Casual Connect 2014

Casual Connect

With Comic-Con news all over the web, it’s easy to forget that another video game conference took place in California in July. Casual Connect USA 2014, is on a much smaller scale than Comic-Con, but all of the creative indie games on the show floor made it worthwhile. Here’s a sampling of all the titles I played.

Speed of Sound: This game reminded me of Rez and Amplitude because of its striking visual style and music driven gameplay where you swipe in the direction of an arrow as you navigate the futuristic neon stages. I had a lot of fun with this game, and I’ll definitely be playing more of the full version. I think a VR version could be really cool too.

BigFoot Hunter: Sick of waiting for Pokemon Snap 2? Well, BigFoot Hunter might ease the pain of no new game announcement from Nintendo. Using your mobile device to aim and shoot you take photos of various animal critters in the hopes that BigFoot himself will make an appearance. When he does, you have to be quick, or you’ll miss your chance to score big points.

Dark Deception: My second time with the Oculus Rift and I’m still blown away by the VR technology. DD plays like Pac-Man mixed with survival horror elements. The demo was very immersive, and I literally felt as if I was in a haunted mansion gathering purple gems while doing my best to remain calm that the monster didn’t sneak up on me.

Simply Twisted: This mobile title took top honors at the Indie Prize Award Ceremony for best free to play game. In Simply Twisted, you connect the dots by twisting and turning shapes to get the best score. The gameplay is simple and offers multiple solutions to each level, so no experience is quite the same. A great fit for mobile and tablet devices.

Escape From Alcatraz: An adventure game set in the famous San Francisco prison. Gameplay involves using commands to pick the right solutions and gathering items to make progress through the story. It’s a meaty game too with a lot of content to explore and it reminded me of the prison sections in the Metal Gear Solid series. Minus the stealth killing of course which there is none of here.

Hyper Square: A addictive game where you have to quickly slide squares into their background border. The second level I played involved stretching squares and later levels involved more elaborate gestures. One of my favorite games at the show and like Speed of Sound and Simply Twisted, it’s great for short play sessions.

Big Action Mega Fight: Do you love old school beat em ups like Double Dragon, Streets of Rage, and Final Fight? Then this little indie game is for you. The touch controls work well in place of buttons, and I had no problems taking out enemies with uppercuts just like back in my Super Nintendo days. I only played one level, but I’m glad to see the beat em up genre move to mobile.

Fragments of Him: This game is still early in development, but the potential for something great is here. Fragments of Him is a short narrative driven experience similar to Gone Home. The demo I played involved walking around locations like an apartment, park, streets and clicking on objects highlighted in yellow to make them disappears while dialogue plays as you uncover something important. The last section of the demo featured the gameplay in reverse by making objects appear versus getting rid of them.

While I’m intrigued by the story of finding out how other people’s life changes when someone close to them vanishes the gameplay needs more polish and variety to avoid feeling too repetitive.

There were a lot more games at the show that I didn’t play or have enough time to adequately judge so here’s a list of what else you should consider. Thanks for reading.

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