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The 6 Best Games We Saw And Played At Level Up KL 2019
Level Up KL Play 2019 is opening its doors today at KL Convention Center. One of its biggest attractions for its claim to be the “Ultimate Games Conference” is well, there are games. Games from Southeast Asia developers to be precise.
On the business day, we tried a few games that are on the show floor and were impressed with what we saw, hear, or play. These six games, in no particular, are the best of that. You should seek out if there are on the Level Up KL Play show floor, or put them in your radars at the very least.
Academia: School Simulator
Developer: Squeaky Wheel (Philippines)
On the onset, this looks highly reminiscent of Prison Architect. And that’s because it’s the same artist, Ryan Sumo. He also runs the company as CEO.
Academia: School Simulator tasks you to build a school of your liking. Provide amenities and competent teachers. Or don’t. The choice is yours and you can mess around with the sandbox any way you can.
On the show floor, we saw a game designer testing the game out by building the longest courtyard exit out of the school premise. The labyrinth would take the students at least a period and a half to get out of. And get in. And you can put toilets in the canteen because why not.
If you love builder games that provide freedom to express yourself, including making someone suffer, Academia: School Simulator should fit the bill. The game is now in Steam Early Access.
The team is also working on another game, Ruinarch, an evil overlord simulator. The evil stuff you can do is comparable to what you see in Crusader Kings, we have been told.
Developer: Students from MMU (Malaysia)
This VR game by students of MMU got viral a while ago. A VR shooter based on history, in particular, the tales of Lieutenant Adnan and his heroics in World War II.
This looks quite a big task so we assumed it was a Final Year Project by these VR majors, but it’s not. It was born out of a small assignment where they have to make a VR game, and with their lecturer’s support and the university’s assistance with providing Vive headsets, this little university assignment is now being polished and primed for release on Steam soon.
The students involved in the development are now all in their Final Year, and props to them for not just putting this game as their project, but instead are working on new ones. Good for the portfolio.
Developer: Passion Republic (Malaysia)
Imagine the kaiju battler War Of The Monsters, make it top-down, and have Smash Bros. influence. That’s what Passion Republic’s new IP Gigabash basically is. With larger-than-life monsters (plus one mecha), a simple but deep fighting mechanics, and all the chaos from destructible abilities, transforming into bigger sizes, power-ups, and super abilities, this is fun. It looks fun. It feels fun already.
It’s easy to just mash your way in, or cower it out and let the other three players squabble. And it looks so popping- the diorama artstyle where the scaling of objects are a bit off really helps it stand out.
Gigabash already took home four of ten awards from the SEA Games Awards, including the Grand Jury Award. Expect a long line and a lot of smiles for this one on the show floor. It’s something special.
Developer: Illogical Games (Malaysia)
A mech game. What else to say? Okay, there’s a lot to say here, actually. Developed by the one-man studio Illogical Games, this was first known as Meka Royale, with it being poised to be a battle royale on mobile where the winner gets a mech for the next round they play. Eventually, the developer feels this is already a saturated market and is now pivoting into a single-player experience.
It’s early days, but suffice to say the mech customisation we took a peek looks promising. Mix and match parts, min-maxing is possible. While the mechs don’t look like Armored Core- these mechs are closer to MechWarriors.
Chinatown Detective Agency
Developer: General Interactive (Singapore)
Think Blade Runner by way of Da Vinci Code. That was how we were pitched for Chinatown Detective Agency. Taking place in real locations all around the developer’s hometown of Singapore, you are unraveling a mystery in this cyberpunk city. The twist here is that some clues you get will require you to your own wikidive outside of the game. Go look at a famous art piece and see any pattern or clues your need, for example.
If you are familiar with the old Carmen Sandiego games where you need to open a geography map, Chinatown Detective Agency is of the same spirit. It wants you to immerse in the very, aesthetic, art style and have you look and appreciate art in a different way.
If you are a fan of old-school point-and-click adventurers, which the game designer Mark Fillion is a huge fan of, this is definitely should be on your radar. Wishlist on Steam here.
King’s League II
Developer: Kurechii (Malaysia)
What if a medieval RPG has a Football Manager-style league system, with promotions and relegations? We didn’t expect that when we first try out King’s League II. In the downtime, you can train your team, recurit party members, and go hunt or on a dungeon run to make you stronger. All for the lead-up to the league matches where you fight other teams that’s also growing stronger as time progresses.
There’s a story mode too, but the fact that the game is confident enough to offer a mode that skips the story bits is sign of confidence of how deep and engaging the macrogame of preparing for matches is.
The game is out now on Steam and Apple Arcade
This is just a small, and probably biased, look of the many other indie games shown at Level Up KL 2019 business days. There are many others that we haven’t covered yet, so expect some surprises if you are coming to Level Up KL Play today and tomorrow.