Finneman’s Best of PAX East Part 2
Welcome to the second (and final) look at my favorite games from PAX East 2017! “Boy,” you might be asking, “That sure is a lot of games Matthew. Did you even cut any?” I sure did! There are many games I had to cut that I still really enjoyed. Strafe. Battle Chasers. Rime. Children of the Zodiarc. YIIK. You get the picture. Point is, the world of indie gaming is strong as hell, and there are so many games on the horizon worth getting excited for, it’s almost crazy to believe only a handful of years ago the indie gaming scene was looked down upon.
Did you miss Part 1 of my PAX highlights? Catch it here: Finneman’s Best of PAX East Part 1
My hope is that reading this list of great games I discovered at PAX East 2017 might help you also discover some hidden gem you didn’t know about before. Spread the indie love so to speak. I didn’t put down some games, such as Yooka-Laylee, Cosmic Star Heroine, or Nex Machina due to already having solid hands on with them from earlier (so don’t yell at me!) So now, presented to you in no particular order besides the one I had typed up as I went, here are Torpedo “My name is actual Matthew” Vegas’ Favorite Games of PAX Easy 2017.
There is a lesser known game called Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale that I really fell in love with a few years back. It was an RPG where you managed an Item Shop, and fought monsters to keep your store stocked up. Upcoming indie game Moonlighter capitalizes on that concept and cranks all of the dials up. Item shop owner by day, capitalism fueled adventurer by night. This genre mashup is right up my alley.
Look. Bastion was great. Transistor was one of my top games when it launched. So I always knew I was 100% in for Pyre. What I didn’t know was just how damn good it would end up being to finally play it. Who would have ever guessed that a fantasy take on NBA Jam would result in such spectacular multiplayer? The PvP mode is deeply addictive, with teams of 3v3 unique and capable creatures battling it out with a mystical orb. BOOMSHAKALAKA.
I was a huge fan of the Torchlight games, so when I heard their new game was an epic action adventure, I had to check it out for myself. What I found was a beautiful and engaging game that reminded me a bit of Legend of Zelda, but with several unique twists. Exploring the landscape, solving puzzles, and fighting enemies all felt fluid and I got so absorbed in the game that when my time with the demo was up, I felt like I should’ve signed up for another go right then and there.
THE AMERICAN DREAM
This game is sure to pop up on a FOX News special when it releases. I wouldn’t be surprised if Donald Trump tweets about it. A 1950s fever dream, American Dream is a VR game that reimagines America if it were run by the NRA and Republican ideals. Guns solve everything, and your old timey radio narrator really sells the vibe that this is American in that picturesque period. Nothing says MURICA like a baby taking the tutorial on how to shoot “Good ol American made guns!” And as a VR title, not once did I feel nauseous, which is ALWAYS a plus. This game was damn charming, with a sharp sense of satirical humor.
I cannot wait for Chasm. This game has consistently been on my Top Upcoming Indies list for years. Procedurally generated Metroidvania with RPG mechanics, a slick art style, and an upgrade system that makes you truly feel like you’re progressing, all combine to make Chasm one of THE games to look for. Will it hit in 2017? Hell if I know. But when it does come out, you can bet your ass that I will be there Day 0.
A surprise showing on the floor, this newly funded Kickstarter game by the folks behind Jotun is here to kick your ass without even the courtesy of taking your name first. This Cthullu-esque Metroidvania style game is just straight up in my wheelhouse. The hand drawn art is just gorgeous. Jotun was a great experience, but I have a feeling Sundered will have me in its grips even more. This one might be a little ways off, but that just means there is even more room to grow!
Is there a stranger success story than that of Nidhogg? A game with an Atari aesthetic and a focus on 1v1 swordplay duels culminating in being devoured by a giant worm beast? Nidhogg came out of seemingly nowhere, and now the follow up has the daunting task of building on its legacy. Well guess what suckers? IT DOES! Nidhogg 2 is every bit as fun as its predecessor. If the long line to even play it at PAX East was any indication, I am not the only one that feels that way. Weird art design aside, this game is everything you wanted in a Nidhogg sequel.
FULL METAL FURIES
Rogue Legacy remains one of the finest roguelikes around. Having conquered that genre, developer Cellar Door Games decided to set their sights on the beat em up genre with Full Metal Furies. With multiple characters, each with their own unique playstyles and abilities, you can tackle the game solo or with a friend, swapping characters on the fly to suit your needs. It was awesome to go from the long range technical sniper to the more defensive tank on a whim. But the game really shines when played with a friend. Creating combos against the hordes of enemies was a distinct thrill.
Equal parts Blade Runner, Eternal Darkness, Dick Tracy, and Final Fantasy Tactics, Pixel Noir is an odd mashup that works extremely well. The story is being fairly well guarded, but let’s just say I didn’t choose Eternal Darkness as a descriptor lightly. If you were ever a fan of point and click adventure games, film noir, occult weirdness, or tactical gameplay…Pixel Noir just might be for you. With a strong film noir vibe and some really addictive battle systems, Pixel Noir is one RPG to look for on the horizon.
BATTLE CHEF BRIGADE
What do you get when you combine Puzzles & Dragons and Iron Chef and mix it with a hefty dose of anime inspired goodness? Adult Swim Games’ Battle Chef Brigade, that’s what! Mixing the gem matching puzzle gameplay with side scrolling RPG action seems like a really strange combo, but damn if it doesn’t work! The music is insane to boot, and the humor is exactly what you’d expect in a game involving battling chefs.
PHEW! That sure was a lot to process. I knew there would be a lot of indies at the con. I just never expected to find so many. Certainly not so many that even a Top 10 wouldn’t do them justice. I know one paragraph blurbs aren’t enough to sell you on a game, but if they inspire you to look into even one of these games a bit more, then I have done my job.
Happy gaming fellow gamers!