Even the most humble of dabbling fighting game players has heard of Evo, the worlds largest fighting game tournament, and sponsored by countless corporate entities. Many bad dudes enter, a scant few bad dudes leave with fabulous cash prizes and immense bragging rights. There’s a new aspect to it this year, though – a range of indie games (some fighting, some less so, as listed in this Shoryuken forum thread) are going to be showcased at the event. I’m already jealous of those who get to play them, as it’s a rather exciting bunch of competitive and arcadey concepts.
Continuing its long tour of places where I can’t play it yet, Messhof’s Nidhogg makes another appearance. By all accounts, it’s a very finely tuned piece of low-fi arcade swordfighting, with the battle swashbuckling it’s way across several arenas, and culminating in the victor being devoured by a giant flying worm-monster. As you do. This’ll be it’s toughest workout yet – fighting game fans are a notoriously critical lot, and if there’s even the slightest hint of lag to the controls or imbalance to the gameplay, they’ll tear it apart.
For laughs, they’re also going to be letting people play Divekick, a brutal parody of fighting games in general. There is diving, and kicking and even dive-kicking! It’s thrilling stuff, worthy of the most challenging of all challenges at the tournament of tourneys. Either this’ll help players decompress after losing to a continually dive-kicking opponent in the main tourneys, or it’ll send them into full PTSD shock. Either way, somebody wins!
Capy’s time-looping Contra-esque Super Time Force will also be playable. Not exactly competitive, but it looks like a ridiculous amount of fun. The gimmick being that each time you die, you go back in time and play alongside your previous life. If you manage to save yourself from whatever killed you last time, your now-rescued self becomes a checkpoint, allowing you to push further in. Simple and low-fi, but a great idea.
Aztez is also going to be on show. An interestingly minimalist-looking open-plan brawler/fighting game with a cool Mesoamerican theme and a cool tri-color (black, white & red) palette. The developer – as heard in the slightly profane gameplay video below – seems quite enthusiastic about testing the game to death and picking apart his own mistakes, so it might well be a good fit for the toughened Evo crowds. Perhaps this outing could be considered extreme playtesting?
The deliciously retro Barabariball will be there, too. Looking like a bizarre lovechild of Super Smash Bros, Volleyball and something from the Atari 2600, it really does look like a fun competitive party game, and there’s something strangely charming about the mix of modern ‘casual’ brawler mechanics and super-retro aesthetics. Can’t wait to try a more public build of the game.
A bit more of a solo brawler, Super Comboman looks like it has some talented artists behind it, if nothing else. It’ll be nice to hear how the game is shaping up – the last time we saw anything really concrete of it was the gameplay trailer below, which was released over a year ago now. Everything could have changed since then, or nothing. Either way, punching stuff + collapsing physics-driven worlds is a winning combination in my book, so it has my interest if nothing else.
And lastly, the everpresent SpyParty – a game always lurking in the shadows of indie news lately. It’s definitely a competitive game, but not as we know it. One player controls an almost Sims-esque character, tasked with infiltrating a party for the rich and famous and completing various objectives. The other player controls a sniper, watching in through the window for the slightest hint as to who is the spy. It’s a game of psychology and learning, as one player is trying to act as much like an NPC as possible, and the other one is searching for human-like actions that don’t match the AI code. For a game set in a single room, there’s a lot of potential depth here.
It’s a strange lineup, but I’m already incredibly jealous of those folks travelling to Vegas to take part in the festivities. The tournament of tournaments and the indie showcase will be happening from July 6th to July 8th, and only the strong will survive.