With last weekend’s EGX Rezzed behind us, we’ve been gradually catching up and channelling our thoughts on the many games we saw through our fingertips and onto the computer screens before us. It’s taken us a tad longer than usual, but there’s plenty of big and interesting games that we want to tell you about, some in brief and some at length.
Here’s the first of our round-ups, featuring Guacamelee 2, Travis Strikes Again, Fugl and Onrush.
Guacamelee! 2 | PS4, Windows | Drinkbox Studios | TBA
There’s been quite some time since luchador Juan first graced our consoles in the original Guacamelee! Whether it was the challenging platforming elements, epic boss battles or witty humour of this metroidvania adventure, Guacamelee! and its re-releases proved to be very popular on all platforms. The sequel looks to capture that same creative spark and take the game’s co-op platforming to new heights.
In the demo I played, I got to experience the four-player co-op mode with three other attendees, with some beautifully hectic and spectacular action through the game’s gorgeous 2D levels. The smooth but fast-paced action mixed with clever co-operative play not only feels incredibly fun, but also adds to the well-praised traits of the original game.
Much like the first game, the enemies are skeletons that vary in size and wear colourful ponchos and sombreros, which naturally play into the Día de los Muertos theme very well. You can also still play as a chicken, and there’s a nifty set of moves that don’t just let you defend yourself when you get into some sketchy situations, but allow you explore and discover more in certain areas.
Guacamelee! 2 has an obvious visual improvement from the first game which stays true to its own art style, but adds great lighting and layered effects during its most beautiful areas. As you progress, you’ll see great variety within each section’s visuals and discover many secrets and collectibles. While Guacamelee! 2 definitely looks polished even in this early development state, there isn’t a release date for it just yet and I’m very sad about that fact.
– Jake Durasamy
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes | Switch | Grasshopper Manufacture | 2018
For a good eight years, the chances of seeing another game featuring Travis Touchdown’s beam katana felt like they were rapidly fading. Yet with the coming of the Switch, we also get the revival of the No More Heroes franchise. However, this is not really a No More Heroes game in that it’s not a third person spectacle fighter, but rather an arcade slasher in the perspective of Smash TV.
With a fully cooperative, arcade experience, there’s a simple charm to Travis Strikes Again. The demo I played allowed for lots of slashing, dodging, and even using special powers to eliminate waves of foes quickly. For those wondering if anything made it back though, there is a recharge mechanic which involves shaking the Joy-Con vertically, as well as bosses with multiple phases.
As Travis Strikes Again is set in a videogame world, with Travis seemingly embracing the setting thanks to his Otaku personality, there’s plenty of scope for this Hyper Light Drifter/Hotline Miami hybrid to shatter the fourth wall in many ways. Heck, even the demo at EGX Rezzed was customised, showcasing a brand new phase for the boss, before teasing the reveal of a third phase at another show. Then again, it’s all a bit of a tease.
– Dave Irwin
Fugl | PC, Mac | Team Fugl | Early Access Now
If you had to place Fugl into a genre, then you’d probably say it’s a flight sim, but you’d be doing Fugl a disservice. While flight is certainly a core element of Fugl, the only element really, this isn’t a technical title that gets into the nitty gritty of how flight works mechanically. Nor is it an arcade title that simplifies flight while you scour the skies for enemy planes.
Instead, Fugl is about the simple joy of flight. It’s an almost meditative experience, and it certainly left me relaxed as I swooped around the game’s colourful voxel world on the Rezzed show floor.
While that voxel look may not be for everyone, the game’s lead developer Johan Gjestland explained to me that their uniform size helps to give the game a proper sense of scale, making it easier to judge distance and speed. However, what really impresses about the use of voxels in Fugl is their fluidity. You play as a bird, and the way the voxels ripple as you flap and glide your way around the game’s world is absolutely wonderful.
That’s all there is to Fugl. You simply explore the world you’re presented with, flapping to gain height and speed before you spend a while simply gliding over hills or through caverns. It’s a unique experience, and one I felt all the better for having tried.
– Kris Lipscombe
Onrush | PS4, Xbox One | Codemasters Evo | 5th June
Onrush was one of the main reasons I braved Rezzed this year. After its Paris Games Week announcement, it was a day one buy for me, but since Evo revealed that the game has no start or finish line and that you are always in the middle of ‘The Stampede’, I’ve begun to worry. I’m sorry to say my fears were partially confirmed.
The demo at Rezzed offered just one game type in which two teams of racers must try pass through gates to increase their team’s racing time. It’s like a classic arcade racer mixed with multiplayer, where if you clock reaches zero you lose the round. Each vehicle type has a special feature which is powered by smashing into the AI vehicles which spawn around you, and it’s a case of learning when best to use your ability. Most of the time I was playing the Enforcer, a larger Humvee style vehicle which has the Blackout ability that blinds the opponents behind you.
My first problem was that even the slightest scrape of the side of the track would instantly wipe out my vehicle, which I can understand if you’re playing a motorbike, but feels odd in a hulking Humvee. I guess it’s done to make sure no vehicle has major advantage but it just feels like it’s punishing minor mistakes.
Secondly, this is meant to be a team game and you’re meant to have complimenting classes of vehicle, but at Rezzed there was no communication between the team and we were just racing around by ourselves, flying through gates and hoping the rest of team weren’t screwing up. I also found myself out in front of the pack a lot of the time, which was good as I didn’t have anyone smashing into me so I could hit all the gates and help the team, but rather dull as all the action was in the rear view mirror.
However, let’s be fair. This was one game mode played with a bunch of randoms and that’s not the best way to judge Onrush. It’s got a lot going for it – it looks superb, the jumps are fantastic, and the soundtrack is really thumping – and there’s a beta coming up. As Tef said, Onrush is not the arcade racer you were expecting, but there’s a beta coming up and I will be diving in to get proper feel for the game and its other modes. I suggest you do the same.
There’s plenty more where this came from, so stay tuned for another few waves of previews both long and short from EGX Rezzed.