As the dust settles on another EGX, I have a look back at some of the indie titles you need to check out over the coming months.
This year’s convention was much bigger, more spacious. As the Queues felt smaller and there were a lot more games to try out. Having looked at the list of games on show, I wasn’t as excited about the triple-A titles on show this time. There were a few I wanted to check out, but I wasn’t as desperate as previous years. I managed to try a few, and they were all quite impressive, but I just wasn’t blown away by them. However, none of them left a lasting impression. I think that’s because I look for originality, and I didn’t feel like there was any of that in the big titles, as I felt like I’d seen it all before.
This year, for me, it was all about the Rezzed section. Where else can you play a chef madly fulfilling orders, a dance move specialist trying to get the biggest conga line going, control a machine gun-wielding elephant taking down zombies or a spartan warrior trying to hit your opponent across a ravine? The Indie games showed such a wide range of ideas and innovations. These are the games I want to support in the coming months, and I’ve highlighted some of my favourites below.
PC – Available now
Consoles – 2017
The idea of this game is, as the title suggests, to become a master of the timeless dance craze, the conga! It’s very simple to play. You control one of 30 characters around the dance floor. You use the shoulder buttons on the controller to rotate an arrow around your dancer, pointing in the direction you want them to move. You approach other dancers on the floor and proceed to dance around them. As their meter fills up, they join your line, and you set off in search of another dancer. If you bump into a dancer, they get annoyed, and it takes longer for them to like you again and join your line. You move your conga line around the dance room, collecting more dancers and growing your line.
Sure, that may sound very simple, but just wait until you pick up the scissors power up. Because It’s at this point that you can head towards one of your opponents’ conga and cut their line, losing all of their beloved dancers. You can then do a runner or proceed to dance around the newly abandoned dancers, hoping to add them to your conga. There are other obstacles to avoid too, banana skins, bruisers who hit you, etc. All of this carries on until the timer runs out, and the winner is the dancer with the longest line. I played several games of “Conga Master” and loved it. “Conga Master” has a fun soundtrack. It’s dead easy to pick up. However, I can see it will take a while to master your own tactics. There are other modes available, but we didn’t get a chance to try these. I can see this being a really fun game to play in a group of people and the great thing is, anyone can pick it up and play. I highly recommended this game for a quick laugh.
PC – Available now
Have you ever played “Smash TV”? (the game was a big hit in the early 90s) Well, if the answer is yes, then you’ll recognize “Circuit Breakers” straight away. I mentioned the title to one of the developers manning the game, and he said it was his biggest influence. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Circuit Breakers is a top-down twin-stick shooting game across multiple rooms with waves and waves of enemies pouring in to take you down. Every now and then, a sub-boss is thrown in to increase the difficulty and then come the main bosses, filling an entire room. You’ll be lucky (or extremely skilled) to progress. You play as one of four characters, each with their own personal unique weapon. You can play on your own or with up to five friends. Shoot enemies to drop crystals which, when collected, are converted into ammo. All sorts of power ups, as well as the extremely crucial health packs, are available in every room.
The action is frantic but fun. You’re constantly on the move, trying to avoid enemies and enemy fire while desperately trying to stay alive in order to progress. Each time you die, you just want to continue, feeling that you can make it just one room further. We only tried it with two players but there was never any slowdown. The action was smooth despite rooms being filled with all sorts of sprites and mayhem. If you’re looking for constant action that never lets up, this is the game for you.
Nature’s Zombie Apocalypse
PC – Available now
Console – Available Soon
Grab seven mates, grab a controller each, choose an animal, yes, an animal, then select your load out. You’re now ready to take on the mass hordes of zombies infesting the streets of your local neighborhood. This game is seriously fun and absolute carnage. I played this with four mates and some other show-goers who joined us. We were trying to beat the day’s kills high score, and it was the most intense, hilarious half-hour I think I’ve spent on a game for a while. There’re loads going on, each of you controlling an animal with a variety of different ranged or melee weapons, taking down as many human zombies as you can. From time-to-time (and this became more frequent the longer we were in the game) larger “boss” zombies joined the fray, including her majesty, the Queen! (this is how you make an epic twin-stick-shooter!). You need all your wits to run away from the zombies while taking them down with your chosen weapon.
A rage meter slowly fills up, allowing you to unleash a frenzied attack on the enemies for a while, but most of the time you’re just trying to stay alive. You can revive your mates, but as time goes on, you forget them and just hope you survive long enough for their timers to reach zero and for them to re-enter the battle. Unfortunately, we fell about 200 kills short of the day’s top score of 1314, but we had a great laugh trying to achieve it and had it not been for another set of plucky challengers. We’d have happily had another go. Definitely check this one out if you’ve got a bunch of mates to play with online or at home.
PC, PS4, Xbox One – Available Now
I tried to persuade my friends to come along and try this one, describing it as “a co-op cooking game that’s absolutely manic and a great laugh”. Needless to say, they weren’t sold! However, as soon as they saw it and watched other teams playing it, they couldn’t wait to give it a go. You control a chef working in a kitchen, trying to fulfil orders as they come in at the top of the screen. Easy! Far from it, if you’re working alone, you need to carry out all the jobs, preparing the food, cooking it, plating it up, serving it, washing the dishes, repeat.
With up to three other players, it’s all about communication and not getting in each other’s way, and this is where it gets funny! We worked well as a team, quickly establishing each other’s roles, but as the orders piled in and dishes piled up to be washed, it all broke down, and we were left shouting at each other madly to complete the orders. Throw in a few rats trying to steal the food, and it was mayhem, but in a hilarious, laugh-out-loud kind of way. We achieved two out of three stars on the level we attempted. We were desperate to try again to better our score, but a queue had built behind us. We have purchased the game ready for our next gaming night, ready to beat our previous score. Look out for us next year on Masterchef!
PC, PS4 – Coming December
“Strikers Edge” is best described as dodgeball with weapons. You play as a warrior taking on another warrior across a divide, throwing weapons at each other, wearing your opponent down until the final shot takes them out. Using both control sticks, one to move, the other to control the aiming arrow, you fire your weapon, or you can charge up a stronger shot for more damage. It’s a fast and furious game. The aiming takes a little getting used to, but once you do. It becomes second nature. The game becomes even more manic in 2v2, with two weapons to dodge while aiming your shots. I hope there will be more modes available on release. I could see this becoming a little stale after a while. However, for a quick blast against mates, it’s a lot of fun and definitely worth checking out.
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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