ESGS holds the tradition of providing a space for independent developers to feature their games to the public. This space is where I usually like to visit because this is where you see new ideas and skilled individuals show off their best ideas and works in the realm of game development. It’s out here where there can be hidden gems that could be the next big thing, or at least I get to give aspiring developers some feedback on how their game could further be polished and hopefully be out in the market in the near future.
This year, I’d have three games that I think are more than worthy of anyone’s attention. So here they are.
From the same guy that was mainly responsible for Good Knight. He goes from a game that only requires one button, to one that strongly relies on your mastery of all the keys on your keyboard. Basically, this is a typing game that’s refashioned into a potentially open-world RPG adventure. Now, I said potentially because all we have available to us at the moment is more of a proof of concept, rather than a slice of the game. Attacks, spells, skills, dodging, movement and even dialogue options will rely entirely on your keyboard. No mouse? Yes, no mouse. It’ll be a bit awkward but that’s part of the novelty.
Already I can see how this game can have streaming integration, where content creators can have their audience influence how the Keyboard Warrior plays out. Since text can easily be changed within the game, even during play.
However, it’s about as far as it goes. We don’t know what the content is going to be, we are not sure if this is going to play out like an RPG, or if it’s going to be this visceral rollercoaster like Good Knight was. So while the idea and the concept is pretty exciting, the novelty will quickly wear thin unless the content cleverly makes use of Keyboard Warrior’s concept.
Tower of Cards
Indie developers these days tend to gravitate to two genres: Deck Builders and Roguelikes. So when I first came across this rather minimalist game, I was underwhelmed. But there’s a certain charm to a game that’s this quick to pick up and play. A lot of the game explains itself if rather quickly if you’re at all familiar with design language in gaming. It went straight to gameplay and was willing to speed up the game when I thought I understood what was going on. Tower of Cards is a Tower Defense game that makes you consider what to add to your arsenal and their position with respect to what’s coming to attack the tower you have to defend. You receive cards at random and you have to think about what you can use since there’s some limitation to how many you can deploy at one go.
To oversimplify, this is kind of like Plants Vs Zombies. The layout is easy to understand, the enemy AI is predictable, and you can learn as you play. The Tower Defense genre is in a sense, repackaged, revitalized, and hopefully with some luck, revived with this game.
I got to play this game for maybe 20 minutes, but this is clearly the kind of title that you’re meant to just soak and in and experience. The first thing that comes to mind is Stardew Valley, where instead of raising a farm, you sell wares as a blacksmith and forge tools and weapons. Of the three titles I mentioned, this feels like the most complete.
What surprised me is how Craggenrock presents a pretty deep and involved crafting experience when it’s time to make something as simple as a kitchen knife. And it makes me curious about how many other things I can make within the game, and how different the process would become. There are still other aspects such as gathering, interacting with other NPCs, and maybe later on more traditional RPG elements.
I’ve searched for this title on Steam, where it can be wish-listed, Considering how dense the short time I was playing it felt. I hope to find it on early access soon because I really want to play this title again.