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EGX REZZED Round Up — Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of our EGX Rezzed round-up. The weather favoured us on day 2 as well and there was plenty of sunshine to provide annoying glare when you were trying to hunker down and get immersed in some video game goodness. Without further ado, here’s what we saw on the second day of our trip around the EGX floor.

Axiom Verge

PS4 and PS Vita – Spring 2015

Axiom Verge looks so similar to Super Metroid that you’d fear there might be legal action in the offing. It’s a fantastically visceral Metroidvania style adventure with incredible music and gorgeous pixel art. You’d be doing it a disservice not to play it with headphones on, and that’s just what we did.

While those fatigued by the pixel renaissance may see little more here than another clone of a winning formula, Axiom Verge knows what it’s doing and it does it well. Take notice.

Soul Axiom

Steam Early Access (Out Now) PS4, Xbox One and Wii U – Coming Soon

No relation to Axiom Verge, trust us. Wales Interactive’s Soul Axiom is an interesting meditation on humanity and the soul. A strange story that takes place across various worlds, you’re tasked with unlocking the secrets of your soul with little to no guidance. Soul Axiom is an immersive first person game loaded with devilish puzzles and clever gameplay touches.

In the early access build, the game was difficult to a fault, and it was hard to make sense of the second major puzzle. Maybe with more time to dwell on it, it would have been obvious, but with a queue of folks behind you waiting for a turn, it’s hard to get your head in the game. There’s promise, but definitely some changes that need to be implemented for the impending release.

Taphobos

Oculus Rift – TBA 2015

The name is a mash-up of the Greek words for tomb, “taphos” and fear, “phobia”. Taphobos is an insanely unique prospect. You don an oculus rift, a headset, and a microphone, and you climb inside a coffin.

You’re entirely alone, with nothing but your microphone connecting you to the outside world. On the other end, you have a friend with a controller navigating an old tomb. You must use the usual clues and word cues within your coffin to direct them to your burial site and rescue you before you run out of oxygen and die.

In-game, of course, but the feeling of terror and claustrophobia is palpable, helped by the Oculus’ rendering of your coffin as a dingy, musty mess rather than the relatively cushy and clean one you stepped into initially. While not necessarily commercially viable, it’s another incredible and unique use for Rift technology, VR, and a few good props that really showcases the bizarre goodness of indie games.

Knee Deep: Act 1 — Wonderland

Windows, Mac and Linux – TBA 2015

Knee Deep Episode 1: Wonderland was one of the highlights of the show. An engaging, story driven swamp-noir story set in a backwater tourist trap in Florida, it immediately evoked Telltale Games stylings. Knee Deep looks like a stage play, and each of the locations fold in and out like stage props.

The opening frames you as an audience member watching the events unfold, and the strange, abstract style allows for a focus on story above all else, with the player following three main characters in the full episode. The EGX Preview Demo only showed game play with Romana Teague, a cheeky, edgy blogger, but there was excellent scope for the story to branch out and evolve.

Players can choose how Teague delivers her blogs, going for a style that might please her belligerent editor but enrage the town folks. Knee Deep is a game all about story and choices, and we’re very excited to see more of the backwater world of Cypress Knee.

Schrodinger’s Cat and The Raiders of the Lost Quark

Steam – Out Now, Xbox One and PS4 – Summer 2015

Schrodinger’s Cat has been out on Steam for some time now, but with it coming to current gen consoles, it seemed worth a revisit. The game has an excellent sense of humour and a satisfying mix of puzzle platforming and combat, set in a unique and frankly adorable world. It reminds us of Rayman Legends and its ilk, and that’s no bad thing.

The early tutorial quickly teaches you the values of the various Quarks, each with its own ability. It’s up to you to figure out how to combine these in button combos to achieve a variety of effects, including creating a parachute, a jet pack, of sorts, and also creating moving and bouncing platforms.

From the brief hands on time we got, if the puzzle mechanics expand neatly without becoming too convoluted or confusing, Schrodinger’s Cat is definitely one to pick up. Especially with a name like that, a neat reference to the famed thought experiment.

Beyond Eyes

PC/Xbox One/PS4 – TBC 2015

In Beyond Eyes, you are blind 10-year-old Rae, who leaves her garden in search of her fat cat. You navigate the unique world through touch, smell, and sound. The world is painted in gorgeous pastel colours and fills in around you as you move forward, disappearing behind you, revealing an abstract world discovered by Rae’s remaining senses.

The visuals and sound are beautiful in the game. It’s a serene experience that needs to be played alone with headphones to really absorb the experience, and it is just that. While some gamers may deride the industry’s love of so-called “Walking Simulators” like Gone Home or Dear Esther, Beyond Eyes looks like a gorgeous game for fans of the artistry innate within the gameplay experience.

A Light in Chorus

Source: ALightinChrous.com

Source: ALightinChrous.com

PC/TBA – 2016 TBA

A Light in Chorus is like nothing you’ve ever seen before, and it’s not often that can be said about a game without it being hyperbole. The game is set in a rich world of contrast, with everything being made entirely of particles of light of varying colours.

It’s meant to be a meditative and contemplative experience, an engrossing dive into an abstract world of objects. It has to be seen in motion to be truly appreciated.

According to the developers, Broken Fence Games, the gameplay involves players making “choices about how they bring to life a set of ghostly, overlapping worlds (and stories) by collaging lights, spaces and sounds.”

While the hands on time we had with the game proved that the actual gameplay was a bit abstract and confusing, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and with a 2016 release penned, there’s plenty of time for the developers to refine their concepts and make something truly special.

Gratutious Space Battles 2

PC – 16th April, Mac, Linux – TBA

The first GSB title was a breath of fresh air (and something of a mouthful) in the space strategy genre. Rather than controlling swathes of units and all their minutiae you simply controlled the design of your space ships and their position on the galactic battlefield. The irony lay in the fact that this was someone just as complicated, if not more so.

GSB was a game for those who link to tinker and strategize, preferring to rely on their intelligence and know how of their ships rather than twitch reflexes in the heat of battle. The sequel looks set to continue that trend, with an even wider range of ships and options, and it allows you to edit the appearance of your ships down to the tiniest detail and upload them online for others to admire and download.

It also beefs up the graphics and focuses on the things that made GSB great. Namely, more explosions, more lasers and more spectacle. Developer Cliff Harris also told us that there is a renewed focus on bring new players in, with a more robust tutorial and a smoother learning curve.

Big Pharma

PC – TBA 2015

If you’ve ever laid hands on Theme Hospital, then Big Pharma will either sound like a dream come true, or give you horrific Vietnam flashbacks. Twice Circled upcoming title is part business sim, part logistics puzzle and part moral conundrum.

You’re the head of a Pharmaceutical conglomerate, and from humble beginnings, you must grow your company to a drug peddling behemoth, being altruistic or simply using the illnesses of the masses to make money along the way.

While managing your business, you also need to consider how your various medical machines slot together in your limited factory space, and how you can make those machines and your staff work best from you. The game has a top down, isometric perspective with a tidy UI and pleasing visualisations of money coming in, money going out, and staff milling around. From what we saw, the game seems to be striking a wonderful balance between hardcore and casual, with wide appeal.

Heroes of the Storm

PC/MAC – TBA 2015

Heroes of the Storm will be a behemoth. There’s no doubt about that, and despite how you might feel about the MOBA genre, there’s nothing you can do about that. The game takes characters from across a myriad of Blizzard Entertainment’s universes (including Starcraft, Warcraft, and Diablo, ring any bells?) and drops them into an incredibly polished and robust game, even at the beta stage.

Boasting a roster of characters that would make Ultra Street Fighter 4 look understaffed, and with a in depth tutorial system that caters to all levels of experience, Heroes looks to steal the MOBA crown from Dota 2 and League of Legends and if anyone can do it, it’s Blizzard.

Our writer at EGX Rezzed isn’t a huge fan of MOBAs – in fact, he kind of hates them – but within a few minutes in Heroes of the Storm multiplayer match, he was hooked, and the tutorial in the Beta we played had the same effect. Blizzard can do no wrong lately, and they seem poised to conquer another genre. Avoid Heroes if you value your free time.

Bloodborne

PS4 – March 24th

While Bloodborne is very close to release, and in fact might already be out by the time of reading this, it had a great showing at EGX Rezzed and was consistently queued to the door. We got hands on with Bloodborne in September 2014 at previous EGX event, and the vertical slice we saw was fantastic in quality, if occasionally rough around the edges.

The new build at Rezzed showed exactly the same areas with another layer of polish, but there was no sign that we were seeing anything new in the 6 months that had passed since its last showing.
The game looks incredible, there’s no doubt about that, but there’s a niggling fear that we’re seeing a vertical slice that might not reflect the finished product.

We’re incredibly hopefully that Bloodborne will be up there with Demon Souls and Dark Souls in terms of quality and world building, with an extra layer of next-gen polish to really take things to the next level. We remain cautiously optimistic that everything is on course to be stellar.

Not a Hero

PC, PS4, Vita – TBA 2015

Not a Hero fits into Devolver Digital’s wheelhouse so well it’s a match made in heaven. A relatively unknown to us before EGX Rezzed, its presence was second only to the stellar Titan Souls in Devolver’s Space.

Another colourful, pixelated world from Olli Olli developers Roll 7, Not a Hero is an ultra-violent, fast paced masterpiece that sends you through a cross-section of a multistory building, sliding, shooting, and executing enemies while undertaking a myriad of objectives for Bunny Lord, an anthropomorphic alien rabbit come to earth to rule Britain and cleanse it of crime.

It doesn’t make much sense, but the offbeat, kooky retro vibe carried throughout our play test, and the core game play was immediately fun and incredibly gory, reeling you in level after level until the Developer rep tapped us on the shoulder and asked that we give someone else a turn.

Finishing Up

Obviously, there was a massive amount of games at EGX Rezzed, too many to see and play everything, even with two days and very little rest stops – except to enjoy some excellent Crate craft beer. We’ve covered the highlights of our visit, but there was plenty more on display. Check out the games list and dive in.

Cover image via

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Categories: Video Game Previews

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  1. KNEE DEEP: ACT 1 — WONDERLAND Review | Another Castle - 07/07/2015

    […] causes all this to come together to form such an entirely unique game? We checked out Knee Deep at Egx Rezzed earlier in the year, and what we saw at London’s Tobacco Docks was already impressive, even […]

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