PAX East 2014 Games Round-up

I was lucky enough to be able to attend PAX East this past weekend. For those who don’t know, PAX is short for Penny Arcade Expo, and is a 3-day conference in Boston based entirely around gaming, with previews of upcoming games, informative panels on gaming industry topics, and opportunities to play a lot of games.

Here are a few of the games that stood out to me over the weekend:

Max Gentlemen

(Men Who Wear Many Hats)

photo-mainMG was such a simple game, but completely silly and fun, and was one of my favorite things to stop by and play.

Made by the aptly named Men Who Wear Many Hats (Organ Trail), Max Gentlemen is a game about stacking tophats on your head. You drink beers to get more hats, and then dodge flying objects (like other beers, boomerangs, and shuttlecocks) to keep them from getting knocked off your head. You can either play solo for a high score, or compete against a friend to see who can get the most hats. One of the best things is that in addition to the normal selectable characters, they also had a Corgi, a bear, and Octodad.

It sounds ridiculous, and it really was, but it was that over-the-topness that made it incredibly fun. It’s best to see it in action, but I couldn’t find a video of the mode they had on the show floor, so check out their Kickstarter page for it to check it out: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hatsproductions/max-gentlemen

Also, it’s free. So there’s that.

Available: Out soon on Android/iOS/Tablet

Dungeon of the Endless

(Amplitude Studios)

“A neo-old-school pixel art, dungeon, squad-based, adventure, tower defense, roguelike-like, role-playing, strategy game.”

Made by Amplitude (Endless Space), DotE combines a LOT of different elements into one game. Your squad of characters is tasked with exploring the starship they’re stranded on in search of the exit. They need to protect the “crystal”, which powers the rooms of the dungeon, which in turn lets you build towers that help you survive. It’s an RPG so you can level up and upgrade your characters with new equipment, and boost their stats. There’s a bit of an RTS feel to it also, since there are four resources that you need to manage to build towers, research new things, recruit people, and power rooms.

Available: Early Access now on Steam.

Secret Ponchos

(Switchblade Monkeys)

Secret Ponchos is a multiplayer, overhead-camera shooter, set in a Wild West town. You can either fight in one-on-one duels, team-based gang fights, or play a deathmatch mode with about 7 other players. (Deathmatch was set up in the PAX booth.)

The controls, mostly the aiming and reloading parts, were a little weird and took some getting used to, but once I got the hang of it, it was thoroughly enjoyable. The broad range of characters caters to many different play styles, so everyone should be able to find at least one character they’re comfortable with.

Also, the woman staffing the booth was very personable, fun to talk to, and had wicked cool hair. (I didn’t catch her name, but if you read this, high-five!)

Fun fact: “Secret Ponchos” started off as the code name for the project, and it just stuck. The same thing happened with a lot of the characters, their names come from the nicknames that the devs called them while working on it.

Available: Later this summer on PS4.

Hyper Light Drifter

(Heart Machine)

Hyper Light Drifter is a 2D, 8-/16-bit pixel art game that plays a bit like a modernized A Link to the Past or Diablo: lots of enemies, tactical thinking, a large world with a deep backstory. The scope of the game looks grand and ambitious.

I backed this on Kickstarter back when I first heard about it, but got to play it a little at PAX. The combat is really fun and satisfying, and I’m really looking forward to when this comes out.

Available: Later this year on PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Vita, Wii U, and Ouya. (Basically everywhere but Xbox One)

Crypt of the NecroDancer

NecroDancer is a rhythm-based dungeon-crawler game. Set to a fun, upbeat score, you control your characters in time to the beat by stepping on dance pads. Moving and attacking is as simple as stepping in a direction, and spells and special attacks can be used by hitting two directions at once. It’s a novel idea and always had a great crowd. I’m looking forward to this one coming out later this year, although I’ll need to do a bit of dungeon-crawling of my own to pull my dance pads out of the depths of my closet first…

Available: Later this year on Steam. (http://necrodancer.com/)

Infinite Crisis

(Turbine Entertainment)

Infinite Crisis - Battle Scene

A DC Universe MOBA. ‘Nuff said.

Available: Now at https://www.infinitecrisis.com

 

Also be sure to check out:

  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (Asteroid Base): A two-player co-op game where you both control various systems on a spaceship.
  • Road Not Taken (Spry Fox): A roguelike puzzle game coming out later this year. The demo was pretty fun, and the art style is beautiful.
  • Gods Will Be Watching (Deconstructeam): A point and click adventure that focused on moral choices. I didn’t get to play this, but it sounded really interesting.
  • Drunken Robot Pornography (Dejobaan Games): Why is giving a robot bartender sentience a bad idea? Because life turns into a bullet-hell FPS.
  • Tower of Guns (Terrible Posture Games): A Quake-like FPS with procedurally-generated levels. As a “lunch break” game,  it offers a fun shooter experience that can be consumed in short bursts.

Those were my favorites from what I saw at PAX. (If you couldn’t tell, I hung out in the Indie section a lot.)

Did I miss anything? What were some of your favorite games this year?

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