8.30 AM, Saturday April 14th. An absolutely glorious morning in London as I join the queue outside Tobacco Dock for EGX REZZED. The smaller sibling of the main EGX gaming trade show has hit London for the weekend and I’m attending my very first REZZED event on the second day of three.
Now, being a comic con veteran I was kind of prepared. I stood in the queue with my map of exhibitors and I mapped out my day. All the big players were there. Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft had their rooms however, this event puts the emphasis on Indie titles and after a quick look around I can’t wait to get stuck in.
I headed straight the Playstation room. There was a nice set-up of a few comfy sofas with some upcoming releases available to try out. Guacamelee! 2 from Drinkbox Studios was a stand out from here. It has the same side scrolling beat-em-up gameplay and cartoon-like graphics as the original Guacamelee! and the same addictive, fun playability which makes the original one of my guilty pleasures. Sony also had a few consoles loaded up with Playstation Now showing off the immense back catalogue available on the streaming service.
I moved on to the Nintendo display. Some cool games were on display like Lumines Remastered, Bad North and Pocket Rumble but the game that got me interested was Dead Cells. Published by Motion Twin, this game really reminded me of classics like Castlevania and Metroid with its platform action. The gameplay is fast and fluid and the Dead Cells will be releasing “later this year” on PS4, Xbox One and Switch is currently available as early access on Steam.
Sega was next on my list and boy was it busy in there! I didn’t get to play on anything in here but they had Puyo Puyo Tetris, SEGA Mega Drive Classics, Sonic Mania (which looks like so much fun) and Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia.
At this point, my eyes were just glazing over so I took the opportunity to take a little walk downstairs. Big mistake! I successfully avoided being drawn back into playing on the Switch display however, as I was averting my eyes I caught a glimpse of a game which looked strangely familiar. As I approached the TV showing this game I started recognising the main character. “NO WAY!” I shouted, “that’s not Shaq!?!?” but it was. Shaquille O’Neal was back in a remake of possibly one of the worst games of all time, Shaq-Fu. This was Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn.
With the big man Shaq now looking like Sagat from Street Fighter 4, the game has been changed from a 2D fighter to a scrolling beat-em-up and looks great. Visually it has more of an anime feel to it and it plays really well too, something the original never did. No seriously, track down a copy on SNES or Mega Drive and see for yourself. Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn is published by Wired Productions and is due for release on June 5th on all formats.
Onwards and I spot a rather large queue for a game called ONRUSH. Joining the queue I watch the gameplay videos while I wait and from what I could tell its’ just another quirky racing game along the lines of PURE meets Mad Max. A selection of drivers and vehicles to choose from, pretty standard so far. It comes to my turn, 12 of us are called to the terminals, 6 on each side. Yeah that’s right, we’re about to have a 6 on 6 team race. Sounds a little different but still nothing out of the ordinary. We are coached through the controls, standard racing controls with an emphasis on using the boost. The drivers were chosen for us but we could choose the vehicle. An array of dirt bikes, sand buggies, SUVs and 4x4s, all armoured up like a post-apocalyptic movie.
What is going on? We start to play and I figure out choosing the dirt bike was a bad idea. 5 seconds into the race and I’m wiped out by a massive 4×4. To make things worse the other team get a point for it. It’s a 6 on 6 takedown race!!! I change my ride and start crushing the other team, at one point landing directly on top of another player and taking them down. The game plays at an exhilarating speed and is graphically beautiful. This one is definitely on my list. ONRUSH is developed by Codemasters and is due for release on June 5th for PS4 and Xbox One.
Looking around the Indie Room and I spot a game which pulls me in. Steel Rats by Tate Multimedia is a 2.5D beat-em-up with a twist. Imagine Streets of Rage crossed with Ghost Rider and Road Rash. Four playable characters with custom motorcycles take on the steampunk like enemies using their weapon-loaded rides. Each character has unique special abilities and you can swap between them in-game. A really cool feature is the front wheel attack. Looking like Ghost Rider, the front wheel spins like a circular saw grinding along the road and cutting the enemy to shreds. It also allows the player to drive up walls to reach hidden parts of the levels and even drive upside down! Street Rats will be released for PS4, Xbox One and PC later this year.
So, my first experience at EGX REZZED is over and I have to say I really enjoyed it. Along with playing some awesome upcoming games and playing some fun retro classics I fell in love with ONRUSH and Steel Rats. I got to spend the day with members of the gaming community and might have to make the trip up to Birmingham in September for the big EGX event.
Written by Steve Kyriacou
Steve loves all kinds of games. Primarily playing on PS4, he is a self-confessed Nintendo fan boy, owning every Nintendo console to date. His favourite games series include The Legend of Zelda, Resident Evil, God Of War and Uncharted with the guilty pleasure of Super Mario games. He is currently playing a lot of PSVR games and is really excited about where VR technology is going.