Another year, another EGX done and dusted. For me, EGX is the highlight of the gaming calendar, as I love trying out new games. Furthermore, more than anything else, I love the close contact with the developers, seeing their passion for their games first-hand.
So as I’ve done in previous years (I’ve covered EGX 2016 and EGX 2017 in the past). I have picked out a collection of Indie titles that stood out for me amongst the crowd of other games at EGX 2018. These are the games I’m looking forward to playing in coming months, and I reckon you should check out too.
Developers: Inertia Game Studios
Publishers: Inertia Game Studios
Formats: PS4, Xbox One, Steam, Nintendo Switch
Available: 28th September 2018
The easiest way of describing “Catastronauts” is to think “FTL” meets “Overcooked”. At first that might seem like a strange combination but bear with me. You and up to three friends are the crew of a starship. Your job is to run around, usually in a frantic manner, performing tasks to keep the ship running and take down enemy ships (the FTL part). Guns need firing, once they’re charged, fires need putting out, cracks in the hull need repairing.
This is all pretty simple in the first level, but then, as expected, things get manic. More and more fires need putting out; mines get teleported onto the ship, so they need disposing of, on one level a sun-flare threatens the entire crew, and you must escape to the safe-room and shut the door.
Do you wait for your last comrade? Or shut the door on them, for the greater good of course, and revive them after the danger has passed? One level even split the team up so you have to use internal teleporters to pass equipment to each other. This is where the communication and, more often than not, shouting comes in (see, Overcooked).
This game was great fun, and each level felt like an achievement to pass. You could hear the sighs of relief as each enemy was taken down and moved on. I’d definitely recommend this for some decent couch co-op with friends.
“Phogs” is a gorgeous puzzle game that can be played alone or in co-op with a friend. You control a double-ended dog, yes, a dog with a head at each end! Who knew they even existed? Anyway, using the sticks on your controller to move each head around the level. So if you’ve played “Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons”, then you’ll know well that this can work.
You need to solve puzzles in each level to get a seed/nut to feed to a huge, hungry snake and proceed to the next. On the short demo that we played, several mechanics were introduced. Using each head we had to swing from one ring to another to scale a gap, one head attached to a pouring water pipe while the other put their head over a seedling thus making the water flow through the dog and water the seed.
These are just two of the diverse mechanics in play in “Phogs”. The graphics are rich and cartoony. The puzzles appear to get progressively more challenging. If you’re into puzzle games where logic is required to progress along with a little bit of thinking outside the box, I’d thoroughly recommend people to check “Phogs” out.
Developers: Decoy Games
Publishers: Decoy Games
Formats: PS4, Xbox One, PC
“Swimsanity” is created by two brothers along with their friend creating all of the artwork, “Swimsanity” is a twin-stick, arena-based shooter set under the sea. You control a diver and the object is to kill your opponents, whether that be the other three players in free-for-all, two other players in 2-vs-2 team battles legions of underwater creatures in a co-operative horde mode.
You know, in most cases it tends to be the games with simple mechanics that prove to be the most fun, and Swimsanity is no exception. You swim around the arena, firing your weapon at the enemies, all while you’re looking for power-ups that appear regularly from missiles to shields to healing to shark and piranha attacks. After a while, your power bar fills, and you can activate an ultimate ability to swing the battle in your favor.
In team and co-operative modes, activating ultimates at the same time as your team mates makes the ability all the more powerful. The developers also promise an adventure mode that can be played alone or co-operatively. If the amount of players who turned up each afternoon to take part in the daily tournament was anything to go by, “Swimsanity” is set to be a really popular title in the new year.
Formats: PS4, Xbox One, Steam, Nintendo Switch
The “Advance Wars” series on GBA and DS is one of my favorite strategy series of all time, so when I saw “Wargroove” available to try, I had to sit down and give it a go. “Wargroove” is a turn-based strategy game where each side controls a number of units with the objective being to complete a set mission or wipe out all of your opponent’s units.
“Wargroove” has a similar pixel art graphic style to the aforementioned “Advance Wars” but is set in a fantasy world with knights, dragons and wizards rather than tanks, planes and soldiers. You can build extra units using gold earned each turn and capture buildings on the map to open up further possibilities as the game progresses.
The mechanics are very simple but the strategic elements run deep, with each unit clearly vulnerable or stronger to certain unit types and terrain offering defense or attack bonuses. Furthermore, “Wargroove” also features a meaty campaign to get stuck into and a versus mode to take on your friends online or locally.
Tick Tock (Leftfield)
Developers: Other Tales Interactive
Publishers: Other Tales Interactive
Formats: PC and Mobile
As you can probably tell from the games I’ve picked, I love a good puzzler, and I also like playing with friends. So Other Tales Interactive’s “Tick Tock” fits perfectly for me being a co-operative puzzle game. Set in a dark, mysterious world, the idea is that two of you play together to help each other solve the puzzles and progress through the story.
Think along the lines of an escape room, where you must work together and communicate to complete the challenges. The best part about “Tick Tock” is that the answers to the puzzles are on your friend’s screen and vice versa. This means the game can be played in the same room or apart from each other, and it’s all about communication.
“Tick Tock” can be played on mobile and PC, and it’s also cross-platform playable. In the short demo that we played (we were proud of completing it in 16 minutes), the puzzles were set at a good level of challenge. In other words, we weren’t left frustrated by not knowing what to do next. So it obviously helps that we were both logically minded.
Nevertheless, I can see this game being a great one to play with family and friends together in the same room. I was really glad to have found “Tick Tock” in the Leftfield Collection, and I thoroughly look forward to its full release next year.
Roboats (Tranzfuser @AnimalPuree)
Developers: Animal Puree
Publishers: Animal Puree
The Tranzfuser program is designed to support young development talent, mostly in universities around the country, to create games, using government funding. EGX showcases some of these games and allows the public to vote on them and decide which project will be backed further.
Well, “Roboats” stood out for me among the many great games on show. “Roboats” is a co-op (yes, another co-op game!) game where you work in pairs, using mobile phones to control your ship in a flooded arena to take down your opponents. Each pair is decided randomly each round, which adds to the fun, meaning you work with a different partner each time.
One person steers the ship while the other fires the guns. Battles are frenetic and short, meaning that many games can be played in a short session. Everyone I watched play this game was clearly having a great laugh, and it was very easy to pick up. That’s also why “Roboats” got our vote. So I truly hope that Animal Puree will get further backing to release “Roboats” in the future =)
And with that said, what’s your take on EGX 2018 and my Indie highlights from EGX 2018 list? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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