This years EGX Rezzed was another classic event. For those not in the know this event gives the public chance to sample the latest videogame offerings from indie developers from across the globe. The big name games are (mostly) pushed to the side lines so people can experience the exciting and innovative world of indie gaming and participate in, amongst other things games controlled by breathing, VR chairs and even a coffin simulator! But what excited Monkey Tail the most? Well just keep reading and you are going to find out.
Titan Souls was the first game I had a chance to play and remained the highlight of the show. With classics such as Shadow of the Colossus and Dark Souls being name dropped by the developer as inspirations this should come as no surprise. The basic premise is one of simplicity. You are a single hero, with a single arrow who must defeat the 20 plus titans hidden within the world. So essentially the game is one long boss rush (that’s the Shadow of the Colossus bit). The difference being that as well as only having your solitary arrow to attack with you can only take one hit point before you get sent back to start again (the Dark Souls bit).
Despite this you can take some solace in the fact that the titans themselves only take 1 hit to be felled. Easy right? Erm…no. Before you defeat them you first have to work out how. Unfortunately they don’t sit still waiting for you to do this. These are aggressive little blighter’s. It will take a some trial and error before you any hope of defeating them. In my brief time with the game there were several occasions where I had barely stepped foot in a room before I was instantly crushed. This only made me want to get back in there and do a better job though. Even if you are finding one titan is too much for you, the world appears to be open from the start so you can just track down another enemy in the hope you might find it a little easier to defeat. Wimp!
Understanding how to finish off one of the titans is just the first step however. Then you actually have to execute your plan. You can dash and roll to escape attacks or get yourself in position to fire your lone arrow for that critical shot. Should you not deliver the killing blow you can call your arrow back to your bow, think Luke Skywalker using the force to collect his dropped lightsaber. Not only does this give you chance for a second shot but if timed correctly can actually hit your enemy on its way.
Due for release soon on PC, Mac, Linux, PS4 and Vita, Titan Souls already has my vote. I highly recommend to give this a go on release. If you think you can handle it!
Next up for me was Not a Hero. The latest from Roll7, developers of Monkey Tail favourite Olli Olli. Another 2D offering from the developer with a similar art style to their skateboarding/platformer classic, this time however you play one of a team of killers hired by a time travelling purple rabbit. Tasked with clearing out the city to pave the way for said rabbit to become mayor. As you can tell by that synopsis along with lines from the trailer such as “use reasonable force unreasonably”, “poke crime in its terrible face” and “a violent today for a better tomorrow” silliness is high on the agenda here.
As you may have gathered this silliness is served with a health dose of extreme violence. Reaching levels of pixellated gore similar to that found in the most well-known Devolver Digital release , Hotline Miami. Each level has a main objective supplemented by 3 or 4 secondary objectives which are not required for success. The game is essentially a 2D cover based shooter, playing at a frantic pace you make your way through enemy filled levels sliding into cover before popping out to po enemies heads with a quick shotgun blast. You can choose between several unhinged characters from a straw chewing hillbilly to a homicidal girl from the Welsh valleys Each has their own gameplay differences. Cletus for example wields the shotgun which can blast doors off their hinges to take out enemies before even entering a room. Or you can go for a more melee based approach with a samurai sword or even bare fists.
Right from the character select screen this had me grinning from ear to ear. Is it a little juvenile? Yes. Is that a bad thing? No, Roll7 look to be able to prove Olli Olli was no fluke with this follow-up and with the classic Hotline Miami, Titan Souls, and Not A Hero in their catalogue Devolver Digital is fast becoming one of the best publishers around for indie games.
Moving away from the pixel theme was Omega Agent from Fireproof games, of The Room fame. This is essentially a jetpack simulator where you can live out all you Thunderball fantasies, minus the getting off with sexy ladies. Although I’m sure it won’t be long before that too comes to Oculus! Yes, this is a VR experience and I have to say one of the beast I’ve had. The demo itself is very basic, essentially giving a brief control tutorial and then allowing you to explore the stylised city.
The demo controls brilliantly, really giving you the feeling you the feeling of soaring through the city at speed,. Aiming was simply a case of looking in the direction you wanted to fire and proved to be surprisingly accurate. I It will be interesting to see how well the game works once full missions have been implemented. As it stands it certainly gives a convincing VR experience. So much so I only just managed to stop myself looking down to check my watch , which of course wouldn’t have existed in the virtual world if I had!
The best of the rest took the form of anther virtual reality endeavour. Less of a game , more of a meditation aid. In addition to an Oculus Rift headset a band is tied across your abdomen measuring your breaths. Looking in the direction you wish to travel will take you there while deep abdominal breathing will control your acceleration through a beautiful and serene underwater environment. Wile clearly not for everyone and very much still in the prototype phase this was an interesting experience. More traditional was the beautiful, painterly Fossil Echo. A platformer where you play as a boy climbing a tower for unknown reasons. There was lots of potential here but the controls need some tightening up before release. Finally was Volume from the creator of Thomas Was Alone. A modern-day retelling of the robin Hood tale, played out through Metal Gear Solid VR mission style levels which had me sold, shaping up to be a classic.