There were certainly a lot of games to check out at Play NYC 2018. After reading our last bit of coverage, let’s check out more titles that tickled my fancy on the show floor:
I found some time to check out developer Fabraz’s Slime-San on the Nintendo Switch. A platformer about a ball of slime swallowed up by a giant worm, Slime-San sees our hero jumping, phasing, busting, and dashing through obstacles as he tries to make his way out of the worm’s mouth. Stomach acid is threating to disintegrate him, though, so every level is a mad dash to the exit before being murdered.
Slime-San is an incredibly fast-paced game that tests your reflexes and precision while under a strict time constraint. I love games like this and had a big old smile on my face as I hurriedly made my way to the next level. Controls are tight and intuitive; you can slow down time while passing through green platforms, stick to walls, push blocks, and air dash while avoiding red-colored hazards with (relative) ease. Every stage has a different theme that eases you into learning Slime-San’s abilities. As you progress, the myriad moves you learn become integrated seamlessly into later levels, so you’re constantly switching between them. It’s excellent game design.
There were a good amount of stages available in the Slime-San demo, though sadly there were no boss fights to try out and I didn’t get a chance to peruse the power-up shop. Regardless, I had a great time with the game. It’s wonderfully charming and fun to play. Also, I had a theory confirmed by one of the developers, which was awesome (Downwell was an obvious aesthetic influence). With hundreds of levels, extra modes, and a Superslime Edition that contains even more stages and campaigns, Slime-San is well worth the under-$20 price tag. Look for it on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch.
I didn’t have an appointment to check out Swimsanity!, but I saw it on the first floor of the convention center and had to check it out based on its aesthetic. I’m glad I did, because it really is a lot of fun. Picture this: Four players are underwater in scuba gear either killing each other or joining forces to destroy various sea creatures, and you get super moves like summoning sharks to kill your enemies. Color me intrigued.
I ended up playing Swimsanity! with three strangers. Once the developers at Decoy Games showed us the controls and character select screen, we launched into the game’s co-op mode. The characters all have different color schemes, and you can customize each of their Swimsanity! attacks. Controls are easy to understand: the triggers either launch a special weapon or your character’s regular beam, the A button teleports, left stick moves, right stick aims, and Y unleashes Swimsanity! We all worked together, using lasers, mines, tridents, and missiles to destroy all aquatic life as we know it. Killing enemies built up our Swimsanity! special moves. These varied between healing teammates and summoning sharks. I had picked the shark attack move, which called forth a frightening Jaws-like monstrosity on the side of the screen who swam back and forth wreaking havoc. After a few minutes and waves of enemies, we moved onto the versus mode.
Any camaraderie I had with these fine folks went out the window once we all knew we were in a free-for-all. Teleporting became an important tactic to avoid taking damage while getting some shots in. My shark attack proved somewhat ineffectual against actual humans because it’s easy to predict its assault. Regardless, I tried to persevere, swimming around the small map while firing from a good vantage point. In the end, I lost the match. Even though I did not emerge victoriously, I had a blast playing versus.
Swimsanity! is a very well-polished, impressive game. While the co-op mode was entertaining, it didn’t have a lot of enemy variety (though it’s clear from screenshots and videos that bosses and other aquatic lifeforms come into play later on). The versus mode was where Swimsanity! truly shined. There’s nothing like fighting human players, always trying to guess their next moves and learning their tactics in a short period of time. And having smooth and accessible gameplay makes versus matches like I had even better. You can look for Swimsanity! early 2019 when it launches on PS4, XBox One, and Steam.
Team Anyball, LLC’s game, Anyball, was a fun, spirited good time at Play NYC. A multiplayer title designed around childhood playground games and Calvin and Hobbes, Anyball tasks a group of players either to work together or against each other in popular sports games. It’s cleverly designed, dropping objects in a procedurally generated arena that you are forced to figure out the objective of quickly, like a multiplayer version of WarioWare.
Starting out, I chose my avatar and team color with one of the developers and tried out Anyball‘s co-operative mode. Objects would rain down in a grid arena and we both had to figure out how to score points. For example, a goal post and a football meant we had to grab the ball and toss it through the post to get a point. Another time, a horizontal bar would appear that one of us would jump over to score. Having one player set up an object while the other scored seemed to be the best way to advance and do well in Anyball.
Of course, the most frantic fun came in the game’s versus mode, where another developer joined in for a free-for-all. This time, color-coded objects would fall from the sky, meaning each player had their own, unique methods of scoring. Anyball became a balancing act during this mode: should I try to score by jumping in a box with my avatar’s color or block another person from gaining their own points? Much screaming and laughter ensued while I contemplated that tough choice.
Anyball is a blast with friends. It’s easy to pick up and play, surprisingly sadistic, and every character has stretchy arms, which is hilarious. Its release date and platforms are still TBA, but wherever Anyball launches, it’s going to be great. It is literally too charming to be ignored.
That wraps up Part Two of our Play NYC 2018 coverage. If any of the games covered left you intrigued, let us know below!