There was an obscene amount of talent on show at EGX Rezzed 2019, this year’s edition of London’s indie games showcase, where developers, journalists and punters come together to try out upcoming games that could be the next big thing.
There were some games we’d tried before, like the horrifying Close To The Sun and the playful Void Bastards, as well as a huge pile of titles we were experiencing for the first time. Our thumbs are still sore from all the action, even though we didn’t come close to playing everything on offer. Achieving that, we’d wager, is truly impossible.
These eight indie games really stood out from the pack, though, and they’re well worth putting on your radar…
Set for release on PS4 and Nintendo Switch this summer, Double Fine and Bandai Namco’s Rad is a really approachable roguelike that tasks players with exploring an irritated wasteland from a 3D top-down perspective. The graphics are charmingly retro, the world is bright and colourful, the bosses are suitably intimidating, and the controls are very easy to pick up.
The game’s killer feature seems to be its mutation system, which sees your character being customised visually and gaining new abilities depending on the specific radioactive materials that they come into contact with. You may start with just a baseball bat to defend yourself with, but you could end up with a superpowered beast of a character. Rad, indeed.
Remember that cartoon CatDog? Well, imagine they’re both dogs. Then subtract the legs. What you’ve got in your head now, disturbing as may seem, is the basic premise for a lovely little indie game called Phogs. This co-op title, from Bit Loom, tasks two players with sharing control of a two-headed dog with an extendable middle section.
The design is totes adorbs and the simple gameplay (which involves moving glowing orbs around to enlighten certain areas) would be fairly relaxing – if it wasn’t for the stressful element of communicating with your partner. With each of you controlling a separate end of the dog, basic tasks begin to seem way more difficult, making Phogs one of the cutest things that could ruin loads of friendships. It launches later this year.
6. Giga Wrecker Alt
If you’re not much of a PC gamer, you may have missed Giga Wrecker when it launched in 2017. Now that it’s set to launch on Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch, though, it’s sure to find a much bigger audience. The new version of the game, dubbed Giga Wrecker Alt, was shown off at EGX Rezzed. And we’re happy to report that it’s well worth a look.
From the junior developers at Game Freak (who work with Nintendo on the Pokémon games), Giga Wrecker Alt is a 2D platformer with a strong female protagonist called Reika. Using her bionic arm, Reika can smash things up, gather debris and use the resultant mass to solve puzzles. These tasks get increasingly more complicated, but they’re still bite-sized, making Giga Wrecker Alt look like a great option for Switch-based commuting.
Developed by Stainless Games (the company behind Carmageddon) and published by Green Man Gaming, ShockRods is a vehicle-based arena shooter that can be summed up simply as Quake meets Rocket League. And yes, the concept is every bit as fun as it sounds.
Players will compete online, shooting each other up while racing and strafing around the game’s many maps. There are heaps of weapons to be found, and loads of different ways to customise your killer ride. Competing in a four-way ShockRods match, as we did at this event, is an exciting experience that flies by really quickly. We can certainly imagine this game finding a dedicated fan base.
4. My Friend Pedro
Set to launch on PC and Nintendo Switch in June 2019, My Friend Pedro is a brilliantly creative shoot-em-up that employs slow-motion and a unique control scheme to offer a whole new angle on video game assassinations. There’s also a sentient banana in it.
You play as a talented killer that can roll around rapidly, bounce off walls and use anything from a frying pan to a skateboard to spruce up his violent outbursts. The control scheme works wonderfully on Switch, with the lefthand joystick handling direction and the righthand one controlling aim. You can switch into slo-mo at any point, too, which creates an almost balletic quality to these creative kills.
Sure to offer something slightly different for fans of Super Smash Bros, Guntastic is a four-player shooter with an arcade-ish feel. Playing either locally online, you’ll face off against three other people, with each of you spawning in a separate corner of the screen. You’ll want to grab a weapon and get moving quickly, because one shot kills in this game.
This makes for a fast-paced and thrilling experience, which is sure to make you yelp with rage. The visuals are surprisingly detailed for something so clearly 8-bit inspired, but it’s the quickfire combat that this game will be remembered for. However short your attention span is, you’ll be able to have a go. But it will probably take practise to get good at Guntastic.
2. Katana Zero
Launching on 18th April for PC and Nintendo Switch, Katana Zero is a neo-noir game that puts you in the shoes of a blade-wielding assassin. And despite its lowkey visuals, this 2D side-scroller is a deep experience with a multifaceted script: as well as dashing through buildings and killing goons, your character attends therapy sessions and struggles to keep his temper in check – there are angry, short-fuse options in every dialogue scene, for example, which become very tempting at times.
The combat isn’t everything, then, but it is very nicely done. You can manipulate time, deflect bullets and lob items, as well as slashing people up with your sword. One hit results in death, but the task of redoing a level doesn’t feel like a chore when you’re enjoying it this much.
1. Untitled Goose Game
One of the true joys of EGX Rezzed was having our first go on Untitled Goose Game, which is one of our 30 must-play games of 2019. Destined for Nintendo Switch, Mac and Windows PC, this title from the developers at House House will put players in the role of a mischevious waterfowl with a penchant for pranks.
In this ten-minute demo, numerous tasks were set for goose-controlling gamers: break into a garden, steal the gardener’s keys, put a rake in a lake, make the gardener change hats, assemble a picnic from stolen items, get the gardener wet, and so on. People were queuing up to play the game, and some even hung around afterwards to see how other players tackled the same mission.
There are numerous ways of completing tasks, with one particularly ingenious player ticking off two jobs at once (by stealing the gardener’s keys and immediately chucking them in the lake, forcing him to wade in and get wet). There was so much enjoyment to be had in these ten minutes, and now we can’t wait to play the rest of Untitled Goose Game.