EGX 2016: Day 3 - It Just Got a Little Weird in Leftfield
After seeing a lot of creativity on both Days 1 and 2 of EGX, I felt that I needed to venture into the field of the left -- known to everyone else as the Leftfield Collection. Here is where you find the creative, the strange, and the downright crazy!
If you thought that creativity was abound in the Rezzed areas, then the Leftfield Collection will change that. But before I ventured into to the creative underbelly of the indie dev scene, I checked out a few other games -- bigger, more well known games.
Gran Turismo (GT) Sport
I had some free time in the morning while Emma was off chatting the indies up (and before my time slot for next game). The line for GT Sport wasn't long, so I just had to give it a go.
What I wanted to experience was a massive overhaul of GT into a more racing focused game, which is partly what I got. Only I could also brake halfway around a corner, and still hit the apex! (That could have just been that all the assists were on, but I couldn't turn them off.)
But overall, it just felt like GT has not moved on since the lackluster GT5 and 6. It's disappointing, but not unexpected. It might be time for me to completely hang up my hopes for the GT series, and just let them die. This makes me sad, I might even cry. *sobs*
I'm pretty sure you have heard of this one, but if you haven't, Yooka-Laylee is Banjo-Kazooie's spiritual successor -- it's a Rare style 3D platformer, developed by Playtonic Games. After being Kickstarted to the tune of all of the money ($2,000,000), Yooka-Laylee looks to really be delivering on its promise. While many think this is rare in the Kickstarter world, I think it just shows what can happen when a good tool is used correctly.
terrible amazing puns are all the rage -- with a skeleton who isn't fully fleshed out, and a Trowzer snake, Yooka-Laylee doesn't only keep the humor of the classics, but also the gameplay and art style. It's a wonderfully colorful game, and is packed full of quirky characters and hilarious interactions.
There are also some interesting mechanics. You have a ranged attack, but to be able to use it, you first need to lick up some sort of fruit -- yes literally fling your tongue towards the fruit and eat it.
While Yooka-Laylee is full of the classic platforming, and all the other things, it doesn't stay beholden to the technical limitations of the time. Instead Yooka-Laylee uses new technology to make you think you are playing the same game as the classics, but with all the benefits of good control schemes, beautiful looking environments, and great sound design -- you are playing the games you remember, not how the games actually are.
Yooka-Laylee is due out in the first few months of 2017 for PC, Xbox One, PS4, and WiiU.
"Isn't this just Smash Bros.?" I hear you say. And yes, it is very much like Smash Bros., but with a few major changes. There is no blocking or magical powers, and it's developed by Angry Mob Games. This makes Brawlout something different, something far more simple, and far faster.
I've never been one for fighting games. I've never been very good at them and rarely had fun with them since Smash Bros. Melee or Tekken Tag Tournament, when I actually had time to learn them. But when playing Brawlout, only in the first match did I have no idea what I was doing. After that point I was actually winning. Even 1 on 1, the mode where I do the worst, I won!
All of the characters in Brawlout are anthropomorphized animals. They're colorful, a bit zany, and also felt rather well-balanced as I managed to win with 3 different characters.
Brawlout is due out on the PS4, Xbox One and PC in early 2017.
Developed by Shrimpcave Industries, Trapper's Delight is a couch co-op game all about traps and screwing your friends over. The basic premise is that there are two phases: trap setting, surviving the run to the flag.
You use the left stick to move forward, back, left, or right, but holding the stick forward won't mean you keep moving -- you have to flick it to move multiple squares. This isn't at all unintuitive, and when you get used to it, you actually move far more effortlessly than you expect. And the way the characters hop about is rather endearing.
If you want to fight with your friends, then Trapper's Delight is the perfect game for you. I actually played it with some random people, and not once did we argue... instead they argued, as they were friends, and I sat there laughing as they fell into my traps. Trapper's Delight really is good fun, and if you have a friend (or 2 or 3) that you really get on well with, give it a shot -- if you secretly hate them and want them out your life.
Trapper's Delight is out on Steam Early Access right now, and aiming to be out fully in early 2017.
By sole developer Dziff, and with music by Glass Body, Sacramento is more a beautiful experience than game, but it is still very much a game. The idea is to simply wander around finding memories before they fade away, described as "moments I gathered on sketchbooks over the years". If we assume that "I" is the developer, then boy their sketches are good.
Sacramento is a beautiful game in aesthetic, music, and sound design. Birds flutter, wind blows, music melodies, and everything soothes.
While I didn't actually know what I was doing, I had a very peaceful time wondering around the land in Sacramento. You start on a train, and are transported to a platform, and then just wander around.
You can buy Sacramento right now, and it will work on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Foramina is an ink drawn adventure game in a surreal world. While the demo was very short, it did indeed feel very point-and-click. Your objective isn't given to you -- you simply start by dragging a stool and standing on it. Events then unfold, and you work out a way to climb up and out of the area you are in.
Foramina felt very Tim Burton-esque, with its weird unnatural 'horror' design to everything. While the art by Mr. Mead is absolutely beautiful, it is also can be grotesque and haunting at the same time.
Foramina doesn't have a release date, but expect a demo to release before the end of 2017.
PikuNiku is an adorable game with 'the indie story' behind it. Two guys started chatting, they got on, had similar ideas, and as they were both game developers they wanted to make a game with each other. But there is a twist...the developers have never met in person (which will change at the Paris Games Week). And while they are both French, one works in London and the other in Paris.
PikuNiku is one of those games you can't help but laugh at -- not because the game is bad, but by design. PikuNiku is a weird game, where you play as an oval which has physics-controlled legs. You can kick, run, jump, do that thing turtles do and pull your legs into yourself, and even talk to other characters.
The colors are flat, but there are lot of them, and they look a bit like well done MS Paint creations. While characters don't make any sound while talking, walking, jumping, and all other interactions do have little sounds and they are all adorable and funny. The weird physics of PikuNiku, which makes your character look drunk most of the time, adds to the hilarity.
The Collage Atlas
By developer John Evelyn, The Collage Atlas is an exploration game set in a beautifully hand drawn world. It is mostly monochrome, with splashes of color here and there, and the screen looks like a fancy piece of card. The art direction in The Collage Atlas is strong -- so much so that some sketches that John Evelyn made were stuck to the wall near the games' booth. They look beautiful both in and out of the game.
The music in this game is of the most peaceful things I experienced at EGX, and I got lost in it. When I came out of the game I was speechless. I told the developer that I needed to form my thoughts on the game, and so I shall do just that.
The Collage Atlas is the definition of games as art -- it's both a game, and a work of art. You need to find your way through the world, and also solve word puzzles. This is done by simply looking in the right directions to make the letters line up and form words. You then get a beautifully moving story which I can only interpret as being about loss. Loss of who, or what, or when, or how, I could not tell you. But a sense of melancholy filled me as I progressed.
There were moments of hope, and as the demo ended I felt triumph. I was challenged to find things, and my emotions were also challenged to feel things. That is what a game is, and that is what art is.
The The Collage Atlas doesn't have any solid release time frame, but it most certainly will stay with me. Thank you Sega for bringing it into the Leftfield Collection, and John Evelyn for bringing the game to EGX.