Below are quick reviews of games. If you want read the stories, you will find that here.
PAX if nothing if it isn’t about Games, Gamers, and Gaming Culture. In fact, many people who go to PAX do nothing but look a new games. This year I was super busy and didn’t get to give everything the attention it deserved; but I did get to look around a little bit.
“Magika” was played briefly in Co-Op… and is a friggin blast. Calling it Co-Op is being generous; half the time you’re accidentally killing the other players, the rest of the time your deliberately killing the other player. It has a limit of 4 players, but it’ll be fun to play at the next LAN party.
“Monaco” looked beautiful as ever, and makes me wish I had an Xbawx.
“Antichamber” is a puzzler that is about discovering the rules of an ever shifting universe. Your in a room, there is a lattice in the center of the room, and through the lattice you can see the exit. But as you step around the lattice you realize that it was an illusion. There is no exit. Only by peering through the lattice can you shift from this reality to the reality with the exit, and it happens so subtly that you don’t notice till you step around the lattice to find the exit still there. The puzzles look amazing, and the look of the game is simple, minimalistic, and crisp. I will buy this as soon as it is available.
“Solar 2” is a fun little game of cosmic proportions. You play a gravity well, starting out as a small planet, and moving up to a super massive black hole.
“Word Fighter” needs to be released already. Scrabble & StreetFighter had a Victorian Era baby. You find words in the mix, and the faster and longer the word the bigger the hit to your opponent. It’ll be a game for smartphones, both iPhone and Android.
“Vessel” is a water-physics puzzler that looks interesting. You play a steam-punk inventor who has to manipulate water physics to solve problems.
“Spy Party” was there again, with their packed booth. It’s a simple idea; one player plays the spy at a party, the other plays a sniper trying to assassinate the spy. It is literally a reverse Turing test of attempting to blend in with the NPCs. The game presents some unique technical challenges; such as having two people in the same real world room have completely different information. If Spy Party can find a way to solve these challenges, this is going to be an amazing party game. Also, as traditional for Spy Party, they had a secret indie game being demoed. I didn’t get the name this year, but it was some kind of 4D puzzler. It hurt my head trying to watch it.
“Torchlight 2” still looks good, still looks better than Diablo 3, and I still can’t wait for it to be released. It’s Torchlight, but with multilayer and sundry improvements.
“Orcs Must Die” is a 3rd person over the shoulder tower defense game. You set up traps, orcs run through them, and you kill the rest yourself. It’s priced to be at $15, and I can’t wait to buy it. Simple & fun
“End of Nations“, a MMO RTS from Trion Worlds (makers of RIFTS), is coming along nicely. The maps have more polish, the “armies” felt more focused and different. PAX didn’t radically change my opinion of the game, which has been and still is “This looks good, can’t wait for it to come out”.
“Rocksmith” is the newest evolution of the Guitar Hero genre of games. It’s gimmick is that it uses a real guitar, and that the console/TV is simply acting as an amplifier. So, if in the middle of “Stairway to Heaven” you decide to do your own custom guitar solo; the game will sing out every tone and rift. Of course, if you suck, you’ll hear it. No studio musician will be saving your ass because your on your 5th rum and are barley able to press the buttons in time. There are no buttons. I’m looking forward to hearing if this is actual able to teach people to play the guitar. It looks like it’ll be a great tool for it.
“Firefall” is a MMO FPS. They bought up almost all of the marketing they could at PAX. It was kind of crazy how much “Firefall” stuff was there. In fact, the only reason I’ll mention them here is that they were so pervasive at PAX that even if you never tried the demo they were a part of the PAX experience this year. The level of marketing was kinda ridiculous. The demo itself was amazingly well done and smooth, designed to bring attendee’s in as groups, lead that group through the demo, and dump everyone out at the same time. The entire process didn’t require any exhibitor interaction, making it very smooth. The game itself seems fun, and as a F2P game will be in my library, however it isn’t my style of game so I don’t see it getting much playtime without a friend also playing it.