As a child our imagination is free to run wild, allowing us to dream of becoming anything we desire, escape our current environment, and unite with a cast of characters unlike any in our physical world. That is precisely the underlying theme in Daedalic’s upcoming point-and-click adventure game, Night of the Rabbit, which stars a 12-year-old boy seeking solace in his dreams, where he wishes to become a wizard.
The rich and engrossing stories of The Chronicles of Narnia and Alice in Wonderland are borrowed from heavily, as the environments and many of the anthropomorphic characters illustrate immediately. Traveling alongside the boy is a clever and charming rabbit who whisked him into this wondrous world, although his true intentions are never made explicitly clear, leading the player to believe he may yet have a trick or two up his cotton-tailed sleeve. Read more
The PAX East show floor is filled with all kind of games and projects each year, and like anything trying to gain attention, location is key. Dinosaur Games learned this firsthand in the best way possible while showing off a pre-alpha build of their upcoming MechKnight Chronicles directly next to the ever-popular Fangamer booth. While a spot like this might help generate initial attention, it became clear that people were waiting in line to play less because of proximity and more because the preview build shows a lot of promise. Fans of Treasure’s Guardian Heroes or The Behemoth’s Castle Crashers might want to pay attention — this one stood out among the crowd.
“PAX East was INTENSE,” said Dinosaur’s Jesse Sosa. “The response we got was overwhelmingly positive. We all missed out on seeing anything else at the show because we could not leave our booth. There were just too many people there to try out MechKnight. Although, that’s a problem I was perfectly OK with having.”
Mercenary Kings is essentially 4-player Metal Slug with customizable weapons.
It’s rarely appropriate to boil a game down to such a simple statement, but it’s safe to say that if you’re sitting here thinking “4-player Metal Slug with weapon crafting! Fuck yes!”, then you’re going to gobble this game up like Gobstoppers (which actually aren’t very gobble-able). If that idea makes you yawn, then just move along.
Mercenary Kings is being developed by Tribute Games, the team responsible for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Wizorb, so they definitely have the chops to pull off such a project. Read more
There were several retro-styled projects on the PAX East 2013 show floor. A.N.N.E. and Mercenary Kings are just two examples. But one stood above the rest, the setting sun at its back with its arm outstretched, shovel to the sky. Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight was playable and I’m going to be honest with you: I think I’m in love.
Yacht Club was founded when a small group at Wayforward decided it was time to strike out and make their own way in the world. Their goal is to craft the kinds of games they want to play, or as they put it on their website, “original games that fuse modern and retro sensibilities.” These guys have worked on Contra 4 and Double Dragon Neon, so one might imagine they’ve got an idea or two about how to hit the mark they’ve set. One look at Shovel Knight confirms it.
If the phrase “Would be right at home on the original Nintendo” doesn’t fill you with glee then turn away — Shovel Knight is not for you. Everything about Yacht Club’s first project screams 8-bit, from the pixel graphics, limited color palette and chiptune soundtrack by Jake “Virt” Kaufman. Even the control scheme is tied to just two buttons and the D-pad. There’s a jump, an attack and the ability to move. Of course, the Shovel Blade is a little bit more versatile than this basic setup would first imply. Read more
“We’re trying to scare the shit out of players,” Philippe Morin boldly proclaimed when I asked him about Red Barrels Games’ upcoming release, Outlast.
Judging from the occasional shriek that emitted from the isolated, darkened booths that they used to demo the game at PAX East, it’s clear that they’re off to the a good start.
Outlast is a first-person horror game where you play as Miles Upshur, a journalist who is investigating a long-abandoned mental asylum that has recently been reopened. Miles has received a tip that things aren’t quite Kosher at the hospital, so he’s unwisely taken it upon himself to delve into the issue. The demo began as I climbed up scaffolding to sneak into the asylum, a decision I immediately regretted once I saw the ransacked-state of the place.
We all expect games to look fantastic these days, but Outlast does an uncanny job of actually making you feel like you are Miles. You see your feet when you look down at the floor and he reaches out his hand to open doors. You can hear him grunting and see his arms grabbing ledges to pull himself up. He’ll even automatically turn sideways and shimmy through obstructed corridors. All of these little touches combine to really immerse you in the world of Miles. Read more
Gaming these days is no stranger to genre mashing, with everything under the sun being locked on top of shooters and platformers like they were Lego blocks. Surprisingly enough, over the past couple of years there have only been a small spattering of puzzle-RPG combinations, with the only big standouts that come to mind being Puzzle Quest and Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes. Even if you were at PAX East, you may have missed out on this little gem of an almost-match-three-puzzler hidden off to the side behind some of the larger booths, but at the same time seeking to show off that it has the chops to be the next strong contender.
Residing on both an iPad and a laptop, Dungeon Hearts begins showing off a layout that wouldn’t be out of place in an older RPG, with your characters to the left facing off versus an impending opponent to the right. As you would normally be in position to select your characters’ movements via dialogue box, in comes a scrolling grid that developer Cube Roots calls the Fatestream, which contains the systems that control their actions and make it a unique and enjoyable experience. Read more
Nestled right in the heart of the Indie Megabooth on the PAX East show floor was The Swapper, a game that easily takes the crown for the PAX game most likely to make you feel like you’re trapped in a 70s sci-fi movie where everything is going to shit. In other words, it was marvelous.
The game is the product Facepalm Games, a two-man team based in Finland along with a few freelancers, including a script by Tom Jubert, who worked on Penumbra and FTL. I chatted with Creative Director Olli Harjola before sitting down to play, and he told me he was aiming to create a different type of experience. The project began with the idea of a brain in glass jar that could control other people and transfer its mind into other bodies. The more he played with it, the more serious the concept became. “I want to explore the theme of ‘What is mind?’”
Eventually the game evolved into The Swapper, a 2D puzzle platformer set in an abandoned laboratory where the protagonist wields the eponymously-named device that “creates clones and allows you to transfer your mind into the clones,” as Harjola puts it. Read more
There was a lot to take away from Supergiant Games’ booth at PAX East 2013, but the most obvious was that Transistor is on everyone’s radar. Long lines and a consistently crowded booth are usually clear indicators of hype, something this booth had no shortage of. Attendees were willing to spend two hours of their valuable time to give the game a spin, and after playing it, it’s easy to see why.
One might see the similarities to Bastion upon first glance and they wouldn’t be wrong. The top-down isometric viewpoint returns, as does the foundation for combat and heavy emphasis on story. But everything isn’t as it seems and there are some key changes that differentiate Transistor from its forerunner. Supergiant purposefully crafted the game with the intent to further explore their take on the Action-RPG genre.
“The details of [Transistor], and the tone and the atmosphere, the particular feel of it and its identity, that stuff takes a while to find and it’s taken a while to find here,” said Supergiant’s Greg Kasavin. “I don’t consider Bastion an experimental game and I don’t think a lot of people do. It plays like, on the surface at least, it plays like games you’ve played before. It might remind you of Zelda or Diablo (those aren’t necessarily direct influences) but we weren’t trying to invent a new genre with the game.” Read more