After two long years, PAX East was ready to rocket off again and bring gamers together to reach new heights of fun. PAX East 2022 was held on April 21 – 24, and it was a four-day celebration with people from across the country and around the world, showcasing the latest and greatest in games, technology, and creativity. We arrived in Boston to check out demos, interview creators, and hang out with much-missed friends as we explored all that Pax East had to offer. We covered the best of what we saw and a few sights we got to squeeze in between our downtime. Read on to see our journey in the depths of the Pax space.
Kool2Play – URAGUN:
URAGUN is currently out in Early Access on Steam and we got to check out the demo version of this thrilling, fast-paced twin-stick shooter on the PAX floor. Taking control of a mech that has gained sentience and you must travel the world to battle an evil AI that has unleashed an army of machines in a bid for total domination. If you’ve played games like Nex Machina or classics like Smash TV and Robotron, URAGUN has elements of both. You move with one stick and aim and shoot with the other and there are tons of advanced techniques and power-ups to unlock. You dodge around the map, blasting enemies and completing objectives. The game looks fantastic and the gameplay we experienced was silky smooth and incredibly fun.
Demon Throttle: If you and a friend are looking for a co-op, old-school-style shooter, Demon Throttle from Doinksoft is one to check out. Coming out only as a physical version on the Switch to maintain the old-school vibes, Demon Throttle follows a gunslinger and a vampiress who must reluctantly team up to take down an ancient demon that has separately wronged each of them. The game plays like a top-down scrolling shooter where you blast away at enemies and navigate obstacles. Each level has secrets to uncover and multiple paths to discover, especially since you can blast your way through certain parts of the terrain. As you progress and defeat enemies, you level up and can increase your stats. It’s an homage to classic games like King’s Knight but with modern touches that will appeal to both new school and old school gamers. Demon Throttle will be out in the Summer and you’ll have to keep an eye on the Special Reserves Games page to see if you can snag a copy.
McPixel 3: A classic mobile series, McPixel is back with McPixel 3 from developer Sos Sosowski. A collection of mini-game levels, each stage has you trying to quickly guide action hero McPixel to the solution that will defuse a bomb and save the day. The joy of McPixel is the experimentation as you try any number of wacky solutions to figure out the correct one and see all kinds of hilariously terrible deaths and wacky situations befall the pixel hero. There’s a fantastic variety to where McPixel finds himself with 100 levels total and there are new mini-games to find and play as well. We loved the humor and fast-paced wackiness of the original games and this feels like those but just with everything taken to the next level. You can check out a demo on Steam and it will be out sometime later this year.
Arcade Paradise: If life can be a series of mini-games that complete small tasks that work towards a larger object. One game that took that concept and really made a game out of it was Acade Paradise by Nosebleed Interactive. This title puts you in the role of a slack laundry owner named Ashely who sees the world as a game. From picking up trash, doing chores, and following a work routine, everything was a game to her. But now Ashely finds herself in control of a new business opportunity that converts the hole-in-the-wall laundromat into heaven for gamers. By building up a steady revenue stream, Ashley is slowly able to add a few machines to build a small arcade space. Over time, Ashley can expand out, add decorations and be the most rad electric playground. Arcade Paradise features a variety of inspirational nods to real arcade classics and some fun re-interpretation. From a GTA-Pacman hybrid, a DDR clone, and a turn-based RPG, there are plenty of games to check out.
Gori: Cuddly Carnage: If you thought Tony Hawk or Jet Set Radio needed some more combat and anthropomorphic animals, Gori: Cuddly Carnage should be on your radar. You play as Gori, a hoverboarding cat who gets drawn into a battle when an army of mutated evil toys comes to life and wipes out humanity. Luckily, Gori’s hoverboard is sentient and named F.R.A.N.K and you have another AI named CH1-P helping you out as well. Gori controls via super smooth skateboarding style controls and he attacks via tricks like spins and slams that horribly eviscerate the enemy toys. There are also grind rails to navigate and it will feel natural if you’ve played stuff like Tony Hawk before. The combo of skateboarding gameplay with intense combat is definitely unique and it stood out among the other games we checked out at PAX East. The release date is still TBD but you can wishlist it on Steam.
Rhythm Sprout: Developed by SURT, Rhythm Sprout puts the player as the dancing knight of the Vegetable Kingdom who has to defend the realm again the Sugar Daddy and his army of sweets. You will be tapping as the player times the music and button inputs to guide Rhythm Sprout to advance his march. Along the way, Sprout has to dodge attacks from enemies and toss in a few of their own. We played two stages to get a feel and the mechanics are easy to play but hard to master, which is perfect for the gameplay.
Spiderheck: One of the most attention-grabbing booths on the floor with its giant inflatable spider. Spiderheck answers the question, “What if spiders had lightsabers?”. Spiderheck, developed by Neverjam, is a platform brawler where up to four players can battle it out for arachnid supremacy in constantly switching arenas. Along with lightsabers, or laser swords, there are a variety of weapons you can find and attack your opponents with and your goal is to be the last spider standing on each map. Being spiders, you can crawl along almost any surface and you can shoot webs to swing around. It definitely takes some practice to get a feel for the controls but it definitely feels like a game you can dedicate yourself to and become a spider ninja in but it also feels like a classic party game where you and a bunch of friends can just have a great time swinging and slashing each other in. It’s coming soon and you can check out a demo on Steam.
Justice Sucks: It’s Die Hard and I, Robot mashed together like never before! Justice Sucks is a stealth action title that stars a vacuum robot that is on a mission to protect his family from the greedy hands of FamilyCorp. After a brutal attack, Dusty gains new abilities to hack his fellow robots and cause machinery to glitch, trap, and eliminate anyone that tries to stop him from reaching his family. Justice Sucks has some classic stealth mechanics with lots of exploration to find the best routines and methods to take on enemies. The first few attempts were to experiment around and explore the level. The cute and charming design of Dusty is funny, and you don’t expect the tension to turn into a full-blown panic murder spree when enemies start chasing you.
DeadFury: When a virus from Mars lands on Earth, the dead will have their fury. This third-person, post-apocalyptic zombie shooter developed by FUNDER GAMES, puts you as a survivor in New Zealand that must defend one of the last human settlements left. You must find resources, set up equipment, and fight off waves of undead enemies as they attempt to swarm you. In the preview we got to try, we did a tutorial mission to learn some of the basics, then headed into a horde mode to see how long we can last against the zombie masses. Horde mode gave us limited resources to find like a shotgun, a machine gun, and an automated turret that protected us. At the time, the graphics were on the template side for text and some object placement, and you are limited on how many weapons you can juggle at once. Like you can only have 1 pistol and a larger caliber weapon, so carefully picking and placing weapons is a must. The zombie-fighting was fun and required some direct headshots to get a quick kill. This game was in an early build with no release dates set, so there is time to get the graphics and story sharpened as development continues.
Turbo Overkill: Turbo Overkill is a pretty huge deal as it’s the first FPS from Apogee in 25 years. Having made classics like Duke Nukem back in the day, Turbo Overkill is a throwback to classic 90s FPS games but still feels modern for present-day audiences, especially if you enjoyed stuff like Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. You play as Johnny Turbo, who has to battle an army of augmented humans who are being controlled by an evil AI that has taken over the city of Paradise. Along with an arsenal of guns, Johnny has chainsaws on his feet and a killer slide move that feels utterly satisfying every time you use it. The game has a fantastic feel and it has the speed of old-school shooters and the weapons all feel great as well, with tons of variety and each one having some sort of cool alternate fire mode. The look is also pure cyberpunk/synth-wave awesomeness driven by an excellent and throbbing soundtrack that will keep your blood pumping as you battle your way through the city. You can get Turbo Overkill now in Early Access on Steam and you can also check out a free demo of it as well.
Trese Brothers – Cyber Knights: Flashpoint:
One of the PAX Rising selections, Cyber Knights: Flashpoint is one to keep an eye on for fans of X-Com and similar tactical games. You build up a team of hackers, mercenaries, and thieves to pull off heists and do jobs for various factions. The game emphasizes stealth and you can change your stance from standing to crouching to try and stay quiet, with the trade-off being that you can’t move as far when crouched. Stuff like Overwatch, shot percentages and cover will feel familiar to tactical fans but the setting and cyberpunk tactics available set it apart from other games in the genre. There are a few issues with how you select what character to use and some random bugs to work out but what we played seemed like it was a solid and engaging cyberpunk tactics game. It will be out sometime this year and you can wishlist it on Steam.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising – Developed by Natsume Atari, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a side-scrolling 2.5D action-adventure title created by veteran game creators Yoshitaka Murayama and Junko Kawano of the Suikoden series. Set in a world where monsters, magic, and man meet, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising follows CJ, a young scavenger who sets off to make her fortunes at New Nevaeh, a town that is nestled next to a newly discovered collection of valuable Runebarrows. As CJ ventures to claim riches, she encounters allies and foes, each trying to claim Runebarrows for their own purposes. Rising plays close to a Metroidvania title, which has lots of areas to explore and revisit while battling creatures and collecting lots of items along the way. CJ and her allies will pick up quests to help out the citizens of New Nevaeh as well as build up relationships with one another. Rising serves as the prequel title to Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, the successful Kickstarter project that will feature classic Suikoden elements. Rising is set in the same world and features characters that will appear in the next title, and this helps to explore some of the backgrounds and greater narrative that the next game will expand greatly on.
Rogue Spirit: Rogue Spirit offers up the incredibly unique premise of controlling a spirit that can inhabit the bodies of fallen enemies, which is essentially how you can utilize different classes of characters. Coming from developer Kids With Sticks, who previously worked on games like The Witcher 2 and Dying Light, you play as the spirit of a fallen prince who returns to battle the evil forces of the Demon King that have taken over the kingdom. The game is a rogue-like where you make runs trying to make it as far as you can in the procedurally generated levels before you are killed. You can unlock permanent upgrades after each run that will help you progress that much further next run. You can switch between your ghostly form and the mortal form of whatever warrior you are currently possessing and, after you defeat an enemy, you can choose to possess that enemy type, gaining their weapons and abilities. The ability to constantly change your character offers up a huge opportunity for experimentation and you can quickly figure out which enemy type you prefer or just constantly switch it up depending on the situation. The enemies are all unique from stealthy ninjas to hulking barbarians with huge swords and you can also use your ghost form to sneak up on enemies and then switch to attack, offering up yet another way to battle. Rogue Spirit has a fantastic and unique gameplay hook with a cool art style that has sort of Avatar: The Last Airbender vibes. It’s out now in Early Access and the full release should be sometime this year.
PQubeGames – Die After Sunset
It’s the power of light against the forces of darkness in Playstark’s Die After Sunset. This third-person action title pits players into an intense gun battle that has them complete objectives on a map. These objects can be eliminating a certain amount of enemies, defending a capture point, or saving a creature from being taken. This works up towards a boss battle that will utilize all the gear and upgrades the player has collected.
Big Blue Bubble – Power Chord
If you’re a fan of games like Slay the Spire but feel like they need more Metal, Power Chord is going to be right up your alley. A rogue-like deck builder, Power Chord has you assembling a badass band of musical warriors who must fight back against the demon hordes of Helmoth. Each member of the band has unique abilities and represents a classic RPG role like tank or DPS and each of them has unique cards and abilities in the deck. Each turn, you have a certain amount of action points and you can use them to play cards that can buff your team, attack the enemies or cause some other action to occur. The key to success is figuring out how to utilize each member’s abilities in concert with the others, so that, for instance, you can use one member to buff your strongest attacker and let him or her gain more damage and more attacks. As you win each battle, you gain new cards and you can also choose your path on the map to try and reach rest stops to regain fallen band members or hit loot chests to possibly get super powerful cards. The game has the addictive quality of the best deck builders and rogue-likes and it feels like you’ll be telling yourself “one more turn” for hours. The game also has an awesome art style that feels a bit like Borderlands but is still unique to itself and also paying homage to heavy metal album covers and art. You can check out a demo on Steam and wishlist the game there as well.
Tribute Games & DotEmu – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Probably our most anticipated game of PAX East, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge delivered on all fronts. We have been hyped since seeing the first trailer and getting hands-only added to the hype. No stranger to gorgeous pixel art games like Panzer Paladin and Mercenary Kings, Tribute Games brought in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game artist Paul Robertson helped with the art for Shredder’s Revenge and the result is a game that fully pays homage to Turtles in Time and the OG Arcade Game but also feels smoother and more modern to push things into the current era, like how DotEmu updated Streets of Rage with Streets of Rage 4. Playing as not only the four Turtles, you can also play as Splinter and April O’Neil for the first time in a TMNT beat em up, with April apparently taking inspiration from 80s action legend Cynthia Rothrock for her moves, which is one of the fun bits of trivia we learned from narrative designer Yannik Belzil. Everything feels classic and like you’re playing the iconic 80s cartoon and the game even features the original Turtle voice actors to reprise their roles. There’s tons of fan service and fans of Turtles in Time are going to feel right at home with moves like the dash slide and screen throwback along with a ton of new moves and abilities to use to beat down the Foot Clan. Turtle fans are also going to get to see characters who have never really gotten their due in the games before, like the Triceratons and Chrome Dome and it seems like a home run all around. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is out this summer for PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
If you’re a fan of grappling hooks in games, Rusted Moss offers up one of the most unique and versatile grappling mechanics we’ve seen. A Metroidvania, Rusted Moss sees exploring a world inhabited by rusted machines and the return of the Fae, who have come back following the fall of humanity. There’s an arsenal of different weapons to pick up and bosses to battle in intense fights that will test your pattern recognition and precision but the grappling hook is the game’s big feature. The grapple has tons of physics on it and you have to get used to and master the different ways of movement it offers. You can hook onto the ceiling, jump, and then it will act like a bungee cord to let you jump higher or you can grab a higher ledge as you are falling to pull yourself up. It’s definitely something that will take time to learn but once you master it, it seems like it will offer up a much wider array of platforming challenges and exploration opportunities than your typical Metroidvania platformer. Rusted Moss will be out later this year and you can wishlist it on Steam.
Klabater – Moonshine Inc.
Take a shine to be the best Moonshiner in Moonshine Inc., a moonshine simulator that lets you craft illegal brews in the criminal underworld. Moonshine Inc. brings together the business mechanics of a tycoon title and the brewing nuances of a distillery. The player takes the role of a newcomer moonshiner that has turned to the illegal trade for some desperate money. It’ll be a rough few weeks to turn a few ingredients into high potent alcohol that people will start to demand. But as the products and business expand, so do the problems with rivals and the law that seek to stop the whole operation. The setup of Moonshine Inc. was pretty detailed about getting into the moonshine business, and the team over at Klabater consulted with a scientist to craft accurate levels of alcohol products. This game is in an early release state, but the mechanics are well developed at this presentation and offers lots of fun options to make moonshine. The demo is now available on Steam.
LEGO Bricktales: We’ve all been playing the Traveller’s Tales LEGO games for years but Clockstone and Thunderful are offering up a new and unique way to play with digital bricks. Lego Bricktales is a puzzle adventure where you have to put together various LEGO creations yourself, brick by brick, to do things like building a staircase to a different area of the map or a bride to cross a gap. Each brick puzzle gives you a selection of bricks and it’s up to you to figure out how to put them together, which is a big change of pace from just holding a button in the TT games to have your characters build some crazy machine. The look of the puzzles calls to mind looking at the LEGO instruction manual and it’s fun to experiment and see what you can build and if it will work. You can simulate your creation to see if it works, which sees a robot attempting to navigate whatever you’ve built. There are multiple worlds to explore featuring classic LEGO settings like pirate, space, and city. Lego Bricktales will be out later this year.
The Last Hero of Nostalgaia: One of the biggest genres out there right now is the From Software games and their imitators which make up the Soulsborne genre. Most of the games in that genre are self-serious but The Last Hero of Nostalgaia pokes fun at the genre but maintains the precise and weighty combat you would expect from those types of games. Playing as a stick figure hero, you must set out to save the world of Nostalgaia, a video game world where the residents are losing fidelity and transforming from high-res graphics to retro pixels. You progress through the world fighting enemies corrupted by their loss of graphics and you gain all kinds of gear and weapons as you explore the dungeons and towns of the game. If you’ve played Soulsborne games before, you’ll find the controls to be as precise as you would want, with light and heavy attacks on the triggers of the controller, a block if you’re carrying a shield, a roll to dodge attacks, and the ability to lock onto one enemy and focus attacks on them. You and your opponents can go down with a few well-timed hits and you’ll have to start your run all over again. The game has a hilarious narrator who is constantly disgusted and annoyed by what constitutes the hero of the land now and it is one of the rare parody games that back its humor with strong gameplay (this isn’t a Matt Hazard situation). The Last Hero of Nostalgaia will be out later this year on PC and Xbox One/Series X/S
Hell Pie: When Satan wants a tasty treat for his birthday, one imp sets off to collect the more devious ingredients in hell to make a pie. Developed by Sluggerfly, Hell Pie is a 3D platformer that features Nate, a demon of bad taste that is tasked with collecting the ingredients in the underworld. Forced to tag along is Nugget, an enslaved angel. Together they will traverse the hellscape to take on unfathomable creatures and see some deranged sights. Hell Pie is a crude look at Hell with outrageous character designs and gross-looking levels. From the brief playtime with had with the game, we got to swing around the level like Spider-man using Nugget as an anchor point, while whacky Nazi poop enemies on nearby cliff tops. It has reliable controls and mechanics that are cross something like Crash Bandicoot and Banjo-Kazooie that gets filtered thru a fart joke. The game is slated to be released later in 2022, and a demo can be played now on Steam.
Tic Toc Games – Writer’s Block
If you want to test your vocabulary skills while battling through a cartoony roguelike world, Writer’s Block is a fun and unique way to do that. You play as the heroic pen Font, who is battling the monsters of mental obstacles that are preventing Font’s author owner from completing her book. You’ll battle monsters based on procrastination, stress, and doubt and your weapon is words laid out in a BBoggle-like grid. Fortunately, you aren’t bound by strict Boggle rules and you can pick any letters in the grid, even if they are not next to each other, to spell words. The bigger the word, the more damage you inflict, and there are tons of status effects, both positive and negative, that affect the letters, forcing you to possibly figure out a word that uses certain letters or avoiding other words that have letters that could damage you. The enemies all have special abilities and inflict damage and use abilities after you complete a word. Winning in battle gains you gold to buy permanent upgrades and you can choose your path as you progress through your run. When you die, you start over with a randomly generated new map and random enemy encounters. The Boggle world-building mechanic is an extremely fun and refreshing change of pace and you’ll definitely stretch your word knowledge to the limit trying to get the biggest and most powerful word you can. There’s a demo you can check out right now on Steam and it will be out in August this year.
Wild Bill’s Craft Beverage Co.
If you go to a lot of conventions, you’ll notice a legion of people with shiny mugs ready for a day of show floor walking and talking. Wild Bill’s has been a reliable source for tasty cold drinks for a busy day at conventions, fairs, festivals, and tons of other activities. Wild Bill’s is a veteran-owned business that has operated for over 20 years to bring premium soda at affordable prices. They feature classic flavors like Black Chery, Orange Cream, and Roat Beer, but sometimes dabble into an experimental taste like Blackberry or Butterscotch. The sodas are made with pure cane sugar, are low in sodium, and are caffeine-free. These are great drinks to fuel a busy day, and people were always filtering out of the two locations on the show floor.
My Friendly Neighborhood: If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have to battle the Muppets, My Friendly Neighborhood will let you live out that bizarrely specific scenario. You play a repairman named Gordon who has been sent into the studio where the Saturday morning show Our Friendly Neighborhood was filmed. Unfortunately, the puppet stars of the show have gone insane and taken over the studio and Gordon will have to improvise weaponry to fend them off and solve puzzles to try and survive. The game has Five Nights at Freddy’s vibes but you get to be an active participant instead of just flipping through cameras waiting for something to happen and it has some tricky environment puzzles that will appeal to fans of survival horror games like Resident Evil. There’s also some RE inventory management to deal with as you juggle keeping key puzzle items and ammo for your weapons, like a gun made out of a Rolodex that shoots letters. The puppet characters you encounter are equal parts adorable and frightening and they have some hilarious dialogue that they spout off as they try to strangle and kill you. The world is fun to explore with lots of little world-building details and there are interesting areas to find, like the various sets of Our Friendly Neighborhood and the behind-the-scenes areas. There’s a demo you can check out for My Friendly Neighborhood on Steam and it is coming soon.
Hand of Doom: Taking inspiration from FMV titles and dungeon crawlers like Might & Magic Hand of Doom is a throwback to classic RPG mechanics that were industry standards in the 90s. The player takes up the role of a Wizard, who has signed a deal with The Master of Death, a mystical entity that is accumulating power to become a new god. You are one assistant in its cultist army that can either help the Master of Death or steal power for yourself. The game features lots of retro designs such as 2D sprites in a 3D plane & clicking on the UI to trigger attacks. There is a spellcasting system that lets you combine spell worlds to help open doors or illuminate dark areas. When calling spells, each word is tied to a hand gesture that forms it, making it look like the metal form of ALS language. This was a big passion project of Dread XP as the staff and their friends & family were turned into character models and portraits. At East, we got a personal tour of selections and get some insight about the development process from the staff at the booth (and slay a few of them in-game too).
The Mortuary Assistant: Coming from developer DarkStone Digital, The Mortuary Assistant is a unique blend of in-depth job simulator and horror. Having completed your degree in mortuary sciences, you take a job in your hometown working at River Fields Mortuary. The game leads you through the entire process of embalming, from draining the fluids of the body to sewing up the mouth, wiping down the skin, and even filling out the necessary paperwork. There are a ton of steps to complete for each embalming and there is sort of Trauma Center minigames to complete each task. You soon learn that your boss has a dark secret in that he’s been battling demons that sometimes possess the bodies under his care and you have to add demon fighting steps to the normal embalming techniques to drive out the demons. The depth of the mortuary tasks you are doing draws you in and adding in the exorcism steps adds some great complications after you get used to the normal embalming process. There are some great jump scares and disturbing imagery for horror fans to enjoy as well. The Mortuary Assistant has a demo you can check out now on Steam and it will be out sometime later this year.
Interview with Ted Hentschke: To understand the process of making developing the concepts for Dread XP Games, we got a chance to speak with Ted Hentschke, the Editor and Head of Productions of Dread XP. Hentschke started on media journalism, covering movies and video games, and seeing trends come and go. He brings a wealth of nerdy knowledge to help turn game prototypes into big-scaled productions that will be sure to thrill dedicated gamers. From homage titles like Hand of Doom to gritty reimagines like My Friendly Neighborhood, Hentschke wants Dread XP Games to deliver quality games experiences that go well beyond the hype on social media. These are titles that are shared among friends, yelled out in conversations with strangers, and remembered fondly for years to come.
Anthropic Studios – Way of Rhea
A unique and addictive puzzle game, Way of Rhea uses a color-based system to introduce some true brain-melting puzzles as you progress through its fantastical world. Your character can change colors via orbs and special light stations. Once you change to a color, you can progress through certain doors and elevators but the trick is that you have to figure out how to change between different colors on the level and what order you need to do to complete each task. There are things like teleporters that can zap you back and forth between certain spots that add even more complications to the puzzles. There might be a bit of wandering around and trying to figure out exactly what to do in the levels but like all great puzzle games, when you figure out the solution you feel like the smartest person alive. There’s a demo out on Steam right now and it will be out later this year.
Fishing Cactus – Outshine
There have been many typing-based games over the years, like the iconic Typing of the Dead, but Outshine may be one that pushes your fingers to their limit. Outshine sees you racing through neon wire-frame levels that call to mind stuff like Rez and you have to type the words that are on enemies and obstacles to destroy them. You also have to keep in mind what lane you are running in and you have to use both CTRL keys on the keyboard to move left and right. The moving definitely adds significantly to the challenge and you can easily get caught typing words but miss a dodge that you needed to do. Luckily you have multiple hits you can take in each level and a shield that can be activated to absorb hits. The words you see are incredibly varied and will definitely put all those years of learning proper typing techniques in school to the test. Outshine has a demo available on Steam and it will be out later this year.
Mega Cat Studios
WrestleQuest: Combining wrestling with a full-fledged RPG, Wrestlequest will give you the chance to live out your dream of becoming a world champion as you take on some of the most legendary names in the ring. With icons like Andre the Giant, Jake the Snake, and Macho Man Randy Savage, you’ll create your own wrestler and then progress through the ranks for a shot at the title. The game is a full-on RPG with party members, quests, leveling up, skills, and traveling around the map to towns and dungeons. Battles obviously play out in the ring but they are classic turn-based encounters where you pick moves to damage your opponents, with a hype meter that builds as the match progresses. Once you damage your opponents enough, you go for the pin and win the match. The game looks fantastic with stellar pixel art and a great sense of humor that is full of references to classic moments and characters from the world of professional wrestling that will sure to please old-school and new-school fans. Wrestlequest is coming soon and you can wishlist it now on Steam.
World Championship Boxing Manager 2: A sequel to the somewhat obscure classic 1991 PC title World Championship Boxing Manager, WCBM 2 sees you managing a stable of fighters that you are trying to build into champions. You’ll handle all aspects of their training, determining what they’ll focus on each day, when they can rest and what fights they will enter. You’ll also hire support staff for ringside and in the gym, court sponsors that will help boost your finances and take on classic fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard and Rocky Marciano. You can customize your fighters’ techniques but you don’t actually control them in the fight. You have to rely on the training and workouts you put them through and hopefully, they’ll be able to take down their opponent. Between rounds, you can utilize techniques like having your fighters take a drink of water, apply ice to growing bruises, or cut them if needed. You can also change up their tactics and use special limited use powers. There are tons to manage and it seems like something that will really suck you in with the amount of detail you can fiddle around and experiment with. World Championship Boxing Manager 2 is coming soon and you can wishlist it now on Steam.
No Longer Human: From its trippy visuals and frantic gameplay, No Longer Human is the fever dream of cybergoth designs from 0801 LLC. We first learned about this title from one of the promos playing on the TVs around the lobby of the convention center. The promo appeared like a window’s blue screen of death, then becomes a colorful and strange nightmare of glitches. It told us nothing about what the game is, but it was catchy enough to get us interested. No Longer Human is an action-adventure title with 2.5D visuals that follows Tsunono, a woman fighting in the depths of a meta-verse in the future. The combat is focused on aggressive attacks that let you juggle enemies and create opportunities to rack up stylish kills. The demo at Pax East gave a good idea of the combat mechanics and some brief glimmers of the story and is looking for a release date in 2022.
My Time at Sandrock: Set in a stable post-apocalyptic world, the humble town of Sandrock is trying to grow as a community. When a mix of old-world technology and new-age innovations, it will be up to a team of builders to construct and stabilize Sandrock to get its citizen thriving for the future. My Time at Sandrock is a sequel to 2019’s My Time at Portia, which first introduced the greater narrative of the series. Sandrock is a new town to explore and build, as well as introduce new characters to meet. The landscape of Sandrock sees old west themes, mixed with many sci-fi elements, giving this an interesting history of loss to apocalyptic events. The demo we saw was one of the latest early access builds and the full game is set to release this May 26th.
M2H – Isonzo: Italian Front
The newest entry to the WW1 Games series, Isonzo is a historical World World 1 FPS that takes place in the Italian front. These battles took place on mountainous regions, rocky valleys, and choppy riverbanks. Isonzo features took factions; the soldiers of the Italian forces and the alliance of the Austro-Hungarian. Each faction is represented with authentic clothing and equipment that has been painstakingly recreated by the devs. The gameplay we saw was pretty cool, which features some tough trench warfare fighting. Rifles were deadly, eliminating soldiers with one hit within a 100-yard range. We spoke to Jos Hoebe, the creative director of WW1 Games, who gave us a brief history of the series. We talked about his interest in WW1 warfare and how Battlefield 1 boomed a big demand for gamers to play in that period. Hoebe’s wanted recreate the period in depth, and how the team flew to Italy to scan the actual alpines to render then into the game. From the wool jackets, metal plating, and the clicks & booms of the weaponry, the devs of WW1 Games aimed to make the gathering battles feel very surreal to experience.
Total Mayhem Games – We Were Here Forever
If you have a puzzle-loving friend, We Were Here Forever will put your friendship and puzzle-solving skills to the test. The third game in the We Were Here series, We Were Here Forever sees you and a friend locked in a series of rooms. There are elements that are necessary to solve the puzzles that you or your partner can and cannot see, and you have to communicate via voice chat to try and explain what each of you has to do. The voice chat works like a walkie-talkie, so you have to click the right mouse button to talk and unclick it for your partner to be able to talk. You and your partner make your way through a series of interconnecting rooms but you must rotate cranks, flip switches and do other actions to get the rooms to connect, or else the portals you go through will just constantly put you back in whatever room you are in. There are symbols that have to be matched for the doors to work and you have to rely on your partner to tell you how many rotations are needed or what symbols are where. If you love escape rooms, the We Were Here series will be totally up your alley. We Were Here Forever is out now on Steam and you can get all three games on there as well.
Moonana – Keylocker
Drawing inspiration from JRPG classics like Super Mario RPG, Keylocker is set in a cyberpunk world where music is illegal but your character B0B0 is a singer trying to bring song back to the world. She teams up with robotic drummer Rocket and they set out to battle the authoritarian government and bring music to the people. The game plays out in classic turn-based combat but there are rhythm game-style mini-games that add to the musical elements of the game and are used for certain attacks or certain plot events. Out of battle, you’ll explore the world, collect items, talk to NPCs, and all the other classic JRPG gameplay elements. The game has a great look with old-school pixel art graphics dripping with neon and vibrant colors and the music, obviously, is fantastic as well. The game is coming soon and you can wishlist it on Steam.
The Last Boss Beer Release – Sam Adams x Wicked Retro Night Collaboration: Sam Adams held a beer release at their taproom with a big gaming theme party. The Last Boss, a Blackberry & Blueberry Imperial Sour, was a tasty mix of hoppy fruit flavors that got us ready to game some overtime at the Wicked Retro Night’s console and arcade setups.
Friday Night Concert at PAX – Videri String & The NPC Collective: After a long day on our feet Friday, we plopped down on the carpet of the Main Theatre to relax and listen to a concert. We heard the classical arrangements by Videri String, a string quartet that covered game scores and a few original pieces. Next, we listened to the funky beats from the NPC Collective with Kadesh Flow and friends. These great musicians took their passion for gaming and music to create something powerful for many others to enjoy. This concert was packed full of talented artists the energized us for the rest of our time at Pax.
Predator Gaming Afterparty: Back for its 6th time, the Predator Afterparty threw a LAN party like no other to celebrate a successful Saturday at Pax. Fandom, Intel, and Acer sponsored a night full of gaming, music, prizes, and adult beverages, there was plenty to do and see while we still had some energy left in our tank to party. Best of all, it was free entry for the general public who got inside on time before the place fills up, and because of how popular this event is, it doesn’t take long for the place to fill up quickly. Early arrivals got to meet & greet at the dance floor and bars, where we traded convention stories and networked with new faces and lined up a few shots (The instant friend or enemy maker). We got to meet fun & creative people, challenge new rivals in Esports, and snap a couple of silly photos. We watched amateur and professional players play rounds of Rocket League on stage or you could also try out some of the latest gaming rigs in other areas of the party and get some free swag. There were also random drawings for awesome computer parts & rigs. The musical guest for the night was Frank Walker, a Grammy award-winning DJ that laid out pumping tunes to close out the night and kept the dance floor going till the wee hours. The Predator Party is always a great time, even if you might not remember all the details the next day.
The Hong Kong: To mix things up a bit and revisit some old Boston memories we drop by a stable of late-night partying in Quincy Market, Hong Kong! It’s not a Chinese food take-out spot (It is rightful okay to assume so!) it’s a well-known spot to grab tropical drinks and sing a few karaoke hits with strangers. We ordered a few meat skewers, sipped a tiki cup, and watched as people snag into the late hours.
After two years away, it was great to be back in Boston for PAX East. There were some noticeable absences on the show floor as the big companies like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft seem to be still wary of returning to conventions but there were still tons of games to check out in every genre you can imagine as well as all the great panels, concerts and other happenings around and outside the con. We’ll definitely be back next year and hopefully PAX East can build back more and more in the years to come and get back to where it was pre-COVID.
Bitten by a radioactive video store rental employee and overcome by Pac-Man fever, Chris seeks new comic books, games, and movies to review.