If you're looking for cleanser courses to your stodgy triple-A dinner, Gambitious's smart roster is definitely worth checking out.
And then I got this email asking me if I'd like to sleep on a boat in Amsterdam and see some video games instead of working. Well, yes, I suppose, I said, and off I went.
Before I got fucked off my face with some lovely French people on a century-old ship’s bridge in the middle of the night on the North Sea, here’s what I saw. I know because I kept notes. The smoke alarm in my cabin went off at two in the morning, and I have no idea why. I found myself standing there in my pants.
Gambitious! This year they have some cool games you’ll probably like, including an already-released expansion to Hard West, one of my favourite 2015 games, and a Lemmings thing with zombies. If you’re in the market for indie stuff, as you probably are, you should take a look at this line-up. It’s high quality, low price content made by people like you. Well, a bit like you. Like you but game developers. They make stuff like this.
Hard West is XCOM with undead cowboys, and no one’s pretending otherwise. Scars of Freedom will set you back €2.99 and comes with seven combat encounters and a rewrapping of the main game’s customisation mechanics. Instead of applying cards for perks, you now construct combatants Frankenstein-style, using collected body-parts. You can, for example, murder a sniper, chop his hand off and glue it onto one of your team for extra accuracy. Get it right and you can create super-humans, but mismatch parts with people of the wrong blood-types and you’ll get rejections and decay. Hard West is a deep, unforgiving turn-based strategy game, and Scars of Freedom represents an innovative mix-up. You shouldn’t hesitate at that price.
This is zombie Lemmings, and it's extremely cool. An addictive pixel-art cartoon puzzle game, Zombie Night Terror asks you to contaminate as many humans as possible and clear levels. You’re able to apply various mutations to your night-walking army, allowing you to change direction, create exploding zombies, leap up onto ledges and whatever else. While there’s no release date on it other than “spring,” your wait’ll be rewarded with 40 levels in the initial game and ten more for free “a few months later,” according to a very nice development man from Marseille.
Redux is a reworking of Hard Reset, the 2011 FPS, and proved to be a great deal of fun. Of the three games I spent time with on the trip, this was the one I kept returning to play. I guess it’s a mix of Serious Sam and DOOM. It’s hardly the most cerebral entertainment, but it looks amazing and involves shooting large bosses in the face, so it’s about my level. There’s a story about mankind fighting the androids, but all you really need to know is that everything should die. The weapons make it stand-out: only three are available, but each has five modes of fire. The plasma rifle has a mortar and a blaster, the shotgun can be set to stun, and so on. Ultimately, Hard Reset: Redux is an exercise in inventive destruction, and that seems fine. There’s no date on it yet, but it’s coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
And that’s what I saw on the Gambitious boat in Amsterdam. I can honestly say it wasn’t a wasted trip.
Gambitious Digital Entertainment provided travel, accommodation and catering for this event.