PAX Online 2020 – GAME DEMOS – PART 6 of 6

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In what turned out to be Part 6 of 6 of our demo coverage, thus allowing me to go back and enumerate everything else, we take a look at eight more demos. Why not three for each part, you ask? Like all the others? I don’t know either. But here they are, the last eight.

Format is as follows:

GameName of the Game
Demo LengthHow Long it Took me to Finish the Demo
GenreType of game, based on my impressions
Quick Thoughts3-4 sentences based on what I thought of the game
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameMoo Lander
Demo Length14 Minutes
Genre Adventure?
Quick ThoughtsI think I spent more time trying to figure out what to put in the genre box above then I have spent thinking about Moo Lander. It’s not bad… it just didn’t really grab me? It has some nice art, and amusing writing, but nothing about the demo screamed “BUY ME” to me.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameCrown Trick
Demo Length2 Hours (got to final boss, didn’t beat it)
GenreTurn-based Roguelike
Quick ThoughtsI love Crown Trick. Crown Trick does not love me. Crown Trick thinks it’s okay to put you in a room with three fairly massive bosses and just beat you into a ever-loving pulp. I want to play more Crown Trick, and I want to beat it.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameNeon Abyss
Demo Length10 Minutes
GenreRoguelike
Quick ThoughtsNeon Abyss seems to take ideas from a bunch of places, including Binding of Issac, Dead Cells, and Enter the Gungeon. It’s a fast-paced roguelike where you collect stuff and get better. The demo was fun, and it’s actually out already, but there wasn’t anything in the demo that screamed that I had to buy this game.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameNeko Ghost, Jump!
Demo Length1 Hour
Genre2D/3D Puzzle Platformer + Speedrunner
Quick ThoughtsA lot of stuff about Neko Ghost, Jump! right now is very crude, including the art, music, and animations, but the gameplay is awesome. You can swap between 2D and 3D, and it tends to get used in some really clever ways. The most unique platformer I saw at the show, and have seen in quite a while. Worth keeping an eye on.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameEldest Souls
Demo Length5 Hours/2 Hours from a friend who is good at Dark Souls
GenreDark Souls
Quick ThoughtsThe genre is technically called “Soulslike” but if you make a game where I die for three hours in a row to the same single enemy, you’ve made a Dark Souls. I’m not good at Dark Souls style games, and as I learned with this demo, I might be really bad at them. The game is pure boss rush fights, and my friend who likes Dark Souls games liked it a lot. I mostly liked watching him play after I beat the demo, and reminding myself that I’m not bad at video games, sometimes they’re just hard.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameGreak: Memories of Azur
Demo Length40 Minutes
GenrePuzzle Platformer
Quick ThoughtsI liked Greak, but again, not enough for it really leave a permanent lasting impression. The idea of controlling multiple characters is really neat, but I struggled with the controls, mostly because they were set up pre-bound for Xbox controllers, so a lot of the prompts were off. The one mini-boss was the area where I died the most, and trying to do combat with both characters at once never clicked for me. Still, if you like games like Trine, this might be for you.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameLovingly Evil
Demo Length1 Hour (I played really slowly)
GenreVisual Novel/Dating Sim
Quick ThoughtsI don’t really play visual novels/dating sims. I was gonna have someone else play it, and do a write up, but life happened, so I did it instead. Look, I think if you play this sort of game to begin with, you’ll be a better judge of if you’d enjoy it than me.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameWerewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest
Demo Length22 minutes
GenreVisual Novel
Quick ThoughtsIf nothing else, the writing for this game drew me in really quick. I’ve got to wonder how much of the writing is actually variable, and how much is scripted, but if the goal of a demo is try to get me interested in the full release, this one worked.
Play It HereLink to the Demo

PAX Online 2020 – GAME DEMOS – PART 5 of 6

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Format is as follows:

GameName of the Game
Demo LengthHow Long it Took me to Finish the Demo
GenreType of game, based on my impressions
Quick Thoughts3-4 sentences based on what I thought of the game
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameJack Move
Demo Length41 Minutes
GenreJRPG Mechanics with a Cyberpunk Theme
Quick ThoughtsPerhaps the most interesting thing mechanically in Jack Move’s demo is the ability to swap out your spells mid combat. Everything else is pretty standard, but well executed. If you’ve played a JRPG, you’ve seen most of these mechanics before, but the presentation is fun. This could turn out to be really good for folks who already like the genre.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameDrone Swarm
Demo Length28 Minutes
GenreReal Time Puzzler/Strategy
Quick ThoughtsIn Drone Swarm, you control a spaceship that has a drone swarm. The writing is painfully campy, and the whole “Oh no aliens please don’t attack us” thing, where you are then forced to blow them up (even though mechanically, you can pretty easily survive without damaging them) rubbed the wrong way. On the other hand, the actual mechanics are neat, since you do stuff by drawing patterns and shields. If nothing else, Drone Swarm is pretty unique, making this demo warrant a play.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameDestiny’s Sword
Demo Length12 Minutes, but I just Stopped “Playing”
GenreI have no idea.
Quick ThoughtsThe Destiny’s Sword demo does not do a good job of selling Destiny’s Sword as a game. As far as I can tell, it looks like a glorified mobile game with some troop management mechanics. Honestly, this was just such a poor demo that I stopped playing, since it was kinda hard to figure out what you were even supposed to be doing, and you can’t really interact in the battles outside of a few “Tap to activate” abilities.
Play It HereLink to the Demo

PAX Online 2020 – GAME DEMOS – PART 4 of 6

This excerpt space for rent.

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Format is as follows:

GameName of the Game
Demo LengthHow Long it Took me to Finish the Demo
GenreType of game, based on my impressions
Quick Thoughts3-4 sentences based on what I thought of the game
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameMorbid: The Seven Acolytes
Demo LengthJust over an Hour
GenreDark Souls, but 2D
Quick ThoughtsI am not a Dark Souls person; this game is a Dark Souls. As such, it took me forever to beat, and at least 4-5 tries on the final boss alone. Did I like it enough to buy it? Not sure yet, I’m not a masochist. Overall, really good.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameInkulinati
Demo Length1 Hour
GenreTurn Based Tactics
Quick ThoughtsOne of the neatest things I’ve played so far at the show. Art is great, music is great, gameplay is great. Only real gripe I have is that the AI in the demo seems very weak in terms of letting you just shove the enemy captain Inkulinati off the ledge. But, y’know, demo. Worth keeping an eye on.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameExophobia
Demo Length39 Minutes
GenreSingle Axis Shooter
Quick ThoughtsI wanted to put “I can’t believe it’s not Return to Castle Wolfenstein” in the genre section again, but then remembered I’m supposed to be professional. Nothing amazing, nothing awful about Exophobia. The opening is very slow. This is one of the demos where I think you can play it and know if you’ll be interested in the final game. This one just isn’t for me though.
Play It HereLink to the Demo

PAX Online 2020 – GAME DEMOS – PART 3 of 6

The wheel of fate is turning.

Round 3! Ready? FIGHT!

Format is as follows:

GameName of the Game
Demo LengthHow Long it Took me to Finish the Demo
GenreType of game, based on my impressions
Quick Thoughts3-4 sentences based on what I thought of the game
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameRangok Skies
Demo Length8 Minutes/48 Minutes (More on this below)
GenreShoot Em Up
Quick ThoughtsI have two lists of times up above, because 8 minutes is how long it took me to clear the demo, and 48 minutes is how long it took me to clear the demo on one credit. SHMUPs are not a huge part of my gaming diet, so I’d be curious to see someone more familiar with the genre play this. Regardless, I liked it.
Play It HereLink to the Demo – You may need to set your refresh rate to 60hz for the demo to work properly. The publisher has confirmed the devs are working on a fix for this that is expected to be released in the full game.
GameNeurodeck
Demo Length1 Hour
GenreDeckbuilder Rougelike
Quick ThoughtsI am really conflicted on Neurodeck. Right now, it feels like playing a prototype more then playing a demo. The mechanics are interesting, but currently feel untuned, and the enemy scaling is ridiculous. It doesn’t feel like the mental illness tone of the game was built with those mechanics in mind, more that the theme was added after mechanics had been decided on. There are also some bugs.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameUragun
Demo Length15 Minutes – Only one level, but it took a few tries
GenreTop Down/Twinstick Run and Gun
Quick ThoughtsUragun is neat. The demo is pretty short, but it’s fun. Twinsticks aren’t really my cup of tea, but you lose nothing by grabbing the demo and seeing if it’s something you want to keep an eye on. It has some really neat enemies, like these little dudes that form blocker walls.
Play It HereLink to the Demo

PAX Online 2020 – GAME DEMOS – PART 2 of 6

Part 2 of what is starting to look like a substantial haul of demos. I was trying to come up with something interesting to say like “Grab your pickaxe as we go into the game mines,” but honestly, this is the easiest convention experience ever in terms of reviewing stuff. This is more “Click install on Steam and just play stuff.” So here we go.

Format is as follows:

GameName of the game
Demo LengthHow long it took me to finish the demo
GenreType of game, based on my impressions
Quick Thoughts3-4 sentences based on what I thought of the game
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameOperation Tango
Demo Length20 Minutes
GenreAsymmetric Real Time Co-op Puzzler
Quick ThoughtsMy standout game of the show so far. A really cool puzzler, with one person playing the Hacker, and one playing the Agent. Neat puzzles, really nice art style. You will need a friend to play with, so find that person, and keep an eye on this one.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameBlack Skylands
Demo Length1 Hour (including some messing about)
GenreTop Down Run and Gun/Town Builder
Quick ThoughtsLots of potential here. Developers describe the demo as a “Vertical Slice” which in my experience means “Held together with tape and prayers”, so it will be interesting to see how this ends up maturing. I generally enjoyed playing it, and I’ll keep an eye on it.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameMayhem In Single Valley: Confessions
Demo Length1 Hour
GenrePuzzle?
Quick ThoughtsI did not have fun with this demo. Outside of some nice art and music, I have no praise for it. The demo was buggy, inconsistent, and exceedingly confusing and janky. Disagree with me? Go play it yourself. I can’t tell if it’s just not for me, or what, but this didn’t sell me on the game at all.
Play It HereLink to the Demo

PAX Online 2020 – GAME DEMOS – PART 1 of 6

Overloop, Hell Architect, and Nongunz. What do these games have in common? Well, mostly the fact that we finished downloading them first.

The misery that is 2020 continues, and one of the casualties has been in-person events, and actual conventions. However, PAX Online is here, and with a whole bunch of Steam demos. This article consists of the first part of Gametrodon’s ongoing coverage of PAX Online.

Format is as follows:

GameName of the game
Demo LengthHow long it took me to finish the demo
GenreType of game, based on my impressions
Quick Thoughts3-4 sentences based on what I thought of the game
Play It HereLink to the demo
GameOverloop
Demo Length16 Minutes
GenrePuzzle Platformer
Quick ThoughtsYou have a gun to make copies of yourself. Solve puzzles with it. There’s a story, but the tone is… eh. Nothing special, but seems competently made. Pixel graphics.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameHell Architect
Demo Length31 Minutes
GenreSimulation/Management
Quick ThoughtsSeems like a grimier version of Oxygen Not Included. A bit neat. Not really the sort of thing I’d usually play, but it held my interest long enough for me to finish out the demo.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameNongunz : Doppelganger Edition
Demo Length??? – (I quit after a few deaths.)
Genre??? – I think it’s a roguelite
Quick ThoughtsReally neat unique art style. Gameplay feels bad, but I’m not sure if that’s because I’m really struggling with the controls, or what. I’m gonna give this one another go with a controller. No actual in-game explanations given without text on how things actually work.
Play It HereLink to the Demo

The Ikai Demo

The Ikai Demo is fine, but currently it doesn’t do anything new. I’d like to see the full game do more with some of the potential it has regarding more interesting monsters.

God why did I download this.

Recently on Reddit, I saw a neat thread with a trailer for an Indie game called Ikai. It looked kinda neat, if a bit amateurish.

Then the devs linked to a demo that I downloaded and fucking god almighty, why did I do this.

If you want to play the demo in question, you can download it here. They also have a Steam page with a trailer and stuff on it here. (Side note: the designers don’t seem to speak English as a first language, and the Steam page and demo page have their wording a bit mangled. I didn’t see any evidence of this in the game itself; everything was well translated and clear.)

I do not like horror games. I do not play horror games. At one point in college while watching some friends play Alien: Isolation in the dark, the alien popped up, and freaked me out so much that I jumped up directly into the bed above, and smacked my head pretty hard.

I mention this because I’m not sure I’m the right person to review Ikai, even in this demo form. I do not want to seal the evil in this mask. I do not want to walk down the haunted hallway. I do not want to be in this temple whatsoever.

However, I feel obligated to play the demo, and try to finish it, because, a lot of effort clearly went into it.

So, having now finished the demo, here are my thoughts.

I really like the world that Ikai is trying to build, and I’m very curious about the story. If nothing else, it’s the sort of game I’d go read the wiki for, because I want know how things resolve.

Regarding the actual gameplay in the trailer, there’s not much here that hasn’t been done before. Open doors, search for things, draw some patterns, don’t get caught by the monster. This brings me to one of my biggest issues with the demo, the monster itself.

I’d call the monster in the demo “Fine” because there are a few things about it that are pretty great, and few things that are pretty “Meh.” For starters, this isn’t Alien: Isolation. The monster doesn’t seem super smart, and I had a hard time figuring out how it “Worked” mechanically, since as far as I could tell, it just strangled me to death if I got to close/if it saw me. The death animation was fine, if a little jump-scary, but I suspect since I had turned off audio at this point, if I’d been paying more attention I would have heard it. In another instance, the monster seemed to just spawn directly in front of me. I think this one was a bug.

Looking at the actual monster itself though, at least while it was standing still, kinda deflates it. Some of the animations are a bit janky. While in motion, or lurking from room to room, it radiates a sort of menace, but the second it stands still, or you get a good chance to look at it, the tension falls apart. In addition, while its design is really nice, its actual feel is pretty bland. It’s a large hulking thing that moves from room to room, looking for you, and kills you if it finds you. For how much the rest of the game plays into the setting, I would have liked to see the demo use some more interesting Yokai, rather then just having a “Big Scary Thing.” From a gameplay mechanics standpoint, I would have liked to have this thing be a bit more interesting, or have some sort of gimmick.

Overall, Ikai is fine, but I didn’t see anything in the demo outside of the setting and tone of the world that made it stand out from other similar sorts of games. Given the effort they’ve put into creating a non-standard world, I’d like to see them play with some of the gameplay mechanics they’ve set themselves up with. Creatures that can move from mirror to mirror, monsters that disguise themselves as objects, some more “fun” mechanics than what the demo has. Yokai are incredibly diverse, and if the game turns out to just be “Amnesia, but set in Japan”, I feel like they’ll have really squandered a lot of the potential design space to make some really interesting monsters.