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EGX 2016 – Indie Games Picks – Part 1

Continuing our coverage ahead of EGX 2016, we take our pick of the indie games on show in the Rezzed Zone. This is part 1. I’m Andreas. These are mine.

Uncanny Valerie (NFTS Games)

Picked primarily for its pun-work, Uncanny Valerie is a game ‘in the vein of Black Mirror, Ex Machina and Her’, which is an excellent series of words. The game puts the player in the role of Karis, a robotics engineer out of a job and recently dumped by the eponymous Valerie.

Rather than burning her things or pulling a John Cusack and holding up a boombox like a moron, as any rational person would, Karis decides to programme her ex’s consciousness into an android. It’s a great premise, and to me, as a big fan of all three of its inspirations and a lover of character driven games, it sounds pretty perfect.

Tokyo Dark (Cherrymochi)

The game Tokyo Dark draws from a Japanese urban legend that says that somewhere in Shinjiku station there is a strange door. Those who pass through it vanish, massively defeating a door’s inherent purpose of actually going somewhere.

Players take on the role of Detective Itō, whose partner vanishes in suspiciously urban-legendy circumstances. It’s an odd but interesting mix of point and click, story-altering dialogue trees and visual novel, one which combines 2D and 3D artwork to build its rich, noir-esque Tokyo landscape.

The Turing Test (Bulkhead)

Nominative determinism is the theory that a person’s name has a marked effect on their fate. The Turing Test, a game in which a protagonist named Ava Turing must work her way through a research station under the control of an AI named T.O.M., takes that theory, whispers in its ear just how great it is and then emphatically awards it ‘Best in Show’.

A first person puzzler in the vein of Portal and The Talos Principle, the player, as Ava, must descend into the research facility to find their crew-mates, all while questioning the motives of her AI overseer. The style and atmosphere are excellent, reminiscent of Alien: Isolation after the cleaners have been.

Black The Fall (Sand Sailor Studio)

This looks to be one of the more unique games at EGX: a puzzle platformer set in a Communist dystopia.

I’m going to be pretentious for five words: this game utterly nails chiaroscuro. Sepia-toned light against ink-black (with the odd flash of red) really sells the overbearing, industrial setting. It makes the background factory machinery seem alive, terrifying and oppressive, presumably a metaphor for communism ironically facilitating industrial servitude or something. I realise that was more than five words.

If you’re a fan of Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee but wish it had been designed by Joseph Stalin, this is worth a look.

Keep an eye out for part 2 of our EGX indie picks, in which Josh will presumably pick games that are as not like these ones as humanly possible.