EGX Rezzed was an absolutely huge event this year, packed to the rafters with great titles to demo all around. Rezzed focuses mostly on Indies and their work, giving them a great opportunity to showcase their talent and the titles they’ve been working on. Of course there are larger titles in attendance too but the highlights are getting to play some fantastic games from little known devs with HUGE potential.
Above from the guys at Mighty Moth games is one such game. Above instantly immerses players in a unique airborne adventure where you seek your lost brother, explore the skies, oceans and depths of the human mind alike. You battle sea creatures and seek answers to questions you never knew you needed to ask, all while having the time of your life in this charming top-down adventure game.
First impressions go a long way and Above takes off with a flying start. The soundtrack is a perfect accompaniment to the game itself, with gentle tones that you lose yourself in while listening to the purr of your plane’s engine. Exploring the map is oddly therapeutic and you could easily spend hours flying across the oceans, discovering new islands, challenges and modifications for your plane. You’re immediately connected to the game, drawn into it and left to take the game wherever you please.
It’s hard to tell if the visual design was influenced by the soundtrack or vice versa, they both compliment each other flawlessly. Simple designs with a stunning amount of detail, a game set above a vast ocean dotted with islands means it’s important to get the texture and behaviour of the waves right. This isn’t just something Above achieves but excels at, featuring some of the most impressive water textures I’ve seen. The care and attention put into Above is apparent from the moment you hit play and that’s before you even begin actually playing.
Only being able to experience a small section of the Above‘s story left me eager to learn more, to uncover the mysteries of the oceans, the obscure other realms and ultimately discover what had happened to your brother. Despite the massive differences in gameplay and style, I couldn’t help but be reminded of A Story About Uncle, you’re immediately gripped and engaged and left thirsty for answers. Although the story element was small, the size of the map available to preview was expansive to say the least and only served to further display the hidden depths the game is likely to feature on full release.
Most games struggle to get flight mechanics right, unless dedicated to doing them right, something which Above once again demonstrates with skill. The aircraft is responsive but not unrealistically so, turning isn’t immediate and nor would you want it to be. Despite the need to discover the truth about your brother, there is no sense of urgency to the game, something that works in its favour and is shown in every aspect of it’s style. The controls take some getting used to but once you get a hang of them they’re intuitive and natural and leave you wondering how anyone ever handled things differently.
Above is charming to say the least, it feels like a good warm hug, a cosy adventure to enjoy when you’re looking to unwind and step away from more action oriented titles. I’m not just looking forward to the full release, I’m eagerly awaiting to delve into the mysteries and the world, taking to the sky and cruising around. I’d highly recommend you keep an eye on @play_above‘s twitter feed along with @MightyMothGames for updates!