Alright folks, buckle up, because today is a long one. I spent this last weekend at EGX Rezzed, London’s biggest games event. This was my first time at the event and there was plenty on offer to take in, play and talk about. I attended for the full weekend (13th-15th April), with the ‘Superpass’ ticket. For £40, it sounds a little pricey, but the sheer amount of games on offer across the three days more than justified the price. Held at the gorgeous Tobacco Dock in London, there are almost too many games to discuss. But that’s the point of this post, so let’s dive in!
My pirate ship made sure I arrived right on time.
When surrounded left, right and centre with other games, it must be hard to stand out. Some games did rise to the top of the pack though. These are a few of my highlights.
Located in the Tentacle Room, a dark narrative card game beckons you to do its bidding. From the creator of Fallen London and Sunless Sea, this game invites you to play your cards right in order to form a Cult.
Starting as an Aspirant, you begin the game with a ‘job’ card which you place into your ‘Work’ slot. This in turn, bears more cards, like ‘Health’, ‘Funds’ and more slots to play with like ‘Dream’, ‘Study’, ‘Explore’, and ‘Talk’. Placing different cards in different slots generates more locations, books, people to meet, and eventually (fingers crossed) a Cult. You must balance your basic needs with running your Cult by attracting followers, avoiding attention from the authorities, and making sure you don’t just go, well….a little insane.
My cult of choice, along with a ‘Perpetual Edition’ key in the form of a grimoire USB that features in game!
I was lucky enough to win a ‘Perpetual Edition’ key via Twitter from the lovely folks at Weather Factory and have already spent a bit more time on the game than the demo that was shown at EGX; I absolutely love what I’ve seen so far and will be elaborating more in a future blog post, so look out for that!
What’s the opposite of Lovecraftian-esque horror gaming? Running a farm and battling with cute creatures called ‘Ooblets’ of course! Inspired by games like Harvest Moon and Pokémon, Ooblets encourages you to grow and train your Ooblets, have adventures and battle wild Ooblets and trainers. The game is made by Rebecca Cordingley and Ben Wasser. With just the two of them making up the core team, the game feels very personal. You can keep up with it over on their Patreon, where they talk about interesting things like teaching themselves to code.
From the look of the demo, the art style is super cute, the Ooblets follow you around town as you meet new creatures, friends and grow some more! I’m already a fan of similar games like Animal Crossing so this is right up my street. The game is set for release at some point this year.
Raji: An Ancient Epic
Some games are pretty. Some games have great, fun combat. Raji: An Ancient Epic has both. Raji is a young girl, chosen by the gods to defeat demons, in search of her missing younger brother. Even from the very short demo I played, I was immediately sucked into the world of Ancient India; from the beautiful music that begins as Raji wakes, to the mandala-inspired puzzles.
Raji fights with a lighting stick that appears before her at the beginning of the game. She immediately whips that stick from the ground and begins beating demon butt with it. The combat is fluid, easy to get to grips with, and I didn’t get bored of dealing with the demons as I ran along. But don’t take my word for it – you can try the free demo for yourself on Steam. The release date isn’t until next year, but the game certainly looks worth the wait.
Couldn’t help but wonder what the insurance was on the venue – more computer screens than I’ve seen in my life!
It’s impossible to talk about every demo I got to play in detail, but I can’t write about this event without mentioning this next bunch. Lost Ember is a beautiful adventure indie, where you play as a wolf (and other creatures), tracking your way through your companion’s memories as you explore your surroundings. Heaven’s Vault, from the maker of popular mobile game 80 Days, follows an archaeologist and her robot sidekick (with stunning hand drawn 2D art against the 3D environments) as they search ancient ruins and translate ancient languages.
Sunless Skies, the sequel to Sunless Sea, encourages you to carve out a life among the stars by travelling around in a Gothic steam locomotive; the developer session with writer and editor Olivia Wood was particularly insightful into creating narrative in this abominable atmosphere. It’s available to play now Early Access on Steam. Homo Machina is a 2D mobile exploration game inspired by Dr. Fritz Kahn’s medical illustrations; suitable for any age – I was completely absorbed in investigating the various parts of the Eye, Mouth and so on.
Adrian tries Octahedron, a tricky platformer with great music
In addition to all of the above (are you exhausted by the sheer amount of game titles yet?) there was the wonderful Leftfield Collection, focused on games that are a little outside of the box.
There was plenty to explore in this section but the ones that stayed with me were Tala and the Flower Seed, a short game that mixes animation and real world photography; Before I Forget, a narrative exploration into dementia (each recollection brings the world around into colour, a simple but effective way to express a difficult topic); Weaving Tides, where you fly around on a dragon with a ribbon tail and stitch your way through the world; and Bury Me, My Love, a mobile game where you follow the journey and relationship of Nour, as she flees Syria and tries to reach Europe (the game plays out in real-time, as you click through messages between her and her husband Majd and wait anxiously for a reply).
Multiplayer games galore! Clockwise: Wargroove, Phogs, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Pode
If you prefer to play games with a friend, multiplayer games are still very much in fashion. A few of the best were Wargroove – a similar aesthetic to those of you who remember Advance Wars – (I tried to defeat my boyfriend with just an army of doggos and respect any game where this is an option); Phogs, where you play as a two headed dog solving puzzles (this can be played with just one controller, so great for families); Puyo Puyo Tetris, a mix of traditional tetris and the Japanese game Puyo Puyo played competitively for up to four players; and Pode, a super sweet game for the Nintendo Switch, which follows the story of a little rock helping a fallen star find its way home.
The chance to see the developers up close – Phoenix Point and X-Com creator Julian Gollop giving an interview in the Indie Room (the interviews are better than my sneaky photo taking skills)
And if all of that wasn’t enough, there were also Developer, Rezzed and Career Fair sessions available to attend every day. This was a chance to hear straight from the developers themselves, learn about getting into games journalism or programming, or simply enjoy some Dungeons and Dragons Live with the OXtra Crew. The bigger Developer sessions were streamed live and are still available to watch on Twitch – I’d really recommend Alexis Kennedy’s talk about Cultist Simulator (starting at 01:13) – it was less about selling the game, and more about how to make an Indie game in the current gaming climate.
Two thumbs up – playing games + great talks = one happy boyfriend
I honestly could just keep typing and typing about all the games on offer at Rezzed – but I’ll leave it there for now. I’d seriously recommend attending next year’s event, or the larger EGX in Birmingham in September if you’re into gaming, want to enter the industry, or just have a spare few days. I’m certain that I’ll be purchasing some of the games I’ve mentioned in this blog over the next few months, so this certainly won’t be the last you hear from me on the topic! If you need me, I’ll be over on Steam, wish-listing my favourites.
Talk about a loot box – stickers for days!
Did you attend EGX Rezzed this year? What were some of your highlights? Let me know in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter!