By Josh Speer / June 18th, 2019
I played a lot of indies at E3 2019, but two great ones came from the same publisher – United Label. Though they had a handful of games at the show, I decided to play a couple very different ones. First up was Eldest Souls, a Souls-like with lush pixelated art, followed by Röki, a Scandinavian folklore inspired adventure game. Let’s touch upon the highlights both games brought to the table.
The first game I played was developed by Fallen Flag Studio. Eldest Souls caught my attention quickly because of the art, and I decided that was enough incentive to try a Souls-like, despite never having played any. My inexperience came into focus quickly, but it didn’t deter me from enjoying myself. The demo introduces you to your techniques, such as a dash with limited invulnerability, charging to do rage attacks (during which you’re faster and deal more damage) and the like.
Once I learned the basics, I was thrown into a fight with a rather angry puppy dog in a gladiatorial arena. I quickly learned how integral it was to be patient and pay attention, as I had my ass handed to me again and again. Thankfully the developers were patient with me, and I slowly started to gain confidence and get better. Granted, I still was unable to beat the Watchdog, but I had fun all the same. It’s definitely hardcore like fans of the genre have come to expect, especially considering that the whole game is a boss rush. What’s cool is when you beat the bosses, you’ll gain new powers that will allow you to change the way you play. Though I was utterly rubbish at playing it, I think Eldest Souls will have a lot of fans when it releases for PC later in 2019.
Whereas the first game was totally hardcore action, Röki was a mellow adventure game. Which isn’t the same as boring, since it was far from that. Developed by team Polygon Treehouse, Röki is a dark fairy tale featuring a young woman named Tove. There’s a ton of lore and narrative in the game, and even in the small demo, I found myself quickly absorbed by it all. Especially the creepy tree with eyeballs you encounter early on.
After the beginning, I wandered about a beautifully drawn snow covered world and quickly came upon a wounded creature with a “thorn” stuck in it. This creature was some variety of troll, and it was my job to find the tools to fix things. One nice feature is that you can highlight all the interactive elements on the screen whenever you want, in case you get horribly lost. I didn’t get that lost, but since I was on a time crunch, I did end up using that feature a good deal. Once I found a bear trap and a rope, I was able to help the disgruntled creature and there the demo ended. I thought Röki was quite enjoyable, and paired with lovely visuals and enchanting music, it’s likely to be a hit on PC and consoles later in 2019.
Both of the United Label games I played were quite distinct but equally impressive. It’s always great to see new publishers like United Label make a big splash with a diverse library, and I’ll definitely be paying attention to what they put out in the near future. Be sure to stay tuned to oprainfall for yet more E3 2019 goodies in the days to come!
AdventureEldest SoulsIndieRökiSouls-likeUnited Label