And just like that, PAX East 2015 has ended. Well… not just like that; Danielle and I are pretty tired from walking everywhere, but the good news is that we finally found where they were selling chicken fingers! It was to the right of the Gauntlet reference.
We also spent the majority of our time on the expo floor and played some more great games!
Wander – A visually stunning non-combat MMO where players solve a collective mystery of how they got to this location, and collect different beast forms that will add new ways to explore once they’re unlocked (including the power of flight and underwater swimming).
Perennial – Sometimes games don’t have to be inventive, they just need to do what they do consistently well. That’s the case with Perennial, which is a highly competent platforming adventure that sets up some great scenarios for you to learn as you go.
Planet of the Eyes – A cute Unity platformer with a friendly looking robot who seems to knock a lot of giant rock spires over on an unknown planet just so he can get from A to B; it looks great standing still and even better in motion.
Induction – A time manipulation puzzle game where you need to chart your course properly to advance through the aid of ghost pieces; it starts off simple, and uses shapes without text to relay the initial instructions (although eventually you’ll get to button prompts).
A Druid’s Duel – An isometric turn-based strategy game that plays out a little like Stratego, but with varying terrain, animal transformations, terrain altering, and base capturing. Average rounds are 5-15, so it looks like it’ll be fun in short bursts.
Downwell – A game that shows you can do a lot with just directional controls and a button; this game has you moving left and right to continue falling down a giant hole (there’s platforms along the way) with only your one-directional gun boots to help slow your descent and clear a path. The sound of the gun boots is top notch and immensely satisfying, although I wasn’t a fan of the clinking gems that drop.
Never Ending Night – OK, I know I’ve already listed a truckload of platforming games, but I want to be sure to also call out attention to story, and this game looks to have a fair amount of text surrounding the growing relationship of its two lead characters. Occasional humorous dialogue also keeps things from getting too emotional, some of it based on player actions (try jumping off the balcony to the right at the game start).
The Magic Circle – a first-person game that’s high in concept and in line with the growing trend of treating games as the pieces of software they are; players find themselves in a virtual world that’s been in development for 20 years (don’t worry, in actuality it’s only been 2 for this team) with basically a set of developer tools instead of weapons and items to aid in the adventure.
It was also nice to see some exciting game projects that I’ve been following for a while. Some games that have already met with success like Shovel Knight and Titan Souls were present and drawing some big crowds (which they absolutely deserve), but also there were a few games that have come onto my radar one way or another and it was nice to see where they stood.
JumpJet Rex – Summer 2014, I remember this game as one of the highlights of the GameBoy Jam, so I was surprised to find it on the floor now in full color. The game has a very satisfying double jump worth designing a full game around, so it’ll be neat to see how creatively they can expand the scope of the levels while still keeping things simple and interesting.
Gathering Sky – Here’s a game I first encountered at BosFIG 2013 (although it might’ve been a different name at the time) that’s all about a bird in flight; able to ride wind gusts, explore, and collect other birds to form a flock. It’s quite peaceful, and is artfully effective in communicating its controls and mechanics to the player.
Bleak – Shown at PAX East 2013, this adventure platformer was really broad in scope, but looked to deliver a very big campaign spanning a giant world map the player could journey to at their leisure. The creative team has since scaled back, but I’m rooting for this to become a reality, as it’s one of the few platforming games out there that’s not being billed as a puzzle-platformer.
Rebooting our Roots: Bringing Our Favorite Genres Back To Life – We actually only saw one panel today but it was a great one led by our friend Ken Gagne of Game Bits and Juiced.GS. Featuring a panel of point-and-click adventure developers (including Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games) the panel discussed what got them into picking up the genre torch after Sierra and LucasArts moved on, and made a great case for why pixel art still matters in today’s world.