While South Africa doesn’t boast as big a local gaming dev scene as say the US or the UK, there’s still a lot of gold to be found here.
Now it’s time for South Africa’s biggest gaming expo in rAge 2016 and, while the floor may be full of anticipated games made overseas, we’ve taken the time to look at some local creations.
If you want to check out what happened at rAge 2015, and see the local games shown off there, we have you covered.
But onto this year and what is on show.
By Tyron Janse van Vuuren, Henk Scheepers & Ronnie Wong Ho Hip
The best way to describe Echoplex is a mix of Portal and The Swapper with an art style similar to SUPERHOT. You are trapped in a minimalist environment and the only way to exit is to walk through light switches which open doors.
Easy the first go around, but it quickly becomes impossible without the help of your echo – a ghost of yourself that will mimic your actions a few seconds behind. The creepy looking copy of yourself is the key to completing puzzles but adds a whole new layer to worry about. If your echo touches you it’s game over and, despite use referring to it as a ghost, it cannot walk through walls. You have to play a mad juggling game of getting yourself through the level while babysitting your echo so it can help you later. It’s a real treat.
Availability: Available on Steam Early Access
by Celestial Games
A game we saw last year, BAD is back to show off a variety of new drones and weapons. If you need a catch up: BAD is a six degrees of freedom arena shooter where players control drones locked in a metal box in a fight to the death.
We’re not any better at the game but we’re glad to see it’s still in development even if the only changes were slight additions. It’s a lot of fun to play locally with friends and destroying (or being destroyed by) strangers on the show floor was a hoot.
Availability: Sign up for the beta
While many people will instantly groan at the term “puzzle platformer”, we implore you to try this game out. You play as a tiny blob that can change its shape by violently slamming itself against a wall or floor.
Hit the floor hard enough and you flatten out like a pancake. This limits how high you can jump but it lets you shimmy under low obstacles. Inversely, hit a wall at speed and the blob becomes a long, skinny pole that can jump further than any other form.
But it isn’t just the player character that’s special here. While the environment isn’t destructible, it can be shaped. This is essential to scaling up walls and getting over obstacles. Our favourite use of it was this game’s version of wall jumping. Instead of defying gravity by hopping off of a sheer surface, you need to damage the wall by hitting into it using the dash, creating small crevices for you to snuggle into.
Availability: No word yet. Follow Nyamakop on Twitter for updates
While the playable demo on the show floor of this game is exactly the same as last year, what’s mort important is that the game launches on the first day of rAge.
This first person adventure game still gives us the heebie jeebies and still feels like a lot more is going on under the surface of being a lone in a cabin in the woods.
You can buy the game directly from the developer on the site, or do it in person. R150 gets you a limited edition physical copy which presents you the unique opportunity of buying it from the person who made it in person. Where and when else are you going to get that opportunity?
Availability: Available on Steam
Our favourite local game of the show. Polygod is a FPS/Rogue like that reminds us a lot of the upcoming game Strafe. We’ve been on a Rogue-like bender recently having put 80 hours into Enter the Gungeon as we await the Supply Drop Update and we really didn’t expect to see a game from this genre on the show floor made by South Africans.
In Polygod you start with a basic blaster and you’re tasked with killing a slew of monsters. Each kill gives you a soul which is your currency. At alters in the game you can exchange these souls for blessings which will improve your character in a variety of ways.
This was our local game of the day and we can’t wait to play more of it. It will be available soon through Early Access and we definitely suggest that you check it out if you can’t make it to rAge.
Availability:Available on Steam Early Access
The local games at rAge really surprised us. Semblance made our bitter little hearts grow several sizes with its cleverness, Echoplex had us pulling our hair out and we see ourselves becoming obsessed with Polygod. Again we’re reminded of the immense talent in this country and what it can produce. If you can’t get to rAge 2016 follow the links above and show these games some love.
We’ll see you next year for rAge 2017 where we hope to be surprised again.