With the end of the event in sight and most of the big titles under wraps, Rebecca and I (Nicole) tied up loose ends with the final AAA games we’d hoped to cover before moseying over to the indie booths to have a final browse.
Rebecca: Save the best till last is a popular phrase and it certainty rings true with Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. These two instalments to the Pokémon franchise are true gems and were well worth the two hour queue we had to wait in before we got the chance to play. The demo is set in Viridian forest, a location familiar to Pokémon fans for its diverse residents ranging from bug to grass types. One thing that is immediately notable in the demo was the lack of random encounters, now players can see Pokémon nestled in the grass and plan their path accordingly as to if they want to interact with them or not. As the game is a mash up of the highly successful app which realised in 2016 an interactive Pokémon catching feature has been added. Whilst most authentic when using the pokeball plus controller players can now physically throw poke balls at every Pokémon they find using the same motion you would as if you were really throwing a poke ball. For such a small touch to the game it effortlessly brings a smile to your face and feels like a step in the right direction for the Pokémon franchise. Although it was not a feature in the demo, staff on the stand explained that there would be an in game co-op mode that expands on the co-op battles you can already participate with. And finally, that players with a vast catalogue of Pokémon via the Pokémon Go app can transfer team members from one system to the other. This leaves an incentive for established Pokémon Go players to take the plunge and get involved in a Pokémon game even if they haven’t peaked their interest before.
Nicole – I swore a personal oath to myself, vouching to hold off on buying a Nintendo Switch until a new Pokemon instalment arose. Fortunately, following the announcement for Pokemon Let’s Go, I finally had an excuse to purchase Nintendo’s latest handheld. Pokemon was the very essence of my childhood and growing up I always held dear the unattainable dreams of living out my own Pokemon adventures. The Switch alongside Nintendo’s Pokeball Plus remote essentially bridges the gap, making these dreams somewhat of a reality in a Pokemon Go and Generation one (Red, Blue and Yellow) hybrid. After looking into the Pokeball Plus remote my interest was spiked and I was keen to see how well it played. The button of the Pokeball itself acts as an analog joystick, allowing you to manoeuvre your character or navigate through menus and select by pressing it in. The controller functions smoothly and in accompaniment with the rumble feature provides a level of immersion Nintendo have been unable to deliver with their previous handheld consoles. Whilst surveying a new and stunning rendition of Viridian Forest in the demo, I was greeted with a prominent sense of nostalgia as well as an overwhelming desire to admire the newfangled features of Let’s Go Pikachu. The most obvious of which was wild Pokemon visibly roaming instead of engaging you in random encounters. It’s a refreshing feature that deters Let’s Go from feeling like another gen one remaster. Catching Pokemon with the Pokeball plus was another joyous experience, reiterating that immersion I mentioned prior, even more so as you hear the faint cries of your catches from the device itself. The demo was remarkably short in contrast to the time Rebecca and I spent queuing. It would seem by the lack of booths that Nintendo had clearly underestimated the interest in Switch’s first “real” Pokemon title.
Rebecca: From Thursday till today I had been eyeing up the Dark Pictures Anthology stand, curious to dabble in the latest instalment from Supermassive Games. Retaining the familiar Until Dawn structure the demo allowed players to take control of the outcome by deciding between two options, both of which set the story down two different paths. Man of Medan was the short on display today and featured a likeable cast and an eerie setting. A perfect setting in fact for the horror that ensured as I played through the demo. Filled with jump scares, unsettling revelations and unanswered questions The Dark Pictures Anthology is setting itself up to be just as good as Until Dawn, if not better.
Nicole – Kingdom Hearts is a franchise I’ve only ever dabbled in, however with the lure of it’s Disney themes and the more notorious Toy Story addition, I couldn’t help but get in line to give the highly anticipated Kingdom Hearts 3 a go. The demo offered you one of two playable options. The first of which was Olympus in which you were required to endure a battle against a powerful foe. However, my inexperience with the franchise in conjunction with my infamous love for Toy Story ushered me to partake in the Toy Box demo. Here I got to wet my whistle with a balanced combination of narrative, versatile combat and a vague introduction to characters all from the comfort of Andy’s bedroom. It was also a pleasure to see the game’s graphically enhanced without directly compromising the lighthearted and fun art-style the series flaunts so well. I was honestly dazzled by the demo and it goes without saying I’ve been persuaded to delve into the series yet again.
Nicole – A title I had to hunt down was Billie Bust Up, an upcoming 3D platformer from Blueprint Games. Taking the limelight are Billie and Oscar, a goat/ fox duo that embark on solving a thrilling mystery. Blueprint have effectively balanced the dark premise of the game with undeniable charm and “cutesey” characters. I mean come on, Oscar even emotes. The platforming within this quaint tale full of character is everything you could hope to expect within the genre and plays fluidly to constitute an amiable play. Furthermore, Billie and Oscar the protagonists harness a series of moves and abilities that work hand in hand, aiding them in traversing the platforming puzzles that make up the levels. For a game only in pre-alpha stages, I was thoroughly impressed with the level of detail the Billie Bust Up possesses including small mechanics like Oscar panting after running for a short while. What warmed my heart most about my time with Billie Bust Up was being able to talk to co-founder of Blueprint Games and 3D artist for the game, Katie Nelson. There was raw passion for the game in her words and I was completely overwhelmed by her undying love for what she’s helped create. I am in the process of interviewing the minds behind this incredible title so keep an eye to hear more. In the meantime, check out the links above to show your support, this game certainly deserves it.
Nicole – Although Curve Digital’s physics-based puzzler has been out a while, Human Fall flat made an appearance at EGX 2018, showcasing it’s fresh online multiplayer feature. Rebecca and I settled down to play and had a right royal laugh as we dangled from cliff faces and failed miserably to overcome the demo’s ensemble of puzzles. Human Fall Flat is a game best enjoyed played with others and I’m happy to see Curve identifying this and finding ways to ensure more players can solve puzzles this ingenious title together.
Rebecca: After polishing off the AAA titles on the show floor we diverted our attention to the Rezzed section and the impressive quantity of indie titles located there. First up was Human Fall flat, a comical title which has just received a multiplayer mode. Players take hold of limp humanoid characters and must tackle puzzles and challenging level designs with the mobility of someone on the wrong side of too many drinks. It’s a hilarious game and the new multiplayer mode is a guaranteed laugh.
Nicole – Following Rebecca’s recommendation, I pulled up a stool at the Gang Beasts demo in hope of enjoying it’s more competitive approach to it’s Human Fall Flat aesthetic. Aesthetics and a weighty character aren’t all Gang Beasts and Curve Digital’s physics-puzzler have in common as both induced an uncontrollable laughing fit amongst us as we played. By pressing different buttons you are able to punch, headbutt, pick up and toss your competing players. The game is wonderfully shrewd and makes for great multiplayer free-for-alls.
Rebecca: After Gang BeastsI found myself drawn to Unbound: Worlds Apart due to its Limbo-esque structure and simplistic art style. The demo showcased the games puzzler functions, including the unique ability to open up portals to another world. Doing so expands the background and reveals levers, platforms and pathways which are not visible in the characters world. It’s a unique mechanic and one which will hopefully set this indie game ahead of its competitors come its release.
Nicole – Catastronauts was another game Rebecca insisted I play which I was dubious about at first due to it’s Overcooked likeness. However, after running around like a headless chicken for a level or so, I swiftly grew accustom to the madness of the game and the enjoyment really nestled in. Catastronauts feels like a much less intense rendition of Overcooked with a smooth difficulty curve and diverse levels that don’t outstay there welcome. With it’s release on the horizon, I’ll be excited to pick it up.
So that’s EGX 2018 covered! Between the two of us we’ve covered a majority of AAA titles and savoured the indie games on selection. Thank you for reading our coverage and thank you for those who came to see us on the show floor over the duration of this event, I think I can say we both had a great experience.