We’ve got even more coming your way from this year’s Rezzed today, with a quick look at three more games that impressed us at the show. Today’s round up features Nongünz, a bleak roguelike with some Cookie Clicker mechanics thrown in for good measure, See You On The Other Side, a Portalesque puzzle game that grants you the ability to travel through shadows, and Minesheeper, which is Bomberman played with sheep served alongside a dollop of insanity. Without further preamble, let’s take a look at Nongünz.
Nongünz | PC, Mac, Linux | Brainwash Gang | Q2 2017
The nice thing about attending gaming shows like Rezzed is that someone can tell you to check out a game and you can head straight over to try it out for yourself. No need to go and watch a trailer or a playthrough, you can just go and give it a go. This is exactly what happened with Nongünz, which I hadn’t heard of until someone told me to go and give it a look, and what I found when I made my way over to the game’s stand was somewhat surprising.
While Nongünz is, primarily, a roguelike, it sets itself apart by throwing in elements of an idle game, like Cookie Clicker. Essentially this means that your points total is always ticking upwards, even when you’re not working your way through one of the game’s randomly generated dungeons. Those point can be spent in shops, but while there are shops inside the dungeon, the main shop seems to actually be in the graveyard where you start the game. It’s here that you can buy weapons or powerups, including a moose skull that somehow seems emblematic of the game to me, even if it I’m not actually sure what benefit it provides from a gameplay perspective.
Once you’ve selected your loadout – an axe seemed like a good bet personally – you can head into the game’s dungeons. If you’ve played roguelikes in the vein of Risk of Rain then you’ll be pretty familiar with how the game plays here, with fast paced combat, frequent dodge rolling, plenty of enemy variety, and 2D platformer style level layouts. However, should your current dungeon prove a little too tough then you can bail out and head back to the graveyard to improve your character.
While much of Nongünz feels rote for a modern roguelike, it’s implementing genre standards well. Gameplay feels fast paced and remarkably tight, while the game’s idle mechanics, the bleak world and visual style help to give it its own sense of identity.
See You On The Other Side | PC | Tunnel Vision Games | 2018
Ever since Portal made its mark on puzzle games nearly a decade ago, a wide variety of puzzle titles have been pitched as “Portal but…” before the developer reveals their own twist on Valve’s modern classic. See You On The Other Side effectively pitches itself as “Portal but with shadows”, and it’s an idea that works remarkably well.
Instead of Portal’s titular portals, See You On The Other side allows you to jump through any surface that’s in shadow. Of course, that’s somewhat of an issue with the floor, as you’d be liable to fall through it any time you stepped on it. Fortunately, the game won’t let you step on a shadow, and even only lets you jump over one if you can actually make the jump.
In the demo, this essentially gave you two classes of puzzle: working out how to setup shadows so you can jump through a wall, or setting up lighting to allow you to walk along the floor. For some reason, much of the game that was available saw your following the path of a fridge on an overhead track, giving you an object that casts a large shadow to work with. A mixture of timing your movements to coincide with the fridge’s movements and positioning the fridge to cast a shadow just where you wanted it pretty much solved all of the puzzles involving it.
The puzzles that had you lighting your path were, to me, the more interesting category. This largely consisted of placing tripod mounted lights in the correct spot, with the caveat that you can only place them in an area that’s lit. That little twist is used well to subvert your expectations of the game’s puzzles at certain points, such as asking you to point a light away from the path you want to take so you can position a second light in the right spot. There’s certainly some interesting options open to the game here, like candles that limit the amount of time the way forwards is lit, and I hope that the final game fully explores them.
Given that See You On The Other Side isn’t targeting a release till early 2018, it would be harsh to point any of the game’s minor technical details at the point. The demo did feel like it could have, perhaps, done with a little more variety, but there’s plenty of places that Danish developer Tunnel Vision Games could take the puzzles. It’s the potential that really sells See You On The Other Side, and hopefully Tunnel Vision will take this title the places it deserves to go.
Minesheeper | PS4, Xbox One, PS4 | Ghostvoid | 2017
Minesheeper can easily be summed up as Bomberman mixed with Worms, but where you play as a sheep. It’s fair to say that the mix is perhaps 75% Bomberman to 25% Worms though, with Worms’ main influence being on the variety of weapons and its sense of humour, although you can see that Minesheeper also takes a few cues from Team17’s series in its art style and character design.
If you’re not familiar with Bomberman, a situation I can scarcely envision, it’s simple enough to describe the basics of how the game works works. Each level is laid out as a grid filled with a mix of destructible and indestructible blocks, basically creating a maze. Players can drop bombs to try and take out their opponents, or create new routes through the maze.
Minesheeper keeps most of these elements, but very much puts it own spin on things. For a start, your sheep lays homing mines instead of bombs, which make a big difference in terms of gameplay. No longer are bombs static, but will instead follow you around the level, and can even be kicked away. There’s also a lot more than just explosive weaponry going on, as Minesheeper throws plenty of other weapons into the mix. Some mines you drop will freeze your opponents, while pickups might target your opponents with a lightning strike.
Playing a game of Minesheeper is, essentially, an exercise in pure chaos. The game moves at a million miles an hour, with a ridiculous quantity of things going on at the same time. Given you can play with up eight players at one time that’s hardly surprising. If you can’t get seven other people to play with at once, then don’t worry, you’re free to mix AI players in with your friends. While there’s online play, this really is certainly a game best played with everyone in the same room; it’s the only way to truly appreciate its sheer lunacy.
We’re still not done yet with our game coverage from Rezzed this year. You’ve got games like SteamWorld Dig 2 and Formula Fusion to look forward to, so keep your eye out for those in the coming days.