Welcome to part two of my article about the games I played at the premier indie games event, EGX REZZED 2019, that I attended in April. If you missed part one you can find it HERE. All the games within this article are scheduled for release sometime in 2019. So, Let’s jump right in…
I had seen an awful lot of positivity surrounding Night School Studio’s game Oxenfree which released back in 2016 and yet I only got round to playing it late last year. I absolutely loved it. It had a really intriguing haunting story with a great cast of characters, all suitably voice-acted rather excellently and the visual style was lovely too. I was therefore very keen to play the developers next title called Afterparty, another adventure game where you find yourself playing as two recently deceased friends, Milo and Lola, who find themselves in hell with the task of having to outdrink Satan himself to gain re-entry to Earth.
Yet another super story concept and from the brief demo I played it instantly resonates with those that have played Oxenfree. The art style is very similar but has a lot more detail, depth and colour to it and the dialogue option choices make a welcome return too and it’s with the dialogue and voice acting where Afterparty really shines. I found myself playing as the duo in a bar in the underworld, meeting a whole host of quirky characters and playing beer pong with a Scottish demon. It was so humorous and already with my short time with the game it had me laughing out loud which has me excited for the games full release.
I definitely see Afterparty surpassing the success of Oxenfree and it will be released later in 2019 but as of yet the platforms it will appear on have not been confirmed. I imagine as I played it in the ID@Xbox area, that it’s likely coming to Xbox One and PC for sure.
Untitled Goose Game
Now, where do I start with the Untitled Goose Game? I’m not a fan of geese. This is largely due to my University days where I had to walk to my campus past a lake full of vicious beasts. Never stray too close, especially when they have their little goslings with them or you can expect to feel their wrath.
Untitled Goose Game depicts the waddle and infuriating honk of a goose so damn well. I’m truly thankful that I play as the mischievous little bastard and can unleash its hostility on others rather than having it be an enemy that would end up haunting my nightmares.
My task within the 10-minute demo at the event was to achieve various objectives within the sandbox world. The level I played has you tormenting a gardener, stealing his crops and trying to lure him into a body of water and just really being a general nuisance. It’s thoroughly enjoyable honking loudly and causing chaos and the simplistic and fun nature of trying to achieve the varied and often hilarious tasks and puzzles makes this a game right up there on my wish list. It really did seem to gather quite the following at the event so I perceive a big success on the horizon for the developer’s House House.
This is a must-buy for my Nintendo Switch later this year and it’s also confirmed for PC too.
We Were Here Together
The developers of We Were Here Together, Total Mayhem Games reached out to me on Twitter as they saw I was attending REZZED 2019 and asked if I would like to stop by and give their new game a go. I of course agreed and I’m glad I did.
The game’s concept is all about communication and working with another player to solve puzzles to be able to proceed. The demo started with me in a cabin at a snowy base camp. All I have on me is a walkie-talkie which I can use to communicate with another real player who is also in the cabin with me. The first task is to get outside of the cabin and to do so we needed to find a wheel with the correct shape to fit the hole. My partner had previously seen the said wheel and told me where it was so I could go and retrieve it whilst he explored elsewhere.
Outside the cabin led to another puzzle on the roof of the cabin which involved using a radio transmitter where I could change the frequency. I remember seeing a radio system in one of the rooms of the cabin so I told my partner this and together using both the radio and the transmitter on the roof we were able to find the correct transmissions to solve the next puzzle which featured a map with lots of coordinates on it. At this point, our time ran out but the demo showcased exactly how the game operates and gave me a good taste of what to expect from the full game. I was impressed by just how many levels of communication with your partner is needed to solve the puzzles and I’m interested to see how this all plays out in the game’s story, as the demo gave no background to the plot and why you are in this cabin in the frozen wasteland.
We Were Here Together is coming out later this year for PC. There was no indication whether it would appear on consoles. If this game sounds interesting to you it would be worthwhile checking out the previous games in the series, We Were Here and We Were Here Too, which are both available on PC right now.
Hamsterdam: Paws of Justice
Hands downs the most adorable and fun game I played at the show was Hamsterdam: Paws of Justice from developer Muse Games. The game pits you as Pimm the hamster who has to harness his martial arts skills to protect his town and save his grandfather from the vile Vermin Gang led by the chinchilla gangster, Marlo. It’s a rhythm-brawler game that has you not only button mashing but also needing to time-specific moves to defeat the enemies. With each successful hit, you build up your knockout bar which once unleashed you can deliver a killer knockout blow.
Hamsterdam is great fun and has a very cute graphic style and brilliant character design. It’s so bright and colourful and hectic and you can even equip Pimm with new clothes and accessories, of which, some are clearly influenced by well-known movie and game characters and are often pretty hilarious.
I have to also give a massive shout-out to the guy whose name, unfortunately, evades me, who was showcasing the game at the event. All I know is that his Twitter handle is @magathery so go give him a follow as his enthusiasm and passion for the game completely shone through and he made the experience of playing Hamsterdam all the better. [I’ve found a video of the very enthusiastic presenter here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQpTEqb-FjE]
I’m very much looking forward to picking this game up on my Nintendo Switch later in the year but it will also be available on PC, iOS and Android platforms too.
Close To The Sun
Available tomorrow (2nd May) for PC and coming later in the year to PS4 and Xbox One. Close To The Sun, developed by Storm in a Teacup, is a horror adventure game that takes place at the end of the 19th century on a mysterious ship complex called the Helios that has been created by Nikola Tesla for research purposes.
I’m pretty sure the developers are sick of hearing how much this game is being compared to Bioshock but it can not be avoided and surely isn’t a bad thing as Bioshock is a critically acclaimed game. The setting and design of the game feels eerily similar to Rapture and even the game’s logo looks like it’s heavily influenced by the Bioshock series. Those expecting a first-person-shooter though will be sadly disappointed as there is no shooting involved, it’s just a first-person adventure game where you have to interact with the environment to solve puzzles and survive, much like Soma and Outlast.
You play as Rose Archer, a journalist, who has been left a note from her sister inviting you to join her on the Helios. You soon learn things are not as they seem once you aboard the initially empty ship. It’s incredibly creepy and tense. I was instantly drawn to the game’s story and the atmosphere of the Helios. There is a real sense of foreboding which is complemented by the visual aesthetics which makes the game’s environments an absolute marvel to look at and explore.
I didn’t fully complete the demo as I knew this was a game I would definitely be purchasing when it’s released on consoles and I didn’t want to spoil the experience of investigating the ship any further and finding out exactly what Tesla is experimenting with, or on. [However, We shall have a full review of the title as soon as the Embargo lifts at 2 pm on Thursday 2nd May]
So how does a dog with two heads poo? I’ve no idea but the unusual concept of having a two-headed dog with each head being controlled by a separate player makes PHOGS! from developer Bit Loom Games a very enjoyable experience.
PHOGS! has you solving puzzles and overcoming obstacles in unique and adorable ways. Your PHOG has an elasticated body and you have to communicate with your partner as to which direction to move in or you can end up going in completely opposite directions stretching the poor mutant doggy out. You can play the game each using a separate controller but the real challenge comes when you share just one controller. It takes some getting used to but it also creates for some pretty hilarious moments, especially when you’re trying to herd “munchlets” back to their pens. The PHOG also has a couple of interesting abilities, such as one end of the dog attaching to a light source so a beam of light can be shone out of the mouth of the other dog. This works the same when you attach one dog to a leaky pipe to create a water hose. An ingenious and very wacky way of creating some rather excellent puzzles!
The visuals are very similar to Untitled Goose Game with bold cartoony graphics that stand out well and will be very appealing to children. All in all, it would make for a rather comical game to play with the whole family.
PHOGS! is scheduled for release hopefully in 2019 on all platforms, but nothing has been fully confirmed yet.
The final game that I got my hands on at EGX REZZED 2019 was Cake Bash from developer High Tea Frog. Think party games like Gang Beasts and HyperBrawl but with cake and you get the picture.
You pick which sort of cake you want to be, whether it be a cupcake, slice of chocolate cake or a French fancy that tickles your appetite and then face off against 3 other desserts for a frantic recipe of dashing, bashing, and attacking other players to see who can get the most ingredients into the unbaked cake to score the highest. That was one game mode and the other had you fighting over who could get the most sweets stuck to them, with you having to hit your opponents for the sweets to drop off for you to collect. This was made even more hilarious with the introduction of giant lollipops for you to whack away for even more rewards. It’s as crazy as it sounds and not only did it have us all shouting out at each other and laughing loud in hysterics but also in desperate need of some actual cake to chomp on.
Cake Bash is deliciously making its way to PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC aiming for a release sometime this year.
This concludes the handful of games I was able to experience at EGX REZZED 2019. The future is incredibly bright for the indie scene with a whole host of quality and diverse games coming out in 2019!