As Comic-Con buzzed away on the other side of Perth, another Playup was silently churning away. While not quite on such a scale as the after dark sessions, some of the best Playups I’ve attended have been during the day. This one mainly consisted of returning veterans, but there was still a newcomer that caught my attention. It was a more intimate affair than usual, but the games on show were definitely worth checking out!
First up for me was a game that took me back to the days of the Eye-Toy. Whacky Ball is an iOS game where you bounce a variety of different balls using the camera. Each ball type has its own unique mini-game, and depending on the shape of the ball, you need to use your hands differently to move it where you want. It’s a cool concept, and it would be awesome to see projected on a screen at an event. The thing that caught my eye, though, was the variety in the different mini-games for each ball.
There are a number of balls available in the game, ranging from volleyball to TV-ball. Each one has their own mini-game, like playing pinball with your hands or (my personal favourite) a more ball-ey version of Doodlejump. It’d be great to see more of these kinds of games be developed in the game, and some of them really live up to the game’s name! It’s a nifty idea, and I’m looking forward to see what else gets added in!
The next game I tried out was Blocaganda, a game that’s passed through the Playup doors more times than I can remember! The foundation of the game is to create tetris shapes on a board of squares in order to acquire ‘votes’. Each tile you place also has a symbol on it, and if you can match the symbol to the one on the shape you’re trying to make, you’ll be get more votes. This had already been tested a few times at Playup, but what was new was the power cards.
One of the issues the game was having previously was that it felt a bit monotonous. Agents moved, tiles were placed but something was missing. Enter power cards: active abilities that you acquired after making a shape. These allowed players to immediately influence the game in unique and sometimes hilarious ways. I thought it was a great addition to the game, and it seemed like the next step from the last time I saw Blocaganda.
Super Salmon Migration
Finally, I indulged in the ever ridiculous Super Salmon Migration, a game so odd that it lets you wear a tutu. as a migrating fish. The aim is swim past obstacles and get as far as you can without slamming into the ground or an orca. The last time I saw the game was a couple Playups ago, and it was still more of a demo than something you’d call a game. After some time, it’s grown into something a more robust and ludicrous.
With such a ridiculous name, you probably won’t be shocked to learn that this game is amazingly nuts. Orcas and logs are commonplace in water, but shields and cyborgs are a bit more fitting of a super salmon’s migration. Bouncing off of the terrain is great fun too, and is, in some cases, required to get past some of the obstacles. It’s progressing nicely, and I hope it just gets getting more bizarre as time goes on!
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to play all the games at a single Playup, but don’t think this made the event bad. I was able to chat with the devs about how they were approaching their games, what was in store for the future and heaps of DnD tales. As usual, the devs appreciated any feedback we could give, and they could go into more depth than usual thanks to the smaller numbers. I’m not expecting the next After Dark session to be small, though, and it should be coming up very soon…