EGX wrapped last night and I’m still overwhelmed. The outpour of talent and passion, especially from game dev’s independent corner, is humbling. The last couple of days, I’ve felt warm wandering the hand-knitted stalls of the indie village. It takes a lot to put yourself out there, and even more to offer up your art. To look someone in the eye as they excitedly detail why they’ve given the last few years of their lives to something? That’s a mental snapshot I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of looking at.
Here’s my second splash: three games I absolutely adored, whose only disappointment was that there simply wasn’t yet more for me to chew on. But soon!
3 Minutes to Midnight (PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4)
The first thing that struck me about 3 Minutes to Midnight, a classic point-and-click adventure and debut from developer Scarecrow Studio, is how beautiful it looked. Rendered in 8k (they aren’t messing about) 3 Minutes to Midnight is the story of Betty, a young woman who, after being caught in a large explosion, finds herself in the middle of a bizarre conspiracy.
Since the halcyon days of Sam & Max: Hit the Road head-scratchers, the puzzles in point-and-clicks have struggled to walk that line between creative and satisfying. I’m a huge fan of the genre, but with Broken Age being well… broken, and Thimbleweed Park a tad too up its own arse for my liking, I’ve led forth with a healthy scepticism.
Thankfully, I was nowt but beaming after my time with 3 Minutes to Midnight. The puzzles hadn’t felt unfair or over-engineered, and the leaps in logic had been small – my ‘what ifs’, most of the time, paying off nicely.
I’m excited that the tiny Catalonia-based team of six (and one adorable pig) look to have penned a Lucas Arts love letter devoid of all that frustrating developer telepathy. Gag your sweary clowns, bin your cat hair. The point-and-click renaissance has finally arrived!
Untitled Goose Game (Nintendo Switch, PC)
You’re a goose, and you run about doing goose stuff. In a nutshell, that’s the manifesto for House House’ avian misadventure (which really should have been called ‘Goose-ance’). You’re a wobbly ball of feathers and entitlement, and thanks to no one wanting to boot a bird, you basically have licence to waddle about, tick things off a list, and be an absolute menace.
You can run, you can bend your gooseneck, and you can throw someone’s lunch into the pond and honk menacingly as they scramble to fish it out. As expected from the trailer, Untitled Goose Game is looking to be enormous amounts of silly fun.
The Gardens Between (Nintendo Switch)
“And the left stick moves the pass”… Yup! Left stick moves the passage of time, got it. It’s odd that Nintendo has its reps verbally instruct people when there’s nigh on always a tutorial, but that’s a rant for another day.
The Gardens Between is a lovely wee game with a simple concept: get the light, get to the end. You play as two friends, Arina and Frendt, and each level has you attempting to solve a self-contained puzzle to help move the duo forward. The art is beautiful, as is the wonderfully minimal sound design. The gameplay, however, is where Gardens blossoms.
You don’t control characters, but time itself. A movement to the right has the level’s events play out. Flicking back to the left rewinds all that’s transpired. It’s a genius mechanic and one which hasn’t been so artfully implemented since 2008’s Braid.
Those terrified of time paradoxes might want to steer clear of The Gardens Between but all others, go forth! From what I played, this low-stakes puzzler is certainly worth the hours off of your clock.
What did you think of EGX?
Find out more about our EGX content writer Abe, here: