Our coverage of our the indie titles from this year’s EGX rolls on, and we’ve got three more games to cover in today’s Indie Focus. From a platformer about love to a spiritual successor to a classic to a game about fungi, today’s edition covers a wide range of games. So, without further ado, lets get things going.
Theo & Lizzy | PC, Mac, Linux | TBA
Theo & Lizzy is a platformer that’s deceptively simple. You can raise or lower your speed (you’re always moving), dash, flip yourself upside down, and that’s it. Where the complexity comes is in the level design, which quickly became punishing in the demo on show at EGX. With tight margins and instant restarts it really manages to capitalise on the “one more go” mindset wonderfully, constantly challenging you and driving you forwards.
However, from talking to the developers it seems like what they’re really trying to go for with Theo & Lizzy is a game with a simple but beautiful story. In the original version of the story you play as Theo, a boy who can only walk on the floor. He falls in love with Lizzy, a girl who can only walk on the ceiling. The two seem destined to never be together, until Theo discovers that he can break free of the ground. Of course, society still won’t accept their relationship, and Lizzy runs away to try and escape the prejudice, causing Theo to chase after her.
It’s a simple love story, but what I really liked is the fact you can switch out the characters. If you want to play as Lizzy and seek out Theo, then you can set that up at the character select screen. You can also play as another female character, Izzy, and chase Lizzy should you want. There’s plenty of combinations, and giving you the choice is a nice touch.
Sadly, beyond the basic premise there’s wasn’t a lot of the story in the game’s demo, but if they can maintain the same quality as the gameplay then it should be simply beautiful.
Mighty No. 9 | PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS | 12/02/16
When Kenji Inafune left Capcom, many assumed that Mega Man as a franchise was dead in the water. It wasn’t until a few years later that he gave gamers hope with the Mighty No.9 Kickstarter that was funded just two days after it began. It’s had a bit of a rocky road as controversial delays have plagued Comcept’s latest title, but it is at least showing its colours.
Perhaps it was the version I was playing, or a result of an early build, but Mighty No.9 does not look particularly amazing on the Wii U. Textures were blurry and the build lacked a lot of detail in the background. As a quick one level demonstration, it felt a little paint-by-numbers, resembling the likes of Mega Man without carving out its own identity.
It’s a standard run and gun shooter, much like its inspiration, but there are a couple of gameplay differences. In order to kill enemies, you need to dash into them. Dashing into foes also has the added perk of giving protagonist Beck powers to move faster or deal more damage. It’s an interesting mechanic, but I wish we had a taste of some of the powers that Beck will have when defeating the bosses.
Being a die-hard Mega Man fan, the transition was a bit difficult to swallow considering just how similar it is, mainly because of the riskiness of dashing into foes and going against Inafune’s earlier work. As such, death was a frequent occurrence to the point where I died twice in the same place in much the same way. Yet I wasn’t frustrated, it was more that I was still getting to grips with the mechanics.
I may have been too critical on this current build of the game and based on that it’s too early to tell if it’s going to be a good game. I badly want to be proven wrong and for Mighty No.9 to be the game that Mega Man fans have been waiting for a long time for when it finally launches early next year.
Mushroom 11 | PC, Mac, Linux | 15/10/15
Have you ever played a Mario game and felt that fungi should be more than powerups or supporting characters? Well then Mushroom 11 is the game for you. Rather than playing as your stereotypical mushroom, Mushroom 11 sees you play as a huge, adaptive biomass that can spread out widely or slim down to fit through narrow pipes.
The game’s probably best described as a mixture of platformer and puzzler, where the control mechanic is essentially an eraser that you can use to destroy bits of your mushroom. As you do then the mushroom will regrow in other places, which at the most basic level allows you to push yourself forwards through the level. However, as things get more complex then you’ll need to craft your mushroom into weird and wonderful shapes, keeping yourself anchored to one platform while reaching across a lava pit to reach the next one.
It’s a beautifully crafted mechanic that constantly keeps you thinking and forces you to pay attention to the level at all times. One slip and you’ll find that your mushroom’s all consuming desire to grow has sent part of it spinning off down a side path towards a pool of lava or an abyss. The fact that your mushroom has a mind of its own to some extent really help to keep the game interesting and adds an extra level of challenge.
It’s also very, very close to launch, set to come out for PC on October 15th. That just so happens to be National Mushroom Day in the US.