PAX East ended several days ago, but its memory lingers on -- as does the sickness it bestowed on a handful of us poor Destructoid staffers. Much like how Jesus died for our sins, we risked our health for you, dear readers. So why not go ahead and read about some of our favorite things we saw at that plague-ridden show. Go on, now. Also, send us some drugs. We're dying here.
Here are our 10 favorite games, unranked. Make sure to check the full impressions for the games that interest you. Just click on their titles below!
"Congratulations, you just survived the tutorial," Just Shapes & Beats coder Mike Ducarme teased the small crowd clustered around Berzerk Studio's PAX East booth. A quartet of us had just run the gauntlet, bobbing and weaving our way through an imposing cannonade of pink missile fire.
We barely managed to scratch out a victory -- and that was only the tutorial? Glancing around the throng, there was a clear sense bewilderment and excitement among us. We wanted to see more.
"It's not a gravity gun; it's a magnet." Guru Games, developer of Magnetic: Cage Closed, stressed this to me at PAX East. It works like a real magnet, with fields radiating out in all directions, rather than affecting only a forward-facing space.
In practice, it functions similarly in a lot of cases. Attract to pull objects closer, repel to push them further. It's a bit of an oversimplification, but the magnet gun is central to solving the puzzles found in Cage Closed. However, puzzles aren't all the title has going for it; Magnetic also features more action-oriented sections, branching pathways, and a focus on player choice.
One of the highlights of my time at PAX East was sitting down and chatting with Dropsy’s creator, Jay Tholen. Jay’s a quiet, thoughtful man with what seems to be unlimited creative energy at his disposal. His sometimes offbeat, but unquestionably engaging creative force shines through in his surreal point-and-click “hugventure” Dropsy. At first glance, the Devolver-published game may seem as though it could be reduced to a psychedelic walking simulator built to shock or surprise the player, offering no real substance beyond that.
For some players that will surely suffice, and they’ll be very happy playing that game. That’s part of the sly brilliance Tholen’s weaving into Dropsy, in that it can be enjoyed, or perhaps more accurately said, interpreted, on many different levels.
In some ways it functions like a mirror – the observer, or in this case, the player, unconsciously injects something of themselves into the experience, ultimately shaping their perception of what the game is really about. Which is quite refreshing in that the game doesn't lead you by the nose, telling you what to think; it offers plenty of room for your own interpretations.
I have some good memories of playing single player FreQuency years ago. However, the only memories I have of the multiplayer mode are of me playing against my friends in high school and crushing them, then going off to college and playing against a guy in my dorm and being crushed. Neither situation was particularly fun.
With Harmonix's new Kickstarter-funded Amplitude, the multiplayer is getting a nice upgrade. Instead of FreQuency's simple head-to-head score attack, it uses something closer to the system found in Amplitude (2003). From that starting point, the player count has increased from two to four, and a handful of other tweaks have been implemented, turning it into a party game I can imagine a group switching to after arms and voices are shot from playing too much Rock Band.
On my last day covering PAX East, I had the chance to sit down with the inimitable Dan Marshall from Size Five Games to have a look at his gorgeous, stealthy, steampunk-centric burglary simulator The Swindle. We’ve...
Dan Adelman worked for Nintendo for many years, and was one of their unsung heroes for much of that time. While he has consistently voiced affection and respect for the company, he did end up resigning last year, in part because he felt like his role at Nintendo wasn't what it used to be. Now he's working on marketing and PR for a game called Axiom Verge, a game that Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime once said looked like Metroid.
Samus Aran has worked for Nintendo for many years, and has been considered one of their most iconic characters for much of that time. While she has consistently garnered affection and respect from fans of the company, she hasn't had a game of her own since the year 2010. Many feel that her role at Nintendo isn't what it used to be. Now she's appearing in regular installments of the Smash Bros. series, but she'd much rather be in Axiom Verge, a game that Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime once said looked like Metroid.
If I didn't know better, I'd think that Dan Adelman was Samus Aran's secret identity. If putting on glasses and civilian clothes is all Superman needed to do to trick us into thinking he's Clark Kent, then why couldn't Samus do the same thing? If it weren't for this video, I may still believe that was the case. The similarities between these two "Nintendo characters" are hard to shake, though when it comes to the discussion of "going indie," their differences definitely start to show.
For a while, the general aesthetic in games was dark and grimy, with muted colors to convey dismal feelings. The more recent counterculture of color was welcomed, bringing happiness back to the medium. But a funny thing happens when colorful palettes are taken a step too far. Add too many big smiles, bright eyes, and soothing pastels, and the mood turns from joyful to creepy.
We Happy Few cashes in on this uncanny area past whimsy. Its world is so bright that it feels alien. Indeed, behind the vivid color of Compulsion's newest creation is a dark place. It may be pretty, but it is eerier than any run-down mansion on a stormy night.
Audiosurf is more than seven years old now (wow), but it still holds a place as a desktop icon on my computer. I still play it regularly. The thing is, I almost never play it on any setting other than Casual with Mono. It is the thing I go to when I want to turn off my brain for a bit and just enjoy some music along with some pretty colors.
I got a chance to try out Harmonix Music VR at PAX East this past weekend, and it looks like it could fill that role perfectly. There is even less to concentrate on, but the step into virtual reality makes it more engrossing. I could see myself coming home from work, putting on the headset, and just chilling with it to decompress.
Mere seconds ago, I discovered that I am on the original list that inspired the development of a game called Social Justice Warriors. There is even an attack in the game based on some of the specific wording found ...
Let me set the scene: Day 1 of PAX has come to a close, or at least the show floor has. My friends and I have just finished dinner and are on our way back into the convention center to check out the Super Smash Bros. tou...
Dad by the Sword is iOS developer Rocketcat Games' first entry into the PC market and boy howdy, is it a doozy. Part sword-fighting simulator, part long-running dad joke, all demented loveliness.
Rocketcat's design expe...
Cosmochoria is a Kickstarter success story that is now about to see the light of day. It's a mix of exploration and tower defense all wrapped up in a warming, yet occasionally stressful package. There's a strong sense of wonderment to the randomly generated universe, and the art style is totally cute.
My time with Cosmochoria at PAX East brought a huge smile to my face, and if it wasn't for an upcoming appointment, I would have played for probably an entire hour or so!
During my time on the show floor at PAX East 2015, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dodge Roll Games to get a hands-on demo of its new gun-fighting dungeon crawler, Enter the Gungeon. When you think gun-centric games, ...
The first impression of a game matters a lot at PAX. If people aren't intrigued almost immediately, they may never play the game at all. My first impression of Tumblestonewas "oh cool another match-three game." I don't play many of them, so I barely had any interest.
However, knowing that Tumblestone and The Bridge, a brilliant indie puzzle game, share the same developer, I just had to give it a chance. Thank goodness I did, too, because it was easily the most intelligent game on the show floor.
It makes sense that she would turn to Sean Velasco, co-creator of Shovel Knight, for aid in this time of crisis. He and the team at Yacht Club Games recently announced plans to help Battletoads hop back into the spotlight, after having been shunned by their makers for even longer than Samus has. On top of that, plenty of fans have been asking Sean and company to allow Samus to be a special guest character in Shovel Knight on Nintendo consoles, and Yacht Club is known for making its fans happy.
While he knew that the fans wanted Samus in Shovel Knight, I don't think Sean expected to have the real live Samus Aran approach him about a cameo, but who better to represent Metroid fans than the star of the series herself? After watching this video a few times, I'm still not sure if Sean went for the idea or not. The only thing I know for sure is, Sean has some pretty awesome ideas on how a Shovel Knight Vs. Tingle boss fight would work. He told me all about it after Samus cleared out. As much as I love Samus, I think Tingle might be the right choice on this one, assuming that Shovel Knight ever ends up with guest Nintendo character at all.