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Hello again, Folks! Whether you have been in a cryogenic sleep or simply refused to leave the house since the last Play Up because the graphics suck, it’s time to rejoice: it’s back! Play Up has enjoyed the Christmas holidays, sobered up and pulled local developers and appreciative nerds together for its seventh event, and first for 2015. Hosted by SK Games last Friday night, the suspiciously cheap drinks flowed, and the sizable crowd enjoyed four new games to play. It was encouraging to see hordes of new faces, and even better to see mostly familiar ones after donning my optical regalia. Here is a short rundown of everything you missed, and why you couldn’t possibly not attend the next one.
 

Bramblelash


 
Let’s start with Bramblelash by Liam and Sam of ByteSprite, mostly because it took up the entire front room and had an oddly hypnotic effect that was hard to ignore. Bramblelash has been in development six months but proves the guys have triumphed in creating a solid game with many possible paths of progression. Two characters must tether themselves via an inconspicuously deadly vine and rid the dim grassland of spawning Blobs. This is a game that relies on communication and positioning, also known as telling the other player what to do louder than they are telling you. ByteSprite are aiming for Steam green light, and hopefully a next gen console release for as a competitive party game. It worked so intuitively, the dynamic camera and art was beautiful, and the sound was pretty impressive; right up to the point I learned that the dying blob noise came from mouth-farts. For more info, check out: bytespritegames.com
 
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Arbalest 3035


 
Next I was drawn to the game that took up the entire brick wall out the back, Arbalest 3035: the top-down space shooter multiplayer madness. The developer is none other than GameCloud’s own Colton Onderwater, so in the interest of being 100% unbiased, I have to say the game sucked. Kidding! He bought us a game that has only been in development since January, with a personal deadline set less than two months away for completion. The aim is to kill the other ships using randomly coloured orbs to power up while avoiding any collisions. It was well-disguised mayhem with two or more players, but the orb combinations made for an interesting power swing. The catchy music and simple geometric game design heightened the chaotic feel, making it a perfect installation for a party atmosphere.
If you’d like to know more about the team, or more info about their upcoming release, please visit: bear-tooth.com
 
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Hostile Encounters


 
The final game of the night was hosted by the developer over a Skype call, not by a very clever laptop AI as I’d first assumed. Tungamirai Mangombe offered his android game Hostile Encounters for attendees to play, and give instant feedback using the Skype call. There was hardly a chance to squeeze in and try it myself on the night, but I did download it at home. Tunga’s game does not come across as something still needing much development, but I could have used a few more instructions. I fluked my way through the first few battles, enjoying the ability to swing the view of the ships and space around so easily. Since getting the hang of it though I now take every defeat personally, and I am not going to bed until that damn ship with the blue light attack is DEAD! The graphics and play are quality, and I will be looking out for any other progress from this talented guy.
 
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Now I did say four games, that wasn’t a typo, but for now one is going to stay under wraps until the developers are ready. See, these are things you miss out on if you don’t come along! The next Play Up is already filling with games, but if you have something you would love to have featured then contact Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie through playupperth.org. As always we will let you know the details for the next one and look forward to more awesome crowds and enjoying the work of talented developers. Until then probably stay indoors, and we’ll let you know when it’s safe to come out again.

Bernadette Russell
Bernadette is living her childhood dream as the Manager at EB Games in Geraldton, WA. With a life-long console habit and a self-imposed MMO ban, she fantasizes about the day when all she'll have to do is game and write. Oh, and also about meeting Link. HYAH!
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