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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.