Ocean Drive Studio presented some excellent demos at this year's PAX West. I played Blackout Protocol and Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch. Both were fantastic, and they couldn't have been more different.
Blackout Protocol is an isometric multiplayer zombie shooter rogue-like. You can play up to three players at once, and each character you choose from has a different ability. It’s a fun game to play solo, but this game definitely shines when playing with your friends.
The game takes place in a facility taken over by zombies. The atmosphere is dark, and the music adds to the scary ambiance that the game is looking to achieve. You start with one main weapon and one secondary; however, you can buy new weapons at the end of each zone if you have enough currency. You can also spend data nug points in these safe zones on different boosts. You spend the points by filling up the bar under each boost - similar to other rogue-likes, these boosts will carry from run to run, and even if you don’t fill the entire meter, the points you spend will carry over to the next run.
The other clever part of the game is Synaptic Enhancements that you pick up in chests. These cards give your character additional bonuses - for example, you might find one called Lucky Shot. This gives weapons that deal physical damage a temporary boost of 150% on every 7th shot. These bonuses don’t carry from run to run.
Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch is a tactical fantasy game. The bit I played was challenging, but the game's depth intrigued me. At the start of the round, I was given a “win scenario” - complete the win scenario and move on. In the case of the battle I played, the initial win scenario was to defeat all the enemies on the screen. However, the rules quickly changed as monsters surrounded my party. I was allowed to continue with the initial scenario or choose a new one. I chose to exit down the left path - winning constituted that only three of my party of five needed to survive. This was trickier than it first appeared.
As in any good tactical game, you’ll have characters with special skills - but with Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch, your characters also have a secondary skill. Pulling off these skills triggers a cool animation. But the battles are tough, and mistakes can be costly. Thank goodness there is a system that allows you to go back to previous moves to rectify your errors.
Blackout Protocol is in Early Access and is available on Steam. Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch’s release date is still to be announced.