PAX South 2016 Day One Impressions

PaxSouth2016

Last year was my first foray into the world of PAX conventions when I attended PAX South. Returning for a second year to the wonderful city of San Antonio, I spent the first day of PAX attending a podcast panel, playing some fun indie games as well some tabletop games. Here are some quick impressions of the best games I had a chance to play today:

The Little Acre

TheLittleAcre

Irish development team Pewter Games has an absolutely gorgeous point and click adventure game on their hands. The art style is very reminiscent of hand drawn classic Disney animation (although the art direction is a bit more in the vein of Animaniacs). The sample I played through was a series of puzzles where Lily was trying to find out where her father disappeared to while bouncing back to Aiden after a puzzle is solved. I liked the way the flow of the game switched between both characters and the puzzles were intuitive and not overly obtuse in design (i.e. not like the old school LucasArt games). This is a game I am very much looking forward to playing more of once it is released later this year for PC and Xbox One.

Knee Deep (A swamp noir in three acts)

KneeDeep

This is another adventure puzzle game, but the presentation is very unique. The game is presented as a stage play where the player can choose dialogue options, which can be snarky, completely random, or straight edged. Prologue Games boasts that no conversation will end in failure. Having a background in theater, I was mostly impressed by this game because of the presentation of how sets move in and out on a stage as the scenes change. The first two acts are already available on Steam and the developers are showing off the game at PAX in support of the third act due to be available soon. I am really glad I stumbled across their booth because Steam has become so cluttered with games it is easy to miss interesting gems like this.

Infinium Strike

InfiniumStrike

Infinium Strike is a hybrid tower defense game where the towers are actually hard points on each side of a capital starship. Basically, towers vary in types from missile batteries to pulse lasers. The capital ship has additional weapons that can used when the cooldown refreshes. Camera controls allow for a straight on view from the hardpoints on the ship, but also allow for a roaming view around the outside of the ship (which provides a gorgeous space battle view). Similar to traditional tower defense games, waves of enemies attack the capital ship on each side and switching the camera view between each side allows for quickly moving to the side being attacked most heavily. Towers can be sold or upgraded as well. Watch out for this one this year on Steam from indie studio Codex Worlds.

Stories: The Path of Destinies

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Inspired by choose your own adventure books, Stories is an action adventure game that plays a lot like Bastion (and even has a narrator that provides commentary similarly). But the catch to Stories is that as the game is played, certain options are presented which may lead to the death of Reynardo, the rogueish fox you play as. Speaking with the Spearhead Games team today, I was told that the game has over 25 different story threads with over 25 hours of play. Visually Stories is a feast for your eyes. Look for this game soon, first on PS4.

Burgle Bros

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The final game I was completely taken with today was not a video game but rather a tabletop game. Last year, I was immediately drawn to a card game called Paperback (which is a mix of Dominion and Scrabble–which my kids enjoy immensely).  This year, Tim Fowers is back with Burgle Bros, which is a co-operative heist game. I played a full game with three other PAX attendees, and the game is easy to pick up and provides a lot of interesting and tense choices. Characters have special abilities that can be used once per turn. Tile cards are initially face down and can be uncovered by peeking from an adjacent location or moving onto the card, which can possibly trigger an alarm and cause the guard to show up. The team of players must work together to find where the safe is on each floor, unlock the combination, and then escape to the helicopter on the top floor before the guards discover and remove three stealth masks. The art style is just as fun and charming as Paperback‘s art was last year. This is a game that I can’t wait to bring back home and play with my kids and coworkers.

More impressions tomorrow from PAX. If the lineup from today is any indication, tomorrow will be just as excellent!

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.