For the second time only, the EGX took place in Berlin. As the little sister of the main event from the UK, the EGX Berlin has proved to be a small, but fine gaming event for interesting indies. The EGX pulls its great strength in comparison to big competitors like the Gamescom from its family-friendly environment, short distances and waiting times as well as an altogether relaxed visit. Although blockbusters such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake were also presented and were largely playable themselves, the focus was, as in the year before, on the small indie pearls. At least half of the show floor was dedicated to these games and there was one or the other highlight to discover and try out. In addition to many German and European projects, two games from Southeast Asia also found their way to the EGX Berlin 2019. We at Virtual SEA seized this opportunity to send Andreas to the event to try out these two titles for you.
No Straight Roads
Let’s start with a project of which we were unsure what kind of game it was supposed to be. No Straight Roads by the Malaysian developer Metronomik seemed to us like a rhythm-based action-adventure. When playing in Berlin, however, it has shown that the musical skill and rhythmic pressing keys are only half the truth. Wan Hazmer, Lead Game Designer for Final Fantasy XV, and Daim Dziauddin, Concept Artist for Street Fighter V, have teamed up to create an audio-visual and humorous action game set in a world called Vinyl City, where Music has taken the main role.
We could try a level from the PS4 version of the game. There, we fought with our two characters against a boss called DJ Subatomic Nova, a kind of giant turntable robot. As if on rails, we fight against rotating planets to the rhythm of the music on his deck to collect notes that we can effectively fire upon him. We also have to dodge his musical meteorite impacts and complete one or the other Quick Time Event (QTE). The two characters Mayday and Zuke could be switched at any time.
No Straight Roads already convinced us with its charm, its musical background and the unique comic style. We particularly liked that the main character Mayday speaks with a Malaysian accent, where the characteristic “lah” at the end of sentences is a vital part. The gameplay turned out to be a bit overwhelming, because there are no clear signals and fine tuning is still missing. In addition, the demo version was still plagued some bugs and crashes, which is not so worrying because the targeted release date is spring 2020. Anyway, we’re looking forward to popping into the musical worlds of No Straight Roads on PS4 or PC.
Affiliate link (Epic Games Store): Buy No Straight Roads
Cat Quest II
The second game was Cat Quest II by the Gentlebros from Singapore. Cat Quest II has already been released and can be tested on PC or all popular consoles. Publisher PQube took the opportunity in Berlin to generate even more attention for the game. The biggest novelty of Cat Quest II is its co-op mode. Unlike its predecessor, we can now explore the world spiked with animal puns with a friend, solve quests and explore dungeons together. The second player takes the role of a dog. This two-player mode seems to us a fun and meaningful addition to the core gameplay.
Otherwise, the game remains faithful to its predecessor, which is why we refer to our last review at this point. We were astonished and at the same time a bit unsettled because the game world has increased many times. Which is good, because are now new graphic sets that can provide more variety. However, the predecessor was already notorious for its backtrack- and grind-heavy gameplay towards the end of the game, which is why the developers first have to prove that they can fill this great world with interesting content.
In conclusion, both No Straight Roads and Cat Quest II have made a positive impression. We were delighted to see that with the two studios from Singapore and Malaysia Southeast Asian developers have found their way to the EGX Berlin. Unfortunately, the developers were not present themselves, but were represented by their publishers or PR agencies. It remains to be seen if small events like the EGX Berlin will be worthwhile for Southeast Asian studios. The advantages are certainly not to be dismissed: the lower costs but above all a higher opportunity for attention, since the indies are not overshadowed by large AAA productions. We are definitely looking forward to more games from Southeast Asia at the EGX Berlin 2020!