I was lucky enough to attend Penny Arcade Expo East in Boston, MA to check out the latest in digital/indie gaming from developers all over the globe. I gathered up all of my digital favorites from games I got to demo on the expo floor. Here are tonight’s top stories (for the games I got to try).
This post will be on the Digital gaming, check out my next post for the games I missed out on!
Not into digital? Check out our Tabletop post!
2015 is certainly the year of the 2D Puzzler/Side Scroller. But how do some of the developers make people want to keep playing them? What makes them different? I’ll touch on that a little, but also games that are not “on trend” for this year.
Tearaway from Media Molecule
I could not be more excited for this game. Media Molecule, the developer responsible for LittleBigPlanet 1 and 2, has come out with an even more visually stimulating game called Tearaway. The name comes from the look and feel of the game, as it is made to look like it is made entirely out of construction paper – characters included! The look and feel of paper is really cool as you’re walking through the environment as well, bridges and steps will “unroll” and you can even use your controller to cut out shapes to put into the environment. I gave some guy a mustache and cut out a pumpkin for the demo – very cool. As for the playthrough, what I loved most about it was the ability to use your controller to interact with the environment. The main character that you’re controlling can toss up an acorn or a chipmunk (adorable, not sadistic. I promise), and then you can use the controller to decide where it lands in the game space. The original game is currently available on the PS Vita, but the PS4 version will be coming soon.
Armikrog from Pencil Test Studios
Do you guys remember playing Neverhood? If you don’t, go watch this video to jog your memory. If you’ve never played that, you might be more familiar with the studio’s work on Earthworm Jim. This game is the newest iteration of the claymation Neverhood reprise, with new insanely frustrating puzzles and voiced characters! To my knowledge this game is not a sequel nor has anything to do with Neverhood. The playtest at PAX may have been a little buggy, but the art and content is all there enough for me to know I want to give it a good run through when it actually comes out. Those puzzles are insanely difficult, and every lever you pull or button you press affects your environment, so you need to be on your A game if you want to conquer this.
Guild of Dungeoneering by Gambrinous
Build a dungeon with a drawn & armored character of your choice! Explore parts of a dungeon to get card-like pieces that can build more of the dungeon (like adding hallways and treasure rooms), find treasure to get armor and weaponry, fight monsters using a card system (not a bad one, I promise!) and defeat the DM. One of the interesting mechanics of this game is that your character makes up his own mind on where to go, so make sure your moves are enticing enough! Great demo, and I know two of the people I went to PAX with intend on buying a copy when it comes out.
Tumblestone by the Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Remember Snood? Make it into funny lookin’ blocks, and make this a slightly more challenging multiplayer puzzle racer. Eliminate 3 of the same colored blocks at a time, and if you don’t have 3 of the same color visible, reset your board. Race to clear the board first! My husband kicked my butt, as well as some innocent bystanders. Coming soon to basically every platform you can name.
Light in the Dark from Dreamgate Studios
This game was actually really interesting, and I could see it getting far more challenging as you introduce more colors. It’s a mobile game where you have to move these little dudes who shine light to wake up a baby that is a corresponding color. The colors can mix, so you need to start using your environment to make sure that your colors don’t mix, otherwise you won’t be able to reach the goal. Upon looking at the iOS game trailer, you will eventually run into enemies that wake up and need to be dealt with via blocking and well timed stunts. This game is available on most mobile app stores for $1.99 – worth the download!
Castle Story by Sauropod Studio
I love building things. I love little yellow men who are adorably all over the booth. I wanted so badly to love this game right there at the convention. I sat down and tried to play, and a rep had to walk me through all of the controls (which were also right next to me on a sheet of paper, but apparently I can’t read). I imagine that a tutorial would help when you first open the game, but because they wanted to show all of the capabilities, you start out just dropped into the field with your adorable little “Bricktons” and none the
wiser about how to build and defend your tower. I haven’t totally given up on it, because the art is well done and I’m not familiar with Minecraft or tower builders in general, but there’s no way that just sitting down in front of this I would’ve known to build a storage unit, use the right click to assign my Bricktons to go to a nearby cave (which you can’t see without zooming out) and create an archer to stand guard on top of my unfinished tower. I left the booth saying I really wanted to spend a solid 30 minutes alone with it so I could wrap my head around it, because a game like this is not something you can simply jump into. According to the one-sheet, the game has been in development since 2012 from a kickstarter, so I hope they work out some of those UI kinks before they release. I have high hopes for this, and would love to get to try it again.
For a large amount of the major developer games that were on the floor, like Guild Wars 2, Overwatch and anything over by Square Enix, the lines were either completely capped or hours long. What you can count on for those games though, is that there will be playable demos available online at some point, or because they are so main stream you’ll get a chance to see or play them at some point anyway. Maybe when I magically have a media pass next year, I’ll have the opportunity to jump the line and check them out.
Stay tuned for my next post on all of the other games that I didn’t get to try, but want to keep my eye on.
Did you go to PAX and try out any of these games? Leave me a note in the comments with your thoughts!