Gamezebo at IMPACT! 2024 – Dragons of Afterland, The Garden Path, This Little Car of Mine, and more – Gamezebo

Gamezebo was at IMPACT! 2024 this week and we were surprised at the breadth and quality of the game dev scene in the fine city of Bristol.

We tried a fair few of the games there, but couldn’t manage to play them all. If we missed you we apologise – and please make sure you get in touch with us via [email protected]!

Dragons of Afterland by Play Well For Life

The first game we played at the show, and an impressive one. An Augmented Reality title that is based around playing a board game, it isn’t just another commercial release but one with a far more ethical purpose. Which is always nice. 

In terms of tech, the Augmented Reality 3D characters and environments that are cast onto the board through a tablet or smartphone work really well, proven in the screenshot above. 

Unlike many AR titles like this we’ve seen in the past (and we’ve seen a few!), there seemed to be no hiccups with the tech and the creatures and environments created (including a large, sprawling tree) were sharp and detailed. 

Because of this technology the game can even be played by people based in completely different places too – in fact the game is not aiming for a commercial launch but will look to be used in places like hospitals to help boost patients’ social interaction with the outside world. Which is just lovely.

The game is not out yet – a 2025 launch is likely – but we’d keep an eye on this one if you’re into board games that push the envelope.

Cryptrio by Chequered Ink

What looked at first glance like a Shovel Knight themed Tetris title was actually something much better. Firstly it doesn’t even attempt to copy Tetris in any way, a very wise move.

The only similarity is the well itself. In this you drop a range of blocky creatures and attempt to match up three of the same colour. As long as one side is touching another it’s enough to clear the blocks – with the higher aim being to create combos of multiple colours dropping down on top of each other. Not that we managed to do this at all while playing. But that’s on us.

This game is actually already out on Steam, Switch, and Itch.io. So you can expect to see a review of the Switch iteration on Gamezebo very soon.

The Garden Path by Louis Durrant

This is one relaxed game. Developed by one man and boasting aesthetics that can be best described as ‘delightfully cosy’ this is a game that wants you to relax and take everything in.

So it wasn’t the perfect title to play in a bustling gaming event, but we got the general vibe it was going for all the same. You wander around a watercolour overhead environment, talking to various vegetable themed characters and completing various tasks such as planting flowers.

There was even the opportunity to partake in some fishing. We managed to actually reel one in, which surprised us more than anyone.

It’s not fully launched yet, but will very soon – keep an eye on the game’s Twitter page for updates.

A Wizard’s Wool by Nuclear Candy Games

As you might expect, everything in this 3D adventure platformer is made of wool. It looks fantastic, especially as this is at least 2 years (!) away from release.

We did have some issues with the controls – jumps in particular – but this is still a mightily cute title that we can see appealing to a wide range of gamers when it does finally launch.

Keep an eye on how it develops via the dev’s Twitter account right here

This Little Car of Mine by Sam Claydon

This was the game we wanted to play the most at the show, and it didn’t disappoint. You drive a small mini cooper around isometric environments, on a journey to scatter the ashes of your late Grandparent.

Yes, this is a game about recovering from grief where you play as a car. That’s not something you can write very often, and we’re very happy to do so. 

There are three levels and this is a mightily impressive title considering that it’s a title being developed as part of Claydon’s Masters degree. The controls weren’t perfect, but we’d love to see this get a little polish and a full release at some stage.

Claydon was also showing off a passion project which he was still in the early days of coding, a 3D adventure where you play as an Alien. The environments borrowed heavily from a very well known Nintendo title, but the developer is clearly very excited about developing this title further. 

Mecha Mayhem by Duck it Games

Very much a work in progress, but there are the bones of something impressive here. Effectively a mech creator as it stands, you put together your bot with various weapons and unleash them in an arena with various foes.

It’ll come to Steam and PS4/PS5, although at this stage definitely controls better on the former via a keyboard. It’ll be a roguelike in its final iteration, although that’s a long way off yet.

We recommend checking out the demo, available on Steam.

Keylocker by Moonana

We started playing this game without the developer watching on, which came as a relief. We struggled badly initially with this Turn Based Rhythm JRPG. 

However slowly each element became much clearer. Exploration is simple thanks to the crisp pixelarts isometric visuals, reminding us of the Mega Man Battle Network titles (although this was not a direct inspiration) – but the real star are the grid based battles.

Requiring a mix of Paper Mario style reactions and well timed button presses, it adds in rhythm sections to certain attacks. We had got a hang of it after no time, and to say its massively engaging is an understatement. 

There’s a demo available on Steam, and will be released soon-ish.

Hexrite by Phabula

A game years in the making, Hexrite is a fast paced action platformer that we can see being a bit of sleeper hit when it’s launched.

Requiring you to move fast and jump further, it feels great to control and has some pretty involved battle mechanics too. Thus is one worth keeping an eye on, and you can do just that via the game’s Steam page here.

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