PAX has again come and gone, and I must once more weep into my chocolate milk, as I have not yet had the pleasure of attending one. However, the folks in charge of the PAX Indie Megabooth have been good enough to index their featured games on this newfangled information superhighway. This allows those of us who fail to chase our dreams to share in the mirth and merriment of 75,000 sweaty nerds being squeezed together like space-trash in a Death Star compactor – sans the trash-serpent. Or maybe including the trash-serpent, perhaps I don’t want to know.
Below are the new indie titles which, through divine inspiration, we have selected as the stand-out games to watch. We wanted to focus on “new” titles, so you may notice a lack of sequels, and in-development titles currently playable through Early Access, Free-To-Play models or an open beta.
Hello, would you care to try the special? Today we’re featuring a gorgeously rendered strategy game inspired heavily by tabletop systems, sautéed with medieval intrigue and regicide, and presented with animal characters reminiscent of your favorite childhood animated features.
The correct answer to the question above is “yes”. In keeping with Alternate Fire’s impeccable journalistic integrity, we break the primary rule of this roundup with the very first entry. Armello was fully released on September 1st, 2015, but looks so damn awesome that it simply could not be passed up. Also, it starts with “A” and was therefore prominently featured near the beginning of the list on the PAX website. Developers, are you paying attention? Now you know how to get coverage out of us. Alphabetical order is key.
Are you in your late 20’s or early 30’s? Did you piss your parents off by playing Desert Strike on your 16-bit console long into the wee hours of the night? No? Well we can’t all have awesome childhoods.
For those of us who did slice out that little corner of heaven, there is much rejoicing to be had with the impending arrival of Brigador. I don’t know how better to describe it than a modern-day take on the “Strike” formula. If that sentence didn’t cause you to have to change your pants, I don’t know what else to say to you; other than Brigador enters Early Access on October 20th.
I’m obviously a fan of indie games, but sometimes I feel like the retro, bit-era, pixel-art aesthetic is a little overused. There are a growing number of games which I feel would have been much better complimented with a more ambitious design. Hyper Light Drifter is not one of them.
A bit-era action RPG which touts grander design elements from other games of that period, Hyper Light Drifter’s gameplay trailer impresses with an oppressive atmosphere straight out of Neon Genesis: Evangelion, smooth animation, and intriguing set-pieces. There appears to be many giant robot-things, some that you use and some that you fight. Giant robot-things good.
Great, another unfinished indie open-world 1st-person fantasy game. This one has you wandering around aimlessly, pondering the meaning of life and… jumping into gameplay elements, enemies, and level designs and changing programming values in order to finish and ship the game, or cancel it? Keep talking, Mr. Question, you have my attention.
To be fair, this concept does sound a bit akin to concepts explored by 2014’s Hack ‘n’ Slash by Double Fine, but The Magic Circle seems to make the ‘hacking’ a bit more user-friendly. The ability to edit aspects of the game world seems to be built into the user interface and may not require players to know as much LUA. Also, our old indie friend Mr. Disembodied Voice is back to add character to the experience. Admit it, you’re glad to see him again.
Just generally speaking, the PC needs more 4-player games. I’m sure I’m not alone in my aversion to the unwashed hordes of miscreants populating internet multiplayer servers, and the more opportunities I’m afforded to ostracize the general public and have an intimate gaming session with my friends, the better.
Moon Hunters looks to be a promising procedurally generated action RPG where players not only have choices to roleplay their character, they can also make decisions throughout their progression which also determine their character’s past. Plenty of RPGs have instituted a system that asks you about who you are and where you’re from, but I can’t recall one that asks you to build your legend as you play.
Indie-hit Papers, Please taught us the joy of operating menial bureaucratic tasks for an oppressive alternate reality Eastern Bloc government, all through the window of late 80’s-style PC graphics. It was more fun and addicting than it really had any right to be.
The Westport Independent clearly draws inspiration from the aforementioned dystopian retro mega-hit. Play as a newspaper editor deciding what to print in an increasingly volatile political climate. If the thought of hitting that “REJECT” stamper still gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, keep an eye on this one.
Pronounced “Why Two Kay” (I think?), this title is a shameless cash grab aimed at late Generation X to early Generation Y. Well, Ackk Studios, it’s not going to work. You’re not going to get a dime from me. You’re going to get all of my money.
Touted as a post-modern JRPG set in the 90’s, this title is a hipster’s wet dream. The trailer promises copious amounts of bizarre imagery and anime-style plot devices. So sit back, cozy up in your finest flannel, put on that Live record, much on some pocky and await the arrival of what is surely to be one of the stranger games to come out of this indie generation.
It’s a game where you play a pug in a park, sniffing butts. Complete with pug-butt controller. Destined to be arguably the best pug-based butt sniffing simulator ever released.
Did We Miss Anything?
Are there any glaring omissions that you just cannot suffer to pass? Feel free to let us know what indie titles from PAX you’re most looking forward to in the comments section.