Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights


Dabbling With… Omno

The first episode of a short series on games I discovered at EGX Rezzed 2019.

First up is Omno by Jonas Manke. Literally so, as this was the very first game I played at Rezzed today. Omno is a work-in-progress but everything points to it being an easy-going exploration adventure game.

The graphics and sound are solid, I really liked wandering around. Stomping, dashing or teleporting is delicious. You stomp to get energy from rocks or creatures - fortunately, the creatures aren't hurt by this, but they get so frightened they drop white blobs of energy. Although I have to admit to feeling a tad cruel.

There's a faint collectible aspect to the game - it tells me when I've discovered creatures, explorer rocks or new areas. I don't mind this too much provided it doesn't power the action or overpower the experience.

It's part discoverable systems because I was a little lost for a couple of minutes, but it was good lost. From what I gather this is not representative of the full game however what there were a lot of jumping puzzles which involve having to go back to the start if you've made a mistake. The dash jump takes some of the pain away. However, I was getting better at knowing whether to jump or dash jump as I moved through the demo. Maybe a little muscle memory is all that is needed.

No evidence of narrative at this point but apparently we'll be able to read glyphs in the real game.

I didn't see anything here that was brand new but I'm in. Looks like the kind of game you'd chill out with at the end of the day.

Blurb from the presskit:

OMNO is an atmospheric adventure about a journey of discovery through an ancient world of wonders. Taking players through lush forests, across a sun blasted desert, over a frigid tundra, the power of a lost civilisation will even carry the hero to the clouds. Along the way there will be creatures great and small to observe and interact with - shy rock-like crabs, helpful turtles, maybe even a friendly dinosaur to ride?

The world of OMNO is filled with puzzles, platforming challenges and hidden secrets. The player’s magic staff is the key to powering forgotten relics, and will allows players to dash lighting fast across platforms, glide over land, sail above the clouds and more.

Check out the game's site or look it up on Steam.

Interested in other games I've dabbled with? Check out the series index!


The Farfield: What You Voted For

The Farfield is an occasional series where I write about something other than gaming.

“I think when people voted to leave the EU they wanted an end to free movement, free movement will end. They wanted us to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK, that will end. They wanted us to stop sending the vast sums of money to the EU that we do today – so take control of our money, our laws and our borders – and that’s exactly what we will do.” - Prime Minister Theresa May

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Podcast: The Floor is Lava

Ivan Brett is the author of The Floor is Lava, a book which contains 99 games to play with family and friends. They're organised in chapters for different situations and moods like when you're stuck in a traffic jam, something to play after dinner or perhaps you're just looking for a straight-up party game. From Cat Eats Mouse, to Shut Your Eyes and Adjectival Animals - there's a lot of great stuff in here.

Ivan also hosts The Floor is Lava podcast that acts as a companion to the book. In each episode, he invites a guest on to play a bunch of games. And there are definitely no videogames to be found. Ivan and his guest can be duelling with words, spinning mad fiction or simply debating the finer points of the world's top five milks. Each game really only has one rule: that it must be fun.

I had been feeling it had been awhile since I had engaged with the more broader definition of games. No colourful graphics. No whoosing and beeping. No controllers. No fancy tech at all. When Ivan announced he was looking for podcast guests I put my hand up without hesitation.

So this week I am the guest on The Floor is Lava and on a scale of one to fun it was fun! You can get the podcast through Stitcher, iTunes or Spotify. Alternatively, you can listen via the embedded Stitcher player below.

Check out Ivan Brett's website and you can follow him on Twitter here.


Transmission: Puzzle Special

90 minutes. Eight games.

Stream this week - Thursday 21 March, and will begin at 9:30PM UK, 10:30PM Central Europe, 5:30PM EST. My Twitch channel can be found at twitch.tv/electrondance.

I will discuss the following titles:

Previous Transmissions are available on the dedicated E/TX YouTube channel.

Update 22 March! Here's the archived stream up on YouTube!


Side by Side: BOTOLO

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the last of three bonus episodes.

Joel Goodwin and his son Kai fight over possession of a ball in the abstract sports game BOTOLO (Steam, itch.io). This is a brilliant game with solid feel and a crisp yet slightly organic style - even if I do keep thinking I'm the ball all the time. This is as much about a battle of wits, of feigning action and inaction, of knowing how your opponent plays.

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to our channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.


Discussion: Hypocrisy

From something I call February's newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

Hi, I’m the Into the Black guy. I ask why people want achievements and shiny things to reward exploration in games. It’s all BALONEY. Rewards kill the JOY. They invite DISAPPOINTMENT. I will keep on using CAPITAL LETTERS to distract you from my hypocrisy.

Dear subscribers, if you feel like chatting about anything at all from the newsletter, please speak your mind in the comments here.


Tail Meets Head

This is the final part of The Ouroboros Sequence, a series on puzzle games.

Do I hate Snakebird? I don’t love it.

It was October 2016 and I had been playing Snakebird (Noumenon Games, 2016) for about a month. Finding it impossible to make progress around twenty levels in, I strapped the game to a concrete block and threw it into the choppy waters of the Thames. And while I did this, others continued to carry the Snakebird banner high, proclaiming its brilliance. I didn’t get it. I really didn't get it.

I wanted to know why. I scribbled into my book of half-baked ideas an article about why I don’t like Snakebird. But the exercise would be pointless without an answer to the question.

Time passed. I had many notes that sketched out areas of potential interest and I found myself more interested in the player side of the puzzle game equation rather than the design side. I wanted to think about how puzzle games might be failing their players instead of players failing their puzzle games. Failure can become very personal, hardening players against continued experimentation in the puzzle genre.

I grew frustrated with the whole concept, though. I could never weave these ideas into a complete whole. I was looking at an infinite number of darts thrown at an infinite number of dartboards by an infinite number of monkeys… but not one bullseye.

Screw it, I thought, I’m going to write the series anyway, even if I don’t have any conclusions. I’ll call it The Ouroboros Sequence because Snakebird is behind the whole series and I knew I wasn’t going to be any wiser about my disaffection for Snakebird after reaching the end. The truth was in the title, up there in every episode. No revelations would be coming. We’d end in the same place as we started. Disaffected with Snakebird, reasons unknown.

And yet. And yet.

This journey has not been a waste of time.

We have returned to the beginning, to Snakebird. But things are most definitely not the same.

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Cold Metal

This is the third part of the Subnautica Season. This follows The Glory of the Infinite Sea, on Subnautica enabling accidental discovery, and Beautiful, on the real beauty of Subnautica's design.

Subnautica is fantastic. More or less. The resource gathering and blueprint hunting can get a little tedious, but Subnautica is not alone in committing that crime. Around the waterworld in 80 days, just to find that a blob of blood oil. But this was not the only flaw in the ointment.

Something that, perhaps, should have had more resonance and impact: building a home away from home.

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Side by Side: BFF or Die

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the second of three bonus episodes.

Joel Goodwin and his son Kai wander through ancient Egyptian tombs facing the odd mummy or two in BFF or Die (Steam, itch.io), a co-op action game for 2-4 players from ASA Studio. will they be able to grab all the orbees and do a high five?

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to our channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.


Side by Side: DERU

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the first of three bonus episodes.

Okay, so there wasn't enough co-op in the fourth series. Let's fix that. How about an abstract puzzler which needs some deft work on the controller?

Joel Goodwin and the new recruit to the Side by Side team, Kai Goodwin, are pleased to present the luscious DERU: The Art of Cooperation (Steam, Switch, itch.io with Linux and Mac builds) from INK KIT Studios.

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to our channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.