“No, Seriously…Doctor Who?” Said No Fan Expo Attendee Ever
Now having enjoyed its 19th iteration, this year’s Fan Expo attracted over 100 000 fans of all things sci-fi and fantasy to the Metro Toronto Convention Center. Even in line, a plethora of cosplayers made for a visual feast. Once inside, it becomes clear why a weekend pass is offered: If one hopes to see everything, it is going to require multiple visits. Vendor booths, artist displays and a plethora of celebrities all threaten to gobble up the day of any expo-goer that hasn’t planned ahead.
Video games also make up a huge part of the draw at the event. While Sony, Microsoft and Ubisoft flaunted massive displays teasing their up-and-coming titles/consoles, I made a bee-line for the indie titles. During my visit on Saturday, August 24th, I sat down to try out two examples of Toronto’s homegrown indie talent.
Damian Sommer and Emily Carroll
While IGR contributor Happywulf has previously reviewed The Yawhg, a multiplayer story-telling game (link is to his review), it was my first opportunity to take it for a whirl. With my wife donning the second controller, we engaged on the telling of our own personal epic.
Basic synopsis of the game – The Yawhg is coming. That’s just a fact, and there’s no changing it. You and your companions have six weeks to spend as you please, unaware of what awaits you. Will you fight crime in the slums? Will you help aid the suffering of the diseased at the hospital? You can opt to drink away your sorrows at the local tavern. All choices will change the flow of the game, and it makes for a staggering amount of story possibilities.
Your choices will lead to numerous story events, each of which is accompanied by vibrant still-frame paintings by Emily Carroll depicting the chapter. Your stats will help influence which way these story trees go, and will determine stats rewards or penalties. When the dark day arrives, these stats will play a hand in spelling out the town’s fate.
The story is best played with friends, and up to four can play locally. Between my wife and I, we were unable to prevent our humble town from being destroyed. It made for a bleak ending, but getting there was highly entertaining. A gripping tale of a star-crossed community facing a great tribulation is all the more titillating when “told” by numerous raconteurs.
Need Moar Legend?
I spoke with Damian Sommer, co-creator and writer for the Yawhg, after my playthrough, and he mentioned that a major update is forthcoming. Players will still only have six game weeks to prepare for the end times, but there will be almost twice as many action choices to make leading up to the fateful coming.
Super Time Force
This is one frantic little beast! Assemble a team of warriors plucked from various eras. Send your crack team of commandos to complete objectives. The catch? You have only 60 seconds to complete it. *Rewind SFX* The catch? You only have 60 seconds to complete your goal BUT you have the ability to rewind time.
With mastery of chronology on your side, you can backtrack to moments just before a comrade gets all shot up and sub in a partner with a skill-set more appropriate to the scenario. Even with these tricks and tag-in powers in your arsenal, clearing a stage in 60 seconds is going to call for some tight teamwork.
In the few minutes I had with the game, I found that I had some problems getting my head around the mechanics, though I’m positive this was due to user error. Even towards the end of the trial, I was starting to get the hang of rewinding and swapping comrades on the fly. While I only had a small taste, Super Time Force already feels fast-paced and challenging. It’s also exploding with charming pixel art, and wickedly funny.
There is still no word on when STF will be ready for market, but I’ll certainly be waiting for this title. If only there was some way to fast-forward time…