Well here we are once more with another year of the Salt Lake Gaming Con behind us. Folks hoping for a substantial increase in quality from last year are likely going to be left wanting as we’ve once more received a gaming convention largely bereft of games but replete with swords. The saving grace of this sad affair is once more the Utah Games Guild, who brought some of their exciting new projects to demo. Here are those gems that made the trip worthwhile:
Ethos – It Begins Again
This was my first time sampling Ethos – It Begins Again, which was explained to us as Dark Souls with an MMO sandbox game to boot. The developer pitched a pretty lofty idea: A Souls-like game with empire-building, player-run economies, player-built towns, a tribute system enforced by PvP arena combat, bounties, banditry… A lot of stuff. The devs obviously have a big dream in mind and it sounds like a pretty ambitious project. What we played at the con was just a small taste of combat, pitting us against a set of three consecutively tougher boss battles.
While I get the impression that the game is still in a very early stage with a lot of work to be done, the framework is there for a potentially exciting Souls-like combat system with its own touches and the unforgiving difficulty that one would hope for from a Dark Souls title. While there is still a lot of work to be done to make Ethos into the enthusiastic title it wants to be, this one seems to be moving in the right direction.
Legacy of the Elder Star – Kickbomb Entertainment
We’ve been following this one for a while now and the game’s chief developer, Josh Sutphin even joined us on an episode of the podcast last year. Legacy of the Elder Star is a colorful bullet hell shooter that is way more fun than any other shmup I can think of, largely due to it’s highly responsive mouse-based control scheme. I generally can’t stand this genre of game so take that into consideration when I say that playing Legacy of the Elder Star is almost therapeutic in comparison. It has the exciting pandemonium of the genre, along with some really fun, vibrant artwork that makes it feel like a one-of-a-kind title, but also still feels very accessible and enjoyable to someone like me who usually can’t find anything to like about these types of games.
Also, this is a title that you can pick up very soon, as they will be releasing on June 7th (Tuesday). I would highly recommend you show your support for this awesome dev by picking up a copy of their awesome game.
Alkanaur is an isometric tactics RPG game in the vein of Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics. The game’s narrative is heavily character based and will follow a young woman who forms a band of mercenaries in order to earn enough money to support her plague-ridden father.
We sampled the game’s turn-based battle mechanics this weekend, which the developer tells us is still in an an early state, but what we saw looks like a solid foothold in the genre, with multiple classes and a good variety of skills and tactics. If that sounds like your sort of thing you can follow Alkanaur’s progress on the developer’s blog here.
We Need to Go Deeper – Deli Interactive
A surprise favorite at this year’s con, I hadn’t even heard of We Need to Go Deeper before this weekend, but it was a happy find. We Need to Go Deeper is a Jules Verne-inspired rogue-like submarine-based treasure-hunting multiplayer rogue-like. Now that’s a lot of adjectives, some of which I generally don’t associate with fun gaming, so try to follow me when I tell you what’s great about it. You and up to three other players (either via LAN or internet) will man a submarine to the bottom of the sea, each player taking control of one (or more) aspect of keeping your ship up and running: Navigation, repairs, manning torpedoes against hostile narwhals. The game has an excellent style and even in our short playtime provided a pretty excellent time.
At first the game is immediately reminiscent of Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, but there are some notable distinctions. Namely, only the players steering the ship and manning the torpedoes can see what’s going on outside, and while doing so they can’t see inside. As enemies will punch holes through the hull of your sub, causing it to fill with water, having good eyes inside and out of your ship will be paramount to safe treasure hunting. Also unique is that players will actually leave their ship to hunt for treasure, fighting crabs and other sea beasts while raiding underwater caves. Jared and I were sadly not the best of treasure hunters and died tragically on our voyage, but we had a pretty great time getting there and I will be looking forward to seeing more from Deli Interactive.