It’s safe to say that those of us from TSA that attended EGX Rezzed this year had a great time playing and discuss all manner of new and upcoming games. If you’re interested in reading Kris’ thoughts on the Square Enix Collective, then they can be found here, and Dave’s are here for Double Fine. However, there’s been plenty more from the show that doesn’t come under those two umbrellas.
Pocket Rumble | Nintendo Switch | Cardboard Robot games | 2017
Pocket Rumble is an upcoming fighting game for the Nintendo Switch which takes advantage of being able to hand people an individual Joy-Con controller, much like Snipperclips and 1-2-Switch. It does a great job of simplifying the fighting genre while not tarnishing its competitive edge, and it was down to this competition that the game managed to draw a crowd of supporters as we duked it out in competitive fashion. The game almost has this simplified Street Fighter II vibe to it, not just because it’s 2D and retro-themed, but more than it’s easy to pick up and play.
As you can see in the gameplay above, the game’s art direction and music follows that of classic Game Boy games, but the game itself doesn’t incorporate huge combo chains or complicated manoeuvres instead focusing on the basic punch, kick, block and jump. This makes the game purely about making hits count and dodging where necessary, though there’s also a super ability for each character.
While I did get my arse handed to me by a friend, the game was enjoyable despite being quite simple in design and visuals. Fighting games don’t all have to be 3D and I think smaller developers have realised this and started having fun with their simplified 2D fighting games. Some might find that a turn off, but there’s still just the inherent appeal of being able share your Joy-Con with someone else, and it loses none of the competitive appeal.
Away: Journey to the Unexpected | Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC | Aurelien Regard and Jim Gennisson | 2017
Away: Journey to the Unexpected is a first person action adventure game with a truly gorgeous art style, which is incredible considering the game is developed by a two-man development team comprised of Aurelien Regard, The Next Penelope developer and Jim Gennisson, the Rayman level designer. The environments are rendered in 3D and are cel-shaded but the characters and enemies are all flat 2D characters, which makes the environment pop with another level of depth and vibrancy.
The art style may not seem like much to discuss, but the quality of the in-game art was enough to catch our eye. If you’re familiar with anime and manga artists, then the best way to describe the style is that it quite obviously based on Akira Toriyama’s drawing style which is most notably featured in Dragon Quest and Dragon Ball Z/ Super.
There’s an effortless sense of exploration when you pick up the game for the first time, and it ensures that the sense of adventure is familiar enough to make the player want to explore and kill things with a giant stick, with a hint of The Legend of Zelda underneath it all.
The game’s backbone lies in the joyful and humorous characters you meet throughout Away’s wonderfully varied and visually appealing environments, but there’s also an action and survival side to the game.
Away: Journey to the Unexpected is still very new and was only announced a month ago, so there is still much we have yet to learn. The gameplay we experienced didn’t answer or resolve our curiosities as such, but made us want to ask many more questions due to the immersive sensation we got from our small time with the game. The game is due to release sometime in 2017.
Immortal Redneck | PC, Mac, Linux | Crema | 25th April
Ancient Egypt isn’t an era that’s commonly explored by games, let alone when combining it with a ill-fortuned tourist from Southern America, resurrected by Set time and again and challenged to fight his way through maze-like innards of three pyramids, gunning down everything in sight with an unusual mixture of guns and Egypt themed weapons.
Though this is a roguelike – the genre of the decade for indie developers to tackle – this is one with a looser interpretation of this subgenre. Where most roguelikes will strip away all your possessions, forcing you to learn the game and get better at it, Immortal Redneck increases the time to die by letting you unlock skills and classes with the gold you pick up on each successive venture.
The nine unlockable classes all have different base abilities and passive buffs, and investing in the literal skill tree that you grow can really give you an edge when you explore the pyramids. It’s still a rather tricky game, as each room locks the doors until you’ve defeated all the enemies that spawn in. It’s an enjoyable romp though, and I particularly liked the rather biblical room that filled up with a plague of frogs trying to attack me.
Double Kick Heroes | PC, Mac, Linux | Headbang Club | 2017
Playing Double Kick Heroes was a bit of unusual experience, even by Rezzed’s standards, with one of the four French developers at Headbang, Yannick Elahee, setting up his laptop and a fight stick in various parts of Tobacco Docks and inviting people to play this metal-infused rhythm action game.
With the zombie apocalypse in full swing, one band goes on the run in an open top car, gunning down the chasing hordes, while also kicking out some hardcore metal at the same time. In fact, you’re playing as the drummer in the band, and the two guns fire in time with the kick drum.
On its easiest difficulty, you only really have to worry about the overall rhythm, using two buttons to tap out the rhythm that scrolls along the bottom of the screen. That said, the two buttons fire the upper and lower guns independently, so you need to pay attention to where the zombies are that are following you. However, the game can really ramp up the difficulty, with fast and complex rhythms and the addition of a second line to pay attention to for a grenade launcher. Get just a little bit out with your rhythm, and you’re a bit screwed. Boss fights can also add in different elements, such as having to move the car up and down to avoid a truck that’s chasing you.
Though there’s original music in the game and a whole campaign to follow, Headbang are also shipping tools to create your own tracks, using your own music and share that via Steam Workshop. So long as they can figure out a way to do this without falling foul of copyright laws, they’re onto a winner.
We’ve still got more coverage from EGX Rezzed on the way, and you can check out our previews for Octahedron, Oh My Godheads and Augmented Empire from the show, as well as previous rounds ups for Square Enix Collective and Double Fine.