I just got back home from attending BitSummit the 4th. I was able to spend the entire day on the show floor, meeting with developers and checking out their newest projects. Therefore, I thought I would like to give quick impressions for the games that I was able to check out.
First, for those of you who aren’t aware, BitSummit is a huge independent games meetup in Kyoto. As you probably figured out, this is the fourth year BitSummit is being hosted. This year the event was sponsored by the likes of Nintendo, Sony and Xbox. Furthermore, several big names in the industry made an appearance. For a more in-depth review of the history, I’d suggest checking out Kat Bailey’s article in USGamer.
Since the blog is primarily associated with Nintendo, I’ll be look at the Nintendo Indies (or Nindies) first. I also focused on looking at games that were coming out for the Wii U/ 3DS while browsing the show floor.
The Nintendo Indie Games:
Let me cover the ones that have already been released first.
The first game I played was Runbow. Runbow is already available worldwide, though this was my first time playing it. Great game to play with other people. I asked if the 3DS version would come out in Japan, and the Nintendo representative didn’t know.
Shovel Knight was also there. The game was released last week in Japan and had a strong debut (#1 in the eShop!). Got to chat with Ian Flood, a programmer from Yacht Club Games, for a little bit. One interesting tidbit that he mentioned me to me was that for the most part the reception to Shovel Knight was very similar to the West. The main difference he said, was that Japanese players made more comparisons to The Legend of Zelda II: The Adventures of Link while Western players made comparisons with DuckTales. Shovel Knight had a strong presence at BitSummit the 4th, with some members of 8-4 and Yacht Club Games.
1001 Spikes was also being shown off. The game has been out for awhile on a lot of platforms. It’s a fun and challenging platformer game. As a personal side, I got to thank Tyrone Rodriguez for his work on The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.
Unholy Heights is an ‘Sim-Apartment’ game meets monsters and tower defense. It came out recently in the West. I haven’t played the other versions, but I couldn’t help but feel that the game wasn’t very well optimized for the 3DS. Neat premise, but I think it might be better on Steam.
The Legend of the Dark Witch 2 is a shoot ‘em up platformer. I asked one of the developers of Inside System whom was there which character he recommended to play as…and he was very adamant on Rudie. Anyway, this game is very well polished and is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I haven’t played the first one so I’m not sure how much of an improvement the second one is.
New Games (or new ports!):
1000m ZOMBIE ESCAPE is a game coming out to the 3DS. Players essentially have to time their touches in order to advance their avatar to safety. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to play the 3DS version.
Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is a game that will be coming out to the 3DS soon. It was announced yesterday at BitSummit that Yacht Club games will be publishing the first Gunvolt and the second one in a combined package in the West. Players can also use the Shovel Knight amiibo to unlock a Shovel Knight boss in Gunvolt 2. I got to play Gunvolt 2 for 10 minutes, and it was incredibly solid. Megaman fans: you have something way better than nothing…you have Gunvolt 2. I played as Copen, a new character. Copen can dash in the air, and copy abilities from bosses. The controls were pretty responsive, and the art is fantastic. I’m sure this game will do very well once it’s released.
Ace of Seafood for the Wii U was a game I just couldn’t grasp. The way the game taught you the mechanics was cumbersome. Essentially, text would appear on the screen, and after reading it it would ask you if you understood it. Ace of Seafood is an interesting premise — it’s essentially an underwater shoot them up/ base management game. Basically, a good idea lacking strong execution. It’s available on other platforms already if you want to check it out.
Brave Dungeon for the 3DS is a game I can get behind. Exploring the dungeon was pretty fun, and the turn-based RPG mechanics works out well. As players explore the dungeon, the map fills out. Players can choose when to battle monsters, which is required to complete the dungeons. The dialogue was good too.
Back in 1995: 64 for the 3DS was just announced less than a week ago. They had a special BitSummit demo for the game which gave a good idea of how the game will play. It controls a bit like the classic Resident Evil, as players must avoid monsters while having fixed camera angles. The tank controls don’t take that long to get used to. If you are feeling nostalgic for the classic Resident Evil, then this might be the game for you.
Pirate Pop Plus is a game that will be coming out for the 3DS and Wii U. Holy crap, this is a game that I’ve been waiting for. It’s essentially a modern version of Pang, a game where you must avoid and pop bubbles. With Pirate Pop Plus, there is a gravity mechanic where the gravity will suddenly switch. It’s very fun, and one of the highlights of the show for me.
TorqueL is a platforming game where each button corresponds to the side of a box. Pressing said button extends the side and can move the box around. I personally had some difficulty adjusting to the controls…but I saw some competent people play it and it looked alright. It’s already available on Steam, but it will be coming out for the Wii U.
Block Legend is already available for Steam and the App/Play store, but it will be coming out to the 3DS too. The game is pretty fun, as the top screen has an avatar advancing through the overworld while the bottom screen is a puzzle game. Touching icons that are grouped together will cause a certain action to take place, depending on the icon type. It works out well on the 3DS, and I was surprised how much I got into it (with the salaryman character, of course!).
Shin Hyu Stone (Which is the sequel to Kersploos) is a game that plays somewhat similar to AaAaAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity. It’s been out for awhile here in Japan, but it was available to play on the floor. Essentially you must guide whatever object you choose down a well, while avoiding obstacles and going through speed boosts. Solid game with pretty good replayability.
Naniyugi Tokoyo is a game I really wanted to enjoy — the pixel art is stunning. However, I just couldn’t get into it. It was just too much, I guess?
Games I didn’t get a chance to play:
Nyoki Nyoki Tabidachi Hen was booked every time I went by. Same with Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap. Fairune 2 was also packed. The issue is at the Nindies booth, they had 6 3DS. Each 3DS had two games on them, and players could play for an unlimited time. This made the wait for some games extremely long. Cave Story was there too, but having a lot of experience with the Steam version, I skipped it. The biggest travesty was missing out on Gunma no Yabou. I’m still kicking myself!
Scissors The That Than (The Japanese name is amazing as it’s just ザ repeated) has players use a giant pair of scissors to literally cut monsters and ropes on screen. The guy before me almost broke the computer as he got a little too excited with the scissors. Another project by the same people, Shcocoocoo has players use a soap dispenser as a controller. Tilting the soap dispenser up causing the avatar to move up or down, and pressing on it causes it to shoot. Cute game in concept.
— PushDustIn (@PushDustIn) July 10, 2016
Bloodstained was being shown by Igarashi himself. I have to give IGA a lot of credit — he personally manned the booth for the entire show. The demo was quite long too — about 10-15 minutes per player. I snuck in right at the end. Bloodstained is shaping up to be a good game. It was the same demo that Spazzy and co played at E3. Since Spazzy is a huge Castlevania fan, I’ll leave the impressions to him.
Wild Guns: Reloaded this game was pretty fun, and well polished. It has the characters from the original Wild Guns in it, and the gameplay is pretty similar. Up to four players can play.
A Tiny Escape is a VR experience made by VITEI Backroom. In A Tiny Escape, two players compete against each other. The first player is a small alien, and must escape. The second player is the scientist and must stop the alien from escaping. The game is a bit balanced too much in the favor of the scientist, but it was still lots of fun. The game was immersive, and having the Occulus touch controller helped enhanced the experience. I got a chance to chat with the developers for a bit, and they said they are unsure if they will release the game.
Overall Impressions of the Event:
The event was very well run. The biggest appeal of BitSummit is the amount of developers that attend. The hall was crowded, but it wasn’t overbearing. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to watch the presentations as waiting in line/ playing games took up a lot of time. I wish I did have another day to explore the venue. Maybe next year I can actually make it to both days. There were a lot of volunteers in the hall, and had quite a bit of interpreters too. All in all, I had a lot of fun at BitSummit, and I look forward to attending again in the future.