Radius Festival - Part Two

On Saturday 21st June I headed down to Leicester Square in London for Radius Festival; a new event where indie developers can present a playable build of their game to the public. It was a really enjoyable event with lots of promising games. In this article I'll concentrate on two more games I played - Volume and Mimic - and give some general thoughts on some notable participants.

Volume

Mike Bithell's upcoming game Volume was one of the more well known titles appearing at Radius. His previous game, Thomas Was Alone, was one of my first indie experiences and an experience I very much enjoyed. I was looking forward to trying out his new project.

Volume is a stealth game. The main objective in a level is to collect all the gems and reach the exit without being caught. There are guards patrolling and on the lookout hoping to catch any unlawful activity.

You have access to certain gadgets in levels that assist you in your progress. I tried out two. The first was a bugle. This shoots a sound that will catch guard's attention after bouncing off several surfaces. I found this a little tricky to get the hang of. You get a line showing you the route it will take but I couldn't work out if it needed to bounce off a certain amount of walls before making a sound or go a certain length. When it makes it's sound guards will walk to the area to investigate and you can sneak past. The second was a gadget that sends guards to sleep for a few seconds. This is for when there is no other option to get past the guard.

Volume

The movement of the character is smooth and it was easy to get about. You can hold shift to cling to walls and slide along. I found I could squeeze past guards when there was only just enough space. There are doors in the walls which you can hide in by pressing space. If you are getting chased you can hide and the guards won't follow but it takes a couple seconds to open the door. The guards can easily catch you in this time.

The levels on show were presentations in gameplay. Given Bithell's pedigree in storytelling I am greatly interested in how the narrative will play out. Danny Wallace (the narrator in Thomas Was Alone) has a voiced part in the game along with some other names.

Volume

Volume is already looking great. As as level loads in it constructs itself from many broken pieces and the gems you collect break apart as you find them. The floors of the levels were fluorescent, bright oranges, contrasting well with the dark environment surrounding the play area. Volume is aimed for an early 2015 release.

You can find out more about Volume here

Mimic

Mimic is a multiplayer game that requires each player to concentrate both on hiding themselves and spotting the other player's characters. You find yourself crowded in a small space with dozens of NPCs and your objective is to firstly to identify yourself then find and tag the characters controlled by your human opponents.

The premise is really interesting and somewhat reminds me of the multiplayer in the Assassin's Creed franchise boiled down to the essential premise. There are a number of unique character designs and these are repeated several times for the level. This helps you to blend in and throw someone off your scent if someone's got their eye on you. It was fairly easy to identify the character you were in control of, though to do it subtly is considerably more difficult.

Once in control you need to scan the screen for signs of human-like behaviour. If you spot someone you believe is a player you need to make your way over to them and press A (on a controller). If you're successful they will evaporate (and transfer to a different character), you'll get a point and take control of a different character. If you are incorrect your eyes will flash red for a short time letting everyone know you're whereabouts. While it is possible to fade back in to the crowd this will give your opponents a great opportunity to tag you.

Mimic

The build of Mimic at Radius was early and you could see areas in which it needed work. During my short time with the game one of my characters couldn't move up or down and the legs of characters controlled by humans weren't animating. The NPCs shuffle and face different directions at a pace that was very difficult to replicate in order to blend in, and very difficult to do that convincingly while concentrating on locating your targets. Moving towards your suspected target can give you away also. If you move a long way across the level to get the tag that can give you away to a different player. Also, the density of the characters on screen made tagging your target like guess work, you could easily tag someone you didn't intend to.

Of course, one can't form an opinion of a game after playing an early build. Instead, form impressions of the potential and promise of the experience. I can imagine tense matches with a group of friends and the satisfaction of a successful tab (I don't think I managed one during the two rounds I played). Mimic is an interesting game and one I look forward to following.

You can find out more about Mimic here

Games I didn't play but looked very promising

LA Cops

I knew nothing about LA Cops before Radius but, despite not playing it, it has become one of my more anticipated titles. The visuals are immediately striking, clean and oozing with style, and the fully rotatable isometric camera gives you a good view of the action. It looked like it played somewhat similarly to Hotline Miami. You start with two characters in a building (controlling the second after your first dies) and have to shoot the people inside. You move the mouse around you to aim and the action looked fast paced and highly satisfying.

Volume

You can find out about LA Cops on their website

Hox: The Last Ship

Hox: The Last Ship looked very interesting. It's a 2d runner where you are placed in a beautiful, desolate environment and need to overcome the obstacles. You have several jumps, rather than just a double jump, and you can propel yourself to the ground quickly. I was most intrigued by the art style. One to look out for.

You can find out about Hox: The Last Ship on their Facebook page

Radius Festival Part one: The Marvellous Miss Take and Gang Beasts

Volume

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