This year’s EGX at the N.E.C. broke the records with over 75,000 people attending over the course of the four-day event. There was something there for everyone from the big AAA games FIFA 17, Call of Duty and Dishonored to the smaller Indie titles like HoPiKo, Flight of Light and Conga Master. That’s not all. There was a huge retro section along with stalls full of merchandising, console skins and mystery boxes all waiting to be bought. We sent NelMaNo and his better half, a certified non-gamer, to check it out. These are just a few of the games they had a look at.
Shu – We caught up with the Coatsink team to have a blast on Shu, which is out this week. If you don’t know about Shu, seriously where have you been? We’ve been covering it for over two years. It’s a 2.5D platformer set in an extraordinary universe. The bit of the game we played was split into two; a standard platforming section and a chase sequence. It runs smoothly and looks bright and colourful. I have to admit that Shu is the game that has probably turned MrsNelMaNo into a gamer; it’s a really likable game. I managed to beat the time trial and bag myself a Shu t-shirt, which shows there is something for speed runners as well as casual gamers.
Laser Disco Defenders – Not only did we get to play the big screen version of Laser Disco Defenders but we also had a chat with its developer, Alexander Birke, about the differences between the PS4 and PS Vita version. The biggest change is that the PS4 version will include power-ups, which totally changes the game. You will be able to slow down time, create a vortex to suck in nearby lasers and also wield a huge lightsabre to destroy enemies. He has also tweaked the difficulty of the game and added a groovy new stage. Alexander also expects to roll out an update for the Vita at a later date to include these changes.
Mantis Burn Racing – We got to grips with VooFoo Studio’s racer as it gears up for a final lap before release and it’s a fantastic fast-paced racing game. It took us a little while to get used to the handling, but when we nailed it we were soon drifting around corners and boosting our way along the straights. The RPG-style upgrade slot system works well and the game has a realistic feel to it instead of the arcade feeling which you’d expect from a top down racer. We were told that Mantis Burn Racing will launch soon with eight tracks that are reversed, making sixteen, with another four already in the pipeline which will be released as dlc at a later date.
HoPiKo – Leeds based developers Laser Dog Games showed us their intense speed run platformer HoPiKo. They made playing it look easy, but when we got our hands on the controller we realised it’s not! You use the right stick to point where you want to go and release it to move. There are 100’s of levels, which are broken into 5-stage mini-rounds, and if you die you start again at stage one. We became best friends with stage one. Gameplay is really addictive and because the stages are only a few seconds long you can play it for a quick ten minutes or longer stints and you still want more.
Yooka-Laylee – The Team17 crew were there in force and their star game was Yooka-Laylee. There is not a lot we can say about it because it can be summed up in one sentence: it felt like we were playing Banjo-Kazooie again. Most of the developers at Playtonic are former Rare employees and they wanted to make a game that felt like the Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong games; they’ve nailed it. The game is colourful, vibrant and even though we didn’t play it for long, we could see how much fun it was. Roll on 2017.
Flight of Light – James from Crystalline Green was on hand to show us his rhythm racing game Flight of Light. You control your spaceship by tilting the controller along a rollercoaster type track while trying the hit the onscreen notes in time with the beat. The more accurate you are the bigger the boost you’ll get. The backgrounds look stunning and the controller was really responsive as well. We played it on the Wii U but the PS4 version is expected to be out in February 2017
Conga Master – Come on and do the conga. Admittedly we’d not heard of Rising Star Games’ Conga Master before EGX but after playing it we can say that it sure is one fun to play dancing game. It’s like a mixture of Snake and Party Hard. You use the trigger buttons to dance around people. If you are successful and don’t knock into them, you add them to your conga line. How long can you go? There are a variety of modes to play including both single player and multiplayer. We put on our best dancing shoes and danced our way into some four-player “Cut the Conga” action with the Rising Star team. In this mode whoever has the longest conga line when the timer runs out wins, but players can pick up scissors to cut other players’ conga lines so you can’t just go around dancing everywhere; you’ve got to watch where your opponents are dancing.
Windlands – Windlands, from Psytec Games, had the honour of being the first PSVR game we played and it’s an experience that will stay with us for a long time. This grappling hook exploration game gave us a real sense of depth and movement. Once we got the hang of swinging from tree to tree we were totally immersed in our new world, and when we missed a landing it felt like we were actually plummeting to the ground. Psytec Games are hoping to launch Windlands as close to the launch of the PlayStation VR as possible and it is definitely one you need to add to your must buy list
Tethered – While we waited to try Secret Sorcery’s PSVR title Tethered we were told that it looked totally different on the PSVR headset to what is does on the screen. We thought that surely there wouldn’t be that much difference, but when we put on the headset we realised how wrong we were. This God game looked good on TV but on the PSVR it’s in 3D and totally pops. We got to grips with the controls and were soon hatching Peeps (little creatures that you must look after and nurture) and in no time at all we were turning them into farmers and miners then putting them to work. We even sat and watched one Peep jump off a cliff much to the delight/despair of the Secret Sorcery crew.
DRIVECLUB VR – When the time came to have our pre-booked PSVR trial with PlayStation we wondered with anticipation which of the titles we’d be getting our hands on. We didn’t have any preference. We just wanted to try it. This was good because a “whatever game is available next” system was in place. When we finally got called over and made our way to the booth it was obvious from the gaming chair, foot pedals and steering wheel that we were about to play DRIVECLUB VR. DRIVECLUB has always been a top quality driving game and it was no surprise that the VR version also excelled. The experience felt like we were actually sat in the driving seat of the vehicle. We felt every twist and turn in the track, even bump in the road, and even a little bit motion sick (to be fair that was probably due to lack of sleep and a bit of overdoing the drinking the night before).
EGX showed us again that it’s a great time to be a gamer. There’s so many fantastic titles coming to PlayStation that they make us wish our days were longer so we could get in more game time.