It’s the Easter weekend, and day one of Insomnia 64 kicks off at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. Gamers flocked to see exhibitions of upcoming releases, eSports, stage shows and merchandise. Having secured press access for the event, here is a write-up of the first day.
Note: This write up does not include a description of everything that took place at the event, and is predominantly to show what was on offer from developers, and my experience of what I saw on the first day of the event.
Nintendo had a large area of the Exhibition Hall, but mainly used it to show off some of their already released Switch titles to draw interest. They did host a number of tournaments that attendees could sign up for, including Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Mario Tennis Aces. Detective Pikachu also made an appearance, but we cannot confirm whether or not Ryan Reynolds was under the costume.
Playstation brought a lot to the party this year, with Days Gone and Dreams both making an appearance. They didn’t skimp on the VR titles either, with Blood & Truth, Everybody’s Golf VR, Five Nights at Freddy’s VR and Trover Saves the Universe all available to play. I was able to play a demo version of Blood & Truth, an FPS title that puts you in the shoes of Special Forces soldier Ryan Marks. The game will feel familiar to anyone who has played an FPS title on VR before, and the gun-play feels smooth and satisfying. Moving from cover to cover felt easy, although I sometimes found reloading a bit awkward. Even in the demo, there were some interesting mechanics thrown in, such as being able to access a toolbox which included lock picks, which you use in each hand to bypass door locks and handcuffs. These non-combat mechanics felt intuitive, even to someone with minimal VR experience. If the story ends up being compelling in the final release, the game could potentially end up as a great title that is worth investing time in, rather than being just another VR shooter to play occasionally for a short time. Dreams, a creative title from the same team as Littlebigplanet, was also on display, and the developers will be available on day two for more in-depth coverage.
There were numerous indie titles available to play at the event at the designated Indie Zone. Whilst I was unable to play them all, I have picked out a couple that I was able to enjoy on day one.
Disobedient Sheep is a party game created by a one man operation. Two players (or one person using both analog sticks of a controller) each play as a dog trying to keep a herd of sheep safe inside a ringed area. The problem is, the sheep don’t always want to play ball, and somebody keeps throwing hazards into the pen. These hazards include giant rolling boulders, falling anvils, and sticks of dynamite. The sheep often have a death wish, so using the movement of the dogs and the ability to bark at the sheep is key to keeping as many of them alive for as long as possible. Que arguments about whose fault it was that 4 sheep were sent flying in the atmosphere by explosives.
Drinkmoreglurp is staged in a somewhat warped version of the Olympics, where each player controls an athlete with a small body and two long, spaghetti like limbs, each of which are controlled by an analogue stick in order to make them (sort of) compete in each event. The game’s funny mechanic is that the games can by sponsored by different companies between events, having major effects on the player’s character physics. For example, in my game, our hurdles event had a sponsor that turned the player’s arms incredibly muscly and rigid, making it rather hard to clear the obstacles. Anyone who enjoys the unusual physics of Gang Beasts will enjoy this title.
More to come on day two!