For the Strategy/simulation and anything other genre of games at DreamHack Dallas 2019, I played five!
Wildermyth (Published By World Walker Games)
What I find interesting about the trailer for Wildermyth, is that it lures you into thinking you’re on this serious, dark fantasy quest, when the game is actually rather silly. It starts with the difficulty options being named after famous fantasy authors, then goes into the origins of your custom characters. The whole gameplay is a tabletop fantasy version of Xcom, with a player-driven narrative.
My time with the demo featured what is probably the first three levels, introducing three different class characters that would meet up with each other. I had an archer, mage and warrior with me, which two of them used kitchen spoons and frying pans as weapons. There’s some adorable nerdy humor to be had for a game advertised to be so gritty. Then again, these were the first three or four randomly generated levels, none of which had my custom characters interact with npcs.
Really, the choices were on who our characters are, and how it affects the gameplay. Later, I discovered alternative attacks, like the mage casting a trap that continuously damages enemies in the radius or that you can tear down weak walls to cover more ground. I enjoyed my demo time with the Wildermyth, and look forward to full release as its now one of my most anticipated indies of the year!
Excitement Level: High
Site Link: https://wildermyth.com/
Merchant (Published By Retora Game Studios)
Well, the trailer sure doesn’t seem to represent the game. Merchant is still about a merchant, hiring class characters on quests and giving them gear, then setting them on the adventure, hoping they come back with goods, but its no 3D game with a personalized shop. No, its as straight-forward and retro as it could be, which is fine if you want that.
You’re main goal is just keeping a business a float, gaining the most money from selling to successful quests. You don’t get to see those quests in action or much of your shop, which you’ll either not mind or find it highly disappointing. I like the idea behind running a shop where you sell things to adventures, but I would have liked an actual tycoon, considering how much could be mined from running an RPG equipment store.
Merchant is going the simple, straight-forward route and that’s fine, especially that its out now for free on the app store. It just isn’t my cup of tea.
Excitement Level: Low
Site Link: http://www.retoragames.com/games/merchant/
Steem Monsters (Published By Steem Monsters)
I couldn’t find a trailer for this game, Steem Monsters, so I’m using “The Crypto Pickle”s video for reference (check out his work by the way)! Let me just start this off as a little lesson for all inspiring indie game developers out there: Do not start your selling pitch by going over the microtransactions, before you even mention what your game is about!
I walked up to this booth for the representative to start off by talking about all the packs I can buy for what price like microtransactions is what gamers here want the most (which for all I know, that might be true). When he did get to the game, he said that its basically like Heartstone, but full of elemental monsters. There was no demo to play, but he did tell me that I can play the game for free on the website, which I might, since he gave me a free coupon for a starter pack, but I would have liked to know what the game is like in experience.
I’ve seen developers advertise games that have been out for a while, in this convention alone, and still let you try their game out to see if it’ll interest you. I know this is a free-to-play browser-based trading card game, but even Bethesda allowed people to try their free trading card game out at QuakeCon, and people hate Bethesda right now.
The game could be amazing for all I know, but this is not how you sell a video game to gamers at a gaming convention. For that, heck no I’m not excited for this. I’m sorry if this comes off harsh, but this was not a great sell.
Excitement Level: None
Site Link: https://steemmonsters.com/
The Rowing Simulator (Created By Sydney McMahan)
At first, The Rowing Simulator seemed like one of those rage games that are made to make you mad on purpose, which developer Sydney McMahan admitted that the difficulty probably should have been tweaked. However, there is something to really appreciate about this game and the developer which you don’t always see.
Now, I’m not going to withdraw my criticism of the game and definitely would say that I’m not the target audience for it, but Sydney reminds me of the Unravel developer, for one, being so freaking adorable and two, this entire game was built in reference to her life in rowing. The playable character is even modeled after her in a modern-day Cartoon Network art style.
I feel bad that I walked away from her booth because of how the mini-game was made to make you lose. I get that she wanted to make an example on how difficult rowing is, but you can do that in other ways besides a timing mini-game. Heck, Mario Party 1 beat her to showing how tough rowing is by actually having the player scrape their palms in order to win. The mini-game shows Sydney with workout equipment, but what about having to pick up a paddle and row for real in the water.
That would get players right up close with the rowing practice, and you can have multiple difficulty settings for players to progress their way to that hard finish. The fact is, she made this short game with her own love and passion, using her own life as template, which is awesome. Developers should make games that have their personality inside, because those games tend to be heart-felt products, which is always nice.
The other thing I appreciate, this is a student who still has a couple of years left before graduation, and this is really just something she’s adding to her portfolio, not a game to sell on Steam for $9.99. For that, her work is impressive and think she should keep going and eventually get to that indie game where she will be kicking butt on Steam or GoG.com or what have you, just need to work on some things before that!
Excitement Level: Medium
Site Link: https://squidarts.weebly.com/
Depths Of Sanity (Published By Bomb Shelter Games)
Depths Of Sanity has something really cool going on, being a submarine metroidvania in the inspiration of Blaster Master. Your submarine has different weapons and gadgets to help you around the deep blue sea as you adventure its depths, getting out of your submarine whenever there’s an area that calls for diver action. The demo I played took place at the very beginning of the game, where our team is set on an investigation mission to figure out what kind of strange activity has been brewing under the depths of the ocean.
While enjoyable on my demo time, I’m not a fan of the camera, or maybe the player model size. Perhaps its just something I’ll warm up to, since I had to get going and could not play the demo for long, but both the submarine and human character is perhaps too small. Blaster Master Zero 2 (which I’ll need to review at some point) is a game I absolutely love and both characters are of normal proportions to the screen size. It wasn’t a major annoyance, and perhaps I’ll warm up to it, but I had trouble playing the game for that reason.
I’m still interested in the final product when it releases, early next year. Hopefully, a second shot would make things better, where I have more time with the game.
Excitement Level: Medium
Site Link: https://bombsheltergames.com/