Welcome to the second of the roundups made of GameCity7, and we shall be reporting more on some of the games and happenings which have occurring this fantastic week.

To start off is a game which is something which couldn’t be less “indie” – Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, an RPG from Namco Bandai for Playstation 3. With the graphical style from anime giants Studio Ghibli, you can see how much effort has gone into this game. A cross between a Tales game and Spirited Away, there were several demos available. The sections we played consisted of exploring a city ending in a boss fight against a giant robot and some overworld exploration and general battling. The battle system is similar to that of Tales games but combined with that of an active menu, in order to go through the menu mid battle the configuration would imply that you have to stop moving. However if you use both hands on the left side of the controller you can flick through the menu whilst evading enemies. Cumbersome? Yes, but much more safe. Even though it’s been out in Japan since 2011, Ni No Kuni                                                                                         will reach European shores on 25th January 2013.

A mechanical version of gaming classic Donkey Kong had some technical issues, but when it was operational it gave the lucky few a chance to jump over metal balls. However Mario didn’t walk anywhere, so you were rooted to the spot the entire time. A massive shame for something so beautifully constructed.

In the “Venus Patrol Training Facility” were three games which were to be controlled by unconventional methods. Using a mighty trampoline players were invited to be the elusive frog in Ed Key’s highly praised audio-visual exploration game Proteus, exploring the island from a lower angle and using the trampoline to hop about. With regards to the frog’s appearance in the original game, an exclusive two minute chat to Derek-Wheatley.com, we asked creator Ed Key if it was possible to catch up with the frog and if so, did anything happen? Key revealed that no. No you couldn’t. And nothing would happen even if you did. You heard it here first.

In a previous feature we mentioned Bennett Foddy’s frustration maker QWOP, now it was spiritual successor GIRP’s turn. Instead of using the keyboard to run in QWOP, GIRP sees you using a keyboard to make a climber make his way up a cliff. However… at GameCity that would simply be boring, right? Let us remix it with a makeshift Twister mat – now we’re talking! Only the nimble need apply in one of the more active games at GameCity7, GIRP had people shouting “Right arm T!” and twisting back and forth to flex their climber up the cliff.

Another top tier developer making another venture into the market was Sega with Sonic Jump, another example of game titles explaining themselves nicely. Sonic jumps, constantly and where he goes is up to you as you tilt the device in the direction you want that ball of blue to go, tapping the screen for a double jump should you need that extra bit of height. Trademark perils in the form of robotic enemies and spikes lurk to halt your height gaining antics and naturally there are rings to be collected and lost just as easily. Each level ends with the usual battle against Eggman and his ever increasing arsenal of metal contraptions. Further characters can be unlocked such as Knuckles and Tails, each with their own abilities. A Sonic hat was available for the highest score that day and even though our attempt was rather good, it wasn’t good enough. We were damned if we weren’t going to get some time with the hat.

Sonic Jump is out now on iOS and will be released on Android shortly.

 

Ever played Connect 4? Of course you have, don’t lie. Ever wondered what it would be like with power ups and other things? Don’t lie again, you did. Vorpal Games have turned this fantasy into reality with Rotation Station, Connect 4 with cheeky faces. As the name suggests there is a rotating motion employed in the gameplay. This can heavily change a game which at first seemed unwinnable but then comes a reprieve as the board spins 90 degrees and the pieces obey gravity once again for the next player to steal the victory. Add in some power ups (some more beneficial than others) and you now have a game which is riddled with strategy. The  full version contains 216 levels in several themed worlds, with many more ideas floating in the heads of those at Vorpal Games. Potential sequel or just a jam packed first game? It’s coming to you on iOS and Android sometime in November.

And to think this is what Rotation Station used to look like.

The rules of Rotation Station explained by Vorpal Games. Just for you. Especially from us.

Mass multiplayer mayhem from Utopian World of Sandwiches is Chompy Chomp Chomp – which looks like a cross between Pac Man and Bomberman. Each Chompy is a different colour and has the task of eating a fellow monster, indicated by the coloured ring at their feet. The game of cat-and-mouse-and-cat-and-mouse is on as not only are you running after your target but making sure you aren’t anywhere near the player who is trying to eat you! Game changing power ups like ice patches and poison effects to make things even more interesting, but one of the biggest dangers is when the target Chompy colour changes as the friend you’ve been chasing after for so long and are inches away from scoring another point turns out to be the one who is now hungry for your flesh. Chompy Chomp Chomp is already out for Xbox LIVE for both online and local play.

Another helping from the DevSoc pie was Whate, once again a four player shooty romp with a twist. Looking like astronauts leaping around space avoiding TNT you open fire. But instead of shooting at enemies or even at each other, you fire weights to make rows of platforms rotate of screen and hopefully your opponents with it. If your opponent is sharp-eyed enough the games can take a while and certainly not as fun as Retro Revenge.

That isn’t me. That might not be the same girl in the white coat, but you get the idea…

Then came one of the more stranger portions of the festival, one we were determined to approach with an open mind: The Capsule Capsule. Led by a lady in a white lab coat we round our way through the streets of Nottingham, complete with headphones providing an atmospheric tutorial in the form of communications between HQ and Alpha Base to the background noise of an aggressive man sounding random numbers. As we reached the secret location by our robed escort we were forced into a jumpsuit then pushed into a dark room, the door slamming behind us. We were in the Capsule Capsule. Facing us was a chair, a monitor and keyboard, another set of headphones to get us into the mood and a walkie-talkie and a torch in case we get scared. These would be our only friends for the next 15 minutes.  Capsule really is a game which has to be played to “get” and we’re glad we gave it the chance. Though boring when watching someone else play, when you’re in the dark and the hum of space is vibrating in your ears you can’t help but feel the tension. Even though the heavy breathing and later choking noises sounded more like something from an adult film than deep space exploration.

Points for creating an exceptional solitary atmosphere go to Nyamyam with Tengami, a game of mystery and exploration.  People were invited to play on an iPad with headphones, which worked marvellously as having the outside noise of the crowds would definitely have ruined the experience. A beautiful 3D paper world, resembling traditional Japanese art and a pop-up book. Finding yourself alone you must explore the world and uncover its secrets. The world is treated like a book, so when you reach the end of one section a flick in the corner will turn the page. Other elements of the world can be manipulated also, such as turning over a piece of card which folds out into a bridge to cross over a river. Wolves seem to play a vital role, with one howling in the background resetting a folded out set of stairs and only being able to advance once you’ve subdued four wolves by playing the correct melody. Tengami will be released first on iOS in summer 2013. In addition a release PC and Mac is planned.

That is almost it folks… We think we have enough material to bang out another report of the festival’s proceedings, so stay tuned.

A combination of Sega’s picture taking skills and my camera resolution contribute to this fantastic image.

Places you should thank for these games.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of The White Witch website
Twitter: NamcoBandaiUK

GIRP
Twitter: Bennett Foddy

The site of DevSoc and their many, many thingymajigs they have
Twitter: DevSoc

Nyamyam and Tengami
Twitter: Nyamyam Games

Vorpal Games and Rotation Station
Twitter: Vorpal Games

Visit Proteus
Twitter: Ed Key

Utopian World of Sandwiches and Chompy Chomp Chomp
Twitter: Utopian World of Sandwiches

Capsule
Twitter: Adam Saltsman

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