If there’s one thing kids need more of in a healthy, well-balanced breakfast, it’s video games. A few pixels a day keeps the torment of homework at bay, and where better to get their monthly serving of fresh, grassroots, unpasteurised indie gaming than Playup Perth! While Playup is all about giving local devs the opportunity to get feedback on their games, this month was also focused on getting younger generations interested. Run in conjunction with the KickstART Festival Day, we packed out Carpe Coffee, booted up the 3D printer and got to see just what the local scene had to offer. And, much to my surprise, the adults weren’t the only ones making games!
Hyperdash Heroes [Mosswolf Games]
No stranger to the Playup scene, Hyperdash Heroes is an endless runner game set in an endless corridor. What machinations have brought your avatar to this place, I cannot say, but it’s an addictive little game! You jump wall to wall to avoid obstacles by tapping the screen, and that’s about it, but it’s the kind of game that makes you go, “What? I can do better than that!”. You can collect coins along the way to bump up your high score, and man, when I see a high score that can be topped, there is no rest until my numbers reign supreme.
My experience with the game was one of frustration mixed with ecstatic joy. The controls were responsive, and the aesthetic was clean so that you knew exactly what was coming your way. Mind you, I barely managed to make it onto the leaderboard for the event, but that didn’t make the game any less fun. Now if they could just release it, I’d be a happy man.
Leap of Faith [Numbat Byte]
Made by a 13-year old who clearly has more productive things on his mind than when I was 13, Leap of Faith is a simple platformer about escaping a dystopian future filled with blobs. While the game was limited to something more akin to a demo for the day, it’s still impressive for someone of Arsam’s age. It had the look and feel of a highly polished game, and with a sneaky Carpenter Brut track accompanying the visuals, this kid clearly has some idea of what he’s doing.
Made in Gamemaker, Leap of Faith is a relatively simple game where you move, jump and shoot in the ways that you would expect. The demo that I played ended with a boss fight and a ‘leap of faith’ off the edge of the level that didn’t lead anywhere… For now. It’s a far cry from AAA games you see touted on the sides of buses, but it’s rad to see someone of his age giving game development a go!
The Coins of McGuffin TCG [David Green]
Inspired by the unending passion of fandoms, The Coins of McGuffin is an ambitious trading card game that’s very mind-game heavy. The idea is to use various fandom cards (Mouseketeers, Tolkienites) with several coins (film, books, TV, etc.) to gain hit points. You then roll a dice, attack someone else and steal their coins to stay alive the longest.
While I wasn’t hugely into the gameplay, the mind-games were what kept me involved. I played with five people, which meant that we weren’t directly competing with one another. Buff yourself up with coins and people will want them, so most of the game boiled down to not being seen as a valuable target. I’m not sure how keen I would be on investing in another TCG, but hey, who knows, it could cultivate a fandom of its own.
Samurai Showdown [Otterspace Games]
If you took Guitar Hero but put it into the context of samurai duels, you’d likely end up with Samurai Showdown. The idea of the game is to input commands as quickly and accurately as you can. There’s a multiplayer mode too, so whoever is the quickest wins the round. Now, the game would have been interesting to delve into if the game had worked.
Unfortunately, games in development rarely work when you want them to, and this was one of those times. Every time I tried speedily putting in my inputs, the game wouldn’t register them. Easy enough for me to blame the game, but the dev didn’t shy away from the fact that it straight up didn’t work. By the end of the day, he’d found the fault and set up a plan to rectify the issue. Next time I see the game on display, I’m giving it a second chance, because that’s a damn good attitude to a broken game!
Starlost [Hoodwinked Studio]
Rounding out the day with a solid helping of sci-fi combat was Starlost, a top-down shooter with a smattering of resource collection. You play as a small ship in the midst of an asteroid field and must mine resources to upgrade your vessel. However, there are plenty of bad guys in your way, so don’t go thinking you’re in for a cakewalk here!
There was a campaign to try on the day, so naturally, I started with a boss fight. It did not go well. However, the combat was pretty fun to play with. You get a combination of auto-fire and manually activated weaponry, and you even get a nice little follower robot to help you out. The game looked great too, with plenty of particle effects and shiny metal drones filling up the screen to no end. I would have liked to zoom out a bit more, but judging from the near-complete state of the game, the devs seem comfortable with how their game is coming along.
And We’re Done!
Overall, the day was another reminder of the outstanding talent here in Perth. Regardless of what genre or flavour of game you want to see, Playup always delivers something special, and this month was no different. The fact that we have kids who haven’t even finished high school making video games is mind-blowing. With all these youngin’s making games, I might have to give it a crack too!