Everything Else We Saw At PAX East

Over the last several weeks, I’ve written up a few posts for the various games we played at PAX East. I covered the games with demos you could play at home. I covered the party games. I covered the board games.

This leaves us with just one final category: The games that I don’t have strong feelings about. Here they are, in a great big list, with brief summaries, some info about release dates/status, and links if you want to learn more.

Name – Guts’N Goals
Type – Video Game/”Sports” (The Quotes are on Purpose)
Status – Released
5 Second Version – Just not really my thing. Sportssss. Kinda fun at least.
More Info – https://gutsandgoals.com/

Name – Super Marxist Twins
Type – Video Game/Platformer
Status – Released
5 Second Version – Super Mario Parody, has level creator, felt kinda wonky to play, no strong feelings.
More Info – https://type3studios.com/

Name – Stellar Seige
Type – Board Game/Card Game
Status – Released
5 Second Version – Placement Card Game, did not love it.
More Info – http://www.paw-warriorgames.com/stellar/

Name – Togges
Type – Video Game/Collectaton or Puzzler?
Status – Unreleased
5 Second Version – Just not feeling it. Maybe I’m the wrong audience.
More Info – https://togges.com.br/

Name – HOA
Type – Video Game/Platformer
Status – Released
5 Second Version – Looked very nice, but did not feel good to play. Not super interested.
More Info – https://www.hoathegame.com/

Name – Depths of Sanity
Type – Video Game/Self described Metroidvania
Status – Available in Early Access – 85% content complete according to Dev’s
5 Second Version – Didn’t play. No strong desire to honestly. May need to research.
More Info – https://bombsheltergames.com/

Name – Cuisineer
Type – Video Game/Dungeon Crawler + Resturaunt Sim I think?
Status – Unreleased
5 Second Version – Couldn’t play. Not sure on genre. Don’t have much real info on this one yet.
More Info – https://twitter.com/cuisineer Look, the twitter has more info about this game then their website. I don’t know what to tell you.

Name – KAO THE KANGAROO
Type – Video Game/3D Platformer
Status – Released!
5 Second Version – 3D collect-a-thon that appears to be in the vein of Crash/Spyro
More Info – https://kaokangaroo.com/

Name – Demon’s Mirror
Type – Video Game/The lovechild of match-3 and Slay the Spire
Status – Unreleased
5 Second Version – I can’t tell if it’s a Slay the Spire like or not, it seems like one, but the match 3 but not quite elements are throwing me off. Requires more research.
More Info https://be-rad.com/games/demons-mirror/

Name – Mythic
Type – Video Game/Procedurally Generated Roguelike MMO? The Fuck?
Status – Has a Demo?
5 Second Version – Didn’t play it. It could be good, or it could be Buzzword soup.
More Info – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1752260/Mythic/

Name – Ikonei Island
Type – Top Down Adventure/Crafting Game
Status – Unreleased
5 Second Version – Seemed like a fairly simple game for kids? Didn’t quite click for me. May need to do more research.
More Info – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1550730/Ikonei_Island_An_Earthlock_Adventure/

Name – Writers Block
Type – Video Game/Spelling Game
Status – Unreleased
5 Second Version – If you read this site, you’ve seen how I spell. Not for me.
More Info – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1841380/Writers_Block/

Name – Valley Of Shadow
Type – Video Game/3D Puzzle Game
Status – Unreleased
5 Second Version – Might be Great. Might be artsy garbage. Can’t tell yet. Might just also not be for me. At least it’s not bad.
More Info – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1414030/Valley_of_Shadow/

Name – LOVE3
Type – Platformer
Status – Released
5 Second Version – Weird. Hard. The hell did I play? They had other games as well, one looked like Bomberman with Dragons
More Info – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1604300/LOVE_3/

Name -Pathless Woods
Type – IDK
Status – ????
5 Second Version – Didn’t play.
More Info – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1726130/Pathless_Woods/
or @PathlessWoods1 on twitter presumably

Name – Back to the Dawn
Type – Video Game/RPG-Simlite?
Status – Unreleased
5 Second Version – Might count as a CRPG? All the characters are animals, and it seems like your end goal is to escape prison.
More Info – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1735700/Back_to_the_Dawn/

Name – The D.Team
Type – Video Game/Tank Shooter + platformer?
Status – Unreleased
5 Second Version – Not great yet, better then expected. A first time project by a single dev.

Name – Below the Stone
Type – Video Game/
Status – Unrelased
5 Second Version – Not sure how good it is. Enemy AI is not currently interesting. There’s potential here though. Keep an eye on it.
More Info – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1170230/Below_the_Stone/

Name – Demeo
Type – Video Game/Turn Based Dungeon Crawler
Status – Released
5 Second Version -Literally made for Kyle. Potentially good.
More Info – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1484280/Demeo/

Name – Rightfully, Beary Arms
Type – Rougelike where your upgrades upgrade your enemies as well.
Status – ???????
5 Second Version – Made by Daylight Basement. Seems weird as fuck.
More Info – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1928030/Rightfully_Beary_Arms/

PAX East – Dome Keeper

I was going to title this post the “Good Stuff” post. It was going to be a nice big list of everything from the show that I liked, but hadn’t listed out yet.

Then I ran into a slight problem. See, that list was a grand total of one item long. I already covered most of the games from the show that I liked in the “Games From PAX With Demos you can play at home” post.

So instead, you get a super short post about Dome Keeper, the single remaining entry on that list. So I say to Dome Keeper: congrats! And please don’t disappoint me when you actually release.

Published by Raw Fury! Who also published Atomicrops, which I loved.

So what is Dome Keeper? Well, two things, sorta. It plays like a combo of Motherload, and Space Invaders. You are a small space person, living in your tiny little dome. You can leave the dome to dig down, and gather various minerals and ores, which you then drag back to your base and deposit. Different ores are used for different types of upgrades, which range from increasing the speed at which you move, your carrying capacity, and how quickly you dig. They can also be used to upgrade your dome. And you’re going to want to do that, because there’s a timer, and when it ticks down, your dome gets a attacked by a wave of monsters.

Of course, even if you clear that wave, the next wave will be stronger. So back into the mines you go to search for more minerals. Rinse, repeat.

The demo itself was a ton of fun, and the game is supposed to release later this year. The Steam page has it listed as a roguelike, so I’m curious to see how that gets implemented, and what other features the game has.

But like I said, the demo was fun. And really, that’s the most important thing. So cross your fingers with me, and let’s hope it’s good.

PAX East Party Game Post

This week: The party games we saw at PAX East!

I mentioned in another post-PAX writeup how I’m hesitant to recommend boomer shooters based off demos. This is because boomer shooters almost always demo well, even if the final product is subpar.

Well, this week, we’re talking about another genre that almost always demos/plays well at a convention: The party game!

Combine the excitement of being at a con with anything competitive, and a large number of people to play with, and just about everything can be fun for a bit. So here are the party games I saw at PAX East.

Starting with…

This image does not do a good job of capturing gameplay mechanics.

From what I played, Orbitals felt like a Smash Bros style 2d party brawler. The game had two mechanical twists though. The first is that the whole thing takes place in a gravity free area. You have to move from area to area Super Mario Galaxy style. The second is that after each round, you get points to spend to upgrade your character.

When I played, I found the gameplay a bit floaty. I couldn’t tell if that was just because it was my first time playing. The gameplay seems interesting, and Orbitals is on my watch list because of that. If you want to find out more about the game, click here.

Next up:

I guess this one does slightly more?

Match Point by Jolly Crouton is effectively multiplayer super Pong. It supports up to 4 players. Unlike Pong, you have a few other abilities then just bumping into the ball. By pressing certain triggers, you can magnetize yourself to pull the ball in, or do harder shots. Also, the goal requires you to hit it twice in semi-quick succession to score.

After reading my notes, I have written down that I thought it was “Fine” and “Not really my thing”. Also “Good Party Game???”. I think those notes are pretty accurate. It’s well made, but it’s still mostly Pong. I think it might be fun with the right crowd. But if it seems like your thing, you can learn more about it here.

Which brings us to our last entrant…

Finally, someone made a header image where the image is from the game!

Squish is fairly straight forward. It’s a survival versus game for up to 4 players. You play as a small blob skeleton, and try to be the last one standing while blocks constantly fall down onto the field. You can push this around, but if you get crushed by one, you die. Get killed, and you’re given one last chance to control a falling block. Take out another player with that block and you’re back into the game.

Squish feels like a extended release of a Mario Party minigame if I’m being honest. I don’t dislike it, but it wasn’t amazing. The full game does promise more modes, which might change things up a bit. If you want to find out more, you can click here. It actually has a scheduled release date of May 31st, so pretty soon!

And those were all the party games I played at PAX East. Like I mentioned before, it’s a genre that does well at conventions, and always makes me pause for a bit. My personal favorite was Orbitals, for both having the most potential and being the most interesting.

In either case, join us next week as I attempt to keep writing these summaries because I played a ton of stuff! Not sure what the theme will be then, but I’ll figure it out.

Top 4 PAX East Games with Demos

Four cool things from the show floor that you can experience from the comfort of your own home.

So, you couldn’t make it to PAX. Perhaps you had other things to that week. Perhaps you had entirely reasonable concerns about the perpetual global endemic. Perhaps you were less than enthusiastic about the fact that ticket prices doubled since last time. Or perhaps you did make it to PAX but were working a booth the entire time.

Not to worry! I’ve compiled a list of four games that I played at PAX, really liked, and all have demos that you can go download from Steam. So lets jump in, shall we? Starting with…

Slay the Spire, with party mechanics and a metal vibe.

I like Power Chord. It’s a turn based roguelike, in which you control a literal band (musicians), on their quest to… look I wasn’t paying much attention to the story. I’m assuming you’re trying to kill the devil or something. The gameplay itself is very much like Slay the Spire, in that you have a deck of cards, and each turn you have energy that you expand to play them, and try to kill your opponents. Unlike Slay the Spire, your deck is contributed to by the members of your band. If that sounds interesting, you can click here to go grab a demo for the game on Steam, and here if want to just learn more about it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a release date just yet.

Perhaps turn based strategic gameplay sounds too relaxing though. In that case, next up we have…

I was gonna joke that the main character is named Turbo, but it turns out that’s actually his name, and now I don’t know what to put here.

Turbo Overkill is an entry in the boomer shooter genre, i.e., things like Doom, Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, and Ion Maiden. These games are shooters that went “What if shooting things was fun, you had more than two weapons, and our entire graphics budget for polygons was stolen?” I will note that as a general rule of thumb, I’m little skeptical of boomer shooters at the moment. This is not because I dislike the genre, but because they always demo really well, even when I end up not liking the game as much (looking at you Desync.) Regardless of my whining, the demo was a lot of fun, and you can grab it here. Turbo Overkill is currently available in Early Access, and the devs have said that it’s 30% content complete. If you want more info about the game then you can check out their twitter feed here, because I couldn’t actually find another website.

Perhaps you want something softer and lighter, or perhaps you think crushing AI is for losers. In either case, may I offer..

I don’t love the art style, but the gameplay is good. I think they were probably going for a sort of Touhou vibe?

Swapette Showdown is a head to head match-3 puzzler. Blocks rise from the floor, you swap them into rows of at least 3 to clear them, and send trash lines to your opponent. You also have special abilities based on the character you select. Something like Puyo-Puyo is probably the closest equivalent? Look, instead of reading my poor description, why don’t you just download the demo here? And then, if you decide you like it, or have questions, or can’t quite get said demo to run right on your ultrawide even though you played it on a TV at the show, you can click here to join their Discord and try to troubleshoot.

But perhaps you hate anything with anime eyes. Perhaps you think indie games should never go past two dimensions. Perhaps you should just humor me because I’m running out of convenient segues. In that case, try…

I get that the little cat thing is supposed to be cute, but something about it just rubbed me the wrong way. It has big Furby energy.

Dwerve is technically a tower defense game. You construct towers, and use them to defend. The reason I wrote “technically” is because it has a lot of non-standard tower defense mechanics. There is no end point to be defended. Instead when you get into combat, enemies will go right for your delicious face meat. Towers refund their cost when they get destroyed, and you’ll be expected to rebuild them. And finally, the game isn’t structured as a series of levels; it’s a world that you actually travel through more akin to something like Nobody Saves the World. It’s a really interesting blend, and you can play the demo here. The full steam page is here, the game’s site is here, and I’m kind of out of things to say about it. Oh, except that it does have a release date for the end of next month (31st of May) so if you do end up liking the demo, you won’t won’t have to wait long for more.

Anyway, with that final entry on the list, that concludes all I’m writing about for the moment. Not all I have to write about, because I have a second window up of things I saw/played, and I still have 21 more games I want to write about. I need to find a way to break that list down into convenient bite size categories.

I think the way you’re supposed to end these sorts of lists is to encourage people to fight with you on social media as a roundabout cover for getting more interaction, so yeah. So, hit us up on Twitter if you disagree with our list? Not really sure how that’s possible, but I’m sure someone will find a way.

PAX Unplugged 2021 – Day 3

I can’t think of anything clever to put here. PAX was fun.

It’s day 3. One of the things I enjoy about PAX (and conventions in general) is the chance to do things I might otherwise not. Sometimes this takes the form of playing games in genres I’m not as interested in. Sometimes it takes the form of doing something completely unrelated.

In this case, it’s the second one: painting miniatures. After trying to line up at the free painting zone, realizing how slow the line was, and leaving yesterday, I showed up earlier today. While waiting in line, I ended up chatting with a dude and his boyfriend, and asked him to play a game of Knights of the Hound Table with me. Despite being the person teaching, I got absolutely demolished before the floor even opened. After thanking him for playing, I headed over to the free painting zone, picked out a Space Marine, and sat down.

This isn’t a painting blog, so I won’t be going in depth on this. The short version is that: 1. Unsurprisingly, since I haven’t done this in years, I’m not currently very good at painting. 2. Despite that it was very relaxing. 3. The lady sitting next to me was very good at painting, gave me a bunch of helpful tips, and also finished in about half the time, with her Space Marine looking twice as good.

After this, I ended up browsing the show floor for a bit. My partner who came to the show with me had played in a game of Kids on Brooms the previous day, and really enjoyed it. I picked up a copy of that, and also a copy of Cats of Cthulhu. Then, after talking myself out of purchasing too much other stuff, I wandered back over to the Unpub Hall.

In the Unpub Hall, I found Privateer. It’s a drone piloting tactics game, and I really enjoyed it. It also had my favorite components of anything at in the Unpub hall. While I didn’t play a full game, I was really enjoying what I saw, and I’m going to keep an eye on this one. It’s made by TimeSpacePlace, and they told me they’re planning to have a tabletop simulator version of the game up at some point in the next year.

The last game of the day I played was a demo of Skytear. It’s a MOBA inspired miniatures board game, and while I didn’t quite mesh with it, it does have one really cool thing I want to quickly talk about: how it handles the concept of creep waves. (This next part is going to be a bit inside baseball for folks who don’t play MOBAs, so apologies in advance.)

Because Skytear is a miniatures game, the default assumption would be that creeps would be their own set of miniatures that spawn at the Ancient/Nexus, and then walk out into lane. This would require a lot of miniatures, effort, and extra movement. Skytear doesn’t do that. Instead, it has a “Capture Point.” It’s a little token that indicates where the creep wave currently is, and at the end of each set of rounds, it gets moved toward one of the towers, based on a variety of factors that simulate who’s applying more pressure to the wave. Then, new sets of creeps spawn in on this marker. It’s an incredible implementation of the system, and I really like it.

And that ended up being the last demo of the day. I wandered the show floor, grabbed some presents for friends, and headed back to the hotel. I really enjoyed PAX Unplugged. It was my first in-person convention since the start of lockdown, and I really appreciate the fact that everyone attending seemed committed to wearing masks, and following the safety rules. While we’ll most likely want to wait a few weeks to see how things turned out, I hope that this means that life can return, at least a bit, to normal.