The sheer number of games shown -- whether it was the PAX 10, Indie MegaBooth, or the random indie booths -- makes it hard to pick a few games that stood out. I have always been a big AAA supporter, but over the last few years I have been surprised by the smaller titles. There were several at PAX that I checked out, which are must plays for gamers. One of the sleekest looking games was Galak-Z by 17-Bit.
This is a fast paced shump that pays homage to some of the great classic 80s arcade games.; think of Galak-Z as 1 vs. 1000. Galak-Z has a robust storyline and character interaction. It was a great way to try out the PS4 controller and really break it in. This should be a great game to play in 2014 and it may be one of the reasons I get a PS4. Want more information on Galax-Z? I recommend checking out their site.
Dragon Fantasy Book II
Two of the other games I checked out were Dragon Fin Soup, which is coming to the PC and Dragon Fantasy Book II. Both are RPGS and should appeal to a lot of gamers. Dragon Fantasy Book II is a sequel to Dragon Fantasy Book, a 8-bit retro inspired RPG that was well received by PSN gamers earlier this year. Dragon Fantasy Book II features cross play on Vita and PS3. There is co-op gameplay, rich 16-bit sprites, which should remind gamers of Chrono Trigger and the Secret of Mana. The team said they were influenced by those games as well as Earthbound. From what I played and listened to at PAX, there is an amazing soundtrack and a lot of content. Gamers can expect to recruit at least 60 monsters to their parties in Dragon Fantasy Book II. The monsters will level different from the humans but this adds all sorts of crazy party combinations. This fast paced turned based game is perfect to play on the Vita and Dragon Fantasy Book II comes out this fall. More information can be found here.
Dragon Fin Soup
Dragon Fin Soup is being developed by Grimm Bros and is an interesting take on Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales. The main characters in the game are taken from fairy tales but Grimm Bros has put their own spin on them. These characters will be deeply flawed. Dragon Fin Soup looks like a modern 32-bit RPG with a dash of 16-bit meets late 90s PC RPG influence. I also kept getting a modernized “Link to the Past” vibe from the game. There will be multiple classes for gamers to choose from including a ninja and a mage. The game will have a crafting system, pets and magic. The team has mentioned the game could come to other platforms in the future. I asked about co-op, and it was something that could happen in the future. Grimm Bros site has more information on the game and some video footage of the game.
Hotline Miami 2
I spent a little bit of time with Hotline Miami 2 and it looks like it will be a blast.
There were two other games at PAX I spent some time with. I got to chat with Switchblade Monkeys, the team behind Secret Ponchos for the PS4. This was another great excuse to play the PS4. Secret Ponchos is an arena based shooter with a western theme. The game features a group of outlaws trying to collect bounties on one another. There are several game modes, including free for all and gang fights. Outlaws can be customized and created. There are 5 different outlaws, each of them with their own unique weapons, play style and abilities. Some are fast with short ranged guns, others are slow with long range weapons. Personally, I found myself drawn to the Phantom Poncho, who was fast with a close range shotgun . I tried Kid Red with his fast shooting dual pistols but I couldn't get the hang of it. Secret Ponchos is fast paced and the music is fantastic. The game does support two-man split screen. Gamers will see this game sometime in 2014. If you are interested, here is more information.
The last indie title I checked out was from Klei, the team behind Shank 2, Don't Starve, and the Mark of the Ninja. I loved Shank 2, and I enjoyed Mark of the Ninja, although my playing style is not what the game is about. Their new project is Incognita. Think of the game as a strategy based espionage game. It plays on a grid like X-Com. Players have a team of agents they must guide around the map. Sneaking is a big part although some players may try to blast their way through. I would recommend disabling alarms, taking out guards silently, and gathering loot. Incognita rewards different play styles and supports a variety of classes with beneficial abilities such as hacking, those who can absorb damage, stealthy characters, and the list goes on and on. I really liked the way Incognita looked and it forces gamers to plan their actions and think about what they do. Knocking out a guard will only keep him out for a set number of turns and closing doors between rooms may help avoid guards seeing your party members. Incognita should come to PC in 2014; here are the details.
I had a blast at the indie booths and I wish I had more time to play and see what else is out there.