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PAX East 2017 Best in Show – Indie Games

by on March 15, 2017
 

PAX East is a joyous time of year where people like me get to go to a giant convention hall, see all of the best video game developers in the world, and play a bunch of games that we might never have known existed.  The big players are there like Playstation, Xbox and Nintendo, but a lot of what they have to offer are games that will be coming out in the near future and usually have a high level of hype around them to begin with.  For me, the best part of going to PAX is meeting small, indie game developers from around the world and playing their games that won’t get the same amount of attention the new Mass Effect would get.  A lot of the titles that I play have potential to be games that people would really love.  Of course there are some duds, but the few gems you find at PAX are what you think about and remember. Here are a couple of the games I really enjoyed and thought stood out among the 100’s of developers in Boston last weekend:

Brawlhalla

 

Brawlhalla was on display for the entire convention to see as it was on the huge screen of the PAX Arena.  Although it’s not an incredibly new game, it’s one that is soon coming to PS4 and that makes me excited, as I am not a PC gamer. One of the featured games in the PAX Arena and in its tournament area, this free to play on steam adventure is very reminiscent of Super Smash Bros.  It’s a battle royal with a slew of different characters with various strengths and weaknesses that use special moves to damage and eventually defeat the other players. The graphics and gameplay are super smooth and this is an incredibly fun game friends can enjoy for many hours. While playing against the developers at PAX, I noticed the small things that separated Brawlhalla from Super Smash Bros.  Starting off with no weapon, all players start on a somewhat level playing field.  As time goes on, weapons and other projectiles come along that you can use.  You can use these weapons or you can throw them at your opponent and pick up another.  This became a tactic for the dev as we fought and I noticed he was trying to keep the weapons out of my hands.  I had a bunch of fun with this game and found myself coming back to play it more through the convention.  Created by Blue Mammoth Games, this fun fighter is already available on Steam for free and will also be available on PS4 “very soon”.  I know I will be picking it up whenever it drops on the PS4.  If you’re still not sold, check out some gameplay below:

 

SOYF (S&#t on your friends!)

SOYF (S&#t on your friends!) is a multiplayer game where your main objective is to poop and destroy the other players, who are usually cute puppies or squishy looking things, with your poop. You float through a cave as you and 3 other players try to be the last one hit with the poop.  If you survive the onslaught, you win! This game was super fun and enjoyable, something as simple as pooping and firing it at friends makes for an enjoyable experience. Graphics were almost cell shaded and the controls were easy to master.  I thought the game was a fun, multiplayer game you could just pick up and play.  The name was pretty funny, which caused me to stop but I really thought this was a well made, fun game.  According to the team at Egonaut, it will be available on steam this summer!

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At Sundown:

I stopped by the Mild Beast Games booth to check out their featured game.  At Sundown is a top-down multiplayer stealth game where all the maps are covered in darkness, and every player shares the same view of the screen.  You have a variety of weapons to choose from, such as shotguns, swords, and handguns.  The shots ricochet off of some walls and cause a flash when you shoot, exposing your location. The representative at the booth said that she had seen games where it was all stealth and others where it was guns blazing.  I thought this was another fun multiplayer game that you could sit and play with friends at a party. The graphics and gameplay were smooth and enjoyable, so realistically, all you had to do was play.  As I played against strangers, I found myself yelling and laughing with the others playing.  At the end, we wanted to play again, which in my book is the sign of a good game. Availability for this game is up in the air but I was told look for this game to be out on Steam, PS4 and Xbox One this summer.

 

 

Perception:

Perception

 

I got a chance to take a look at Perception, a game about a blind girl named Cassie who is trying to figure out her past.  I wrote a small article while at PAX you can find here about my impressions.  Just know that this game was one of the stand out games at PAX for myself and others I chatted with about this game.  I played for about 20 minutes and was genuinely engulfed in the game, which is great because I normally do not enjoy narrative games. The Deep End Games put a lot of effort and passion into this game and it shows. From what I have experienced from PAX East, this game is a definite stand out. Look for it on Steam, Xbox One and PS4 this summer.
Out of all the experiences I had at PAX East 2017, I really enjoyed meeting new people, checking out games that were not well known and attempting to support developers in giving feedback and just enjoying their games.  The gaming industry is growing faster than ever before and indie games are how we get bigger and better AAA titles by supporting talented people who love to build games.  I enjoy checking out the weird and the wild, as well as the sad and confusing games that many people will never see.  Not every game I played this weekend was perfect but, someday we could see these companies develop the next Rocket League, which blew up into one of the biggest hits of 2015/16.  So support indie games and keep an eye out for these creative and fun titles in the near future!  You might actually enjoy yourself.