Let me just start this off by saying Howdy folks! This thread will be dedicated to the Indie games I saw at PAX East last weekend. The games listed will receive mostly favorable notes and reviews as I've decided simply to list the games that caught my eye and impressed me. This decision was made due to the fact that there was literally almost 60 booths in the Indie section of PAX, and some booths had multiple games on display. With that said, these are the top 5 games that impressed me, counting down to my favorite from the event, which many of you already have seen me talk about here on the forums.
5. Delver's Drop [delversdrop.com]: Official Description - Devler's Drop is a 2D Action RPG with fluid physics-based movement, snappy combat, shifting dungeons, and a rogue's gallery of character classes. With an emphasis on mystery and dynamic gameplay experiences, the game features randomization for infinite replay and multiple narrative paths.
Impression: This game brought me back to the action RPGs of old on consoles. The game has a lot of references and inspiration from those games, most noticeably the 2D Legend of Zelda games. The combat itself feels like a combination of old-school Action RPG while improving and adding the ability of 360 movement and combat. You are not confined to the usual Left, Right, Up, Down attacks from old 2D games, but are able to attack any direction you please.
Randomization of Dungeons was a key factor in making the game feel new every playthrough. Everytime you create a new game and decend into the drop you experience a different set of floors and dungeons. Your class and choices also affect what happens as part of the story you go through. All in all the game is a neat modern take on an old genre that was interesting and fun to play for the short period I had my hands on it. It definitely draws on nostalgia and goes with it, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I feel if done right this game could end up being something that would help build up a newbie twitch streamer and get a following.
4. Galak-Z: The Dimensional [galak-z.com]: Official Description - Galak-Z is a 2D sci-fi shooter. The game's levels are generated uniquely for each playthrough and are connected as an endless dungeon. The levels include spawners for enemies and traps.
Impression: This was a neat game that again goes back to the 2D inspiration of old console games. I talked with the team at the booth for a bit about how they'd explain the game to people and got a variety of comments. One guy said that it's UN Squadron in space, but for the modern gamer. UN Squadron, for those who don't know, was a popular 2D Shooter on the Super Nintendo. Others mentioned that the aim is to make a 2D shooter with inspiration drawn from the new roguelike games that have hit the market over the last few years, such as Don't Starve, Rogue Legacy, and Spelunky. Personally, I see a fancy, yet awesome, update to Asteroids.
Basically, the game is a 2D Space Survival game. A lot of the aspects of the game require planning ahead of time vesus just simply going through a side-scroller shooter killing all the enemies that keep appearing. In the gameplay I experienced you were able to use asteroids and other things on screen to avoid line-of-sight with enemy patrols. This allowed you to either sneak up behind enemies or avoid missiles and lasers by hugging the rocks and terrain. However, you have to be careful at the same time since there are enemies that hide within the terrain. I was hiding around the other side of an asteroid rock when a giant spider popped up and grabbed me. The combination of space shooter and survival definitely was interesting to me.
3. Wulver Blade [wulverblade.com]: Official Description: Wulverblade is a visceral, cinematic, side scrolling beatem-up, bringing a modern twist to the classic gameplay style of the 1990's arcade scene. There's no hand holding in Wulverblade, its straight into the action, old-school style. Wulverblade skips the starter and tucks straight into the meat!
Impression: The artwork in this game is beautiful. The levels in the game are very well done, and the soundtrack actually helped make the battles feel engaging. You play as a Guardian of the Northern Tribes that will defend the North from the Roman Army trying to seize it. I've always been a fan of ancient history, and while this isn't historically accurate or anything, the time period the game is set in definitely drew my interest.
The gameplay is pretty normal for side-scroller. You jump into the game and get thrown right into the action. I'm assuming the game itself will be pretty short, as much side-scrollers are. But the look and feel of it was amazing enough to make me really want to check it out. The game itself is currently due for release sometime during the summer of 2014.
2. Chasm [chasmgame.com]: Official Description: Chasm is a 2D Action-RPG Platformer. Taking equal inspiration from hack 'n slash dungeon crawlers and Metroidvania-style platformers, it will immerse you in a procedurally-generated fantasy world full of exciting treasure, deadly enemies, and abundant secrets.
Impression: This game reminded me of the older Castlevania games. You know...when the Castlevania series was still good. The game is presented in 2D with the ability to explore freely what I was told are six massive procedually generated areas. The game itself carries over most of the systems from other platformer gamers, such as needing to upgrade and/or discover new items and abilities to reach areas previously inaccessible. You will also hav eto battle and defeat numerous bosses throughout the game to obtain some of those special abilities.
The artwork in the game was pretty good for a 2D game, with weather and other aspects being thrown in. I enjoyed the short time I had with the game, and will most likely purchase it closer to launch. Currently the game is scheduled for release sometime in the Fall of 2014.
1. Darkest Dungeon [darkestdungeon.com]: Official Description: Darkest Dungeon is a hard-core RPG about the stresses of dungeon crawling. You will lead a band of four heroes on a perilous side-scrolling descent, dealing with a prodigious number of threats to their bodily health, and worse, a relentless assault on their mental fortitude! Five hundred feet below the earth you will not only fight unimaginable foes, but famine, disease, and the stress of the ever-encroaching dark. Darkest Dungeon focuses on the humanity and psychological vulnerability of the heroes and asks: What emotional toll does a life of adventure take?
Impression: I knew going into PAX East that this was the game I had to see. I've been looking forward to seeing it in person and I have to say I was not disappointed. People have seen the previous thread on our forums here that talks about the systems and aspects of the game. The game is actually hard! You'd think being a tutorial at PAX that they would tone down the difficulty so that people that try out the game could get that victorious feeling after successfully completing it, but no.
The key factor of this game is that this is not the story of how the heroes saved the day. It's the story of how the heroes nearly went crazy, almost died, lost members of their team and, hopefully, in the end come out after their heroic acts. After the time I had with the game I must say they are doing a fantastic job at creating a game for the hardcore RPG fans. The affliction system is truly interesting and the affects combat and exposure to certain situations have on your characters creates challenging decisions and scenarios you must create.
Prior to personally trying the game out, when I tried explaining to people what the game looked like I was saying think the original Diablo atmosphere and itemization combined with the combat systems from a game the likes of the older Final Fantasy series. After playing it though, this game is Final Fantasy meets Dark Souls, because holy shit you're going to die.