EGX 2015: best of the rest

EGX can be a nightmare to navigate with long queues, crowded areas and minimal time with a game. But if you look hard enough, you might just unearth a few diamonds. Ben gives his thoughts.

Ben says…

While two thirds of EGX is an exercise in money-throwing and mass-marketing, the remaining floorspace is choc-full of small indie developers eager to show you what they have been able to achieve on small budgets but huge skillsets. This year I was fortunate enough to experience three cracking video games that I recommend everyone should keep an eye on.

1. If ever a game should be on an iPad…

Title overview
Name: ShadowHand
Developer: Grey Alien Games
Publisher: Positech Games
Release date: To be announced
PEGI rating: Not listed
Platforms: Mac, PC
More information: Official website

EGX, event, expo, video games, ShadowHand

…it’s ShadowHand by Grey Alien Games. What starts as a high-or-lower card game quickly evolves into a complicated battler as you guide Lady Darkmoor through her adventures. It’s simple but brilliantly effective, even at this early stage. The build we saw was only a few months old but it is coming together very nicely, with a fantastic hand-drawn / oil-painting aesthetic and fully researched, authentic 18th century theme. Weapons, clothes, armour and gadgets will all be those that the highwaymen and women used at the time.

Hopefully the developer will consider a port to tablets because it really feels like it belongs in that world but I understand their concerns around just how saturated that market is. I’m trying to come up with more words to say how much I’m looking forward to this one but actions have a habit of speaking much, much louder. So to put things simply: I’ve bought Regency Solitaire (Grey Alien’s previous title) off the back of ten minutes with ShadowHand.

2. Just when everyone had forgotten about Tenchu

Title overview
Name: Twin Souls: The Path of Shadows
Developer: Lince Works
Publisher: Lince Works
Release date: To be announced
PEGI rating: Not listed
Platforms: Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
More information: Official website

EGX, event, expo, video games, gamers, crowd

…along comes Twin Souls: The Path of Shadows, a game about stealth and ninjas. Let’s be honest here: stealth and ninjas go together like football and diving. You cannot have one without the other – unless you subscribe to the Ryu Hayabusa ‘no-one will notice if there’s no-one left alive to notice’ approach to shadow-management, of course.

Don’t let the less than snappy title put you off, as Twin Souls: The Path of Shadows is very well-designed and extremely pretty to boot. Borrowing powers and visual clues from titles like Dishonored and Journey, it requires you to stick to the shadows and take down your foes. Sneaking is the only option here; full-on combat or an extended period in the light will see you meet a very swift end. From what we were able to play, the game controls well; the stealth (most importantly!) works as it should and as a result of the design, the player is drawn in to the world. Definitely one to look out for.

3. Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

Title overview
Name: Megaton Rainfall
Developer: Pentadimensional Games
Publisher: Pentadimensional Games
Release date: To be announced
PEGI rating: Not listed
Platforms: To be announced
More information: Official website

EGX, event, expo, video games, Megaton Rainfall, Ben

No, it’s Megaton Rainfall – a superhero simulator by day… This was lurking in SEGA’s Leftfield Collection and was running as an unmanned demo each and every time I passed by. It’s a shame really as it does so much right and I wanted to speak with the developer about it. Essentially a first-person Superman simulator (without the licence) it has captured the essence of being able to fly beautifully. Zipping through the sky is a blast, as is weaving between buildings. You need to be careful though: gather too much momentum and you won’t be able to stop in time which forces you to keep an eye on just how fast you’re going.

In the demo we played, you had to defend a city from Independence-Day-style giant starships that had smaller units deploying to destroy buildings. Equipped with the ability to hurl blue fire at the aliens, the player was tasked with saving the day. Allow too many buildings to be destroyed and it was game over. The controls for firing and aiming were a little loose but hey, they can be tweaked. Although it struck me as a glorified tech demo, there was that little bit of magic about the game that made it ‘feel’ right; I wanted to play more, I wanted to be that hero, I wanted to try again and again to save the day.

If you’re reading this Pentadimensional Games, I hope you reach out to DC Comics and Warner Bros to show them your title. Pitch for the licence, get the ‘S’ on your chest because you’ve nailed the key component – the player feels like Superman. I don’t think that’s ever been done in a game before.

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