After over 4 hours of driving my car across half of Poland I figured out if I am ever to write something about Pixel Heaven I need to do it now. I'll make it short (I hope!)
Just so you know we haven't showcased anything this year. Hopefully things will be different in 2017!
Retro computers and consoles
A quite sizeable part of the event was the retro section. I've been Retro Komp/Load Error regular so all the C64s, Amigas, Spectrums, Ataris and more obscure things haven't really consumed much of my attention. BUT! The Flippers. Oh my god, the flippers. I haven't seen them in... 18 years? As far as I remember there was at least 10 different machines. Truth be told I haven't tried them, my wife did, but it was such a blast to the past for me it made me really happy.
Speaking of Retro, I also met AceMan a really 'swell guy who's doing the music to Trans Neuronica, a guy who gave me pointers how to develop games for Amiga, and a couple of other great demoscene people!
Panels, Q&As and talks
Besides socializing and networking our main priority was to attend a number of talks regarding game development and promotion. Unfortunately our plans were completely busted by the audio conditions - the hall where the talks happened was very tall with a lot of flat surfaces which resulted in huge reverb and echo that made it close to impossible to comfortably listen to them. I can't speak for everyone but for me it was the major letdown. I only hope the recordings directly from the mics will be available.
BUT! I was able to comfortably understand one talk, by Oliver Twins, whom I know best from the Dizzy series. I think 3/4 of the reason might be us sitting at the front rows. Btw, they are awesome people.
I'd like to quickly tell you about the few games we've played and about the people who make them. The order is probably the order in which we played those games..
Badass Hero | Trailer
A roguelite platformer shooter. Graphically it feels a lot like spelunky, in mechanics it's more similar to Isaac but it stands very strongly on its won. The comic book stylisation is very well executed.
Bladebound | FB
A hack'n'slash mobile RPG which puts a huge stress on the combat being engaging and tactical experience. It's a pretty big game, I'd probably call it AAA indie but it's really worth a try.
A walking simulator about taking drugs. My favorite part was throwing a binder at your boss to explode him. And the smoothly animated destruction of the environment during the trips.
Regalia | FB
A combination of tactic RPG and city management with beautiful cell-shaded character models which blend real well with the environemnt. It also contains a lot of witty humor.
Love You to Bits | FB
A cute adventure-puzzle game for iOS, currently being ported to other platforms. If you ever wanted to play point-and-click adventure games but always felt they're too big and illogical this one will be perfect for you - the scope is limited to a single screen and the puzzles are approachable.
It's a two-player story-driven platformer game with a really unique mechanic - both players participate in the discussions. Its combat system is heavily influenced by Smash Bros and I liked it a lot.
KiloByte Army | FB
A small puzzle-platformer built around the mechanic that dying leaves an obstacle. We learnt that it's made in Construct and I am very happy to see that the game making programs allow people to get into game making.
Symmetry | FB
A survival/management game set on an icy-planet, where you try to survive and rebuild your ship. Unfortunately my gameplay session was cut short by a crash (it's pre-alpha after all) so I was not able to turn one of my staff into food (yup, you can do that!)
The Way | Steam
Let me quote their Steam page: "Journey to another planet and discover its secrets in order to bring your loved one back to life. Experience an adventure, inspired by old school classics like Another World (A.K.A. Out of This World), Heart of Darkness and Flashback." I really enjoyed what I saw and I am certainly buying the game.
Oh sheep | Homepage
A cute mobile game about trying to stay awake by preventing various types of sheep from jumping over the fence. It's probably as silly as it sounds but it works well, the game is fun!
It was really fun to socialize with other game developers. It was very enlightening to learn about the games they make, the problems they face, how passionate they are when talking about their work. Exchanging thoughts, giving out feedback. It's amazing. If you make games or want to make games and never been to an event dedicated to game development go to one. Even if it means travelling half the country - go by train, find a cheap hostel and socialize.
So I guess that's it? I really enjoyed Pixel Heaven, I am going to go there next year and we as Retrocade.net are damn sure to showcase something.