These last few Playups have had more games on show than ever before. The last After Dark session had eight games (eight!) going at once, and we had to get two people just to cover them all! This time there were six games on offer, so we migrated over to Carpe Coffee and packed the room with as many people as possible, including kids! There were games from previous Playups and unique newcomers, but everyone was willing to give some feedback to the devs or chill out with a latte and talk about game design. There was only one game I didn’t get my hands on, but with so many games to try, I was hardly surprised!
The first game I tried out was Aliensche, a side-on game where you abduct cows in a UFO for (presumably) SCIENCE! The aim is to get as many cows from the ground into your mother UFO via a drop-down claw without being killed by soldiers firing rockets at you. While it’s a lot like a reversed version of Missile Command, the twist makes it a really unique, and it’s also dangerously addictive. It was easy to jump on and nuanced enough to keep me back to try and beat my own score, and even when I didn’t, the game was weird enough to keep me amused anyway.
Channelling the golden days of when Game Boys ruled the streets, Blitz Banditz played like a free-for-all version of Contra with a taste for capitalism. The idea is to make $100 before you opponent by grabbing moneybags, holding onto valuable gems and shooting your opponent in the face! Like Alienische, Blitz Bandits was easy to pick up and play while still having that “one more time” quality to it. I was run over by that damn train way too many times, but the game was a great little party number that I’d be keen to play over and over again.
If you’ve ever felt like snake needed something more, Verbivore’s a game to keep your eye on. Instead of just squirming around eating pellets, you eat letters to construct words. The more words you make, the more points you get, but the game was still too rough to really get a grasp of. The letters that spawned didn’t necessarily make words, and the controls were borderline unresponsive, but it’s still a great idea at its core. I’m looking forward to seeing it later down the line once the kinks get sorted and seeing what other mechanics get fed into it!
I couldn’t personally play Rogue Blitz, but I got a glimpse at the new and improved visual aspect of the game. Last time I played it, the game required the players to extrapolate where certain weapons fired without any visuals aids, but that’s changed now with the addition of missile pieces, laser rulers and all the cardboard things! I would have killed to be able to use them, but from what I saw, they definitely helped remove the ambiguity my group had the last time we played.
Bloc’s become somewhat of a regular showing at Playups these days, and the progress that’s been made on it is evident. This time round, Eeshwar was doing a blind testing, which meant that he couldn’t explain the rules to anyone playing the game. Thing is, even I messed up on the rules, and I’ve played almost every iteration of it at past Playups. The game itself works beautifully, it’s just that the rules need some clarification, and knowing Eeshwar, it’ll be done by the next Playup!
Super Salmon Migration
When I first tried Super Salmon Migration, I thought it was just a rip off of that old Helicopter game. It more or less is, but there was a bouncing mechanic that piqued my interest. The aim is to migrate your salmon as far as possible, but sometimes you need to jump out of the water onto passing logs or rocks to keep going. I thought that the mechanic itself could be utilised more, but it was a really interesting twist on the old Helicopter format. Add a store in there (filled with coloured boxes!) and it looked like a promising mobile time-waster!
After three hours that felt like 20 minutes, Playup came to an end yet again. It seems that the more Playups I go to, the higher the calibre of local games I see, which is really exciting considering that we’re seeing more every time! A huge thanks to Carpe Coffee for providing the venue, and if you want to know when the next Playup is happening, it should be announced very soon.