Run by the guys from Eurogamer and Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Rezzed describes itself as a PC and indie gaming show for the public. Jake and Chris were allowed out on day release yesterday to go down to Brighton and enjoy it. Let’s see how they got on.
For a relatively small show, at no point did I get bored at Rezzed. Unlike larger conventions or expos, this was very much all about the games. It was the selection of the games on offer that made the show the success that it was — specifically the Leftfield Collection, the area dedicated entirely to indie games. These games were so well suited to a show like Rezzed because they could almost all be played in small chunks. I could happily sit down at McPixel and play, bewildered, for 3 minutes and come away feeling like I’d got a pretty good impression of what the game is all about. This is far less true for Rift or End of Nations, say.
So what did I get to play?
I’d only heard of this in passing, but managed to get to sit down with it for 10 minutes or so. It’s a Lucha Libre-inspired side scrolling beater-upper, with beautiful art direction and animation that reminded me a bit of Shank, but with a lot more charm. It also stays fresh by adding a dimension swapping mechanic, which offers some neat puzzles and platforming wherein you’ll have to time jumps and dimension swaps to get to hard to reach areas. It was definitely the most polished of all the Leftfield games there, but also probably the least ‘indie’ feeling game.
Arbitrary Excitement Rating: 8/15
I went back and played this twice. It’s exactly what I’ve been missing since playing almost entirely PC games – a frantic, local multiplayer thing which inevitably ends in shouting, swearing and real-world violence. It’s like a cross between Smash Bros and football with lovely, simple lo fi graphics. The aim of the game is to get the ball into the water on your half of the map, without falling in yourself and with the other player constantly harassing you, with lots of air-jumping. Once you’ve got the hang of it it gets pretty tactical as you try and trap your opponent or fake them out. We kept going back to it to see if we could get another go, but it proved pretty popular with the crowd, which is as good an endorsement as any.
Arbitrary Excitement Rating: Fun / 10
Absolutely mental. This drew a big crowd for a game that was only announced very recently. And rightly so. It was the perfect ‘I’ll just have another quick go’ game, that sees you playing in a top-down, Gauntlet-style perspective, kicking ass in a retro 80s Miami. It was also fiendishly difficult and balances speed and aggression with the need for carefully planning how you were going to take everyone out. It was the biggest surprise of the show and I loved it. Did I mention that you play as a muscled, action-hero cockerel? Yeah.
Arbitrary Excitement Rating: 600
I’ve played an earlier version of this at home and already totally fallen in love with it. A loud, busy show floor probably wasn’t the best place to demo this slow and thoughtful exploration game, but every time I walked past it a different person was sat, mesmerised by its dreamy visuals and music. Creator Ed Key has managed to balance the game beautifully between allowing the player to explore the magical environments while subtly signposting what to do to progress, and David Kanaga’s adaptive soundtrack complements the visuals and atmosphere perfectly. It made me very happy that a games show exists where I can sit and play this sort of game for 10 minutes.
Arbitrary Excitement Rating: 9 pastel-coloured, ambient frogs out of 12
I’ve been watching this one for a long time and it was definitely something that I was looking forward to getting my sweaty hands on. Gunpoint is being developed by PC Gamer writer, Tom Francis and is a game about ‘rewiring things and punching people’. You’re a spy who has to break into assorted buildings to hack into computers and steal stuff. What makes it interesting is the ability to rewire the building like some kind of kleptomaniac electrician. Sadly, I wasn’t bright enough in the short time I had with it to do anything other than rewire lights to turn off so I could pounce on guards to punch them in the face. But hoo boy! I could literally punch a guard in the face all day, it’s so satisfying.
Arbitrary Excitement Rating: Ten
The Cat That Got the Milk
Chris actually finished this whole game in one sitting. It’s a game where you play a sort of cat trying to get to something that could be milk, I guess, through a maze that looks like a Mondrian painting. It was pretty fun in that compulsive, ‘I’ll stop when I beat this level – oh no I won’t', Meat Boy kind of way. Best of all it’s free to play in Unity right here.
Arbitrary Excitement Rating: Miaow
That’s it for now. Chris will be back tomorrow with his impressions of the show and possibly some of the games that I missed. Thanks to the organisers and especially to Tom Champion for doing what looked like a shit-ton of work.