Radius Festival - Part One

Radius Festival is a new event in London where indie developers get together to give the public a chance to play a current/early build of their game. There were a good range of games involved such as: Volume, Biome, LA Cops, Mimic, 0rbitalis, Tango Fiesta, Nuclear Throne, Night in the Woods and many more. The majority of games had one or some developers nearby who were more than happy to chat about their current project.

Miss Take

Although the room at White Space was small and a lot of people attending the atmosphere was really good and developer and attendee alike were friendly and polite. I wanna give a shout out to the owners of Qwertee t-shirts there, many of whom recognized and complemented my hitchhiker's guide t-shirt!

I didn't get to play as many games as I would have liked, but spent some time with a few and watched many others being played. In this first part I'll talk about Marvellous Miss Take and Gang Beasts.

Marvellous Miss Take.

Miss Take

About ten minutes after walking through the door I received a tweet from Joe Kilner, a developer of Marvellous Miss Take that wasn't present at Radius, suggesting I should check the game out. That's some efficient Twitter work! In fact, when I went and said hello to Adam Langridge and Chris Matthews, the devs on the floor showing the game, there was someone else that said she'd had a similar tweet. It certainly got people checking out the game. I got to play this for about fifteen minutes near the end of the day.

Marvellous Miss Take is a stealth game in which you need to avoid detection in order to recover heirlooms that are rightfully yours. Sophia Take was left these items in a will and just before you were to receive them a wealthy art collecter has appeared with what they say is a newer version of the will leaving it all to them. Your option? Steal them back.

You are greeted with a floor in each level. You control Sophia by clicking where you want her to move to, holding down to run and you click on yourself to whistle. There is a circle outline around you when running and generally making noise denoting how loud your actions are. There are guards pacing around the area, security cameras and members of the public, who will go and inform a guard if they witness your theft.

Marvellous Miss Take was described to me as a game that takes what you associate with the stealth genre and flips it. Instead of timing your movement past a guard using their programmed path as a cue it is okay to let them catch a glimpse of you, as long as you give yourself enough leeway to run an alternate path past them and avoid capture. I was told the guards are purposely 'stupid' in this game. You don't have any weapons or special abilities, just every-day things like the whistling and crouching behind counters.

Miss Take

It took me a few attempts to get the hang of the movement but after after getting caught and restarting the level I was comfortably distracting guards, navigating the level, stealing the artwork and escaping. You escape a level by activating a lift and there is a couple seconds wait before the doors open. This means that you can't make a late break for it at the end of a level; if a guard is chasing you they'll catch up before the exit opens.

The short amount of time I spent with Marvellous Miss Take was enjoyable and I'll keep an eye out for it in the coming months. It was also engrossing as I concentrated on completing the levels successfully. I was concentrating so much that I barely noticed the flickering lights in the room that were being tested for the later live show. It's being aimed to release by the end of the year (“Before Volume”, the developer joked). While I didn't see much that it didn't have common with typical stealth games (of course I can't make a judgement solely on fifteen minutes of game time) I look forward to playing it again.

Miss Take (This is Tango Fiesta)

Gang Beasts

Gang Beasts has received a lot of publicity recently and you may have seen it on live streams. I'm familiar with it from Giant Bomb, they play it quite often on their premium streams. And now I've got to play it I can understand why it is as popular as it is among groups of gamers. It is a physics based multiplayer game for up to four people in which you aim to eliminate your opponents by knocking them out of the arena. The resulting matches are extremely silly and tremendous fun.

There are a range of arenas. I played on the Ferris Wheel stage: a wheel on top of a pier with randomly collapsing planks of wood, and the Underground Train Station: you start on a platform with tracks either side with occasional trains. There are other stages such as: a wrestling ring, on top of two trucks speeding down the high way, and two window washer gondolas up high alongside a skyscraper.

Your character controls with left bumper to punch with their left hand, right bumper for right and holding X with those will grab and lift. You've got health and stamina bars which recharge during the match; you can now longer hold on to something infinitely, your bar will drain and you will fall. The characters control with a sense of randomness, you know what you want them to do, and they'll do it, but there is an amount of experimentation. Sometimes you'll punch really hard, sometimes you'll manage to grab on something and pull yourself up over a ledge. This is all part of the fun, at one point I had a character in each hand lifted up high, ran to an edge and promptly fell over it myself and dropped my opponents safely on the ground.

There were different character models for this build. They were representing a live-streaming group that I'm unfamiliar with, four animals; I was the crocodile. If the developers are making skins resembling groups that stream the game often then I'm looking forward to playing as Jeff Gerstmann!

I'd be surprised if Gang Beasts isn't a hit. The game is so much fun to pick up and play and will go down well at parties. I don't know when they plan to release fully but you can buy the beta access now. One of the next things that will be added to the game is the ability to climb, so that you have a chance of recovery if you're grabbing on to a wall just inches about death. If you've got a group of gamers around you and four controllers you can't go wrong with Gang Beasts.

Be sure to check back for my impressions of Volume and Mimic later this week.

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