PAX South 2016 Day Two Impressions

PaxSouth2016_1

Returning to the Henry B Gonzalez Convention center for Day Two of PAX South, I managed to get some time in on a few more gaming gems. Before I dive into the games, I just want to say that the environment is truly a fantastic treat for gamers of all persuasions–board games, console games, PC games, cosplay. You name it, fans of all kinds are supportive and a positive vibe fills the queue lines before the hall opens right through the moment the PAX begins and chaos descends upon all of the vendors and the goods they have on display. Just wanted to give a shoutout to the friendly Enforcers and dedicated cosplayers!

PaxSouth2016_2 PaxSouth2016_3 PaxSouth2016_4

Unfortunately I started to feel a bit under the weather midway through my time at PAX today so I didn’t get a chance to sample many games. I’m sure that a solid afternoon of rest and a full night’s sleep will allow me the opportunity to see another round of gems tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Ultimate Chicken Horse

PaxSouth2016_UltimateChickenHorse

Good-spirited gaming was on full display this morning when I walked up to the booth for Clever Endeavor Games’ Ultimate Chicken Horse. Ultimate Chicken Horse is a wonderfully charming and inventive mashup of local co-op side scrolling, level building, racing, and competition. Players choose from a dozen or so farm animals and then pick a level theme (the one I played was Dance Party–more on that in a moment) and then a screen is presented where each player can pick an item to place somewhere in the level to help the animals cross to the finish line. Once all items are placed, the game begins and players must move their animals through the obstacles to reach the finish flag. Points are awarded to any players that finish (unless the placement of items makes the race too easy) and the loop starts over. A new set of items are available for selection and players again take turns adding chaos to the level. Items vary from simple blocks that rotate to much more devious items such as crossbows or hockey sticks that shoot pucks. Razor wire, glue, spikes, and false door platforms are also items that can be placed.

After a bit of time, the level can become a cluttered jumble, which can make for true chaos and frustration. Yet even playing with a random group of PAXers, we were all having a total blast seeing which items worked well or not so well. Bombs eventually become available and can be used to blow up some items (but the bombs also didn’t appear as often as needed given the challenge we encountered by the end of our run). In my group, one player insisted that we pick the Dance Party level, not realizing what was to come. As would be expected in a loud rave or night club, colored lights flashed throughout which gave all items a silhouette look and added to the chaos of the level as colors would alternate between being visible or just black, effectively blocking view of which items were traps vs just platforms). Needless to say, our run was finally completed when the player controlling the Raccoon managed to fill up his point bar (after very many attempts). On a side note my point bar only filled up when my traps killed my fellow players–apparently I’m a bit of a dick in this hilarious game.



Zombie Night Terror

PaxSouth2016_ZombieNightTerror

I’ve said it before that I’m not usually a fan of zombie games. Usually the gameplay in a typical zombie game becomes quickly repetitive and dull for me. Zombie Night Terror has changed my tune for zombie games. This Lemmings-inspired game from NClip and Gambitious takes shambling undead to a hilariously dark new level of gruesome blood and mayhem. Zombies, of course, are mindless shuffling head-munchers so it is perfect that you control them in the same manner that you would control a group of Lemmings. Putting different types of special zombies on the map will cause the rest to be thrown up to new heights while others will explode in a bloody spray, also destroying certain walls or floors. While zombies can die, injections can be administered to turn normal humans into more flesh-eating walkers. Zombie Night Terror has a simple, clean look, gray tones making up the bulk of environments with splashes of red for blood and green elixir, the root cause of the zombie outbreak. Coming soon to PC, Zombie Night Terror is one zombie game I’m actually looking forward to!



Dead Star

PaxSouth2016_DeadStar

Twin stick shooters are always fun. But I’m usually hesitant to play online games. When a game blends genres, I do feel a bit more inclined to give them a go. Thankfully I stopped and waited in queue to try this visually stunning game. Mix twin stick shooter fun with a pinch of MOBA-like team goals, you will find yourself heading right for a gorgeous Dead Star. Coming soon to PS4 and PC, Armature Studio’s new title may just be the one game that gets me to play a MOBA-like game. Teams of 10 battle one another in space combat flying one of three types of ships that can be upgraded as enemies are destroyed or objectives on the map are completed. What makes this game so much fun, though, is it doesn’t have the traditional one or three lane map as most players have come to expect with a MOBA. Dead Star‘s maps are procedurally generated, and so each map feels different. Leveling up allows for upgrades to be applied to Core Systems (speed and maneuverability), Weapons, Defense, or Specials.

 While speaking with several members of the dev team today, I also learned that the game will be cross play, pitting PC and PS4 players against each other (presumably in a similar way that Rocket League handles cross platform matchmaking).  At the booth, Jason also indicated that a special Raid mode will be available where a team of five players will be able to challenge their skills while attempting to survive in the middle of a more traditional 10 v 10 match. Dead Star looks absolutely gorgeous and the controls are tight and intuitive. For once I’m actually looking forward to actively participating with other gamers!

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.