London 2015: Games I played at EGX Rezzed (Part 1)

Two weeks ago (wow, it has been two weeks already) I flew to London to attend the EGX Rezzed convention and the 2015 BAFTA Games awards. I was planning on recording my impression of the trip while still there but the hotel’s bad internet connection prevented that. Instead, I wrote notes for everything I did in London, of all the games I got to try, and of the developers I got to speak with.

Big Pharma, by Twice Circled

Big Pharma is a tycoon style management game in which you control a pharma company and your goal is to produce medicine and earn money. You have a factory space, in which you place conveyor belts and processing machines, and import raw materials to turn them into a finished product. It also have a system for clinical trials, patents, side effect and more.

I quickly discovered while playing the game at Rezzed that it plays in real time, meaning that unlike most other management games, you cannot pause to give orders. If, for example, you want to change one of your production lines, and remove one of it’s components, the rest will keep working and you’ll waste materials and money. This is a problem I had with a similar game, Game Dev Tycoon, that if you didn’t act fast enough you could lose all your money while thinking.

Convoy, by Convoy Games

This was my first official “press” meeting at Rezzed. Convoy is very much a not-in-space-FTL, but better organized and structured. You control a vehicle convey roaming around a wasteland, trying to find the missing pieces for your crashed spaceship. You have a world map on which you direct your convey and look for quests. When you find one, you have a dialog screen much like in FTL events, and sometimes it’ll result in combat.

The combat is where Convoy shines. They’re in real time, with a pausing option, and you control the vehicles in your convoy individually (going through them with the number keys). It’s not enough to give your units attack orders, you need to direct the vehicles to catch up to the enemy in order to get in range for your weapons and abilities. Furthermore, wrong placement can result in crashing against the side of a cliff.

I expect Convoy to be just as engaging, and frustrating, as FTL.

Mushroom 11, by Untame

Mushroom 11 is this article’s “spotlight Israel”. It’s developed in part by the Israeli designer Itay Keren, and began as a project for the Global Game Jam. In the three years since its inception, it has garnered multiple awards and a lot of attention from the press.

But this was the first time I’ve played Mushroom 11. It began as a very relaxing, and engaging, experience, so much so, that it got me almost completely isolated from the sounds of the indie show room, and I just sat there and played. Later, watching others play, I understood that this level of immersion has a drawback, as while concentrating you miss a lot of background details in the game that are essential to its story.

The controls are a bit unintuitive at the beginning, it took me maybe 10 minutes to understand the principle behind it, but game is completely controlled with just one button.

When I got to the first boss, it wasn’t that relaxing anymore, but I was up to the task and defeated it! Beside that, there are some very cleverly designed puzzles which made me feel so good about myself when I beat them.

Mushroom 11

De Mambo, by The Dangerous Kitchen

I asked the team how does the name, De Mambo, relates to the game itself. And the answer was that it doesn’t  it’s just a relic of the production that no one remembers.

De Mambo is the first of many games of what is the biggest hit genre of Rezzed: four player multiplayer competitive fighting-platforming games, in the vein of Super Smash Bros. The goal is to get the other players off screen, using 3 levels of attacks, moving and jumping around. To make things more interesting, almost all of the blocks in a level can be destroyed, making falling more likely as a match progress.

There’s also a nice mechanic that gives you a chance at making a comeback even after all your lives have been lost. Those kind of elements that prevent players from getting bored while waiting for the next round to begin are a welcome and positive additions to any multiplayer game.

I’m not good at it. I barely managed to handle the d-pad controls used to move and jump around. But it looks solid and could garner some competitive community around it.

Game of Glory, by Lightbulb Crew

Game of Glory is another competitive multiplayer DOTA-like game. It changes things up by being a twin-stick shooter rather than a mouse-driven top-down RTS, with both a standard MOBA map (with minions and towers) and additional game modes. The MOBA mode borrows from Heroes of the Storm by having creep camps that when defeated will walk around the map, fighting the other players.

Its aesthetics are quite impressive, but beside that it doesn’t really brings anything new to the table. It will maybe find a place on the entry-level MOBA market, like Awesomenauts, from which it takes a lot of inspiration. The alpha is open right now for everyone, so you can go check it out for yourselves.

Stay tuned for part 2.

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