PAX South 2015 Day 2 Impressions

Ronin_PAXSouth

Venturing back for Day 2 of PAX South, I revisited some of the booths I had only looked upon on Day 1 for a chance at getting some hands-on impressions. Today wasn’t nearly as overwhelming despite there seeming to be a bigger crowd than yesterday.

First up on my second day tour was Beyond Sol from Praxia Entertainment. Beyond Sol is a mix of civ simulator and space based real time combat. The civilizations can be friendly or potentially hostile (if one civ has resources that another one needs). Advancements to the civilization is done by constructing various buildings, which can then be upgraded for further tech. Additionally, Corporations can be built in a city which will allow for weapons, armor and system upgrades for your space fleet. The game looks fantastic with a stunning swirling nebula background and detailed cruisers, destroyers and dreadnought class space ships. Upgrades and new buildings are purchased by collecting materials from mining asteroids and salvaging destroyed space ships. The devs are saying that the game will be able to handle multiplayer co-op, which should make the game even more robust.

Next I visited the Devolver Digital booth to spend some time with three titles: Ronin, Noct, and Enter the Gungeon. Ronin is a ninja game that plays similarly to Gunpoint, only with a turn-based mechanic to movement and attacks which adds a nice strategic element to planning out moves. Combat can be pretty visceral and brutal, and one section today proved to be especially tricky for me and several other players. 

Noct is an interesting survival game in which everything is displayed as if from a top down thermal satellite feed. Objects are displayed with various levels of detail (cars are pretty obvious and buildings are just squares). Moving into a building means all visibility of the world outside is blocked since the thermal view is unable to see inside. Weapons and ammo can usually be scavenged while inside a building, but since the thermal view of the outside is blocked there is a chance that oversized spiders or lizards may be on the prowl looking for a tasty human to kill. Noct also will allow for cooperative multiplayer survival. For example players can drop weapons and ammo to share with others.

The third Devolver Digital game I checked out was Enter the Gungeon, which at first blush looks like just another twin stick shooter rogue-like, but the attention to detail is what makes the game so great. Tables can be flipped on their side to provide cover during combat, and enemies can do the same thing to even the odds. Another nice touch is that once a room is cleared of enemies, all coins that have dropped will automatically float to the player’s character, eliminating the chore of having to go around and pick everything up. Obviously guns must play a big role in a game with a title like Enter the Gungeon. Enemies even look like bullets or shotgun shells. Similar to other rogue-likes, some progression in the game is saved when a player dies, but the layout of the dungeon changes with each playthrough.

Finally we arrive at Light Fall from Bishop Games, a platformer reminiscent of Limbo without being framed around trial by death mechanics. The character has the ability to create a block in the air when a double-jump is made. A similar block can also be spawned in and moved around to unlock gates or maneuver tricky jumps. Visually, the game relies on silhouettes and various shades of black and purple to make up the landscape, which is then offset by deadly pink crystals acting as environmental hazards. Jumping feels very good in this game and the visuals are beautiful.

That’s all for today. Tomorrow should be a fairly light day as I’ve seen everything at this point that isn’t an hour or more wait in line. Maybe I’ll brave one of those lines, but either way I’ll find something interesting to occupy my time on the final day of PAX.

About the Author

Tim has been playing video games for more than 20 years. He manages to find time to game in between raising three kids and working as a network administrator. Follow Tim on Twitter @freemantim.