The indie games were the big draw for me at SXSW Gaming Expo. I didn’t have costume to enter to the costume contest, and I couldn’t figure out exactly what time we were supposed to watch the Smash tournaments, so I spent most of my time trying out a variety of indie games.
Super Sky Arena:
The first game we looked at was Super Sky Arena. The game is star fox multiplayer with a lot more color. Moving around and shooting was familiar enough but what was difficult to get used to was using the right stick for boosting and braking. It doesn’t act like the c-buttons in Star Fox because Star Fox makes you constantly moving even while braking, but this game lets you hold still for however long you’d like. One of my kills came from just standing in spot shooting at 2 ships who were fighting near by. I enjoyed it, just like I enjoyed Star Fox before it, and then it was over and I had to move on. I did win the match, which was nice.
Rivals of Aether:
Next we walked by a game that looked a bit like a pixel version of Smash, which turned out to be just that. Rivals of Aether has you fight as one of several furry animals in an attempt to, like in smash bros, knock your opponent off the stage. I picked Absa, who is a lighting goat, and I fought in a 4 player free for all in which I emerged victorious. I received an Absa button as a reward, which is probably my favorite souvenir from the expo. The game is fun, fast paced action that managed to secure my vote for multi-player game.
Othello with lasers. That’s how I kept hearing the game described by passer-by’s. It’s an apt description. You play on a black and white grid and try to shoot your opponent. And like in Splatoon, you can only move on your own color. Matches are very short. We played 2v2 but observed a few 1v1 matches. It’s a simple design but it works well, and given the option, I’d play it again.
Read Only Memories:
Soft Colors and interesting character got my attention but it’s the humor and style that got me hooked. Read Only Memories is probably my favorite game of the Expo and my vote for best single player game. It’s an odd looking cyberpunk game. Not what you’d expect from a booth that had Neuromancer sitting on their table. The game looks friendly, but I think that works to it’s advantage. It’s a point and click style adventure, that I played just enough to know that I wanted to play more. I grabbed a poster and a card added it to my wishlist then moved to the next game.
I don’t even know how to describe Soft Body. It’s a sort of surreal puzzle game with hypnotic music and when I sat down to play it, it was almost like there was no Expo happening behind me. It’s relaxing, and while it did seem like there was a bit of challenge to be had if I kept playing, it was still definitely a calm game. And I would have liked it for that alone.
Kingdom caught my eye early on but every time I passed by it, there was someone playing. I never got to play it, but I did get to see people riding a horse along the most serene looking vistas. One of the booth runners saw me and asked, “Would you like to run a kingdom?”. Um.. Yes. Unfortunately, I never got to try, but I am still very interested.
The expo did it’s job. I got to play games I may not have discovered otherwise, and with most of them, my short time was not enough.