EGX Diary - Day Two
By Phil Myth
EGX, the UK’s biggest gaming convention, is back for 2018 and Nintendo have brought a whole slew of games for everyone to try out. Naturally we’re making an appearance to report on all that gaming goodness for you all. If you’re just joining us, check out our erstwhile editor’s diary from day one of our visit. If not, enjoy this cataloguing of our day two experiences!
8:30am: Up and at ‘em for day two! I’ve acquired a certain Gary Gray and a Nintendo Dad in the form of Justin Masson for today’s festivities. It’s all about Super Mario Party today.
10:03am: Lovely chat with Linn from Henchman and Goon the studio behind Pode. It’s a co-op platformer that’s really aimed at families, but with a little extra depth that you don’t always get in those games. Justin was really gushing about it. Was really interesting hearing the difficulties some of the indie devs have when they don’t get selected to be highlighted by Nintendo, and the struggles of smaller studios with niche titles in general. The game looks great though, one to check out if you’ve got a little ‘un or a non-gaming partner you want to play with.
10:40am: Following on from Broken Sword yesterday, some more point-and-click adventures in the form of 3 Minutes to Midnight. Not the best games to demo on the show floor these types of things. They’re more suited to a lazy Sunday afternoon lounging on the sofa than a quick 20 minutes in a frantic event hall. Long dialogue tree to kick things off, which was a little intimidating. But the characters and premise seemed intriguing enough.
10:46am: Time for some hardcore racing the form of Grip. It’s out in November and the sense of speed is fantastic. Really reminded me of Extreme G from the N64 days. Your car flips over, like something out of Robot Wars, and there’s weapons to pick up to disrupt your opponents. It will apparently support split-screen with split Joy-Con play, as well as 10 player online. Definite early highlight of the day.
11:10am: A side scrolling strategy game seems like a bad idea on the surface but in Swords & Soldiers II it works really well! All your units are automated by and large, and you can research new units, spells and buildings, with the objective of destroying your opponents’ base. It’s seriously a lot of fun, especially when you annihilate the dev. (She probably let me win, but I’m taking it anyway).
11:25am: Following that up with Killer Queen Black. It’s nothing but riotous multiplayer action. Nintendo seemed to shout about this rather a lot back at E3. It was certainly fun, but I must admit, I didn’t walk away from it dying to play again. Remains to be seen how well it holds up (and how much content there is) in the final product.
11:40am: Puzzle time next in the form of Treasure Stackers. The graphics are very basic, if charming and colourful. Stacking coloured treasure chests up before unlocking them with the corresponding key is an interesting twist on the genre. Might be worth checking out if you like that kind of thing.
11:48am: Had to show Gary and Justin Stick Fight after how much fun I had with it yesterday. I got so absorbed in the game I didn’t realise they’d both left and been replaced by a bunch of 8 year olds. After pummelling them into the ground a few times, I scurried off for another go on Wargroove.
12:05pm: The mighty Phil Myth vs the newcomer Gary Gray. The multiplayer game in Wargroove is just as much fun as the single player. Unfortunately, much like the single player, the demo was limited to 8 turns so I was unable to claim victory. This is despite having my units whittled down to just 3 and being hugely outnumbered and overpowered. All according to plan, obviously.
12:22pm: Games, games, games today! The beauty of having ticked off all the major ones yesterday is I can just jump in on those titles with the shortest queues. As a result, Windjammers is up next. Glorified Pong at first, but with some surprising depth once you get into it. You’re basically just playing beach frisbee, in the most gloriously over-the-top manner possible. The art style is gorgeous too, it looks just like a SEGA Mega Drive game.
12:35pm: Gone for a wander around the stalls. There’s some really cool modded Game Boys on sale here, as well as some Game Boy Micros. Would love one of those little blighters, but I must resist the urge to spend all of the money.
1:17pm: The queue for Super Mario Party has been joined. Come at me you friendship-ending wonder.
1:37pm: Five mini games later and Gary has emerged victorious in controversial fashion. We kicked things off with a Barrel riding mini game. Literally just tipping the Joy-Con forward to roll (but not too much lest you lose your balance) - first to the finish line wins. Next up is the Steak frying game we’ve all seen in the trailers. Friend of the site Gawny, who’s joined us for this battle, has Joy-Con connection issues meaning he fails to score points.
Next up is the insane trike game. It’s quite funny watching everyone furiously spinning their JoyCon whilst their trike barely moves on screen. Next up it was my turn to fall to dodgy JoyCon connections. Pathways is a properly traditional style Mario Party Game where you run from left to right taking either the higher or lower road and weaving in and out of boxes to avoid the pursuing mob. Due to my dodgy connection Yoshi stumbled around like a drunk for 4 and a half seconds before being sent packing.
This put me well out of contention. The final game - now academic so far as I was concerned - saw us stood in a grid avoiding charging bullies. All five games were standard chaotic Mario Party fare. Another game that’s gonna be great with a few beers.
2:40pm: Man, I keep coming back to Wargroove. This time it was me and a random lad against the computer. We got absolutely hammered. The more I fall in love with that game, the more I realise just how bad I am at it.
Chatting to the guys from Chucklefish about it though and it sounds like it’s going to be absolutely rammed full of content. You can run 10 games concurrently, both synchronous and a-synchronous. So you can make your move, throw it over to your friend online, and come back to it a few days later to see what he’s done. It’s basically the modern equivalent of playing Chess by post. Throw in a level creator, cut scene creator and campaign creator, and the lifespan of this game could potentially be humongous.
3:00pm: Met up and had a quick chat with Paul Murphy, the man behind the excellent Switch Player Mag. Super-cool dude and the magazine is absolutely gorgeous. If you’ve got any nostalgia for Nintendo Power or Nintendo Official Magazine, you should absolutely check it out.
3:10pm: Wandered over to Catastronauts. Essentially Overcooked in space, it’s just as much chaotic fun as its obvious influence. Where it stands apart from its kitchen based rival though, is the variety in challenges. One level had periodic solar flares so we had to lock ourselves in a room before it hit, lest we perish. Another saw us chucking bombs through a moon door. Great fun all round.
3:35pm: Not Nintendo, but we swung by the Tanglewood kiosk. A total passion project, the developer had a lifelong ambition of making a Mega Drive game. So he did. The full story is fascinating, you should really go check it out. But the game looks really, really cool.
4:05pm: Friend of Nintendo Village, Gawny, texts us to say he’s just played a Virtual Boy. This has gotta happen.
4:20pm: Virtual Boy located! It’s Tetris, and it hurts my poor little head. And my eyes. I always wanted one of these. Not that fussed now.
4:45pm: It may be the neglected child in Nintendo’s repertoire these days but we’ve plonked ourselves down on some beanbags and picked up a 3DS to dive into Luigi’s Mansion. Considering it’s originally a GameCube title, it looks remarkably impressive on Nintendo’s handheld. Stunning ghosts and hoovering them up is as satisfying as it always was, and there’s even the option for the charged torch from the second game for those who prefer that approach. The 3DS may be in the twilight of its existence, but it’s still getting some solid software. Luigi’s Mansion is a truly underrated GameCube gem if you ask me, so it’s nice to see it getting a second life on 3DS.
5:15pm: Rounding out our visit with some more Smash Bros. There’s not a lot more I can say about this game that I haven’t already. It feels so good, just like a Smash game should. Roll on December.
6:36pm: Great weekend with some great people. Time for food, beer and relaxing now. Keep an eye out for more analysis and write ups about all the games we’ve played this weekend over the next few days!
Phil is the co-founder and editor of Nintendo Village, and also writes, hosts and produces P Myth Gaming. He has been a Nintendo fanboy for as long as he can remember and owns every home console bar the Virtual Boy (one day... one day...). His favourite game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.