Our favorite indie games from EGX 2022

The RPS team once again made the trip to London for EGX 2022. There was plenty to see at this year’s show and as always we held some of our own booths. The first was the Steam Deck Zone filled with thirty Valve handhelds filled with games for anyone to grab a chair and play. The second was a showcase of weird and wonderful controllers, including an incredibly troublesome pool table, a digital plant that would grow by controlling light, and a game where you use a keyboard as a tie.

Along with that, the RPS gang were exploring the showroom and here you will find highlights of what we saw, who we chatted with, what we played and just general shenanigans. Enjoy!

Rachel: I had a loop around my favorite part of EGX – The Leftfield Collection! There were a handful of games that were previously released like the wonderful Dorfromatik, Strange Horticulture, and Railbound, but there were plenty of new game demos as well.

The first one I spotted was The Wings of Sycamore due to its beautiful paper doll art style. It’s a flight simulation set in a fantasy archipelago inspired by Victorian Britain, and you’re tasked with undertaking tasks in an airplane. Flying the plane is awesome, and the tricky world of pen and ink is fun to explore. Definitely one to watch.

I also had a great time playing The Block, a miniature city builder that’s more like a digital toy than a game. Each level takes a few minutes and you create cute miniature dioramas. James had also told me about Albedo Approaches Zero, which was a weird walking simulation style game where you walk around an alien planet with weird landmarks. Not much happened but its atmosphere was amazing, made all the more impressive as it managed to cut through the hum and noise of EGX.

The weirdest was Telusfax, a game set inside an old television’s teletex system. Using a giant TV remote as your controller, you’re tasked with scouring the system’s various menus and lists to find the names of five different TV show presenters. I got a little distracted from being bombarded with texts and menus of different colors that I couldn’t find a single one, but I had fun digging through the digital innards of an old TV.

Tiny Bookshop sees you running a small bookstore *checks notes*.

Rebecca: I especially want to shout out some brilliant indie demos I got to try on Friday. The representative for Eros Xavier’s love solutions was enough to have me dragging my colleagues across the living room so I could take a closer look. I mean just look at this brooding androgynous angel in a sharp trench coat. Totally a Rebecca game.

I was expecting a dating sim, but what I got was something more in the style of Untitled Goose Game, featuring a cynical cupid rather than a naughty waterfowl. Eros Xavier looks and talks like a black detective, but agency Love Solutions specializes in custom breakups. Basically, you sneak into couples’ homes and mind their own business until they’re so annoyed with each other that they call it a day. It’s pretty silly, though the demo’s ending takes a surprisingly dark turn – and drops a few lore clues I need to see followed. A conversation with the devs revealed that they are looking for a publisher, so I’m asking someone please get this back ASAP so I can find out what happens next!

Judiciously enough, I almost completely missed Tiny Bookshop tucked away as it was next to Chucklefish’s extremely eye-catching Eastward booth. I’m so glad I didn’t overlook it, because it’s definitely the relaxing and charming management sim I need in my life. I was seriously considering becoming a bookseller when I felt the call to write about video games for a living, so it was like a glimpse of an alternate timeline for me. Honestly, I can think of few things I’d rather dream of than swinging by the sea in my little trailer and helping beloved second-hand books find a new home.

Wildfrost is a tactical roguelike deckbuilder with a weird obsession with naked gnomes…

Liam: I didn’t play much at this year’s EGX, cluttered as I so often am with armfuls of heavy camera gear, but I’m glad I found the time to take a look at the already excellent Wildfrost. I had resigned myself to never finding a card game as inventive or as tactical as my beloved (and sadly deceased) Duelyst, but Wildfrost may be the game that makes me fall in love with the genre all over again.

Avoiding traditional CCG mechanics, cards can be placed onto the battlefield for free, with Wildfrost introducing a challenge through the use of timers that count down each time you select a creature or spell from your hand. Once these timers reach zero, enemy fighters will attack your friends, with your objective being to destroy a rival boss before they can knock yours out. It’s a compelling take on the classic Slay The Spire formula, and combined with beautiful animations, gorgeous character design, and top-notch music, Wildfrost is definitely one to watch. And I’m not saying that just because the PR gave me a tiny badge of a naked gnome after I finished my demo.

Oh, I also played Sonic Frontiers and thought that was great. However, the six-year-old at the station next to me was enjoying himself like never before, so I guess it’s opinion that really counts.

Kimberly brings Luke to his knees in the stomach with a flurry of on-screen ink and color in Street Fighter 6

Street Fighter 6 was one of the biggest blockbusters at this year’s show.

Hayden: I also wanted to talk about Wildfrost, but I see that Liam is already crushing a few words. In this case, I’ll just say Big Berry is the best card. He’s a big, beefy-berry person with a naive expression, and I love that. I want Big Berry products. The other designs are great fun too, but Big Berry is a personal favorite.

Other than that my highlight was beating Liam, Ed and technically James in Street Fighter 6 (I didn’t fight James directly but he lost to Liam and I beat Liam so he wouldn’t have had no luck). This impromptu Street Fighter competition proved a few things. First, combat is a youngster’s game and the dinosaurs on the team just couldn’t compete. Second, Street Fighter 6 is incredibly sleek. They’re still muscle people punching and jumping through the air, but with paint streaks or neon sparkles accompanying every punch, kick, and block. Katharine’s recent preview and Ed’s thoughts on the modern control scheme both have far better words than I can provide in this short snippet, so go read them and get excited for Street Fighter 6. That’s A voucher.

A happy Ed playing Judgment on the Steam Deck.

Ed: There was a time when Liam, James and I browsed the shelves of a body pillow rack for a bit. Liam and I even crouched down to get a closer look at body pillow casings (if that’s the technical term?) and flipped through various anime characters in “loose” positions. We (I) were looking for a Yakuza pillow, preferably Kiryu or Majima, to take home and hug tightly. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but I recognized a few more people from the anime than I cared to admit.

Hayden and I also first discovered the Steam Deck in EGX’s Steam Deck Zone. I thought he was a lot bigger than I expected, maybe big enough for the riot police to adopt him as their next smashing ram. It was comfortable to hold, though, and the screen was nice! Judging went smoothly, which was madness in my books. Also – Judgment on a portable device? Now it is a delight.

Morse was one of the games on RPS’ Future Of Play booth.

James: I had a lot of fun – probably in a tonally inappropriate way – with Morse, the Battleship/Typing Of The Dead hybrid that’s played mostly by typing in Morse code. It’s also real Morse code, not a playful approximation, and developer Alex Johansson had even built a custom controller with a real Japanese-made electric telegraph. This added a nice tactile and clicky dimension to the game, further enhanced with a devastating “Fire” button that sent out the artillery I had dialed in via dots and dashes. I don’t know how competitive playing with a keyboard will be, to be honest.

A few yards away in the Leftfield collection, I also enjoyed strolling through Albedo Approaches Zero. Walking sims aren’t often my jam, but desolate sci-fi planetscapes certainly are, and between the curious star trails and musical monoliths dotted around the moon I was stuck on, Albedo Approaches Zero had an atmosphere to spare.

Also, I was only at the body pillow stand as emotional support for Ed, so there.

Katherine: Most of my EGX time was dominated by demo appointments I had made in previous weeks, but the best thing I’ve played that I wasn’t already booked to see was Ninja Gold Die, a beautiful 2D platformer roguelike on the Marvelous Europe stand. It’s essentially a two-button game where all you can do is jump – using your analog stick to trace your path and A to run it – and it’s fast and flashy as heck. Attacks occur automatically whenever you jump on enemies, but there are also plenty of environmental hazards to worry about, including lots of spikes, swinging axes, and at one point a soaring floor of buzzsaws. At times it was a little overwhelming, but eventually you become one with your leap, using instinct and intuition to analyze the flow of battle. It won’t be released until next year, but you can try its free browser demo yourself right now if you feel like giving it a shot.

Otherwise, I had a great time with Goat Simulator 3 and House Flipper 2. I didn’t play the original entries of either game much, but these sequels hooked me. Goat Sim 3 has added multiplayer to its massive sandbox this time around, letting you share your silly antics with a companion. It also feels a lot more structured than last time around, offering plenty of quest objectives for nearby activities as well as a slew of collectibles to track down. At some point, I also turned into a slightly lewd banana, so there you go. House Flipper 2, meanwhile, has pretty much become a first-person Sims simulator, letting you clear houses while filling them with furniture to keep it that way. The physical act of cleaning has also been greatly improved, allowing you to drag your mouse in all directions to paint walls and scrape dirty windows. It was super cool, and I can see myself wasting many hours on it when it comes out next year.

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