So Play Expo is over for another year and, for Battle Misfit’s first expo, it was an absolute blast! There are so many things to talk about that it may have to be split up between those of us who were there into several different articles and a wrap up video on our YouTube channel! A few of us here did go to EGX but we were only there as fans, so there was a completely different mindset coming into Play Expo. But I have to say; Play Expo is an awesome expo with a great, welcoming atmosphere! When I stepped foot into Event City, I felt as though my brain may explode as there was a lot to take in. From Gameseek to pinball machines, it had it all. It made more sense to just do a quick lap of the building to get a lay of the land and sort of make a strategy as to where you want to visit over the course of the weekend. But as I was there for Battle Misfit I made the Indie Games my priority, so here’s a couple of games that piqued my interest over the course of the weekend.
There was one game in particular that I couldn’t stop talking about whilst I was there and that was Utopian World of Sandwiches immense multi-player game Chompy Chomp Chomp, which is currently available for PC, Xbox 360, and will be available soon for the Wii U. Mine, Stacey, and Matt‘s experience of the game was with the Wii U version and it honestly made me say out loud “I would buy a Wii U just for this game!”. For those of you that are thinking to yourself “The hell is Chompy Chomp Chomp!?”, allow me to explain. The game is maze based and players are tasked with trying to chow down on the correctly coloured opponents, which change every 30 seconds or so. Also there are various power-ups thrown in to spice up the games and not allow for one player to completely dominate, such as a transport ability, invisibility for a short period of time, the ability to lay down ice for players in pursuit of you and, probably my favourite power-up, a sandwich that transforms you into a giant unstoppable eating machine!
Utopian World of Sandwiches has also found a way to add more players into the mix by programming the game so that the Wii U Nun-chuck and Remote act as separate controllers, which I think is a nifty little trick. In doing this the game allows for up to 9 players to join in and create mayhem. I found myself saying to the other Battle Misfit’s every five minutes “Can we go back and play Chompy Chomp Chomp?……Please?”. I can honestly say I haven’t had as much fun on a game in a long time as I have had with this. The concept is so simple and it makes me harken back to my college days, where me and a handful of friends would play similar games such as Super Monkey Ball and Super Smash Bros until the small hours of the morning. The game is a perfect fit for the Wii U as its a bright, vibrant and family friendly game and, if Nintendo puts its weight behind it, could be one of the stand out games of the year… Also it doesn’t hurt when Utopian’s founders, Sarah and James Woodrow, are the nicest people on the face of the earth!
Moving on from Chompy Chomp Chomp was a game called Beyond Flesh and Blood by Manchester’s own, Pixelbomb Games. The version that Matt played was the Pre-Alpha demo and it takes place in a post apocalyptic Manchester, which makes a refreshing change rather than seeing an apocalypse from the Americans point of view all the time! The game is essentially a wave survival, 3rd person action/shooter game where you take control of a mech, which you can upgrade as you progress through the game, as you and the U.G.R try to regain control of the city from those that try and oppose you. Originally Pixelbomb tried to get the project going on Kickstarter but it ultimately it fell just short. However after going through the Greenlight section of Steam, they are all set for an Early Access version of the game on Valve’s digital platform.
The guys at Pixelbomb said that as the game was in a Pre-Alpha stage, bugs and glitches were to be expected. However, after watching Matt play I can honestly say that for a Pre-Alpha it was running quite smoothly, which is a credit to the guys. You usually see games on Steam Early Access such as Day Z and Stomping Land, which was taken off Steam because of its problems, that are riddled full of issues and take away from the overall enjoyment and experience of the game. But again, none of that could be found so I’m looking forward to seeing how the final product will shape up.
One of the feature that I enjoyed was the fact that your mech had two sets of arms so that you could accomplish more whilst playing the game. For example, the small set of arms could hold a human sized gun and mow down enemies, whilst your larger set of arms could clear obstructions or help you achieve your object without having to switch between using your weapon or using your arms to be able to do different things. Just from speaking to Phil, the lead coder at Pixelbomb, you could see that the group were committed to bringing gamers the best possible experience that they possibly could in an environment/setting that they are familiar with and think others should see with their take on a unique city such as Manchester. If things go their way, and I’m willing to put money on it that they will, I see big things on the horizon for Pixelbomb Games and Beyond Flesh and Blood.
I must give an honourable mention to some of the Cosplayers, some of which feature in the images to your right, that showed up to Play Expo and made the expo an really enjoyable experience for myself and everyone else that showed up. I have two costumes that were my absolute favourite over the course of the weekend. The first one I saw was an Attack on Titan costume minus the Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear. So much effort must have gone into getting the costume to fit just right and, along with the immaculate, brightly coloured hair, she really did look like an anime character come to life. Now the second character that I saw not a lot of effort had gone into, but it was nonetheless a spectacular effort. As myself and Stacey saw him enter the room we burst into fits of laughter, so much so I had to go over and shake the guys hand. He was dressed Ace Ventura‘s mental patient persona from the first film. After speaking to him he told me it had literally taken him five minutes to get his hair right and that was all, which isn’t really the norm for cosplayers as so much effort usually goes into their costumes. He also told me that Jim Carrey is his favourite actor and that he is going to each convention dressed as one of his well know characters, so keep an eye out for him if you show up to any conventions in the future.
Overall for Battle Misfits first convention we had an absolute riot! From Indie Developers and Cosplayers, to Merchandisers, celebrity signings and speeches from veterans of the gaming industry there was literally no reason that you could ever get bored. It’s safe to say that Battle Misfit will be regular visitors from now on and I can’t wait to see what the guys over at Replay Events comes up with next year!