My mission if I chose to accept it was to get my ass down to Gamecity in Nottingham and see what games they had to offer. I did this with bells on and had an awesome time doing it. Here is a selection of games that were on show to watch out for the future.
There Shall Be Lancing
Now this is a quirky little game where you have a lancing battle. It is set in the sky and your character stands on a podium facing the other player, as if you were in a duel. The aim of the game is to lance the other character before they lance you. You can do this by shooting your lance at them, although throughout my playthrough I could not work out how to do this at all, or by flinging yourself at the other player with lance in hand.
The game runs on 3 axis, left, right and centre. Centre is the direct route and is the quickest but you can avoid the other player by going left and right. The menu graphics were very bright and intrigued me; however the graphics in the main game were a bit of a let-down and seemed a little clunky. The controls were confusing as I wasn’t sure how to shoot the other player and considering there was only two options for moves this was not great. I found the game play very repetitive and I soon got bored and walked away. I could see this game being fun when you are drunk…I could also see it being used as a drinking game.
Flerbs is a fun multiplayer game that looks like it has been inspired by Thomas Was Alone.You are a coloured square and you have to get from the starting point to the flag at the end, however to do so you have to kill yourself to leave little blocks where you died, so that you can overcome obstacles.
This can be played by up to four players at a time and can become very hectic when there are four players on the screen. This game is currently still in production and the developers are hoping to release it on Android and PC eventually. Seeing as you have to kill yourself to complete the level there are infinite lives, but there is a time limit and although this is just about generous enough to be able to complete the level it also gives you a sense of urgency to get to the little flag. I was warned before I even played this game that it was broken to hell but these bugs would be worked out in later development, I did find that you could get stuck in some levels and there was no way to kill yourself or get out of the situation. I recommend putting a self-destruct button in the game just in case you do get stuck then you can quickly get out and go back to the start.
Another problem I found was you could die by jumping off the side of the screen…this isn’t good when you jump over the finish line and have to go back to the starting point when you were oh so close to the next level. Despite these little hitches, I liked this game it’s very bright and colourful. It’s incredibly fast-paced and it doesn’t matter if you die or not which is good as it can be very confusing to play with all four players. I can imagine this game when complete will be very addictive. It’s definitely one to watch out for in the future.
Retro revenge is a mixture of Pacman, Tetris, Asteroid and Space Invaders. It is a duel stick shooter with up to four players. The aim of the game is to shoot and avoid everything.
You only have three lives but there is no scoring system and also no time limit to make the game competitive. I found the player icon very hard to see on the screen as there was so much going on at any given time, I also found that you could easily mix yourself up with the other players on the screen and then ultimately die because you are concentrating on the wrong thing. The static background on the game also made it hard to see the asteroids at the bottom of the screen as they were just white outlines and the bottom of the screen was light grey.
The theory with this game is you can’t let anything touch the bottom of the screen else it’s game over. It is quite a hard game but I did quite enjoy it. Retro Revenge was put together in a day and with this in mind if some more time was spend on it, it would be a really fun, challenging game.
Strongroom is a free to play browser based game made using HTML 5. It was in it’s prototype state so there was no graphics layer merely just blocks and limited colours. The developers had another one of their games being shown next to it so you could see what the final article would look like. When speaking to one of the developers (who used to work at Lionhead Studios) he said that this was the first game he had ever made where you don’t kill anybody.
It is a heist game, you have to go into a museum and steal all the loot and not be detected by the guards or surveillance cameras. There are ways of distracting the guards, you can either whistle and then run away or you can throw a noise gadget in the direction you want the guard to go and dodge them. The size of the circle surrounding you indicates how loud you are being and there are certain floors that are louder to walk on than others. You can sneak around walls and hide. If you do get caught you automatically drop all the loot you have collected and have to start again.
When you restart you will find that all the loot is where you dropped it and you have to go pick it up again. If you drop the loot in a really awkward place this can make the game even more complicated. There were only ten levels available to play so far but what they have already is really intriguing. I can’t wait to see this game in it’s finished form as judging from their graphics on their past game it is going to look fantastic. Strongroom is run on a cloud based server so you can save and exit when you want and go back to where you left off. They are hoping to get this game onto Andriod and later iOS if they can.
Smesport is a four player multiplayer game that consists of seven lanes across the screen half red and half blue, with a ball in the middle and a puck in each corner which are the players, two on the red team and two on the blue team. The aim of the game is to capture the ball and hold it in a lane for as long as you can so that lane will go completely either red or blue depending on what team you are on.
When there are three lanes across the screen in your teams colour this means you have won. You can also pass the ball to your team mate to avoid it being taken from you by the other team. It is a very simple premise for a game and reminds me of a very stripped down version of capture the flag in the Mario Kart mini games. Despite this game being so simplistic it is good at what it does. It is a very smooth running game and is quite fun. It is quite a competitive game as the game can get quite close. I would definitely play this again with a group of friends.
The Steampunk League
The Steampunk League is a PC puzzle platformer based in the Victorian era. The main character is based on Nicholas Tesla, who was a scientist around the same time as Thomas Edison.
At this point in time there are only four playable levels, showing off the different characters and their abilities, so far there are only three playable characters each with different skills that you will need to use to complete each level and you can interchange the characters throughout the level. One character could break down walls, another one was smaller and therefore more agile and the main character could interact with electrical machinery. The developer is in the process of making a fourth.
The Steampunk League uses the Unreal Engine. At some points the game play looks like Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, where you have to jump over and dodge obstacles. There are multiple types of AI and they were quite responsive, which made the game more challenging. I only found a few glitches in this game but that is to be expected seeing as it is still in production, there was nothing major though.
The gameplay wasn’t over challenging but was not simple enough to just run through levels, there is also a puzzle element to the game, where you may have to do something in a certain order to make something work. I could have easily played this game for quite a while as I found it quite enjoyable and I really like the Steampunk look. This was definitely my game of the day as it has huge potential to be a really good game when it is finished. It’s fun to play and does make you scratch your head in places. I did find however that this game needed more check points as you would get quite far into a level and then die and have to do it all over again which was quite frustrating, but this was mentioned and all feedback was taken on board by the developer.
This is by far a game to watch out for in the future and I’m really excited to see the finished product and play the whole game.