While it’s the big blockbusters that always draw the largest crowds at conventions like EGX 2018, the most fun can usually be found nestled away in the deepest, darkest corners of Birmingham’s behemoth NEC, with indie games galore vying for… Well, any attention at all. This year’s show played host to approximately a billion different games – but here are just a handful that caught our eye.
More from EGX 2018
- Hands On: Metro Exodus Pledges a Petrifying Apocalyptic Playground to PS4
- Hands On: Dreams Is Going to Be a Game of the Year Candidate
- Hands On: In Hitman 2, You Can Finally Claim Fatalities as a Flamingo
- Hands On: Man of Medan Is a Return to Form for Until Dawn Dev
- Hands On: Arca's Path Brings Marble Madness to PSVR
- Hands On: Starlink: Battle for Atlas Shows Promise That Could Prove Costly
- Hands On: Team Sonic Racing Takes a Tailspin on PS4
- Hands On: Ace Combat 7's Unknown Skies Are Reassuringly Familiar
- Hands On: Spyro Reignited Trilogy Is Fire for Fans and Fresh Faces Alike
There’s much more to virtual reality than Skyrim and Resident Evil; Immersive Education understands this. Its authentic Titanic VR allows you to explore the wreckage of the “unsinkable” ship, sending out drones in order to comb every inch of the boat. In addition to a full replica of the vessel itself, there’s also an interactive story mode that stations you inside a lifeboat as the infamous British ship sinks. Even on a noisy showfloor, we couldn’t help but get goosebumps as we watched the enormous cruiser get greedily gobbled up by the ocean. No Celine Dion, though.
Wargroove is a little bit Advance Wars, a little bit XCOM. We got to play an epic multiplayer round, and it’s a shock that we’re all still on speaking turns. The twist here appears to be the faction leaders: each has a different special ability, but should they fall in battle, then it’s game over. You earn money with each turn which can then be reinvested in new units, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. A vibrant art style and some solid rock-paper-scissors design makes for entertaining turn-based battles; if only this author’s trebuchet trap had been able to finish the job.
Remember Pogs? Well, this is Phogs. The best way to describe this curious co-op game from Coatsink is as a combination of Noby Noby Boy and Snake Pass; you play as a two headed dog, with each player controlling one end of the mythical beast. It takes coordination to simply move, but as the levels progress you’ll need to coordinate in order to grab onto surfaces and pull yourself up into new areas. While we were confused at first, it only took us a couple of minutes to wrap our heads around what the game wanted from us, and we were blitzed through the short demo thereafter. It’s a neat concept, but you’re going to need a communicative friend.
Beyond Blue reminds us of Aquanaut’s Holiday. For those of you not old enough to remember Sony’s underwater adventure, this is kind of like Abzu but with a straight face. It’s a story driven deep sea diving game from the creators of Never Alone. The release, which has clearly been inspired by the BBC’s Blue Planet, is essentially all about saving the ocean – and you’ll play as a character named Mirai who’ll be scouring the seabed in order to improve the health of our planet’s vast aquatic ecosystems. It seemed a bit po-faced in our demo, but we liked how alive the sandbox seemed, and we particularly appreciated the fact that you can scan fish for additional information.
Get ready to rip the galaxy a new wormhole. That’s the slogan for Valfaris, a heavy metal shooter that’s the video game equivalent of greasy hair and finger horns. It’s from the same team as Slain: Back from Hell, but it’s clear that the developer’s learned a lot from that endeavour; this is a punishing but fist-pumping side-scrolling affair, which has the look of album art and the action of, say, Contra. It’s hardly the most original concept ever, but it looks like developer Steel Mantis has been headbanging far too much to care.
Did you play any games at EGX 2018 that caught your attention? What do you make of this little list of standout indie gems? Let us know in the comments section below.