During PAX West, Anna Marie Privitere got the chance to check out some game developed by Polish developers. She reported back on her time with two titles in particular: Wrath of Loki and Soulblight.
Tucked into one of the corners of the PAX hall, there was a full booth stuffed with nearly a dozen games being developed in Poland. These corners often hold some pretty neat games to see, and the Polish Indie booth did not disappoint. There was a huge variety of gameplay to be seen, but we focused on two games in particular.
Wrath of Loki was my guilty pleasure. As much as I'm a hardcore gamer, happy to dive into a one-hundred-hour RPG, I also love casual games like the hidden object genre. Wrath of Loki is the very first VR hidden object game — I wasn't sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised. The puzzles had me looking around a full 360-degree world looking for knives, horns, and even the power of lightning to restore Thor's Hammer so he could take on Loki. I played through the first chapter in about thirty minutes, which would probably be a typical time for a veteran player. Future chapters will expand upon the game and the developer is also looking into a more serious hidden object game with a deeper storyline and more challenging puzzles than a standard game in the genre. Wrath of Loki was a nifty experience and leaves me excited to see VR continue to evolve in all genres.
The second game we saw was Soulblight, a PC roguelike with an impressive amount of polish. At the start of each level, players choose one of four traits, which will dictate how they tackle the challenges ahead of them. For example, in our playthrough Chris chose to be Coarse, which gave him a, well, fart attack. This attack could be powered up by eating uncooked, noxious foods like raw meat, and would ensure any enemies who came close would pay the price. It is very important to play to your strengths. For example, a character who is Superstitious would need to thoroughly explore levels looking for charms to kiss to accrue good luck, but might avoid opening too many chests as having your fingers slammed in one is very bad luck. What weapon you wield can also change your gameplay style. For example, a large two-handed mace is a midrange weapon; enemies that close the gap are merely struck with the wooden shaft of the weapon for reduced damage.
Enemies have a field of vision that is visible to the player. If you watch their movement patterns, you may be able to get behind them and snap their necks (which was surprisingly satisfying); again, this can play heavily into the trait system, as those with the Cowardly trait gains bonuses for removing enemies in this fashion. Players can also eat food (preferably cooked) to acquire buffs, and can also suffer wounds such as a bad cut, burn, or poison which will act as debuffs, lowering their effectiveness in combat.
That being said, no matter what trait is chosen, players need to take care. Five wounds puts a character down for good, and the consequences are harsh, forcing the player to begin anew solely with the experience they gained in real life. With a heavy development focus on an interesting story and levels that change slightly between playthroughs, Soulblight will require above all else patience and a player invested in a good tale. Already Greenlit, the game is on track for a 2017 release. I can definitely see a market for this kind of game — something that's very challenging, but not unfair.
It's also worth noting both developers brought a traditional Polish candy with them, made with butter, sugar, milk, and some addictive substance I will now crave for the rest of my days. Maybe I should go back and get more candy…I mean, try some of the other games there… later in the show.