Welcome to part 2 of our Hands-on Impressions of the games we checked out at EGX Rezzed 2018, to follow on from the games that Dave picked in part 1, while we would like to mention them all we just can’t, so here are my stand out games of the ones that I got to have a hands-on with. If you missed out on Part 1 head over to HERE to check that out too!
There’s only really one sentence that best describes GRIP, the spiritual successor to Rollcage, with many of the development team being involved in Rollcage the inspiration behind GRIP is quite obvious, and that’s not a bad thing. We had a fair old bash at GRIP with the guys at Wired Productions setting us up to play both Grip and Shaq Fu (see our impressions of that here) on the same station. We played in local split-screen and it was a blast to say the least. Combat Racing is what it’s all about, with plenty of pick-ups dotted around each track to get your hands on, and blast the opposition to hopefully get that all important first place. staying there however is a different story, unless you manage to get a good lead on the rest of the field you’ll constantly have the opposition hot on your heels hitting you with everything they’ve got, and that’s just the AI.
As I said above we played split screen, and it was all out as we battled not only each other, but the AI too, we settled for an easy track to start out with and that was tricky enough, the inversions with the gravity were a surprise, none more so than hitting the large jump on this first track, expecting to nicely arc and land just like you would expect to, however the car hit the ceiling and the camera flipped round and suddenly I was racing along on the top of a tunnel. It was mind blowing, coupled with the fast paced action and over the top aggression it took a little getting used to but after a couple of laps I settled down into a rhythm and got to grips with it quite quickly. The first race was a wash out with Dave hammering away into the lead, the second race was all out and proved just how chaotic and ultimately brilliant the genre is. We battled for ages, right up to the last corner where I was eventually taken out of the lead by a well placed rocket from Dave. There’s plenty on offer here with a single player, and both local split-screen and online multiplayer, plus vehicles can be upgraded your car with money earned from races and salvage picked up whilst racing. Visual customisation is also a thing, with paint jobs, rims and armour kits available to tinker with. Definitely one I’m looking forward too.
It’s been a long time coming, but it is still coming. Below was first shown at E3 in 2013, with developers Capybara Games stating in 2016 it was going to be going dark on Below while they concentrated on making it as polished as possible. While nothing has officially been said about the game since, it has been on show and playable at PAX East earlier this month and of course at EGX Rezzed. One of the busier stands in the ID@Xbox room meant a lot of standing back and watching, going off to check something else out and coming back again to see if the cue had thinned out any more. Luckily it did during the mid afternoon so I jumped at the chance to sit down and give it a bash.
I’ll start out with that the 15-20 minutes I had with Below was not enough, I could have played for longer but the queue building behind me wouldn’t have appreciated it, However I felt I’d played enough to get the idea of the game and a feel for its flow and how it plays, and I left feeling very intrigued. Below is a top down game with survival elements and perma-death (which I experienced thanks to a craftily placed spike trap) the game is very open, leaving the player to explore at their own peril, which I did find myself wandering around quite a lot, looking for food and water to stay alive, the afore mentioned trap was a surprise to say the least and made me jump just a little, as I then realised it was game over and I’d be starting again from the last checkpoint. I could have gone back over to where I had died and found my previous self and looted what bits I had on me, but instead decided to go off in another direction, in which I found another untimely death as I was surrounded by strange red creatures.. It is stunning to look at and as stated above, needed much more than the time I had to play it to really get into it. Definitely on my radar and hopefully, now it is in a state that Capybara are happy to let people play it, a release date should be just around the corner.
Another game that caught my eye due to its strong visuals was Planet Alpha, an adventure game that mixes platforming, puzzles and stealth, where players will uncover the ability to control the planet. Taking place within a living alien world, planet alpha had me thinking of titles such as Limbo and Inside, albeit with a brighter colour palette. Another game that could have warranted more time playing to see more of the mechanics withing it, although what I did play was an enjoyable challenge.
The portion of the game I got to play involved some fast action platforming that required some well timed jumps, coupled with some slight puzzle elements, where I had to manipulate the time of day in game, in order to make giant mushroom-like plants grow to use as platforms. plenty of sliding down paths and having to jump at the last minute in order to make the landing, there was also crumbling platforms that had to be traversed quickly in order to yet again make the jump. Hopefully this has a story board similar to that of Limbo and/or Inside where the player has to piece together the game and come to their own conclusions. I really enjoy titles that can start a conversation about their meaning and story. Another game without an exact release date, but should be releasing sometime in 2018 according to publishers Team17.
Bit of a retro styled game up next with Huntdown, a co-op shooter where players take on gangs in hope of claiming bounties and beating the boss at the end of each level. given a 16-bit style and stereotypical 80’s punk enemies, it’s manic, frantic, fast, furious and any other word that you can associate with this over the top chaotic shooter. there’s guns-a-plenty as every enemy drops theirs and is ripe for the picking, also expect to die, a lot, and be prepared to make the mad dash to pick up your partner before you’re both downed else it’s game over!
We played 2 player co-op and opted to go after The Hoodlum Dolls, Both players share the same screen, which meant total mayhem would break out quite often, and often I would loose track of where my character was, it’s a tough, yet enjoyable experience, perfectly capturing the good old days of arcade cabinet games, that would destroy your pocket money within minutes. Panic also set in when one of us would get knocked out, leaving the other player to deal with the enemies whilst also trying to beat the count down to revive the other in time. It lead to a few high-pitched “Nononono” moments, especially during the Boss fight where the boss was just relentless at chasing me around the screen while I was trying to get back to picking up Dave. In all, a great throwback experience and one all you retro lovers out there will want to check out when it’s released.
Already a huge hit on PC, Descenders is a game I just had to check out. We did sort of agree to meet Mike, the brains behind publisher No More Robots, and we did catch the odd glimpse of him now and then while he was darting in and out of the ID@Xbox area. (Apologies for not saying hi if you’re reading this Mike, but you looked super busy..) So we patiently waited our turn to check it out as this was another busy area on the day.
What we got to play was just as expected and what has been said about the game since its PC release is pretty spot on, The game gave us a quick tutorial on how to handle the bike, with a dual control aspect using the left stick to turn and rotate in the air and the right stick to pull off Bunny Hops and step the back end of the bike out. I found it particularly easy to pick up and play, but some practice is definitely needed to master this high speed procedurally generated down hill mountain bike game. One that a lot of people have asked for and is finally coming to Xbox One, via the Game Preview Program “soon”.
That wraps it up for our EGX Rezzed picks. Don’t forget if you missed Part 1 go and check that out HERE! We’ll see you again with some more EGX posts in September from Birmingham.