Here are eight great games that were on show this year that I just had to tell you about. There were a few more which caught my attention, so stay tuned for the next list. In the meantime, scroll down for some incredible stuff, some of which is coming out pretty soon.
Mable And The Wood
The origins of Mable And The Wood can be traced back to April 2015 when creator Andrew Steward took part in a Ludum Dare game jam. It’s a metroidvania set in a dying world where you play the shapeshifting Mable who has just been resurrected by a strange cult.
Mable has a sword that she can barely carry. She also has the ability to take on the form of a tiny fairy. She can take on the form of the bosses that she kills, which then changes how the world can be explored. Interestingly, you can finish this metroidvania without killing anyone. You’ll just have to figure out what to do in a world that is slowly falling apart through the overuse of magic. Stay tuned for the game’s release later this year!
CHANGE: A Homeless Survival Experience
Currently in Early Access on Steam, CHANGE: A Homeless Survival Experience is described by its developer Delve Interactive as “an emotional homeless survival experience set in a randomly generated city with rogue-like elements.” I’m really interested in how video games tackle social issues. In CHANGE, you have to make lots of difficult choices and you’ll find that more often than not, your choices are very limited.
You mustn’t let the police catch you begging and you have to try to stay warm at night. The only way to initially make money is by picking up scrap which you can exchange for a tiny sum at a recycling center. At first glance, the game seems to do a fairly good job of raising awareness of homelessness by giving players the opportunity to walk a mile in a stranger’s shoes, so to speak. According to the Steam page, 20% of the developer’s profits from this game will be donated to charities that are focused on the issue of homelessness.
I think Growbot is set to become one of the most beautiful 2D point-and-click games to ever be released. Currently in development by Wabisabi Play, you play as Nara who is a growbot training to become a captain. When Nara’s space station is attacked, it’s up to her to save the day.
Growbot initially reminded me of Machinarium so, Amanita Design fans, you might want to keep an eye out for this. The incredibly detailed artwork practically glows from your screen. It is a truly fantastic and charming realization of a bio-punk universe, almost ready for exploration.
Did you enjoy ABZU and wish you could’ve explored the ocean some more? Or maybe you really liked Subnautica but would’ve liked a more relaxing experience minus creatures that want to eat you? Well, look out for E-line Media’s Beyond Blue, which will be released later this year.
Created in association with the BBC Studios, Beyond Blue is an incredibly immersive tale set in the South China Sea. I enjoyed every second underwater – everything looked stunning from the animation of the shoals, to the colours of the corals to the play of light on the sea floor. Mirai felt like a strong and witty protagonist and I can’t wait to dive into this again.
In El Hijo, you play as a six-year-old boy in a setting that very much reminded me of the American frontier. This is a brilliant non-violent stealth game where El Hijo must sneak around to escape and find his mother. I loved the colours and El Hijo’s mischievousness. For example, if you like (and nobody is around), you can pee into a pool in the monastery.
El Hijo can throw stones to distract monks in the monastery, sneak around in the shadows, and jump into laundry baskets to hide. According to the developers, the environmental puzzles take place in three locations: first, a remote monastery, then the desert, and lastly, a frontier town.
Nanotale – Typing Chronicles
I’ve not played Epistory but now that I’ve had a go at the Nanotale – Typing Chronicles demo, I really want to. Its developer Fishing Cactus describes the game as an “atmospheric typing adventure RPG“. You play as a novice archivist named Rosalind who initially explores a colourful and clearly magical environment to collect plant and rock samples.
Everything is done from the keyboard and the game supports several keyboard layouts. This includes not just movement, but also combat – in order to defeat your enemies in magical combat, you have to type specific words quickly. Oh, the power at your fingertips! Nanotale – Typing Chronicles will be coming out later this year.
Close to the Sun
Close To The Sun is set in 1897 in an alternate reality where Nikola Tesla builds the gargantuan Helios. The Helios is the Eighth Wonder Of The World. It is meant to be a haven for the greatest scientists alive. You play as Rose, a journalist, in search of her sister Ada who has desperately sent for her.
Rome-based developer Storm In A Teacup describes Close To The Sun as a first-person horror adventure. I very nearly screamed while playing the demo. It’s certainly atmospheric – clinking chains, groaning ships, dripping water, a quarantine warning and great voice acting. This is one to play in the dark with headphones. I got a lot of Bioshock vibes from it and am looking forward to its release next month.
Presented by Double Fine, KIDS by Playables really stood out. The game has a very striking visual style and it was accompanied by the phrase, “A game of crowds.” There were no instructions and yet, I found it strangely hypnotic.
Clicking on the screen triggers reactions from the figures. Sometimes they jump into a large gaping hole in the middle screen and sometimes they run away from you. In one scene, you can get them to do a Mexican wave. It’s quite hard to describe!
Were you at Rezzed too? If there are any other games you played at Rezzed that aren’t on the list, let us know. In the meantime, stay tuned for The Indie Toaster’s next list of great games that were at Rezzed!