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MCM Comic Con Birmingham | Top 3 Indie Games
With lots to see on the show floor, Gaming Editors Roshni Patel and Emma Kent find the indie gaming gems among the crowds at comic con
As members of the press we love going to conventions to play games, and MCM Comic Con at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Center was no exception. Emma and I were overwhelmed by the sheer scale of comic con, and the small but brilliant selection of games available to be played.
'Lights, camera, action' is probably a good way to summarize this indie! Exposure is a supernatural photography game, where the player can experiment with camera settings to solve puzzles and take beautiful, ethereal pictures.
For someone who'd never really touched a camera more serious than an iPhone before, I felt it was fairly easy to understand the basic camera settings and their functions in Exposure. Soon, I had figured out how to use the camera to solve puzzles; for instance, I was able to connect a ray of light between two points by taking a long exposure shot and blurring the light. The concept of using photography to puzzle-solve is truly intriguing, and plays with the idea that photography can help us perceive the world in new ways.
Exposure also functions as a useful introduction to the basics of photography, providing a great space to try these methods out and play with creativity. I loved the feel of the game and its aesthetic; an unusual mixture of English countryside and brutalist architecture. This blend of concrete and nature felt reminiscent of a playground, and encouraged me to mess around with the camera settings and wildlife in the world.
With the developers planning to integrate social media photo sharing into the game, I believe Exposure has the potential to promote in-game photography as a new media form, and encourage creativity within digital spaces. I look forward to seeing where the developers take this game, and in particular, how they expand on their intriguing concept of puzzle-solving with a camera.
Off And On Again
When technology isn’t working, the usual course of action is to turn it off and on again. This game plays with that idea as a platform puzzler. Play as the hero tasked with rebooting your computer from the inside. Together you’ll have to solve ever increasing puzzles to traverse through the levels (or sections of the computer). In the same way a speedrunner teaches you how to avoid the various obstacles one by one, increasing the difficulty of the game with each obstacle you master, Off And On Again does this too. However, unlike speedrunners where you’re running against a timer and one wrong move will throw you back to the start, Off And On Again is played at your own pace, with deaths returning you to the last appropriate checkpoint, allowing you to try again without needlessly repeating sections you already aced.
With a single player campaign and a variety of multiplayer modes, such as death match, space invaders, and block breaker available to play at Comic Con, this game is good fun solo or with friends. Currently in development, developer Tim Keenan hopes to have the kinks and bugs ironed out soon, ready for the game to release into early access this December.
What started as an academic research project into procedurally generated systems, snowballed into a full game development. Complete with iterative build releases to itch.io and a greenlit steam entry for 2018. Enter the realm of Computra, the land within your computer, where 4 friends are racing across the hard disk to outrun evil villain Ramrafstar’s minion Deletion Dave. In Sure Footing, the speed running track is generated procedurally, as you might have guessed, and requires you to mind your footing to ensure you continue your momentum, getting ahead of Deletion Dave and not stumbling into his hands.
Having played the single player at EGX Rezzed this Spring and now the multiplayer versus mode at Comic Con, it’s clear this game is one which will bring you many moments of joy and fun. It’s not something overly challenging to get into, but with the randomness of the levels it's hard to stick at it, as each sector of the hard disk is a mystery every time. The versus matches are also a lot of fun, allowing you to challenge your friends to see who can think the fastest. While there’s still a working build available to download for free on itch.io, they’ve stopped updating it in favour of getting ready for a early 2018 release onto Steam.