“KO” I hear down the headphones as my Ryu falls for the third consecutive match to my son’s Zangief. We might be sitting in the “Casual match” seats at the EGX arena but my lad doesn’t take any game “casually”. ‘I’ve created a monster’ I think to myself as I lean to the side to see if he wants a rematch, but instead of seeing my little gaming prodigy, there’s a Jedi cosplaying stranger looking back at me. Logan, having had enough of beating me at Street Fighter, decided to just get up and walk off to play the next game he sets his sights on. This was the pattern to my entire Saturday at EGX. Like a whirlwind, Logan managed to play more than 50 games in just 7 hours at EGX 2018, excitedly bouncing from one to another, even coming back for more goes of his favourites, dragging me along in his wake (apologies to everyone he pushed in front of. Despite my best efforts, Logan has an incredible skill of finding free seats and sitting in them, even if there’s a queue of people waiting to fill them). On the drive home, we talked about all the games he played and he chose his top 10 (which he has asked we make a top 11 because he couldn’t choose between 2 games) in no particular order. This is what he picked:
Big Crown: Showdown
Ever since introducing “Family Gaming Sunday”, in which my brood of kids and I gather around the TV and play local multiplayer games together such as Treadnauts and Fossil Hunters, we’ve been looking to add new games to the mix. Logan’s reaction to Big Crown Showdown, a 4 player platformer that combines the competitiveness of Smash Bros with the charm of the 3D Platformers of Yore, means it’ll definitely be getting added into rotation when it releases. In the mode we played, each of the 4 Players (each playing as a Knight) starts with 5 lives and the idea is to get from the starting line to the final portal with as many lives in tact as possible. That’s easier said than done though as each track is fraught with danger. There’s spinning axes, pools of water that rise up and sink over time, jets of steam that’ll push you off should you get too close and even platforms which drop away should one of your opponents step on a button to drop you. Avoiding the pit falls the level throws at you are one thing, but you can also punch your opponents off the track too, costing them a life (unless they manage to raise their shield in your direction which will bounce you off perilously too). Big Crown: Showdown is a whole lot of fun and is immediately accessible which will likely make it a real party hit when it lands on PC and consoles.
Dead End Job
6 times. 6 times Logan went back to play Dead End Job. I shouldn’t be surprised. Ant Workshops’ “Ghostbusters meets Ren and Stimpy” themed twin-stick shooter is a damn fun game. Logan was a bit too young to understand some of the comedic references (I tried to explain the “Office AssistHaunt” and the Paperclip assistant joke but he was too busy blasting ghosts) but the fact that he managed to save all 3 “idiots” from the ghosts on his first attempt and still came back to play the game 5 more times means the game play and colourful aesthetic were enough to hook him. Funnily enough, Dead End Job was also one of my favourites from EGX 2018 too (and there’ll be a link here for that list when I get chance to type it up). Look out for Dead End Job when it launches in Q1 2019.
Double Pug Switch
Logan’s a big fan of Geometry Dash so it’s no surprise that he liked Double Pug Switch, a game that takes that platforming edge and gives it some ingenious twists. In Double Pug Switch, you play as a Pug (obvs) that can phase between being white and black at the press of a button. Why? Because the floor is dangerous for it when it’s the opposite colour for the dog. The white pug and run on the white floor and the black pug can run on the black floor but if the wrong pug steps on the wrong floor, it’s game over. The EGX demo was a nice slice of what to expect but the developers have some pretty smart ideas for the finished product including shifting planes of gravity. Planning on hitting the PC and Switch, keep an eye out for Double Pug Switch in 2019.
Nestled away in the Transfuzer area of the Rezzed Zone was a fun little multiplayer game called Kitchen Imps from Mich!ef Games. In it you play as 4 mischievous little blighters that squirt coloured ketchup everywhere. The idea of the game is to splat as many Kitchen items with your colour as possible, racking up your score, while avoiding the inherent dangers of a Kitchen to a 3 inch tall Imp (like drowning in the sink of falling off the counter). Of course, working against one another you can blast other players off the counter with your Ketchup bottle but you can also work together to get to hard to reach areas (like dropping a piece of bread into a sink which will float for a short time, allowing other players to leap across). It’s still early in development but Kitchen Imps has a tonne of potential to be a great party game with Logan playing against several other kids and all of them having a real blast.
Much is the power of influencers these days that if they post a YouTube video of it, my 9 year old son wants it. Most of the time, he doesn’t even like the game, but as long as he gets to play the same game as the folks he admires on YouTube, he’s happy. Amazing Frog(?) then, is one of those rare occasions that Logan deeply enjoyed his time with a game that an “influencer” informed him of, spending 20 minutes bumbling about as a frog that spawns from a toilet at EGX. Amazing Frog? taps into that Goat Simulator ragdoll hilarity but rather than being awkward to control, Swindon’s flatulent amphibian plays much more like an early GTA game. And, as the 4 teens all gathered around the game, squirting each other with water pistols then falling off rooftops can attest too, it’s fun as all hell. Amazing Frog? is available now on PC Early Access (and is the reason Logan has been insisting that I fix our PC ever since EGX).
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath
Now, I might have guided Logan’s hand on this one. You see, Strangers Wrath is one of my all-time favourite games in one my all-time favourite game series’, so I wanted to check it out (probably more than he did). Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on it because Logan was so glued to it. The game might be 13 years old but it looks sublime on the Switch, probably the best looking version of the game (at least the first 10 minutes before the demo ended) and it comes with some neat little tricks too. Using the Switch motion controls, you can fine tune your aim in first person by moving the controller without any of the fiddly touch pad’s getting in your way like it sometimes did on the PSVita. It goes without saying that Logan laughed about setting a Fuzzle trap to ambush some outlaws and had a lot of fun headbutting those he’d wrapped up with a Bollamite, much like I did back in 2005. It has hardly aged a day and it’s great to see Stranger Wrath getting another bite of the cherry and to see it in the hands of a new generation.
Billie Bust Up
3D Platformers have been coming back in a big way this past few years and it was great to see a really promising one – Billie Bust Up – at EGX that both Logan and I could enjoy. This game passes the most essential test of a 3D Platformer – it has incredibly cute main characters of which there are 2, Billie a goat and his Fox friend Oscar. Playing in split-screen, Logan as the fox and I as Billie, we barrelled around the initial section of the game collecting everything we could see in standard 3D platformer fashion. What’s more, both characters have special abilities. Billie can jump and swing around posts (carrying the Fox on her head) and can do a variety of attacks while her fox buddy can dig underground, leaving a tunnel for Billie to crawl through. The Fox also has the ability to see hidden treasure on its side of the screen while Billie cannot which forges a pretty tight partnership and encourages teamwork. It was obviously early in development but Billie Bust Up has quite a lot of character too it and does some new things for the genre that certainly excited both Logan and I. Currently being self-funded via Patreon, Billie Bust Up is certainly one for the younger gamers to watch.
Starlink Battle For Atlas
Skylanders. LEGO Dimensions. Disney Infinity. We’ve been through the ringer with all of them in our household so it comes as no surprise that Logan would adore Starlink too. Whereas when I played it, I was impressed by the game play, Logan was deeply impressed by the “Toys to Life” aspect of Starlink. The models that connect to your controller are really detailed and clicking them on to your ship for them to appear there in the game might have blown my mind as a kid, and it suitably impressed Logan. There’s quite a lot of customisation involved too – because I did it by accident, I told Logan that if you put the weapons on backwards, the weapons turn around in the game too. He had to try it for himself and he then spent 5 minutes just messing around with the weapons, swapping them from front to back to see how they looked. This demo definitely sold us on Starlink which hits Switch, PS4 and Xbox One on October 16th.
Team Sonic Racing
Looking up at the huge image of Sonic in his Kart with the words “Coming this Winter” along the top, Logan turned to me and said “Can we ask Santa for this for Christmas?”. “Santa” was very appreciative of the suggestion because he was struggling to think of really good presents to get Logan for Christmas this year and Team Sonic Racing fits that bill perfectly. If you’ve read Rossko’s write up from EGX, you’ll have heard that it’s pretty damn good but that’s a sentiment that both Logan and I echoed. The team play is sublime here with Logan, playing as Shadow, riding along in the golden tracks (that give you a speed boost) behind his team mate out in front physically said “I’m with you!” to the AI before firing off a squid thing to hit Sonic coming up behind them. It’s colourful and fun and most of all, instantly accessible for kids and adults alike. We’ve always been a Sonic household so we were always going to be buying this regardless, but after the EGX demo, “Santa” is safe in the knowledge that Team Sonic Racing is a damn good kart racer too.
Untitled Goose Game
Logan is a mischievous lad so it’s no surprise that he took to Untitled Goose Game like a duck to water. In essence, this title is all about being a nuisance, stealing vegetables, wrecking stuff and being naughty. That’s what makes it so adorably fun. We didn’t get long with the game (because Logan actually Queue jumped, picking up the Pad just as someone else left and a few minutes later I realised that there was a long line of very annoyed people waiting behind us to play) but those 5 minutes were some of the happiest from the day. For an excited 9 year old in a literal gaming heaven, acting like a naughty goose was bound to hit the mark and it did just that. Hopefully, we can get more time with the game at the next event (although, maybe less queue jumping next time, eh).
260+ new games and we still had to stop off for a few games of Battle Royale and a floss in front of the big Noob Skin sign. Because of course we did.