UKGE 2017: Games and RPG’s

As Joel (terraphi) mentions in his article we were at UK Games Expo 2017. Over the three days I spoke to a lot of people and walked several miles wandering around the show but we both walked away feeling like the show was generally very good. Joel and I sat down and had a little chat at the end of day 2 about what we liked and didn’t like about the show.

Games

Let’s start with awesome Polish publisher Board And Dice, I managed to get a bit more of an in-depth look into two of their games. Pocket Mars is a worker placement game where you aim to take all of your astronauts from Earth and place them on Mars and bills itself as a big game in a small box. From the explanation I got I can definitely see why and it’s gone onto my wishlist for the future. The second game of theirs was SuperHot a card game based on the computer game of the same name. SuperHot is a deck building game with a difference, where you can play in a solo mode, co-op or against a second player who plays as an AI and there is even a 2 on 1 mode where two players can try to take down the AI. It’s very true in the way the game looks and feels which is a huge credit. The game and the designer have even implemented a mechanic that attempts to simulate time moving when you do.

Next, we will move onto Brain Crack Games, who are based in Southampton. I played their corporate greed based card game called Down Size where you have to build up funds in a company as fast as possible and then think about firing all of your employees. I also played a fantastic little exploration game called Mined Out where you mine for gems in a very unstable mine, both of these games again appeal to me because the boxes are quite small and portable and there is enough gameplay in there.

I also had a go at a nearly complete version of Grublin Games heist game called Perfect Crime. This one is a bit more long form but is a very novel new concept and as far as I know, the only board game that uses blueprints as part of the design. As suggested by the title you play the part of bank robbers who set out to plan and execute a perfect heist. One player plays as the bank and then all other players (maximum 5 including the Bank) act as the robbers to try and find their way to the vault. The team at Grublin are looking to get this complete for September and even though I don’t do long form games that much this one has me rather intrigued.

RPG’s

The thing with RPGs at a show like UKGE is that you have very limited time to absorb them. That is unless you have done some research beforehand, so I tend to go on instinct with these things. I did come across two RPG’s that caught my eye and with any luck, we might be able to get hold of copies of them to give them a full review.

First off we have an RPG called Sins. Sins is a really interesting sounding game with a simplified dice system that I feel really works with its premise. It’s being billed as “a high-octane, dark and driven game of cinematic proportions“. I love the fact that the creators have already embraced that music can be very influencial in setting a tone and they have released a few Spotify Playlists to help players and the GM alike. I spoke to the designer Sam who is a really nice guy and very enthusiastic about his own product. Rightfully so, the demo book he had was beautiful and when he explained the dice system my interest really accelerated.

The second RPG that I found is from the Italian game designers Tin Hat Games who we hope to get hold of their new board game Dungeon Digger that was kickstarted in an amazing 3 days. They have a really nice super being based RPG called Urban Heroes. Having seen the actual print book again I must say it’s beautifully put together. Urban Heroes has been around for a while and if we can’t get hold of a copy for review then I am more than willing to dig into my own pocket for a PDF version at only $19.99 (USD).

That’s not all folks?

There is so much more and Joel and I will be working on getting more posts up related to UKGE over the next few weeks/months. Trust us when I say we have plenty of content to write up. I certainly would say that UKGE was a great expo and well worth checking out. Speaking to some of the people who attended it I got confirmation from them that it was well worth the money even if you only went for a day trip. Did you go to UKGE and if so what was your experience of the show? Did you manage to pick up any bargains from the show? Tell us all about it in the comments section below or over on Facebook.

Review – 2016

A lot of bad news this year, not just the deaths of beloved celebrities by the dozen, but one political farce after another made all the more painful by the rising availability of information, and the rampant spread of misinformation and the ever growing tirade of opinion drowning out fact.

But it hasn’t all been bad, and through the constant stream of bad news and doomsaying we’ve forgotten quite a few of the highlights. Continue reading “Review – 2016”

Party Hard – Review

There is no hiding the fact that Party Hard is violent. Violence in video games is always a bit of a touchy subject with people. I personally don’t believe that video games that depict violence encourage people to kill, but I will say that if you’re a parent you may want to check this out first. Join Catharsisjelly through a look at this rather hard party!

party-hard-logo1

Available via Steam (£9.99) and Humble Bundle (£9.49)

Carrying a body
Carrying a body

There is no hiding the fact that Party Hard is violent. Violence in video games is always a bit of a touchy subject with people. I personally don’t believe that video games that depict violence encourage people to kill, but I will say that if you’re a parent you may want to check this out first. I have reason to believe that the six-second pitch for this game went something like. “Have you ever had noisy neighbours? Have you ever wanted to stab them? Well, now you can”. Now we here at GeekOut do not encourage you to stab your noisy neighbours. A much better way to solve that problem is to try talking to them first if that fails then maybe consider dialling 101 and talking to the police about the situation.

Cop checking out a body
Cop checking out a body

Review

Developed by Pinkol Games and published by TinyBuild, Party Hard was the result of a game jam, one of those “Build a game in X days” events. Now not all games that get made in this way evolve into full products but you may remember that we have reviewed both HackNet and SuperHot, both of which came out of game jams and are pretty good. You start the game with a little tutorial that teaches you the basics of walking up behind people and stabbing them or using the environment to your advantage by pushing people into fires or setting traps. The controls are simple and work really well on a controller, but as per the clue in the title of the game, Party Hard is by no means easy which I really appreciate.

When playing the game you soon learn that you can’t just go in and stab everyone. If you’re spotted killing people or other party goers find your victims then they will call the police who will turn up and look for someone to arrest. It’s quite fun getting away with murder, so to speak. You can also manage to trick the police into arresting the wrong person! However, if you are spotted then you can try to make your escape. Run away from the police for a long enough time and they give up the chase or alternatively you can try to jump out of a window or head through a cellar. Don’t come to rely upon these exits, if you use them too often when you’re being chased, a vaguely familiar man in blue overalls with a red shirt and a large moustache armed with a wrench appears and closes off the exit.

Rooftop party
Rooftop party

The game adopts the current popular pixellated style, which you might think is not much to write home about, but I rather like it. At the end of each level is a little cinematic which tries to explain the Party Hard killer, but really does not add too much to the game itself. There are some fun cameos from the patrons starring people from Breaking Bad, Michael Jackson, Darth Vader and more. The ultimate goal of each level is to be the last man standing so you can go home and get back to sleep. When you’re done with the main game I guess it opens up more characters which include a ninja, a cop, a female character and a butcher. However I have yet to get past the third level so can’t really tell you what it’s like to play as them. There is a fully fledged level editor where you can create your own level, with traps, party goers, security and all sorts. The creative among you will love this, which allows you to share the level with the rest of the world via Steam workshop, so you can make your very own house party to share with your friends.

Level editor MenuLevel editor

Verdict

Is it fun? Yes.

The challenge is pretty high but I don’t feel like I am being punished for no good reason, it’s usually because I have taken too big a risk. Coming up with strategic ways to reduce the crowd is fun and I can just fire it up for a few spare minutes, no need to sink hours and hours into it which I really like. It’s also really nice to have levels that are designed for a change, I have played so many rogue-style games with their random elements often ending in disappointment. Do I feel I got my money’s worth?  Well, I paid $4.49 USD for it which is about £3.20. Given the difficulty, along with the presence of a full level editor, I actually would pay full price for this. It’s well worth £10 in my opinion but then again, I’m a bit of a bargain hunter!

Love and rockets

– Chris

Is SUPERHOT super hot?

SUPERHOT has been on my radar for some time. I played the original demo probably two years ago and was very impressed so when they decided to Kickstarter the game I went ahead and backed it. I must admit I was really looking forward to play the final release, so I picked up my copy on it’s official release of 25th February 2016.

SUPERHOT is Available for Windows, SteamOS & Mac via HumbleBundle & Steam (RRP £17.99)

SUPERHOT has been on my radar for some time. I played the original demo probably two years ago and was very impressed so when they decided to Kickstarter the game I went ahead and backed it. I must admit I was really looking forward to play the final release, so I picked up my copy on it’s official release of 25th February 2016.

Continue reading “Is SUPERHOT super hot?”