HomeGame CheatsGamezebo at Gamescom 2023 – Evercade, ININ, 3D Realms, and more – Gamezebo
Gamezebo at Gamescom 2023 – Evercade, ININ, 3D Realms, and more – Gamezebo
August 26, 2023
Gamezebo was at Gamescom and were busy playing all the games. And much more besides. Here’s our diary of everything we played and saw during a busy few days in Cologne.
We swung by the Red Art Games booth where they were showing off its extensive amount of releases – physical and digital – but there was one game that caught our eye.
Titled Promenade it’s the first game from a French based developer and has numerous influences from Mario 64 to Banjo Kazooie. Unlike those two it’s not a 3D but actually a 2D platformer. However the way it asks you to explore the world is very open world. There are numerous fragments of gold you have to collect, but can gather them in any order you wish.
It has similar mechanics to Klonoa in the way you grab and use enemies to jump further, for attacks, and sink basketball shots (yes, really). Although a little rough round the edges aesthetically it feels great to control and has a great range of challenges that aren’t explained to you. Which is nice. Promenade will arrive on Switch and other formats in February next year.
We met Mixi and although it’s working on a lot, it was all quite hush hush. It does have a interesting three player roguelike in the works for PC, but it doesn’t even have a title yet – still we managed to play it and were impressed with the battle mechanics that really do require you to work as a team.
We got a hands on with Evercade’s upcoming Super Pocket systems – both the Capcom & TAITO editions. Boasting a generous number of in-built games they also wisely allow you to play Evercade carts as well. They feel well made and sturdy considering they’re lower price tags of £49, and we think they’ll do quite well in the competitive retro re-release market when they arrive in late October.
The Evercade EXP was also available to try out, and is lovely to use. With smoother edges and a more sturdy feel than the original Evercade unit we’re looking forward to giving this a proper test when it arrives later this year.
When it comes to game releases, the company has a lot of retro focused ones in the works – obviously. What we were impressed with is how focused Blaze is on bringing more exposure to the indie scene though. As Sean Cleaver, the Marketing Manager at Blaze Entertainment succinctly put it, “we do the expected.”
There are a number of indie games being released as one-off carts for the Evercade, with many titles developed for older systems (such as the Commodore 64) being ported to the system. Over eight games are already confirmed for 2024, with many more planned. One thing was made very clear after our meeting at Gamescom – the Evercade is has proven beyond all doubt it’s not just a flash in the pan like many retro focused consoles/devices we’ve seen come and go.
We got a look at the latest headsets and devices EPOS are working on and releasing, and there was a big focus on its BrainAdapt technology. This has effectively been the results of many tests (including studying eye dilation) and how this can result in better audio experiences for users.
This was demonstrated with our brief time with the H6 Pro headset designed for the Xbox. It has a range of impressive features including Air Thru ear pads that make it comfortable to wear for long periods, flexible ear cups, and a mic that attaches via magnets.
EPOS have released a very aesthetically pleasing devices since it was founded in 2018, with a more adult and sophisticated look than most of the competitors in the gaming hardware scene. You can find all our past coverage of various EPOS products here too, if you’re interested.
We got our hands on this exciting new accessory for the Switch – even if accessory is perhaps selling it a little short. It’s a device that you plug your standard Switch into, and effectively power it up.
There’s no joy con drift anymore, thanks to the thumbsticks using Hall Effect sensors rather than analogue ones in the Nintendo controllers. The analogue sticks on the Nitro Deck are also replaceable by simply twisting them off – see image below – which is a very simple but logical design choice.
It feels solidly made too, and the lock button that holds the console into the Deck seems pretty foolproof to us. The pricing seems sensible too, with the standard model costing £59.99 and the Limited Edition (which includes a base, and another set of analogue sticks) marked up as £89.99.
There’s an accompanying app and plans for limited editions too, but we’ll look at this in far more detail when it launched on the 18th of September and we can get a unit for a full review. Stay tuned!
Imperia Online JSC
This Bulgaria based team is celebrating its 18th birthday this year, and has built its success on its flagship title Imperia Online – which continues to be a massively popular desktop title.
It’s working on a range of other titles though, including idle RPG Crush Them All and a pool title that is looking to boast an interesting esport focus.
NACON was another accessory manufacturer we met during Gamescom, with it having an impressive array of different headsets, cases, and more.
The key accessory was the 600 PRO which Esther at the booth took great pride in showing how tough it was – twisting it to an impressive degree. See the picture above if you don’t believe us. It also features low-latency 2.4GHz wireless and Bluetooth, and is compatible with Playstation, Xbox, Switch, PC and smartphones.
There was also a range of Zelda themed accessories arriving soon for the Switch, all of which were quite subtle in their coloring and designs. Pictures above there was cases for the Switch console (including a sturdy flap to prop the console up) and even one for just a single pro controller. We’ll hope to get all of these and the 600 PRO for full hands on pieces in the coming weeks.
We saw a lot of games in action at the United Games/ININ booth, four in fact. There was a real range of titles coming from the publisher too, with the most intriguing Slaps and Beans 2 – a license that probably won’t mean much to those outside of Germany, Italy, or Hungary. It’s a side scrolling beat em up with pixelart visuals that has clearly been made with a lot of love however, and as Junior Marketing Manager Slice Brocca puts it, “it’s by the fans for the fans.” It’ll arrive on Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox, and PC September the 22nd.
Then there was Air Twister, created by Yu Suzuki – the man behind Space Harrier. It’s no surprise that it plays very much like that classic title either, boasting hectic 3D shooting across a range of very different locations – from Alice in Wonderland inspired locales to slightly less interesting volcanoes and lands of lava. We think this will be a limited but fun experience when it lands on all the core systems on November the 10th.
Third came Parasol Stars, and this is a simple enough port of the classic arcade title. It’s a straightforward 2D platformer focused on defeating enemies across one screen stages with the titular parasol. This is best player in co-op with one other player, and the version we saw looked like it ran with no issues. Smartly it’s also going to be released at a lower pricepoint on Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox, and PC at the end of 2023.
Next and perhaps most impressively came the Irem Collection, specifically volume one. The plan is to release five volumes, each one focusing on a different genre from Irem’s extensive back catalogue. The first will focus on shmups, and others side scrollers, platformers, and so on. These collections are a smart idea, with boxes to hold them making sure collectors won’t be able to resist nabbing every volume. The first volume arrives on the 21st of November.
But wait, there was one other title – an all new entry in the Shadow of the Ninja series, subtitled Reborn. We didn’t see this one in action sadly, but it’s from the same team who made Wild Guns Reloaded – so we have high hopes when it launches in Spring 2024.
We swung by the 3D Realms booth for a short while to play both Aftershock (the expansion for Ion Fury) and Phantom Fury (the actual sequel to Ion Fury).
Both were exactly what we expected. Which is to say they’re perfectly judged first person shooters that have old school aesthetics but understand why such ‘boomer shooters’ were successful in the first place. We’re excited to play much more of these, with Aftershock “coming soon” to Steam, and Phantom Fury arriving on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S and Switch before 2023 is over.
We got some hands on time with the Joyway range of keyboards at the show too, which are all being released under the IYX brand name. The Karloff model was our favorite, being impressively sturdy and boasted a charging pad that doubled as a wrist rest. It even had a little extra display to show the time. Nifty.
Simon has been playing portable games since his Game Boy Pocket and a very worn out copy of Donkey Kong Land 2, and he has no intention of stopping anytime soon. Playing Donkey Kong Land 2 that is. And games in general we suppose.