Innovation is strong among developers in Taiwan.
By Daniel Robson
Most of the biggest games at Taipei Game Show 2018 came from Japan, China, Hong Kong or the West, but a selection of homegrown indie titles and arcade games showed that innovation is strong among smaller developers in Taiwan. Here’s a roundup of some of the great local games I played during my visit.
Fight of Gods (Digital Crafter)
Already available on Steam Early Access, Fight of Gods is a 2D fighting game where all of the cast are real-world deities or mythological figures. While the idea of a violent face-off between Jesus and Buddha is obviously grossly inappropriate, the game is not being sold on shock value alone. For one thing, as a fighting game it is pretty robust, and each character comes with a rich variety of animations. I played as Santa (not strictly a god, but certainly worshipped by many), who attacks by throwing gifts from his sack or piling into his opponent with a reindeer-driven sleigh as a special move. Also, the developers insist that they hope the game’s roster will inspire players to learn about deities from other cultures. A sick cash-grab or something deeper? Check it out on Steam and decide for yourself.
Opus: Rocket of Whispers (Sigono)
Having already been selected at global game events including Sense of Wonder Night during Tokyo Game Show and garnered several awards, mobile game Opus: Rocket of Whispers is heading to PC in February and Switch in March, with all versions playable in English. In this evocative narrative-driven top-down adventure game, you control a young boy as he searches for pieces of a space rocket in a post-apocalyptic world. With a beautiful art style and haunting music, it’s no wonder Opus has earned so much acclaim.
Overtake VR (IGS)
Buckling in to this luxury arcade cabinet, strapping on a Vive headset and gripping the steering wheel, you might expect to find yourself on a realistic VR racetrack. Instead, Overtake VR plunges you into a mad fantasy world, a winding course filled with colourful fairground attractions, rampaging dinosaurs and Hollywood action-movie explosions – surprise after surprise, with a wind effect and hydraulics selling the experience perfectly. Your cute anime-style passenger sits beside you the whole way, but you’ll be too engaged by the road ahead and the skin-of-your-teeth driving to look at her much.
I’m Ready to Fly (GranDen Corp)
Still in the early stages of development, I’m Ready to Fly is a VR rhythm game that uses Leap Motion to track your hands without the need for controllers. Its play mechanics are fairly straightforward – catch meteorites with your hands as they fly towards you in time with the music – but the presentation is endearing. Visually it’s a riff on Pikmin, with cute little alien creatures inhabiting each of the game’s planets and making playful jokes about how, say, Pluto has become unpopular among their mates ever since its status as a proper planet was revoked. The funky Latin rhythms enhanced with B-movie synths are catchy, too.
AR Arena MoKai Adventure (Werold)
An AR-based game for mobile, AR Arena MoKai Adventure comes with a physical board and a deck of playing cards that are tracked by your phone camera to bring the game to life. Each player is dealt five cards and must place them strategically on the board to battle their opponent. You start with 25 points to use up, so if you place a 9, for example, you use nine points, but just like in blackjack you will be unable to place cards if their values exceed your remaining points. The cute little creatures summoned from each card then go to battle, with higher-value cards beating their opponent. The app is currently available in English, but unfortunately the cards and board are only sold in Taiwan – for now, at least.
Beat Beats 2 (Achien Studio)
A rhythm game still in development and eventually destined for Android devices, Beat Beats 2 throws down insanely difficult patterns across four coloured buttons. While the game can be played normally with touch controls, at Taipei Game Show developer Achien Studio had it running with a massive homemade arcade-style controller with big, bright buttons, connected to a tablet via USB. The physical controller made it slightly less brutal, but make no mistake: This music game is hard as nails.
Daniel Robson is Chief Editor at IGN Japan.