Back in June, I lost my phone during Salt Lake Gaming Con, and with it, most of my notes, pictures, and a great deal of personal information - such is the world we live in today. After a couple of weeks I got a new phone, but unfortunately none of my files could be recovered from my still missing phone.
Ever since then it's simply been a matter of being too busy between my full time job and various other circumstances. For that, I apologize. There really is no good reason we've been radio silent for so long.
So, without any further ado, let's do a bit of catching up on some of the biggest things since we've been gone!
Salt Lake Gaming Con had a great number of excellent games on display, from board and tabletop, to TCG and even some LARPing, but our major focus was the Utah Games Guild projects. Here are some quick points on each of the titles I personally played at the Con:
Alkanaur: This game has a very old school D&D vibe to it, with the core gameplay being set on a grid, taking turns moving and strategically placing your player units and attacking the enemy. The world and story haven't been fully fleshed out yet (at least from what I played), but the hand drawn graphics and deep tactical feel promises to be an interesting game to keep an eye out for.
Aurora Redemptus: Another tactical game, this one being a turn based, spaceship battle game that takes not only stats like weapons and armor, but your positioning, velocity, distance, speed and rotation of your fleet (or lone ship). The demo I played had a variety of different levels to play ranging in difficulty and configurations. There is an early access version available now, with multiplayer and ship building as upcoming features.
Ethos: It Begins Again: Ethos wasn't a game I had any hands on time with, however a number of our "assistants" put a pretty good chunk of time in on it, and our general takeaways from it are consistently that this is a Dark Souls inspired game with a number of interesting features, including stances, which can be changed on the fly to change your attack chains and includes an execution in each style. The game is going to feature optional "mercy" which can be shown to boss enemies who give up before you kill them; if you spare them they will come back later as allies in some capacity. Ethos also featured a type of duel against a powerful enemy that had (potentially) licensed music playing in the background, which added to a more intense atmosphere. There are also a number of features that are currently in the works, including a sandbox MMO style world economy and connectivity in addition to other modules, and it has a 2018 release window.
Legacy of the Elder Star: An old fashioned, side scrolling shoot em up that allows for one handed playing, 1 to 1 movement and precision, and a variety of different weapons and abilities. There's unlimited continues, score multipliers and endless enemy configurations for added replay value. What struck me most about this game was it's polish; this game is stylish, with great graphics and music to go with it, and is available now.
Momentum: A brain bending, mind melting mix of ball balancing games like Twilight Princess's Rollgoal and M.C. Escher. This game is surprisingly soothing, thanks in part to a great score that helped keep my frustration from reaching maximum capacity, but also in that it is fair. Every mistake you make is your own, and I experienced no issues with frame rate, graphical tears or any other kind of hiccup that can plague these kinds of puzzle games. There's a wide collection of different "balls" that you can spawn as, and each has their own charm, and sound effects. It's available now on Steam and Xbox One.
We Need to go Deeper: The best thing that I can compare this to is Guns of Icarus, in that it is a cooperative game where you and your friends try to run a submarine, and everyone has different roles, most importantly the driver, and the one manning the guns to protect you and your crew from killer narwhals, monstrously enormous eels, and all manner of other aquatic dangers. In addition to those tasks, there is an engine room with allows for the distribution of power for engines, lights, shields and guns, with more power diverted to one or another giving different effects. There are a number of caves to explore, and a boss creature at the bottom of the level, which once defeated will allow for progress to the next level of fathoms to delve into. There are also a variety of items, of which you can pick two, and with a couple of rounds under my belt allow me to suggest one person is the medic and the other the repair man, not having one or the other of those things spells certain doom, and if one person is both in a two man team he or she wont be able to defend themselves from pesky eels. With oodles of charm and endless replay value, I would definitely recommend you keep an eye on this one, and it's available in early access on Steam now.
Thanks again to the Utah Games Guild and all the wonderful developers we talked to! Apologies once again for taking so long, but all the games I played were awesome and promising in there own ways.
To close out one other piece of business from our long absence, it's our official Twitter contest! The winner is @SilverKitsune! Congrats, and thank you to all the people who entered, don't forget we are also doing one for our Facebook and YouTube at 100 "likes" and subscribers, respectively.
Next up, a comprehensive E3 dissemination overview, and looking at the video game industry as a whole!