It is a funny time to put together a convention here in the UK. Sure, the world is slowly opening up again, but travel restrictions for much of the world have only just lifted for many regions. On top of that, EGX, one of the largest video game conventions in Europe, only announced the dates and venue for their 2021 event a few weeks ago.
Still, there were plenty of games to play and developers to talk to — which is where EGX shines above other gaming conventions in the UK.
Here are a few of our highlights of this convention from over the last weekend — and why these are games worth watching out for.
A Juggler’s Tale
It is rare that a game gives us an aesthetic that hasn’t been done to death before, so spotting A Juggler’s Tale from developer kaleidoscube was a treat. The game, which follows a young girl’s escape from the circus, is framed as a marionette theatre production. All the characters and enemies are a controlled via strings by some off-screen person. Not only does this influence the look and feel of character movement, but it also changes how obstacles and puzzles are approached. The demo I played at EGX was short but fun and had a lot of charm.
A Juggler’s Tale is available now for Steam. Sadly there’s no demo available to the public right now, but it’s only £12.99!
Inua – A Story of Ice and Time
This narrative-led adventure game opens with a reporter investigating what happened to a failed expedition to find the North-West Passage in the northern reaches of Canada. That mystery leads the story to another and another until multiple stories spanning hundreds of years come together. The demo I played at EGX touched on the pettiness and fear of people when they are faced with the unforgiving cold of the region. Though it featured multiple human characters, it felt like a story being told by something far older and more powerful.
The artwork is unique but approachable and simple, while the sound design is where this game really shines. The wind and the music amplify the cold imagery well and really make you feel like you’re stuck on a boat in a frozen lake.
Inua – A Story of Ice and Time will release on Steam. No release date has been given.
Best Month Ever!
Best Month Ever follows a mother who, upon finding out that she has only one month left to live, needs to sort out living arrangements for her young son. It is some heavy subject matter, but there is a sense of resolve and peace in the voice of the narrator, who is the adult version of the son. Stories are told in the past tense even as they unfold in front of us, giving the game a storybook quality to it.
The pair set off on an emotional but occasionally joyful journey across the US, with their actions impacting the stats of the son. Show more vulnerability and he will become more open as the story is told. Show contempt for authority and he will mirror this behaviour in his interactions. This is an interesting mechanic since it gives each decision a weight to it that parents must have to consider. What I played at EGX was short, but the music and voice acting jumped out at me as doing a great job of bringing me into the 1960s portrayed in the game.
Best Month Ever! will release some time next year on Steam. There’s a demo available now if you want to try it for yourself.
There weren’t the usual wealth of games on display at EGX this year as there has been in the past, but it’s still not a normal year so that can be forgiven. Organisers have already announced another pair of dates for 2022, with the event returning to Birmingham in March and London in September. With more than eight weeks’ notice, hopefully more developers and industry people will be able to attend next year’s show — and that means more games to enjoy!
Did you attend EGX 2021? What were your personal highlights?
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