Dreamhack Canada 2016: Digitial Festival Coverage
The first Dreamhack Canada event was in Montreal this past weekend from August 12 to 14th. Dreamhack is a LAN party along with esports and tournaments going on viewable live and streamed online. The big tournament was centred around Starcraft 2. However, they had console tournaments for Super Smash Bros and Street Fighter V. Also, the BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) visitors had tournaments for many titles including Rocket League, Hearthstone, League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive and of course, the recently released Overwatch.
Here’s a quick video of the Dreamhack venue. It was taken on Friday night so the weekend craze hasn’t quite started yet.
Just like the Montreal Comiccon coverage, we were at Dreamhack for its Indie Game Zone. While there was not a lot of games present, what we did see were all incredibly cool. Bonus: we had a chance to play out a few. Here’s a quick rundown of the best.
The Black Watchmen
Developer: Alice & Smith
The Black Watchmen released Seasons 1 and 2 last year and is being touted as the first Permanent Alternate Reality Game. A statement by the developers elaborates:
“You are an agent of a paramilitary group dedicated to protecting the public from dangerous phenomena beyond human understanding: ritualistic murder, occult secret societies, and paranormal activity, to name but a few.”
That said, they were these two mysterious suitcases arranged side-by-side, one matched with an easy puzzle and the other with a hard puzzle. The easy takes two minutes to solve but the hard could range from one to four hours. For the latter, they let the audience take snapshots and try to figure it out. Definitely a challenge. This is the what the hard puzzle looks like. The object is to decipher a six digit code without pulling out all of your hair.
The Black Watchmen is community based. You don’t need to be alone. You solve cases and puzzles together, joining in on live events in various cities around the world. This is definitely a very cool concept idea and a unique gaming experience at Dreamhack. It is currently available on Steam.
Children of Zodiarcs
Developer: Cardboard Utopia
Children of Zodiarcs is a tactical role-playing game with dice crafting and trading card elements. While that seems complex, we tried out the game and it runs very smoothly. It is based on turn-based battles and the animation style is very pretty. The character designs are done well. The gameplay itself, notably the battles are fun as you the player can manage the cards in your hands as you collect them as well as each turn includes the dice element where the player has the actual feeling of throwing the dice and then having the choice to re-roll to get the chance of dealing a higher damage to the enemy. Its a nifty way to play a game. Although it may sound hard, it actually is fairly easy to understand.
Children of Zodiarcs was successfully funded on Kickstarter in February 2016 with over five times the amount they asked for, reaching several stretch goals. They are due for release on PC, Mac, and Playstation 4 in early 2017.
Developer: Urubu Studio
Feudal Feud was also at Montreal Comiccon and the Creator’s Night. We covered a portion of it there. However, this time we were able to have a chat with the developer. The game is moving along. In case you missed that coverage, Feudal Feud is a diplomatic, strategic and conquest mobile game. You as the player is against and with the community as you build your city. It is set in real time against real players also on the same conquest, however, the difference is that your life in the game is not infinite. There is a timeline as to the lifespan of your character and when they die, you come back anew on a new conquest.
Feudal Feud is currently in beta. For a more detailed description, check out the Montreal Comiccon Creator’s Night coverage here.
Subaeria is an action puzzle game set in a dystopian world. You play a character that navigates through the procedurally generated maps and use the environment to let the enemies destroy themselves. There will be skills be acquired and to use to help you along the journey. It is an intense and challenging game. While the game isn’t exactly unforgiving and the world itself is built beautifully and captures the dystopian world very well, there are some elements that might need a bit of improvement. The choice that might leave the players wondering whether they will want to hit play over and over again is dying in the game send you right back to the beginning. Subaeria is however an engaging experience.
Subaeria is currently on Steam Early Access.
Developer: ManaVoid Entertainment
Epic Manager is the last game we went to check out. It uses the concept of role-playing games with sports management in the world of being the manager of adventurers and their quests. It takes on the face of the tycoon strategy games.
The best way to describe it would be as they say in their Kickstarter campaign description: “The gameplay features the roster management and character progression of games like Disgea and Final Fantasy Tactics, narrative choices and consequences in the beloved tradition of gamebook series such as Choose Your Own Adventure, the epic scope of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, and the humoristic tone of The Princess Bride.”
Epic Manager recently launched Steam Early Access on July 25th.