While it’s always good to get an early hands on with those blockbuster AAA games that are releasing just over the horizon, it’s the Leftfield, Rezzed and indie zones at EGX that interest me the most. The innovation, passion and creativity on show in these areas always give me a refreshed interest in gaming and EGX 2017 was no different.
The indie titles of EGX 2017’s showfloor were all of top calibre – I didn’t play a single dud that didn’t show promise – but there were a few that stood out among the crowd. Here are 12 of my personal favourites.
Playing Forgotton Anne is like stepping through the screen into the middle of a Studio Ghibli movie. It’s a cinematic 2D platformer with an astonishing hand drawn aesthetic set in a mystic land called the Forgotton Realm. This world is where everything you’ve lost or forgotten about transport to and become Forgotlings. The game tells the story of Anne and an old man called Bonku who find themselves trapped in the Fogotton Realm. Forgotton Anne is set to launch in late 2017 on PS4, Xbox One, PC and this has “potential GOTY” written all over it.
Developer Makin Games know their audience for Raging Justice. That’s why the game was being demo’d on an arcade cabinet on the EGX showfloor. A retro inspired side scrolling brawl-’em-up, Ragins Justice isn’t just another “also ran” side scrolling fighter. It’s a love letter to Streets of Rage, Double Dragon and the under appreciated Renegade written on modern day stationery for an 80’s audience. Releasing on the PC, Mac and Xbox One at launch with plans for a Switch and PS4 release in the future, Raging Justice is one to watch.
The Lost Bear
So, we’ve covered The Lost Bear quite a lot here at FingerGuns with Paul providing a review and the kind folk at Oddbug answering my questions about the game. Unfortunately, because I don’t own a PSVR (yet), I hadn’t managed to try the game – until EGX. Both my son and I had a blast with The Lost Bear and it was the final straw to push me into buying a VR headset. The extra immersion that VR adds, even to what is essentially a unique mix of a VR theatre mode and 2D platformer, is worth the price of admission. The Lost Bear is available now on PSVR.
Yoku’s Island Express
Combining platforming and pinball into one game isn’t something new but no one has done it as well as developers Villa Gorilla. In it you play as Yoku a dung beetle who’s the new postal delivery animal for a tropical island and, for some reason, is tethered to a rock*. That rock* helps Yoku propel himself around the island as the intelligently designed level that played switches between exploration, platforming and pinball. It looks fantastic, plays really smoothly and I was nodding my head all the way through the demo. A day one purchase for me.
*Team 17 have informed us that this “Rock” is actually a ball of dung, which makes sense because Yoku is a dung beetle. I somehow love this game even more now.
Shape of the World
A Quick Disclaimer: I backed Shape of the World on Kickstarter. After playing it at EGX, I’m truly glad I did. Part visual experiment, part meaningful walking simulator like Proteus, Shape of the World is going to be a real trip. The basic premise is that you’re walking through a lush garden environment that grows as you walk through it and it conjures up some truly lovely visuals. I can’t wait to explore more.
Combining the heft and manoeuvrability of retro racing games such as Dethkarz and Hot Wheels Turbo Racing with an emphasis on survival and exploration rather than doing laps, Yucatan felt truly wonderful to play. It transported me back to a time in my childhood when I used to explore every nook and cranny of a race course, just taking it all in at my own pace and ignoring race going on around me. Yucatan has you flipping, barrel rolling and skidding around tracks with an art style reminiscent of Grim Fandango and the stylised Day of the Dead which make for an odd but very appealing game. Yucatan is looking to come to the PC and PS4 in 2019.
Genesis: Alpha One
We’ve been keeping a close eye on Genesis: Alpha One here at FingerGuns because, as well as being a unique combination of survival sim, base building, resource manager and first person shooter, it looks pretty damn good too. In it you play as the leader of a crew that have been shot into deep space to try and find a new planet for humanity. Along the way, you’ll be fighting aliens and eventually splicing alien DNA with that of your crew in order to survive in harsher, more hostile conditions. The demo we played at EGX was an alpha build which meant it’s still a way off from release but you could already tell that this was going to be a deep and very interesting title.
Purrfect Date was paws down my favourite game of EGX 2017. The writing, the visuals, the soundtrack and the general premise were all on point and as if they were laser guided to my tastes. It won’t be for everyone but if you like to laugh while you game, keep your eyes out for this one when it releases this Winter. If you want to know more, I did a full write up of my time with Purrfect Date which you can read by CLICKING HERE.
Mantis Burn Racing
“Hey! Mantis Burn has been out for ages? Why is this on this list?” I can hear you asking. Well, Mantis Burn Racing was playable for the Nintendo Switch for the first time at EGX and it’s coming with all of the DLC for the same price as the original version. Playing MBR on a handheld felt like the start of a dangerous addition. I had flashbacks to the time I was hooked on Motorstorm RC on the Vita and the literal weeks I spent shaving milliseconds off my times while on the bus, toilet and even nightclubs. If you’ve got a Switch and you’re looking for something to kill some* time, check out Mantis Burn Racing when it hits. Rossko also write up about Mantis Burn Racing which you can read by CLICKING HERE.
Okay. I was a little unfair to Shift Quantum before playing it. You see, the black and white switching mechanical puzzler feels like it had been done to death and I couldn’t imagine there being any more originality left in the genre. I was wrong. Shift Quantum, the sequel to Shift from Antony Lavelle, does something new and mind bending with the mechanics and I can’t wait to get my grey matter into it when it releases for PC and Consoles.
Production Line is the latest game from Positech and possibly Cliff’s best. Combining the modular detail and customisation of games like Big Pharma with the speedy building of Sim City, Production Line is Factorio 2.0. In it, you must build an efficient and cost effective Car Assembly line using all the lean processing you can muster, right down the granular level. I got the feeling from my short time with Production Line that this is going to be one of those “I’ll just have a quick go now that the kids are in bed…*blink*… why is the sun coming up?” games and I can’t wait to lose sleep to it.
It wouldn’t be an EGX with a Gang Beasts stand. The game has hardly progressed in the years that it has been attending EGX but when it’s so damn fun that there is a 15 min queue for the game which had 8 people playing at any one time, they know they hit pay dirt. “It’s coming” the lovely man running the booth said when asked about the PS4 version. I hope it’s soon.