I just got back from TooManyGames 2018, and boy was this year’s convention amazing. I got to hang out with old and new friends, meet the voices of Mario, Bowser, and Eggman, dab with Isabelle, and shamelessly promote myself on someone else’s YouTube channel. What more could I ask for out of a weekend?
Amid the fun events and memes, I made sure to check out the convention’s indie game showcase. Always wanting to share information about indie developers, here are some highlights from the games I tried out.
I’m a sucker for simple puzzle-platformers, so Transmogrify naturally drew my attention with its mechanic of freezing enemies and using the resulting ice blocks to traverse levels. The cartoony, Scribblenauts-esque art style and sci-fi atmosphere are a delight to look at and, while I didn’t get a chance to experience this during my playtime, the trailer shows that a number of unique death animations exist, adding some fun to the typically frustrating act of dying. With the game recently receiving full funding on Kickstarter, I’m excited to see what Odyssey Entertainment’s final product will be like!
I’m also a sucker for comedic RPGs (hence why I’m making one right now), and The Island of Eternal Struggle looks like a promising addition to this beloved category. Placed into a rave scene where dancers acted as walls, I immediately felt EarthBound vibes, which is always a good sign to me. This familiar amusement continued when viewing the game’s whimsical character designs – ranging from a faceless warrior to a DJ wizard – and experiencing the game’s battle system, which bears similarities to Final Fantasy but requires input commands for actions, a feature that always helps me feel more engaged with an RPG. The game is currently on Steam Early Access, and I’m certainly going to check it out once my RPG backlog clears up!
Fellow game design students are always fun to chat with, and Evan Schoenberger was no exception. Representing Shippensburg University’s Videogame Development Club, he talked to me a bit about the school’s program and showed off Birdball – a physics-based game about collecting birds with balls! Up to 4 players utilize a single keyboard – a co-op option I always appreciate – to launch their balls into the air. While jumping serves as the only direct control method, players can manipulate their ball’s horizontal velocity by launching it towards slanted platforms or the rounded ceiling, adding a layer of strategy to the basic gameplay via spatial reasoning. This seems like a neat pick-up-and-play party game, and I’m hoping the concept will be fleshed out further in the future!
Thanks to everyone that made this year’s convention amazing! It was a blast, and I already can’t wait for next year!