouya and GameStick on the 17th of October, with PC/Mac later this year. Fingers crossed for releases on platforms beyond that, but keep an eye on their site.
I’ll be back tomorrow with another selection of Indie games from Eurogamer Expo’s Indie Arcade.