Each year, EGX Rezzed proves to be a truly special event, and this year was no different. Once again, we found ourselves swamped by games that were fun, interesting, and sometimes brilliantly strange. We’ve already looked at the indie gems on show at the Leftfield Collection, so now it’s time to tackle the overall show. Here’s a list of our favourite games from this year.
Gang Beasts was one of our favourite games of EGX Rezzed 2015, and did well to enchant us once again with its innovative fighting mechanics and colourful characters. In brief, this is a local multiplayer brawler, where players compete to punch, kick and head butt their opponents into fiery pits, off the edge of tall buildings, and into the path of oncoming trains. Each character comes with a whole range of outfits to choose from – from animal costumes to a Mexican wrestling getup. The secret to Gang Beasts‘ success lies partly in its simplicity. The controls are simple enough for anyone to grasp, and as a result it can be a superb party game.
A lot has changed since we saw the game last year. New maps have been introduced, as well as new outfits for characters. But the biggest the difference this year was the game’s use of VR. With a VR headset, players can follow their character around the stage, allowing them to get a better look at the action. You can also look out for incoming obstacles. This made the biggest difference on the Trucks map, where players are standing on top of a couple of lorries as they hurtle down a road. Every so often a big road sign comes along and sweeps any unfortunate brawlers off one of the trucks. Thanks to VR, players can now peer ahead to see when such obstacles are approaching, allowing them to get out of the way in time.
Based around a Scandinavian folk game, Stikbold! is a quirky and colourful multiplayer sports game. The gameplay is akin to dodgeball – players run around a circular court, trying to knock others out while dodging the ball themselves. A single hit stuns an opponent, while a second will knock them out for that round. As well as a single player story mode, Stikbold! also features a co-op campaign, and four-player competitive multiplayer.
As yet another game that thrives on its capacity for local multiplayer, Stikbold! has much of the same appeal as Gang Beasts. It’s a thrill to play with others, and is sure to bring out your competitive side. It may even break a few friendships apart in the process. The action is fast-paced, relentless, and thrilling. A large part of the appeal comes from the chaos that arises during matches. Once a player is knocked out, they can continue to interfere with the match by sending obstacles flying across the court. With so much going on on-screen, it’s difficult to survive for more than a few seconds. Different courts provide different challenges, meaning no two matches are ever the same. The obstacles also help to level the playing field, pegging back those players who could otherwise run away with the game.
Dark Souls III
I almost feel guilty writing about Dark Souls 3, putting it on the best five of the show floor. Of course it was going to be on this list, because I, like many others, have been swept up by the Souls craze. I even promised myself that I wouldn’t play the game at EGX since it’s coming out in a few days anyway, but, at the promise of a free T-shirt if I beat the area and the boss in the demo, I had to try my luck.
The area itself was fairly basic, compared to what we’ve seen before in Dark Souls and Bloodborne, both games led by Miyazaki, the director of Dark Souls 3. Seeing as it was just a 20 minute demo, they didn’t have time to show us the meandering and winding branching and reconverging paths and shortcuts that the Souls series is known for, yet even still, within the small section of the area shown, the High Wall of Lothric, some of this design was evident. After a few minutes of being lost in Miyazaki’s labyrinthine construction, with time rapidly ticking for my allotted play slot, I stumbled into the boss arena, constantly on the defensive, skirting around it’s unpredictable, gangly limbs swiped and stabbed in my direction. Soon I was out of firebombs to throw at it from afar, soon I was out of Estus Flasks to replenish my health, soon I was dead.
All this is to say that I didn’t win that T-shirt.Only 5 people that day earned their T-shirt, which made me feel slightly better about my loss. Still, and now more than ever, I’m looking forward to locking myself in my room and not seeing any of my flatmates for the next week as I bash my head again and again against the Soulsian wall.
Super Arcade Football
Adam and I played this game for a while. It’s a very simple football game, with very simple controls. No tricks, dribbles, lobs, through shots, and the like. A to pass, B to shoot. Something like that, anyway. Each of your adorable little footballers move with arcade-y speed, running up and down the pitch within a few seconds, infusing each game with a constant level of excitement. Tackles often are left without punishment, encouraging an all-out form of play, the ball never staying with one team for too long. Yet despite this simple take on football, everything – from the speed at which players move, to the way passes respond to your button input, to the degree of control given over the ball’s direction in slow-mo shots at the goal – feels perfectly tuned. Everything feels right, and well executed gamefeel is something that needs to to be nailed for a multiplayer game of such simplicity. Super Arcade Fotball is definitely worth keeping an eye out for as it joins the local multiplayer (“couch co-op”) renaissance of recent years.
Table Top Racing: World Tour
I can’t deny the first time I played TTR: World Tour, I was unimpressed. It felt like a rather simplistic affair, an unremarkable racing game. The graphics were decent, the game mechanics felt alright, but I couldn’t see the appeal. However, over the course of the afternoon I found myself returning to it time and time again, and it kept growing on me.
The multiplayer aspect of the game was what helped to change my mind. With 8 player races, things quickly got hectic as we all fought to stay on the track. Items such as rockets allow you to take out opponents, while obstacles on the tracks themselves can play havoc with drivers. Steering is surprisingly tricky, but this just adds to the mayhem. In a full match, it’s difficult to stay ahead with so many things to keep an eye on.
There are a twelve vehicles to choose from, and twenty different race tracks. There’s also an exclusive YO! Sushi race track to compete on, if you’re a particularly big fan of product placement.