The Eurogamer Expo 2016 brought many games to thousands of gamers’ lives. There were VR titles, there were big AAA titles and there were a ton of lovingly created smaller indie titles begging to be given an opportunity. And you know what? For all the VR fanciness, the huge Playstation offering, the severe lack of Xbox and the numerous eSports and streaming sections, it was the Indie option that really intrigued me.
But which of the games on offer did I get really excited about? Which unknown quantity blew me away? Well, the following five titles are now right at the top of my hotly anticipated list.
Mechanised animals? Bright neon lights. Levels that lend themselves beautifully to speedrunning. What exactly is there to not like about Mekazoo?
I’m not sure to be honest.
A 2.5D platformer in which you control mechanised animals – Mekanimals, no less – through a series of strange, well created levels, making them swing, roll, bounce and clamber their way to the exit as fast as possible, Mekanimals could well be the surprise hit of 2016. With a speedrun challenge taking place at EGX and the game quite obviously set up for both those who like to compare themselves to friends, or gamers who want to search out hidden collectables, if you need a game to whisk you back to the glory platform days of the 1990s, Mekazoo could well be it.
Prior to arriving at EGX, I had heard nothing about Drive!Drive!Drive! I went away with it being the one title that really interested me.
Racing titles, especially indie racing titles, need to come with a clever USP in order to harness the enthusiasm of gamers brought up with the stunning visuals of the Forza series. Drive!Drive!Drive! doesn’t in any way try and replicate the stunning vistas of Forza Horizon 3, and it doesn’t try and compete with the hardcore simulations found with Project Cars.
What it does do though is give you one lap, three cars, three identical circuits and a simple question. Can you help all three cars navigate their way round the rollercoaster style tracks and cross the line before the AI? Think of it like a one-shot Trackmania Turbo. But with other cars. And slightly less visual polish.
Whilst the AI is considerably less smart than you – and a whole ton slower – you’ll find yourself flipping between tracks, taking control of one car at a time in order to push yourself to the front of the pack, before hot switching to another car, and another track in order to try and do the same again. It’s a clever concept and one that makes Drive!Drive!Drive! a hugely interesting title to keep an eye on.
I absolutely love twin stick shooters. I’m also rather partial to the odd local multiplayer title or two. However, in order to become a success, both twin stickers and local multiplayer titles need to hit you hard from the very first moment. Circuit Breakers does both…in spades.
Currently out on PC, with an Xbox One release in the offing, Circuit Breakers allows up to six players to fight their way through ever increasing waves of enemies as you fight to rid the universe of an intergalactic robot army. There is however a twist, and that comes in the form of ammo preservation and crystal collection…something which you would never normally associate with a game that, on the face of it, urges you to shoot, shoot and shoot some more!
With multiple challenges to get involved in, plenty of weapons to both choose from and unlock, and epic boss battles dropped in for good measure, Circuit Breakers brings the most classic of top down shooting action in the best possible way.
Chances are the price is going to blow you away too and if Excaliber Games can somehow manage to take the fast paced, super tight gameplay to the online masses, then Circuit Breakers should shine even more.
Sssitting ssslap bang in the middle of the indie zone was the gloriously bright, ssssuper cutesy Snake Pass – okay, enough of the sss’s. Kept away from the Team17/Playtonic Games Yooka-Laylee offering that it could quite easily get confused with – at least visually – Snake Pass offers a relaxing, puzzling adventure in which you need to help a delightful snake slowly slither his way through multiple levels, collecting gems and opening portals before moving on to the next.
There are no enemies, and unless you want to try and speedrun through things, there is no need to get too hot under the collar. Instead you’ll find a physics based puzzler that works beautifully, with the entire ‘snake’ concept and ever-more intricate obstacles within ensuring you’ll find a sssuperb time.
The Fall 2
I was lucky enough to spend some time with The Fall on Xbox One back in 2015. What I found was a clever puzzler that messed with your mind whilst delivering a first class story. Now though, ARID is back and this time the team behind it are promising a longer, tighter, even more engaging experience that builds on all the good things found in the original, whilst also delivering a story of the utmost quality.
The demo at EGX was bespoke, created to show off the very best that Over The Moon Games have created. And you know what, they didn’t fail. It was humorous, it was intriguing but above all else, the 20 minutes or so that they included showed just how far things had come from the original.
I was always going to enjoy the deep storyline, and the visuals were always a pleasure, but with a less twitchy control scheme and the cleverest of puzzles being combined with a narration that will, at least in the full game, follow on from its predecessor, The Fall 2: Unbound is going to be an utter joy to experience.
So there we have it, 5 games that blew my tiny EGX 2016 mind. Do you agree with these choices? Let us know in the comments below or on the usual social media channels.