Adventures Video Games

PAX Prime 2014 Part III: Games, Games, Games

Alright, now for the part of my PAX Prime 2014 recap that I know y’all are actually interested in: The Games.

As I’d mentioned in Part I, this was my first PAX where I wasn’t working the show floor so I actually got a chance to play some games. After making a list of everything I played, I decided to organize this post according to the themes I noticed emerging, since that seemed like the most logical way of doing things. In each category I’ve ranked my top three games using the totally subjective “I had fun” scale.

I should also point out that some of my favourite games were actually played at the Seattle Indies Expo that happened on September 1st outside of the convention, but since I played them on this same trip I decided to lump them together with everything else.

AAA


The Order: 1886 – Story based shooter with fun steampunk weapons created by none other than Nikola Tesla himself. Mostly I’m into the moody Victorian setting, monster hunter plot & thermite cannon. That’s right. Thermite. Cannon.

Alien Isolation – From what I can tell, this is an Alien game done right. It’s stealth based, not combat based & looks scary as fuck. I got in the wrong line and ended up playing the crazy hard 3 min challenge, but it still looks like it’ll adequately soothe the sting of Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Smash Bros. Wii U – I got to play this one with Usagi and some strangers and was shocked to find I came in 2nd both times we played. I’m never usually that good at a Smash Bros. game.

Puzzle Coop


Never Alone – Cooperative platformer with puzzle elements based on traditional Alaskan Native American stories, made in collaboration with Native American communities in Alaska. This game is an incredible gem and I want nothing but success for it and the developers.

Together: Amna & Saif – Puzzle game that requires players to work together to solve puzzles and progress through maze-like levels. Gets extra kudos for keeping diversity and accessibility in mind while the game was being designed.

Chariot – A charming twist on the platformer where players need to work together in order to push/pull their chariot across an increasingly unforgiving terrain.

Mobile Wow!

Sneaky Sneaky Teaser
Sneaky Sneaky – Turn based stealth dungeon crawler for tablet. Insanely polished and fun to play, this one should be released sometime in October 2014.

Adventure Time Game Wizard – This one is sort of a game within a game. Using the Pixel Press framework, you create your own platforming levels that are then dressed up with preloaded Adventure Time assets.

Moonrise – Super slick mobile based monster collection/battle game a la Pokemon. Features cross platform play and customizable avatars.

Couch Coop/Multiplayer

Viking Squad Splash
Viking Squad – Castle Crashers style brawler for up to 4 players with procedurally generated levels & lane based play. Also, characters have RPG-like class based play styles, meaning I can actually play a ranged class in a brawler. From the guys who made N+.

Game 4 – Stripped-down SRPG by the guys who made Castle Crashers. Features battle cupcakes, a space bear and lots more weirdness.

Crawl – Already available on Steam, this multiplayer dungeon crawler features super minimalist pixel art and a sort of capture the flag gameplay style where players take turns being monsters and adventurers.

Educational


Counting Kingdom – Math based tower defense game where numbers are magic and players need to add and subtract to defeat an onslaught of monsters. Like Plants Vs. Zombies with numbers.

Machineers – Episodic construction puzzle game for teaching programming through experiential learning. Features a female protagonist and gameplay that will keep even adults entertained.

Penguemic: World Domination – Vocabulary building game from Learn District where you use SAT words as weapons to defeat bears and protect all of penguin kind.

Honourable Mention

Magnetic by Nature – Neat twist on classic platforming.
Free-Range Dragons – New prototype from Spry Fox (makers of Triple Town & Road Not Taken).
The Moon Is Dying – Trippy little mobile game about a love affair between an umbrella and an inner tube.
Dragon Fin Soup – Gorgeous rogue-like.
SlashDash – Team based capture the flag for up to 4 people.
Sportsball – Competitive multiplayer game for up to 3 people which is basically bird polo.
Tumblestone – Casual competitive match 4 puzzle game with a variety of game modes.
Framed – Narrative puzzle game for tablets based on film/graphic novels.

Then there’s Sonic Boom, which I stood in line FOREVER to play just to get the swag bag for my nephew. It was embarrassing. 3D platformers are not my genre and I know the staff guy was honestly trying to help, but all of his offers of aid just served to reinforce how badly I was failing at even the most basic tasks. Even getting schooled in the Alien: Isolation challenge wasn’t that humiliating, especially since there was a 4 year old on her mom’s lap doing better than I did. Ugh.

You can read about the rest of my PAX Prime 2014 experiences here and here.

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Jane Y.
    September 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I love the Never Alone trailer. And I love that it’s made in partnership with the Alaska Native community.

    • Reply
      Mariko
      September 17, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Yeah, I’d been intrigue about it for a while before I got to play it and I gotta say it was still impressive. Very polished, fun to play and the cooperative aspect is really well integrated.

  • Reply
    kaycreate
    September 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    As much as I love the looks of The Order, I doubt we’ll have a PS4 in the near future. However i am super excited for Smash Brothers having a 3DS version! Sneaky Sneaky looks like a ton of fun, and Never Alone looks great too!

    • Reply
      Mariko
      September 17, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Yeah, I’m sure half the reason I’m excited about The Order is so that I’ll have something to play on the PS4. But yeah, definitely keep an eye out for Sneaky Sneaky & Never Alone. Really cool stuff.

      • Reply
        kaycreate
        September 17, 2014 at 12:57 pm

        This is totally unrelated to your post, but what would be the best way to keep in the loop update-wise about War of Zodiarcs? I signed up for the Cardboard Utopia newsletter, will that do? My hubs and I are definitely onboard when crowdfunding becomes available!

        • Reply
          Mariko
          September 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm

          Oh wow. Thanks so much! The newsletter is good, but even better would be creating an account on the Square Enix Collective page (http://collective.square-enix.com/projects/22/war-of-zodiarcs) and registering your support. You’ll get faster updates and be notified the instant we move on to crowdfunding.

          • kaycreate
            September 19, 2014 at 8:46 am

            Sweet! I did that the same day too, so I’m all set. Thanks! 🙂

          • Mariko
            September 19, 2014 at 4:42 pm

            Amazing! Thanks again. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jenn
    September 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I’m so excited for Smash Bros., though I’ll be getting it on the 3DS since I still don’t own a Wii U. Never Alone looks beautiful. I’m looking forward to Dragon Fin Soup, as well.

    • Reply
      Mariko
      September 17, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Yeah, actually getting to play Dragon Fin Soup was great. Can you believe that all the art (concepts & in-game) was done by one guy?!

  • Reply
    Kerry
    September 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    The Order: 1886 looks very cool, and Never Alone looks like a game I would actually play (I am notoriously terrible at video games).

    • Reply
      Mariko
      September 18, 2014 at 7:46 am

      Never Alone can be tricky, but gosh is it beautiful. There were actually a lot of games for people who are terrible at games in the indie sections. That tends to be the stuff that excites me.

  • Reply
    Selkie
    September 28, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Never Alone looks wonderful. I may have to overlook the fact that it’s a puzzler and try it out.

    • Reply
      Mariko
      September 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      If you can handle games like “Limbo,” or “Braid” you’ll have no trouble with Never Alone.

      • Reply
        Selkie
        September 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm

        I loved Limbo, but disliked Braid. I’ll check it out anyway ^^ (which usually means…*impulsive, drunken Steam purchase*).

        • Reply
          Mariko
          September 28, 2014 at 5:57 pm

          It’s definitely more Limbo than Braid, so you’ll be fine.

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