We’ve got another slew of weird and wonderful indie games for this edition of Gamebox 2.0 along with some demos of some big games that came out around the time of E3.
VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action: If you thought Papers, Please needed more anime characters and alcohol, VA-11 HALL-A may be something you want to check out. You fill the shoes of Jill, a bartender at the titular bar in a bizarre cyberpunk future and have to serve your patrons a wide variety of drinks, each with specific amounts of alcohol, and, depending what you serve them and how potent it is, you can learn more about them as they spill their guts or offer up insights into the inner workings of the city. You can earn money to pay Jill’s rent and decorate her apartment and you can keep up with news and other info on her phone. There’s various mini games and events that pop up and you also get to setup the jukebox before every shift, which is filled with tons of great retro synth inspired tracks. It’s available right now on Steam.
The Final Station Beta: We checked it out a bit at PAX East this past spring but we’ve gotten a chance to dive deeper into the creepy pixel art apocalypse of The Final Station thanks to a beta before it arrives sometime this summer. You play the conductor of a train making it’s way through the desolate apocalyptic landscape, rescuing survivors and gathering supplies at various stops on the train route. Each station has a lock with a code that must be found before you can move on and you’ll have to rummage around the buildings and fight off the mysterious creatures to get the code. Once underway, you have to maintain the train’s systems and keep an eye on the health and hunger of your passengers. It does a great job of setting a grim mood and you always feel like you never have enough supplies, especially ammo, to take down the all black creatures that have seemingly caused the apocalypse.
Super Duper Party Pooper: An extremely bizarre game, Super Duper Party Pooper, the follow up to “There’s Poop in My Soup”, has you playing a man who travels the globe eating various food and then proceeding to launch projectile shit at nearby party goers. The gameplay is a rhythm game to start as you have to eat food to the music and it gets progressively more complicated with more mechanics to remember and then, once you’ve eaten enough, you try to aim and shoot your poop onto the dancing people nearby. It’s solid enough in both areas but it’s just so bizarre, I don’t know what to make of it. It’s on Steam if you want to try and figure it out for yourself.
Wasted: Another game we got to play a bit at PAX East, Wasted comes from Adult Swim Games and combines 80’s style apocalyptic media like Mad Max with a kind of Borderlands style art style and rouge-like gameplay. You play a survivor in the post-apocalypse wasteland and enter various vaults, or Coolers, for addictive but probably mutation causing Booze and better weapons and gear. The coolers are full of strange creatures, traps and other survivors and it’s definitely a challenge to make it through alive. If you die, you take over a new survivor and will have to attempt the Cooler run again. You have a home base where you can store gear for the next survivor or yourself later. It’s got a fun, twisted sense of humor and the gameplay is fast and brutal. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Tick Tock Bang Bang: If you are looking for more time bending FPS action after playing through Superhot, Tick Tock Bang Bang is here. You play a stuntwoman for Hollywood blockbusters who has the ability to stop time if she’s standing still, allowing her to perform insane sequences that would kill anyone else. Each level tasks you with getting from one end of the map to the other but you’ve got things like laser grids, flamethrowers, cars, robots and missiles in your way. You pick up a stun gun fairly early that you also get missiles to pick up to use against the robots and turrets that are trying to kill you (what kind of movie is this anyway?) The time stopping mechanic is used really well and it lets you kind of assess the situation and figure out where to shoot and where to move to. The levels are short but the game encourages you to go back and replay to get a better time and you’re compared after every level to a global leaderboard. The only thing I think would have cool is if you got a sense of what the movie is you are working on and maybe see what you’ve done added into some sort of fake trailer a la the old Stuntman series. As of right now, the levels exist in kind of a generic sci-fi/action setting.
Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour Demo: Announced at Sony’s jam packed E3 press conference, Resident Evil 7 is coming in January of next year and they released a demo/teaser to the PS Store to give a taste of what fans can expect from the very different direction the franchise is going in. Now in a first person perspective, the “Beginning Hour” teaser demo puts you into a creepy house in the middle of nowhere and you wander around trying to find your way out before whoever brought you there comes back. The environment is incredibly detailed and horrific, with bloody god knows what and rotting food everywhere and a mysterious ghost girl seemingly popping up randomly. One of the coolest parts of the demo is that you can find a VHS tape and, if you put it into the VCR in an upstairs room, you get to play the footage, which follows a camera crew filming a “Ghost Hunters” style show and then having something horrific happen to them. Watching/playing the tape actually gives you clues for what’s happening in the present day, like a secret switch in the fireplace. Fans are already pouring over every detail and trying to find different endings and, while this exact level isn’t going to be included in the final game, if the actual game is like this, we’re in for an awesome and creepy adventure.
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Demo: Also highlighted during Sony’s press conference at E3, due to some exclusive content coming to the PS4, there was also a demo released for the next entry in the Lego series, focusing on the most recent Star Wars movie. The demo takes place during the sequence when Finn and Rey are escaping the First Order on Jakku and highlights the two big gameplay additions to the franchise. The first is “multi-build” which lets you choose between two different projects for a pile of Lego bricks and you can break them apart at any time and build the other one. This adds to the puzzle solving as you have to build one project, manipulate some environmental objects, and then break it and build the other project to move on. The other big addition is new cover based shooting segments where the camera zooms way in to be right over the shoulder of your characters and you can pop out, Time Crisis style, to take down Stormtroopers and other targets. The demo also has section where you pilot the Millenium Falcon and it’s one of the best vehicle segments I’ve played from the Lego series, feeling like the old school Star Fox games where you are on rails but have full range of motion around the screen and have to take out enemy ships while flying through rails and dodging environmental hazards. If you’re a fan of The Force Awakens and the Lego games, this is definitely one to check out right now on all platforms.