EGX 2018 – Our Favourite Indie Games & Cosplay From The UK’s Biggest Games Event
Over the last 4 days, we have been up to our eyeballs in a huge array of widely diverse video games as EGX 2018 rolled into Birmingham to the delight gamers across the UK. What I love about EGX is, not only that all the “big boys” such as Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft and Nintendo are there, but they have a huge amount of space dedicated to the indie gaming sector. Sure, you can play the latest ‘Assasins Creed’, or see footage from the bonkers ‘Just Cause 4’, but if you’re looking for something a little different, the indie games are where it’s at. Here is a small selection of the top games we spotted at the show this year.
There are many things you expect to see at EGX – AAA titles, innovative indie games, cosplayers… What you probably wouldn’t expect to find is a brand new game for the SEGA Mega Drive! And I’m not talking just an emulator, but an actual, physical, Mega Drive cartridge. That’s exactly what you get with ‘Tanglewood‘ from Big Evil Corporation.
The brainchild of developer Matt Phillips, ‘Tanglewood’ sees you take control of a young creature, Nymn, who is separated from the pack after the sun sets. Unable to get back to the safety of the family’s underground home, Nymn must find a way to survive the night terrors and get to morning. Tanglewood’s world is a dangerous one after dark; guiding Nymn you must use your skills of evasion, traps and trickery to defeat predators.
Whilst ‘Tanglewood’ is available on Steam, for those of you with old SEGA Mega Drive’s gathering dust in your lofts, you can order the game on an actual Mega Drive cartridge to play on the original system.
“It’s something I wanted to do as a kid,” commented Matt. “It’s created using equipment, languages, technology of the 90’s. We’ve got an original SEGA Mega Drive development kit from 1993 which we used to write the engine. We used all the original tools running MS-DOS. We write the whole thing in Assembly Language, and we write all our own level editors and animation editors like they would have done back in the 90’s.”
It really is a true 16-bit, nostalgic platforming experience which can run on genuine SEGA hardware.
For those old-school gamer amongst you, MAOMAO Castle from Asobi Tech is a new take on the old ‘Space Harrier’ game with an interesting twist. Firstly, you’re not playing something as mundane as a fighter jet, but are controlling a magical flying Cat-Dragon! Secondly, you control the giant levitating feline using a LEAP Motion Controller, rather than conventional means. This involves waving your hand over the controller to guide the oversized kitty to pick up rainbows and stars whilst avoiding obstacles.
It’s a wonderful take on a classic arcade game with a nice new twist. And for those of you without a motion controller at home (which I suspect is most of you), they are also developing a version for mobile. The video above is from when our very own Bex Trista from TristaBytes caught up with the developers at EGX Rezzed earlier this year.
The Collage Atlas
One of the things I love about indie games is the visual distinctiveness of some of the games, and they don’t come more distinctive and stunning than ‘The Collage Atlas‘ from John Evelyn of Robot House. The entire game uses hand-drawn imagery, to create a beautiful looking, and rather cerebral, first-person adventure.
Exploring themes of memory, agency, and hope, the game offers a delicately crafted narrative and an absorbing, mindful experience in a world of branching paths and secret areas waiting to be discovered. It’s an incredible mellow experience as you wander around John’s (mainly) black & white, pen & ink, artwork solving puzzles and exploring. Rather uniquely, they have opted to avoid using any button clicks in the game, so you interact with the environment by line of sight, adding to the dream-like quality of the game.
‘Beyond Blue‘ is a beautiful underwater adventure from the creators of ‘Never Alone’, E-Line Media. Venture with Mirai and her crew far below the surface of our largely uncharted ocean in an experience that explores the awesome wonder and unbounded mystery that infuses our planet’s beating blue heart.
I had the opportunity to play through the small demo at the show, and it really is a stunning looking game. Working with BBC Studios, developers of the acclaimed ‘Blue Planet II’, E-Line have created an amazing underwater world to explore as you swim around looking at wildlife and setting up equipment. Whilst this seems to be a much more gentle affair than something like the brilliant ‘Subnautica’, it’s still very much worth a look.
‘Flotsam‘ is a lovely new city-builder game from Pajama Llama Games, which the minor disadvantage that you’re having to build your city in the middle of an ocean. You scavenge whatever debris you can from the ocean’s surface and grow your floating garbage town while doing your best to survive in this colourful post-apocalyptic world.
The game has been in development for 3 years, and they have crafted a really slick and beautiful looking world… which is possibly an odd thing to say about a game which revolves around collecting garbage! However, the level of detail is stunning. From the little animations on the various buildings to the ocean floor itself, you can see the amount of love and care that has gone into it so far.
‘Flotsam’ does have a Steam page running but isn’t yet released, so if you’re into city-builders, I urge you to go and follow it.
The Bradwell Conspiracy
Lastly, we come to our game of the show – ‘The Bradwell Conspiracy‘ from developers A Brave Plan, and publisher Bossa Studios. A little bit ‘Portal’, a little bit ‘The Stanley Parable’, ‘The Bradwell Conspiracy’ is a narrative driven adventure/puzzle game set in a near future at the fictional New Stonehenge Museum.
Whilst visiting the museum, which is run by major UK tech firm, Bradwell Electronics, you find yourself caught in a massive explosion. Digging yourself out of the rubble, you are left to try and get out of the building with only your visitors AR Glasses to help you… That is until you’re contacted by Amber, another survivor trapped behind a locked door. Unable to speak due to smoke inhalation, your only way to communicate with Amber is using photos taken on your AR Glasses as you both try to find a way to escape. But as you find yourself delving deeper and deeper into the bowels of the company’s secret underground complex, a sickening truth begins to dawn…
‘The Bradwell Conspiracy’ is the perfect mix of puzzling and adventure, with a unique communications system and tools to help you survive. I had the chance to play through the first 40mins of the game, and loved every second of it. It’s extremely British with a wonderfully fun sense of humour. Some great vocal performances, including a cameo from geek aficionado and tv host Johnathan Ross.
‘The Bradwell Conspiracy’ is “coming soon”, but you can find out more by following the links in the article above, and make sure you wishlist it on their Steam page.
In addition to the amazing games at EGX, they also were running various cosplay competitions throughout the weekend. This included various EGX Cosplay Showcases & the European Cosplay Gathering UK Preliminaries. I have seen a number of showcases before, but it’s the first time I’d seen an ECG event, and people really step up their game! Check out the video below of the cosplay from Sunday, and the photos from across the event.
As always, if you are in any of the photos and if you want the high res version of the picture, just message me via the contact page, and I’ll email it over.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.