Part one covered some some of the more family friendly previews from the show floor. Now to go on to some of the more horror orientated games.
“Dead Pixels II”, CSR Studios/John Common (Self-published)
Available on PC in 2017.
Dead Pixels II is a game that steeped in the 1980’s. It’s has a 80’s style soundtrack, 80’s style story with 80’s style visuals and a lot of 80’s references.
At it’s core, it’s very much built on it’s predecessor. After the zombie apocalypse of the first game, you are a survivor fighting your way to the nearest safe zone. The levels and pick ups are procedurally generated which leads to interesting moments of deciding whether it’s worth going building to building scavenging supplies or if it’s time just just run. Supplies are limited adding an element of survival and inventory management. During the start of the demo I quickly realised that bullets were scarce when I quickly run out of them. I saved and bought all the bullets I could which led to a bit of an easy boss fight but after the amount I used it was good that I saved up.
If the randomness of the game isn’t your style, there is going to be a custom mode. The custom mode lets you preselect the number of crossroads, buildings and bosses that will appear in a custom game which creates possibilities of custom scenario and player generated levels.
The random mechanics of the game combined with the random elements make for a very interesting game. I got to talk to the developer of the game it is was very interesting what he had planned for the game and how he was going to implement it. It’s very much simple interacting through more complex programming. Doing that has made a game that is very easy to play and easy to pick up but has a lot of replay-ability.
“Little Nightmares”, Tarsier Studios (Published: Bandai Namco)
Available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2017.
Little Nightmares has had a troubled early development with is originally being announced in 2014. After only a teaser released in 2015, Bandai Namco announced this August that it was going to publish the game in Spring 2017. During that time they helped develop first party titles for Sony (Tearaway Unfolded and LittleBigPlanet 3) so they weren’t stuck for work. Moving out of the Sony first party contract may of caused a delay to their new IP.
Little Nightmares is a puzzle platformer. The platformer part is something that can be easly judged from the demo but puzzle part, not so much. The puzzle design for the demo can show hints to how it will be designed but it may not represent the game as a whole. What was in the demo was good but until the game is released, it’s hard to judge fully.
The platforming on the other hand ca be judged. The game plays on a mostly 2.5D plain. You go from left to right but can move in 3D space. Could feel the lessons they had learned from helping develop LittleBigPlanet as it moves much like it but with freer movement of depth. The demo showed a lot of platforming mechanics including climbing, sprint jumping and swinging on ropes. The movement did feel a little sticky but it was less moving in glue and more lke moving in water. You have the momentum and control to do everything but it’s feels like it takes to much effort. Like pushing off to sprint only just go into a heartily walk.
The one area were the game shines is it’s visual design. It’s colour pallet is very muted which gest punctuated but the leads yellow raincoat and especially by her lighter in dark areas. The design of the monsters leans to the grotesque. Misshapen, bulbous human forms that are just off putting rather then scary to look at.
I am interested in it but whether the game is like the demo or not is were a recommendation comes from.
“The Forgotten Rooms” Greenlight Games.
Available for PC (TBA)
MCM wouldn’t be MCM if their wasn’t a VR game to try. This year it was the turn of “The Forgotten Rooms” by Greenlight Games, a first person hidden object puzzle game. I got to talk to Dean Day, the founder of Greenlight Games, quite extensively over the course of the weekend and what he had to say about the game was very interesting. But first, lets talk about the demo.
The game used the new Oculus Touch controllers which felt solid and worked well. Compared to the HTC wands, they are very small. They fit right into the palm of my hand snugly and the two joysticks and buttons on the top of the controller were easy to move from while blinded by he headset. But my hands are (admittedly) fatter and stubby-er than others so it might not be as comfortable with those with thinner and longer fingers. One part of the controller that excelled was the finger motion control. There is a ring at the front of the controller, in-front of the trigger control, that detects your fingers. So rather then having to use the trigger or a separate button, you can point in game.
Moving on to the game itself, there isn’t much to say. It’s a first person, VR, hidden object game with horror themes. You get trapped in a house by shadows and you have to find objects and solve a puzzle to get out. From what Day had said, the game had only been in development for only three months at present which means there were few graphical bugs and it was a little unrefined. But that also means there is still lots of time to iron out the kinks.
The visuals of the game are usual, ‘Amnesia’ style horror fare. For the demo, the setting was a cabin in the woods and it was well designed. The monster is the the usual, bulbous, malformed monster. It makes noises and watches you from afar until you time runs out and pounces which creates a good creepy atmosphere. But is that’s not your bag, Day said that there will be a ‘Daylight’ mode were you go around in the day instead of by night-light.
On the whole, the game was interesting and it has a lot of promise. It’s something that lacks a little polish but I like the way it’s heading and the way that it uses the Touch controllers.