RTX 2019 Indie Roundup!

RTX 2019 Indie Roundup!

What’s happening everyone? I’m fresh back from RTX 2019 and boy howdy was it great. There were some incredible panels, lots of things to do on the show floor, and I made some wonderful memories with some wonderful friends. But you aren’t here to talk about how much fun I had; you’re probably here to read about some VIDEO GAMES.

(Also shout-out to my friends at Pack O’ Geeks for letting me tag along with them while they took a look at these games. Go check ’em out!)

Without further ado, presenting my new, 1-part segment:


Agent Reverb (Diogras Inc)
Android / iOS | Available now!

hexagons with lines closing down on them to the beat

Image from Agent Reverb Google Play page

As I walked up to the booth for Agent Reverb, the staff welcomed me with a warm greeting of “Welcome! Do you like rhythm games?” and I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I actually didn’t get a chance to really play this game on the show floor; there were some audio/visual latency issues since they had the phone playing the game mirroring the display and sound to a TV, so everything was out of sync. They handed me a card with the phrase “agent, we have reports that a dragon has staked a claim on the Washington Monument…will you accept this mission?” written in comic sans, and pulled out my phone right in front of them and downloaded the game.

Agent Reverb is pretty neat. It’s about 70% touch-screen rhythm game, 20% idle game, and 10% action B-movie, but it seems to work out! The story is ridiculous and silly, but the game absolutely knows this. Seriously, just take a look at the incredible website. You earn volts for hitting notes, which can be used to unlock new stages and songs. Those same volts can also be used to buy robots that passively generate volts for you over time. The base game itself is free, with ads after every stage you complete, but you can kick them $2.99 USD to remove those ads, gain some premium currency, and gain a permanent volt generation bonus. Some of the songs do feel like they go on a little bit too long for my tastes, but overall I’m enjoying Agent Reverb as a fun little thing to check in on every few hours.

Swimsanity! (Decoy Games)
Switch / Xbox One / PS4 / Steam | Available Summer 2019! | Trailer

a 4-player cooperative game in progress

Image from Decoy Games press kit

As far as the indie games at RTX goes, this one was always a packed house; for good reason too. Swimsanity! is an incredibly fun 4-player local multiplayer madhouse.  The game is a pretty floaty twin-stick shooter, but the floatiness really worked well here. I always felt complete control of my character, but it did take a second to get used to the feel. The demo we tried had both the local competitive and cooperative multiplayer options available. We started up with the competitive multiplayer, and true to its name, it got insane fast.

Before each match every player picks an ultimate ability they can use, and the game turns into this flashy madhouse with abilities and power-ups firing off constantly.  From there we moved to the cooperative mode, which was hands down my favorite. Each player picks their ultimate as usual, but you’re able to stack them if multiple players fire them off at the same time. Doing so earns your team bonuses towards your next ultimate, which really encourages communication within your team. Each wave of the horde of enemies you’re fighting off only has a 1 minute timer, meaning that in order to progress you have to defeat all the enemies in the allotted time. It was really cool to see the various ultimate abilities and power-ups work in concert with each other. Swimsanity! is an absolute blast and manages to stay afloat in the busy sea of local multiplayer games coming out lately.  I simply cannot wait for this to release.

Alluris (562 Interactive)
Steam / Xbox One | Available Summer 2019! | Trailer

event card showing The Kraken attacking, with the player leaning towards the decision

Image from Alluris Steam Page

Now Kam, you might ask, what if I love a good text adventure game AND the meaningless anguish of endlessly swiping on my dating app of choice? Are there any video games out there for me? Enter Alluris, a self-described “swipe-your-own-adventure” game that I think is going to be a real problem for me when it comes out. The game starts with you choosing a gender (male, female, and non-binary are options, which was great to see), race, and class. I rolled with a non-binary Dwarven wizard because I wanted how the game handled it and I was pleasantly surprised to see my choices come up quite frequently in my various adventures. For instance, I won every single drinking contest I came across because I chose a Dwarven character.

The choices you make and paths it can open up go even deeper than that; I found a lute during my adventures and about 50 or so days later paid for some lessons so that I could learn to play it. Since I had that musical skill, every single inn that I would stay at going forward was half-price since my character would perform for a discount. I absolutely wish I had some more time with this game. My demo session was around 45 minutes, but I kept thinking about wanting to try out a different race or gender tp see what types of things I could get up to. Alluris is currently set for release on Steam and Xbox One, but the developer working the booth told me they were targeting mobile platforms as well, which sounds absolutely perfect.

Swapette Showdown (3D Generation)
Steam | Available 2019!

four boards filled with puzzle blocks during a 4-player match

Image from Swapette Showdown Steam page

Hey, remember Pokemon Puzzle League and Tetris Attack? So does 3D Generation with their spiritual successor, Swapette Showdown! For the unfamiliar, you swap blocks left and right in order to match three of the same block together. Making matches and chaining them together sends blockers over to your opponents. Once the blocks in a board reach the top that player is knocked out, and last player standing wins! I never spent a ton of time with this type of puzzle game, I was always more into to Tetris or Lumines, but I did see some high-level play from some other convention attendees and was really impressed with the height of the skill ceiling.

The demo I played had five playable characters, each with a different offensive and defensive ability. One character in particular that I didn’t get the chance to mess around with too much, actually rotated four blocks at once instead of swapping two, which does have me excited about possibilities for other characters and how they could change the game. The staff member I spoke with mentioned they’re currently only actively working on a PC release for this title, but would eventually love to bring this to the Nintendo Switch, which I think could do this game a lot of favors. I enjoyed my demo with it and will definitely be picking this one up, if anything to try and improve my game.

Black Ice (Super Duper Game Company)
Steam / itch.io | Available now in Early Access!

first-person viewpoint of the neon shape-filled overworld

Image from http://superdupergc.com/

Y’all, this game is really cool. Black Ice is a first-person looter-shooter, shlooter???, set in an open-world cyberspace where you hack terminals and fight off the programs trying to stop you. I spoke to the developer before my demo and he told me that he played a whole lot of Quake 3 and it absolutely shows in Black Ice. The movement is very fast and frantic, the enemies are many and relentless, the environments have lots of versatility and encourage exploration. Every weapon, skill, or item you find can be bound to any of the hotkeys listed, so you can really customize how you want to play. The weapons that were available in the demo felt great to use and ranged from a burst assault rifle, to a shotgun, to a disco-ball shoots lasers everywhere. Seriously.

Ever since I was young, I always thought that a first-person shooter hacking game would be just the coolest thing. I’m one of the dozens of people that really enjoyed playing Coded Arms on the PSP, and while that game had the style I wanted, it was a nightmare to control with the limitations of the platform. Black Ice is an absolute blast and is definitely the game I have been wanting and thinking about for years, I just didn’t know it yet. I loved the demo so much that I immediately bought a Steam key from the developer, and I highly recommend that you do the same.

That’s gonna do it for me! Did you go to RTX and check out some of these games? Are there any on this list you’re looking forward to?  Let us know!

Have a great day friends!

Kam really likes video games and being excited about things. When not talking into a microphone for strangers on the internet, you can find him organizing his Pokemon card collection like a huge nerd, perpetually coming in third place at Dave Grohl look-a-like contests, or in a drive-thru for any Taco Bell or Raising Cane’s in the Kansas City Area. Check him out on twitter @TheKamdyman or at his website kamraderie.com.

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