The Everything Action crew was recently in NYC to attend the Play NYC convention, presented by Playcrafting. The show was held in the Manhattan Center, containing over 140+ developers showing off a variety of indie games, VR games, and board games. We traveled to New York to hang out in the big city and spend the weekend playing games from the next generation of game creators.
Before Playcrafting started though, we had some time to check out some nerdy sites in NYC. First up, the Everything Action crew went to the Nintendo Store in Rockefeller Center. It was kind of a quest to find the place, as our phones got lost and the outside is very non-descript; there’s no giant Mario statue outside letting you know where it is.
It’s definitely worth a visit if you are a Nintendo fan, as it has a ton of merchandise, demo kiosks and big displays, including a display of every classic Nintendo system going back to their Pong clone, the TV-Game 15 and even the infamous Game Boy that was heavily damaged in the Gulf War but continues to play to this day.
We also visited comic mecca Midtown Comics and checked out their two floors of new and back issue comics, graphic novels, action figures, statues, models and more.
Anyway, what did we actually play at Play NYC? Here’s a brief rundown of some of the games we got to check out.
Play NYC 2018 Show Floor
The Manhattan Center was packed with booths and covered all four floors of the space. One minor complaint is that the second floor had a ton of stations set up but they were in very narrow alleys and it was very hard to navigate and make your way through the entire row to see all the games in line or even see what games were farther down the way. Hopefully next time Playcrafting can figure out a slightly better way to set up these stations so it’s easier to see the games and talk to the devs.
Heres a quick walkthrough of what we saw:
— Everything Action (@evaction) August 13, 2018
Liquid Bit and Nighthawk Interactive
Killer Queen Black: A highlight of recent Magfests and other big cons, Killer Queen made its name as a gigantic 10 player arcade cabinet that put two teams against each other in a strategic battle. The same game is set to release to consoles in the near future as Killer Queen Black for Steam and Switch. The console version follows the same gameplay as the arcade version, where players pick from either the Blue or Yellow teams and start out as a lowly grub. Grubs can transform into different warrior forms to attack the opposing players, or ride a slug to score the winning goal. There are multiple ways for your team to win rounds and the action gets intense with competitive players.
Super Crome: Super Crome is being developed by Josh Jacob and it’s a bullet hell shooter (or Bullet Purgatory) with old-school graphics in the vein of Asteroids and Galaga. There are multiple weapons to select and a cool dash move that dodges enemy bullets. Super Crome is in its early stages of development, even adjusting the difficulty as we played the game. The retro art style and the classic gameplay make this title a fun and hard shooter to master.
Swimsanity!: Swimsanity is coming from Decoy Games and it’s arriving next year on Steam, Xbox One, and PS4. We believe we may have played it before at a PAX East and we had the chance to try out it’s the latest build here. Swimsanity offers a co-op and competitive underwater shooter where each player controls a diver armed with a blaster and a special skill. These skills allow the player to change up the combat, increasing defensive and offenses abilities, like turning into a shark and eating the other players. In co-op, you have to work together to survive waves of vicious sealife and in competitive, you battle each other and try to get the highest number of kills. There are power-ups you can pick up that can change the course of the battle and the special skills are a blast to unleash. The competition was tough with gameplay being so easy to pick up and play. The sanity does go insane when everyone is unleashing their shark powers.
Dogfight: Petricore Games presented their latest title Dogfight, an action flight simulator that takes cartoony, family friendly visuals and mixes it with aerial combat. The setting takes place in a world where cats and dogs are in control, and their rivalry is fiercer than ever. Generations have passed and their new war has taken to the skies as the two species face off to see who reigns supreme. Petricore Games was showing off a multiplayer build of Dogfight and it reminds us of a Disney version of the Crimson Skies series. The combat is fast and the visuals of watching dogs flying around are funny to see, a great hit with a younger audience.
Miasma Caves: Miasma Caves is coming from Windy Games soon to Early Access on Steam and follows a dragon girl named Lesath who is exploring and looking for treasure in caves around her world. The game is all about exploration, there is no traditional combat or enemies but you will have to deal with traps and environmental hazards in the cave. You have tools like pickaxes and bombs to dig deeper into the caves and you can sell minerals and treasures you find at stores to gain money to buy better gear.
The Sheep’s Meow
Exposure: Exposure, from The Sheep’s Meow, is a visually gorgeous “game of camouflage” where you control a creature that can change color and you have to hide within shapes of the same color in order to avoid predators looking to devour you. It feels like a shooter like Ikaruga without any of the shooting but there are sections where it does get very bullet hellesque and you have to rapidly switch colors and get into shapes. It should be out later this year on Steam and Xbox One.
Plunder Kings: Plunder Kings, from Good Night Games, is a new spin on the vertical shooter where you gain tons of loot as you blast away at waves of enemy ships. As you progress, you can gamble the loot you’ve gained and if you survive the next level, you’ll gain a huge reward but if you lose, you lose everything. It’s out now on mobile devices and it plays great on phones and tablets, using a single finger you move and shoot and if you let go, all the onscreen loot sucks toward your ship.
Abyxsis and A Small Robot Story: Both games were under the Imaginary Monsters booth and both are returns to old-school gaming you would find on the NES. Abyxsis is coming from Pete Lazarski, who previously made Halloween Forever, and it’s taking it’s cues from games like Gargoyle’s Quest as you play as a gargoyle who can cling to walls and battles demons. A Small Robot Story plays similar to Mega Man as you take control of Rae, a cute little robot who activates and finds his fellow robots have gone haywire and tries to figure out what is going on. Abyxsis is still in development but A Small Robot Story is available on Steam.
Kung Fu Kickball: Coming from WhaleFood Games, Kung Fu Kickball is an action sports game where pairs of martial artists try to kick a ball into a bell on the opposing team’s side and score points. The players use karate kicks, dive kicks and punches to move the ball down the field and can also use those moves to temporarily take down their opponents. Despite its simple graphics, the game is a blast to play and seems like a perfect party game that will get people cheering and shouting at each other. It’s looking to release sometime in 2019.
Frost Lab Studios
Orbit Quest: Orbit Quest is being developed by Frost Lab Studios and is a spaceship platformer where you are piloting a ship lost on the edge of the galaxy trying to get home. The unique gameplay hook to Orbit Quest is that your ship moves between the orbits of nearby planets and moons and you need to charge up your engines and time your launch so that you reach the next orbit or you’ll go adrift and explode. The launching gameplay feels great and there’s a very visceral feeling when you just barely make it to a new orbit and the game offers multiple paths so you can play it safe or try to charge all the way up and launch for a further away orbit. There’s also obstacles and enemies that force you to quickly move between some planets. Play NYC was its first time in public and it’s still in development.
Bomb Shelter Games
Depths of Sanity: Coming from Bomb Shelter Games and apparently still fairly early in development, Depths of Sanity already feels super rock solid as you pilot a submarine in a Metroidvania adventure. Your crew has been sent into a deep part of the ocean to investigate mysterious sounds and you find all kinds of hostile sea life that you need to battle with a variety of weapons. You also gain different tools and attachments for your sub, allowing you to progress deeper in the ocean environment and it’s got a map that builds as you progress and everything else you would want from a Metroidvania style game. You can also exit your sub and explore areas that are too small. There’s a demo on Bomb Shelter Game’s site you can download to check out the game now and it’s coming soon.
Developed by James Seetal, Saturday Morning Games is a battling card game that takes great inspiration from retro cartoons that used to be presented on Saturday mornings. This game involves 2-4 players in turn-based combat where players build up weapon stats and an attack action on a character to challenge an opposing player. When the players deal damage and defeat opponents, they collect cereal bowl tokens, leading to one player collecting all the tokens in the end.
Maui Wowie Smash Up: Being developed by Exog3n Studios, Maui Wowie Smash Up is a platforming fighting game where players choose from a variety of combatants that have their own unique skills and you blast each other with a variety of weapons. The maps and character designs look great and it’s still in development.
There was also the Grafitti Games initiative, where a group of creators selected by Playcrafting made unique and/or socially relevant games from international developers. This year Grafitti Games showcased six titles, each offering different styles of digital and mix reality interactions. Some titles were had traditional control schemes with a console controller, one used a dance pad, another had us wearing a VR headset and another game had people wandering around the building asking people questions.
- BIZZARE BARBER: Play as a barber in a surreal barbershop. Cut the hair of the clientele to relieve their stress. (Maria Mishurenko & Gordey Chernyy)
- THE LLAMA EXPRESS: Feed hungry llamas with traditional Hispanic food in the imaginary magical country of Esperú. (Pilar Aranda & Saúl Peña Gamero)
- HOME STRETCH: An arcade driving game that sheds light on the increasing red tape one may experience in the US immigration process. (Prashast Thapan)
- A HERO’S JOURNEY: You become the storyteller. By simply drawing on an iPad, create an environment for the game, a “hero” and his/her superpower, a prince or princess and finally a villain. (Kurt Young & Mokuni Games)
- 127BPM: Use a DDR pad to keep your walking speed at the perfect 127 Beats Per Minute (BPM) in order to avoid upsetting the New York pedestrians! (Yuxin Gao)
- RECREO: Three teams move throughout Play NYC to meet new people from various cultures, and must find a commonality between them. (Jose Zambrano)
The Looking Glass
In the lobby of the Manhattan Center were two displays from Looking Glass, a system that provides 3D gaming without headsets or glasses. The Looking Glass uses a combination of light projections and special glass lenses to create a 3D display that can be viewed at all angles. It’s not the same as old fashioned 3D glasses that sometimes lose the 3D experience if you close one eye or change the viewing angle. This display renders and projects in eye-popping visuals that makes certain objects appear to have real depth.
Xbox Adaptative controller
We stopped by the AbleGamers table to check out their latest campaign for helping gamers with disabilities. On display was the new Xbox Adaptative controller, a Microsoft controller that offers a wide range of customization. The Adaptative controller can be set up in different configurations to allow gamers with limited mobility to play games in a method that suits their needs. AbleGamers got an early release of the controller and the device will be on sale starting this September.
Play NYC was an exciting, focused gaming convention that had lots of interesting indie games and developers contributing new things in the gaming world. Playcraft offers a few events every few months in NYC and this is one of their larger shows that showcases a big collection of creators and fans. This was a great first year for us to attend, and we had a blast leading up to the weekend in the city. For gamers that live close to the Big Apple that are looking to check out the next big indie titles, Play NYC should be part of their con trips.