Well, here we are again with the sophomore year of the Salt Lake Gaming Con. Last year our coverage focused primarily on the workings of the convention itself, and we decided that this year we would keep that angle brief, so here goes: If you’re in the market for a sword, body pillow adorned with a topless woman, or t-shirt proclaiming your love for anime, then the Salt Lake Gaming Convention is likely for you! But if you’re like me you probably already have a closet stuffed full of swords and body pillows and no real need to purchase more.
Why else go to a gaming convention? Perhaps you want to see notable actor (and missing guest from last year) Steven Ogg, or…uh…the defensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks. Yes, that’s probably exactly the person you’d hope to spy just to the left of the booth filled with ceramic fairy figurines.
Maybe you want to go to a gaming convention to get your hands on some yet to be released games like a crazy person. Well that might not be so easy. Microsoft and Sony both had small presences offering up titles that have long been released, and while the event organizers had no problem slapping a Nintendo logo up on the list of guests on their website there was unsurprisingly no attendance from the big N. Luckily our local indies have stepped up to fill the void, here are some of the standout titles we got to try at the show:
I’ve gotten hands on with Aurora Redemptus a total of three times now. My first two experiences with the title left me a little lukewarm, but this third go around I feel like I finally have a clear view of the potential this title has.
The game takes a turn-based approach to combat with you basically only worrying about the trajectory of your ships. Get an enemy in the green zone on your reticle and you’ll automatically blast them into pieces. Of course this gets tricky when you’re controlling entire fleets.
New to this year’s build is multiplayer (which was an absolute blast to play) and a ship builder which will let you customize your own monstrosities to take into battle. There’s a little bit of balancing to be done, but for the most part these components feel really solid and are great editions to the game.
Neon Core is a very simple mobile game that has you tapping your screen to guide a small sphere through a series of complex (and often moving) obstacles. The game will take you through over 100 different obstacle sets before it starts to repeat itself in your quest for the high score.
The game has the exact flexibility I look for in a mobile title. That is to say I can play it for the duration of a grocery store line while just as easily enjoying it for a lengthier score chasing session at home. Neon Core served as great company for the remainder of the show while I waited for the convention’s notoriously disorganized panels to begin.
Momentum has been the subject of discussion on our site before, just not in the context of print. The game is a physics laden platformer reminiscent of titles like Super Monkey Ball or Marble Madness. While guiding spheres through the floating track in the sky one can’t help but get the sense that Momentum feels largely ready for release, a sentiment I would have shared just as easily after spending time with it last year.
The game has a somewhat zen-like nature and doesn’t feel quite as manic as something like say Super Monkey Ball, however that’s not to say things don’t get pretty intense, with some levels that feel downright nuts in the game’s later stages.
Assuming everything goes according to plan, you should see Momentum releasing before the year is up.
You might not have thought of Towerfall as delicate, but you probably will after you get your hands on Crashnauts. Goodbye bows and arrows, hello rocket launchers, sniper rifles, swords (a new addition this year), and the ability to smash your opponents into tiny pieces every time you respawn into the game. Oh and lets not forget the game’s announcer, who sounds like he was torn straight out of an Unreal Tournament match.
Of course that’s not all that makes the game stand out from titles like Samurai Gunn and Towerfall. My favorite feature in Crashnauts is its extra wide-levels that will scroll back and forth during combat. This feature even lends itself to game modes like “Push”, a team based mode where every kill you rack up on the enemy team will push the screen further in their direction towards a generator you must destroy to clinch the win.
Crashnauts is very likely the most polished game at the show and I expect you’ll be snatching it up on Steam sometime in the very near future. You can follow the game’s progress on their website here.
The Memory Of Eldurim
The Memory Of Eldurim is an action RPG that aims to bridge the gap between the deep combat of Dark Souls and the expansive open world of games like Skyrim. The game has been in the works for over two years in the hands of an impressively small team made up of just three people.
The game can be found right this very second on Early Access where the devs seem to be very interactive with their community base. Things do still feel early at the moment but multiplayer and a new character creation system should be arriving in the game soon, so now might be a great time to go get on board.