Over the weekend, I got the chance to go to EGX Rezzed, a large gaming event in London, England. EGX Rezzed is very indie-focused, with many, many games to try. Most of these games are in either a demo or pre-release stage. Nearly all of them also have their developers there, so you can interact with the developers while you play and give feedback on the game.
The Indie Room
The Indie Room is a large part of the exhibition where there are a multitude of indie game booths. I was delighted to find #Floatlands there, among other games, available to play at the Excalibur Publishing booth. Not only did I get to try out the game, I also got a lovely poster covered in the game's charming poly styled art.
Floatlands always had a small crowd or someone playing it. Open world games tend to have people on them most of the time at events, as there is no limit to the time someone can play it for. The player can just sit down and explore until they feel the need to move on.
I was quite keen to play it myself, so I checked back over the three days, hoping to grab it when it was free. On the last day at EGX Rezzed, I finally found Floatlands free of people playing it. So I sat down and put myself into the game.
In this demo, you start off as a robot carrying a rock. You can use this rock to smash things such as trees and rocks, thus acquiring resources. You are also on a small island with another person. This person is a sort of tutorial/quest giver, tasking you with diminishingly basic quests to get you acquainted with the game — things like gathering minerals or forging a pickaxe.
It basically sets you up with the guidelines on how to play on your own. Each time you complete a quest, he gives you some reward before giving you a new quest.
After a bit of back and forth, you are given a gun and are able to start shooting the elegant deer that run around this island. You can collect their meat and fat for the man. Hitting deer with a rock, like I first did when I found them, is not the best idea. Instead, they just run away.
Once you have mastered the slaughtering of deer, your quests start to become a bit more challenging. You must craft fuel for a currently unknown device. Once you have made fuel, the guy you are talking to sends you off to meet a new person with new quests. He is also the one that gives you a wonderful new toy — a helicopter to go and explore with!
Islands by air
Once he has given you a mode of transportation, along with the notion of exploring this other island, you can take off and make your way there. Flying the helicopter was awesome — not only is it cool to fly a helicopter normally, but the controls made sense and the flight was smooth. I could see more of the game and lands from high above, and maneuvering from place to place just felt correct.
As I got close to the new island, viewing it from above, I noticed there were humanoid robots hanging out down there. They started shooting at me, while I was in the air, from below. Their shoots were very accurate, but I found I could shoot back while inside the helicopter to defend myself.
Your helicopter is able to hover, however staying in one spot is not the best idea. When you move in your helicopter, the recoil on your gun will cause the movement to be more challenging, so you do need to pick your timing carefully. I did not end up lasting long enough to explore that island and instead retreated back to the main area I was originally on.
I still wanted to explore more of this island, so I got some health packs and took to the skies once more for a second round of what was to be an epic duel to the death. After landing on the island, and emptying my clip into the enemy, I found that I was running low on bullets.
I needed to figure out a new plan under fire, so I grabbed my pickaxe and bashed those robots in the face until they could take no more! I exploited some of the roughness in this early build by running in circles around the robots on the island — they were not very good at turning around with my movement. This allowed me to destroy all of them, though only just, claiming my island with a slither of HP remaining.
Once they were all dead, I had a short look around, gathering various resources that there were. I went on another short helicopter adventure to see if there was anything else around and enjoyed the air. I didn’t have much health left after the epic battle, so I didn’t want to face any more foes.
I then figured it was time to give the game over and let someone else have a go, so I next went to talk with the developers. They were very kind individuals who seemed a touch tired, but generally happy with how their game has been received by the public.
Floatlands is far from being finished, as it is such an expansive game with a lot to offer the player. The infinite number of islands, procedurally generated graphics and biomes, as well as the sheer number of items to build give you tons to do and work with. I am very excited to play it once it is fully released with more hazardous islands to explore!