Rezzed 2017: a round-up

2017’s Rezzed event took place from 30 March to 01 April 2017 and I swear my feet are still recovering. I’ve written before that I prefer this expo to its bigger brother, EGX, primarily due to the atmosphere: it isn’t so noisy, there aren’t as many publishers trying to push their wares into your face, and there’s a real vibe of support for indies.

This year was no exception and I had an excellent three days at the Tobacco Dock in London. It was lovely catching up with the guys from White Paper Games, whom I haven’t seen in a couple of years; I finally got the opportunity to meet James from Excalibur Games in person after talking so much via email; and Becky from SpecialEffect made me feel so welcome while volunteering on their stand. More about these things over the next week or so along with posts about a few games I’ve chosen from the event.

This Rezzed was a bit of an extra-special one as we decided to take my stepson Ethan to the expo for the first time. He took to it like a duck-to-water and really enjoyed himself – and he even made a new friend in Gillian from Other Ocean Interactive after queuing up to play Giant Cop three times. Here’s a quote from the little man himself:

It was one of the best conventions I’ve ever been to. Some of the people were so friendly and I’d definitely go there again. My favourite game I played was Giant Cop because it was my first virtual experience ever and the developers were lovely. I’d definitely buy it.

Take a look at our photo gallery below to see what we got up to and keep your eyes peeled for further posts about the event. Tickets for EGX in September are already on sale so if you’re going, let me know – I may just see you there!

Rezzed 2017 photo gallery

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Rezzed 2017: indie games galore

Tomorrow morning sees the start of the Rezzed 2017 in London’s Tobacco Dock. The event is hosted by the team behind EGX and features many playable pre-release games on both PC and console with a strong focus on indie titles.

I’ve gone to Rezzed every year since 2013 and the thing I love most about it is the atmosphere: it’s kind of like the EGX expo but different. It’s not so noisy, there aren’t as many publishers trying to push their wares into your face and there’s a real vibe of support for independent developers. Everyone is really friendly and open for a chat, creators and gamers alike, and it’s possible you’ll come away with some new friends (this is how I first met Tim from GeekOut South-West).

I’m due to be at the event on all three days and will be spending Thursday and Saturday morning volunteering on the stand for SpecialEffect. If you haven’t yet heard of the charity (or our Gamely Giving efforts) check out their website: it’s an amazing UK-based organisation which supports people with physical disabilities by helping to play video games. Last year we showed attendees how to play Rocket League with their chins and Minecraft with their eyes, and this time I think we’re playing with Abzu and Towerfall Ascension.

Rezzed, video games, gaming, event, expo, SpecialEffect, stand, charity

I’m only volunteering for half a day on the Saturday because we’re bringing my stepson to Rezzed for the first time! We’ve held off on doing it previously as we felt he was a little too young for the experience but, as he’s due to reach the grand-old-age of ten and is really getting into his gaming, it seems like it’s now appropriate. We haven’t told Ethan yet in order to make the day out a surprise for him – he can hang out with his dad in the morning and do ‘boy stuff’ before I join them both in the afternoon.

They’ll likely be some Rezzed-related content from me over the next couple of weeks depending on what I find and the games that impress me. I’d also like to write a piece explaining why you don’t need a press pass to get the most out of events like this in my experience… more on that another time.

If you haven’t yet bought your tickets and would like to attend, there are still some available for all days (at the time of writing). And if you’re going to be at the event, let me know in the comments below – and make sure you stop by the SpecialEffect stand to say hello!

Five indie games to look forward to

With the great indie showcase that is EGX Rezzed fast approaching, I thought I’d share some of the upcoming games made by independent developers that are on my radar. The community is very alive, very active and has some very exciting concepts to reveal in the coming months.

Shadowhand

I first came across Shadowhand at EGX 2015, where the husband and wife team of Grey Alien Games were in full costume to show off their latest project. I was immediately smitten with what I played. It’s a clever little game of solitaire-meets-RPG-meets-highwaywoman’s adventure, where you are tasked with guiding the titular Shadowhand (Lady Darkmoor by day) on her quest to retrieve a stolen family jewel.

It builds on the successful higher/lower system from the excellent Regency Solitaire and will include the addition of weapons, clothing and special abilities in the mix. I’m so confident about this title I think it may well be the sleeper hit of the next 12 months. Absolutely worth a look when it arrives later this year on PC and Mac.

Mighty Tactical Shooter

Bullet-hell games have been around since the days of Space Invader and yet no-one has put the spin on it that the team at Sock Thuggery have. On the outside it plays just like any other side-scrolling shooter with a lone spaceship blasting away at alien hordes until only one is left standing. The twist here is that every move you make has been plotted, planned and executed in a clever tactical interface.

It’s a clever blend of RPG and real-time-strategy mechanics where control of the ship comes from pausing the game, plotting out the route it will take over the next couple of seconds and choosing the right armament for the job. Helpful lines show the expected trajectory of bullets and baddies, allowing the player to determine the best route to dodge and destroy. It might sound like a slow process but the intuitive control systems means the time to the end of each level flies by.

Even better is once a level is complete you can view a replay of the whole thing in real time as if it were a single run. It’s the most satisfying thing to see your ship zip in and out of enemy bullets like a pro, blasting to victory. Yes it’s moving slowly, and there’s no fixed release date yet but it’s bullet-hell with brains – can’t wait.

Absolver

I’m surprised the buzz around Absolver isn’t louder. It’s an online melee-combat RPG that sets you in the role of a Prospect who must wander the land, fighting and learning from other Prospects online. Alliances will be formed, enemies made, students will become teachers. There’s a certain (dare I say it) Jedi-like appeal to the concept.

The team at Sloclap promise intense real-time fights, with weapons, combat styles, combos and counters to learn. There will be PvE alongside the PVP environments. Why don’t you check out the trailer above? It looks very special indeed.

Pyre

Did you like Transistor? How about Bastion? Chances are the answer to at least one of those is yes. Incredibly stylish games with amazing design, deep gameplay and meaningful story. Well, the team at Supergiant Games are going to be releasing another this year called Pyre, an action-RPG. Here you must lead a band of exiles through ‘an ancient competition spread across a vast, mystical purgatory’.

Sounds cracking and given Supergiant’s past, it will look stunning. Coming soon to PS4 and PC.

Divinity: Original Sin II

This one’s already available on Steam’s Early Access but, as it’s not finished, it sneaks on the list by way of a technicality. Building on the excellent systems and classic RPG elements of Divinity: Original Sin it looks as though Larian Studios are making another winner, and this time with four-player co-op. I’m forever hovering over the purchase button for this sequel but keep reminding myself to wait until it’s finished. I want to experience it in all it’s glory.

But… If you didn’t play the first one, then brace yourself for deep, deep CRPG mechanics with a modern twist. In fact, why don’t you go and play it while you wait for this one to be finished? It’s really that good.

Which indie games are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!