Day 2 (Saturday) of PAX East was equally if not more jam packed than Day 1 as we saw even more awesome games coming to PC and consoles in the near future.
Blade Ballet: Created by Dreamsail, Blade Ballet is a multiple player brawler, that has elements from Power Stone and Mario Party mixed together with cartoon robot violence. Taking place after human civilization has fallen, robotic creatures have risen to rebuild the world and have invented a deathsport tournament of Blade Ballet to thin out the robot population. The gameplay of Blade Ballet is a fresh take on a spinning top battle (Like Beyblades, but without the goofy villains and enchants spirits flying around), robots can wield a variety of weapons and the level designs are interesting to keep battles intense and competitive. There are different type of stages where players duel it out in an arena, escape from a disaster, or try to push a robo-ball around to score points. Blade Ballet is scheduled for release for Summer 2016 for the PS4 and PC (Steam).
Mekazoo: Mekazoo from Good Mood Creators is an excellent throwback to 2D platformers as you control a team of mechanical animals who each have a different ability, such as a frog whose tongue can attach to enemies and swing points. You switch between the different animals using bumpers on the controller and have to chain their abilities together to make it through the levels but it’s all silky smooth and feels like what a good modern Sonic game should be. It also has an excellent soundtrack and the mechanical/organic look is great. It’s shooting for a release on all platforms sometime soon.
Goliath: From Octopus Tree, Goliath has you in a strange land cobbled together from various time periods and full of giant creatures but, luckily, you have the ability to create giant robots called Goliaths to help survive. You can create Goliaths out of wood, stone, metal and crystal and each has unique skills and environmental advantages/disadvantages so the key to surviving is knowing what Goliath to use when and keeping a well rounded squad of Goliaths in your garage. There’s also a number of factions that you interact with in the world and you can build or destroy your reputation with them as you complete quests. It’s coming out on May 12th on Steam.
The Final Station: From Tiny Build, The Final Station takes it’s inspiration from Snowpiercer in that you are the conductor of a train in the apocalypse who is shuttling a few survivors between stations and fighting off the strange black creatures who are stalking the abandoned buildings of the wasteland. At each station you leave the train and gather supplies and have to find the unlock code so your train can head out and then, once on the rails, you need to keep an eye on both the train and the survivors health and hunger levels. It has a great retro art style that doesn’t detract from the tension of possibly stumbling into a room full of monsters. It’s out this Summer.
ClusterTruck: ClusterTruck is built around the simple but addictive premise of having to jump from big rig to big rig in an attempt to reach the goal of each level but the trucks are constantly shifting around, crashing and there’s environmental hazards as well as you progress. It seems like one of those games where you tell yourself you are just going to try the level one more time and then before you realize it it’s 2 AM and you are still playing. It also seems like this is going to be a Twitch/Speedrunning juggernaut as all kinds of truck jumping ninjas on the internet get a hold of it. It’s out in Early Access right now on Steam and it will officially be out this Fall.
Furi: Created by The Game Bakers and various creative people from around the world (Emeric Thoa, Takashi Okazaku, Carpenter Brut), Furi is part twin stick shooter and part hack & slash action game that puts the player in intense boss battle stages. The visuals are slick and the action is fast paced enough to entertain old school and new school gamers alike. The game will also make you focus on your gaming skills rather than relying on game power ups. There’s no filler levels, no stats to grind, no mini game to collect gems. You have a sword to slash attack, a gun to shoot, and the reflexes to dodge and parry. It plays like Punch Out, where you have to observe an opponent’s attack pattern and probe for weakness. The game is targeted for summer of 2016, and is launching to PS4 and PC.
Western Press: Western Press, from Surprise Attack Games, is actually out right now on Steam and is a fast paced dueling game you can play online or co-op. You can choose from 16 different characters and then you have to chain a series of button inputs together before your opponent to score a hit. Best 2 out of 3 wins the duel. There’s a 16 player tournament mode as well and seems like it could be an amazing party game. Gaming mostly on PS4, I was not quite as able to input as quickly on an Xbox controller but it was still a lot of fun trying to edge out your opponent and eke out a few more seconds on your input time.
Super Mutant Alien Assault: Out now on Steam and coming to consoles soon, Super Mutant Alien Assault is a retro style randomly generated arcade shooter where you or you and a friend play robots who are protecting the last of humanity who are in cryostasis from various alien creatures. The creatures and levels are different every time but you play through the same sequence of two or three levels where you must do a variety of objectives like replace batteries, clear the screen of enemies, activate switches, etc and then fight a boss creature. There are hubs with random weapon drops and there’s a ton of variety in the weapons. It’s a blast to play and I should have more on it as I play the full game in the next week or so.
Blind: Blind puts you in the shoes of a young girl who has become, as the title suggests, blind but she can see if there is a source of noise nearby or she can tap her cane and see a sort of echo location layout of the room. It’s an Oculus Rift game and you use the upcoming Oculus controllers to control the girl’s hands and you make your way through the world solving puzzles. Having not a lot of VR experience, I had a little trouble navigating and actually found an new bug as I caused a key piece of a puzzle to disappear into the geometry but my brief look was definitely some of the best VR I experienced at PAX East and if you have or are getting an Oculus, it’s probably worth keeping this one in mind.
Let It Die: The latest creation from the oddball minds of Grasshopper Manufacture, Let It Die is a hack and slash action game that shares similarities to Dark Souls in terms of base mechanics but, I assure you everything else is filled with GM’s ridiculous designs. Players start in a hellish world in just their underwear and are forced to battle for survival with all sorts of nightmarish creatures. Along the way, players can find new weapons to equip, clothes to wear and frogs to eat for health. In the demo we played, we managed to go bare knuckles and use stealth attacks for a short time before we had to scavenge for loot and beef up our character a bit. We couldn’t be Mr. Boxer McPunch-Punch all day (But I guess some hardcore players could in the future). Let It Die is expected to be released for FREE on the PS4 summer 2016 and with a companion app for mobile.
Super Senso: Created by Turbo Studios, this Advance Wars inspired game has the old school mechanics of classic turn based RPGs, and some newer interesting mechanics that keeps the game from crawling such as hero classes, wacky weapons and turn timers. The game is designed for competitive multiplayer, so the game is great for challenging people to be top strategist. I do like the visuals of Pixelated 3D models and super weapons that can be summoned once the battle meters start charging. The game is out later this year on iOS and Android.
Crossout: Created by Targem Games, Crossout is a vehicular combat, MMO game that takes place in the post-apocalyptic wastelands of Earth. Aliens have introduced a plague that alters human DNA and civilization has crumpled to tribal gangs and road warfare. This game also serves as a prequel to Targen Game’s Ex Machina a game that was released in 2005. Crossout is free to play, and there is a closed beta out now.
HoloGrid: Monster Battle: I didn’t get to play this one since it’s still extremely early but it’s going to be a hybrid CCG where you can play it out of the box with the physical cards but the real draw is going to be using your iOS or Android device to bring the cards to life with augmented reality. The creatures are all from the mind of the legendary special effects artist Phil Tippett and were scanned into the game using photogrammetry, so you are seeing the actual models coming to life in the game. There will be more news on May 4th, so check out their site then.
Total War: Warhammer: The Total War games have always been steeped in historical realism as you commanded the Roman legions or Medieval kingdoms but things are about the get wonderfully crazy next month as Sega takes on the Warhammer universe. Giving you command of the Dwarfs, the Empire, the Vampire Counts or the Orcs you have a massive army that you have to position and and lead to victory. Tactics are a huge part of the game and how you group together units or where you send them and when can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Magic is also introduced for the first time in the Total War series and you can use a variety of defensive and offensive spells to whittle down your enemy. Even though I probably lack the tactical skills to be completely effective, it was still a ton of fun to throw a horde of zombies into a mass of orcs and see what happens. The game is out on May 24th and you can pre-order now on the Total War site, which is the link above.
Hitman GO VR: Hitman GO has been a big hit on mobile devices and PC with it’s simple but elegant look and puzzle gameplay but now it’s coming to Oculus. The Oculus doesn’t add any new gameplay but it does make the game feel even more like a physical board game that you can lean in to look at and spin around. Each level, you have to guide Agent 47 on a series of set paths to reach a goal while enemies move on set patterns. The trick is to attack the enemies from the side or back, if they hit you or you approach from the front, you have to reset the level. It starts out simple and gets progressively tricky, just like most great puzzle games. It’s also coming to Gear VR as well sometime this year.
Stay tuned for our next entry for Pax East Day 3!