I’m not going to waste any time jumping into the rest of my indie game picks from PAX Prime 2015. The more time I spend in this wonderful air conditioned room chilling out without shoes on the less time I have for table top games and alcoholic beverages!
Rain World, Videocult (PC, Consoles)
I was lead to play Rain World by a friend that enjoys two of the same things that I like in games: genuinely pulling off seemingly simple ideas, and misery simulators. Rain World does both!
The concept is so simple: prey and be preyed upon as an adorable cat slug in what is most likely a post apocalyptic Earth. The cat slug’s motions are fluid and limited in a way that feels organic: sliding around is fine, jumping is hard, and climbing is a breeze. The backgrounds and environments are hand crafted and stunningly detailed. While the game will have a large world to explore, the PAX Demo was straight forward: eat 5 bats and get back into shelter before the deadly rain starts falling. I didn’t even get close to succeeding.
The true genius of the game is the flora and fauna of the post apocalyptic world. The world may be hand crafted but the creatures hunting your adorable cat slug are purely procedural. You’ll have to use your wits to use the environment and interactions with other creatures to stay safe while you explore. The curious and harmless swamp worms that watched the cat slug pass were probably my favorite, adding a nonthreatening touch of life to the destroyed husk of a city filled with predators.
Rain World is something that needs to be watched carefully. It’ll prove to be one of the best indie survival games yet if the polish that’s been applied to the behaviors and graphics are applied to the game’s core design.
Necropolis, Harebrained Schemes (PC)
Otherwise known as Zelda: Ocarina of Roguelikes. Necroplis is a stylish third person brawler with a sharp sense of humor and solid fighting mechanics. You will try (and fail) to navigate your hero to the bottom of the terrible Necropolis, and if you die you die
for real permanently. You know this jam already. The game is responsive and functional, and the trailer doesn’t lie: the style and animations work. You’ll be z-targeting enemies and performing sword combos in no time.
After speaking with the executive producer it’s clear that they have a grand scope for this game that they have yet to achieve. They want 40+ different monsters with many pieces of craftable equipment, specifically calling out a Monster Hunter like weapon system where new types of weapons change the style in which you fight. The goal is to create a game that will take hundreds of hours to master, but only a few hours to complete.
Unfortunately, as of PAX, the demo is more of a proof of concept, showing that the team can create a visually distinct action title with a flourish. Even if it’s more style than substance at the moment, this is still definitely one to watch!
Ultimate Chicken Horse, Clever Endeavor Games (PC)
Oh my god. Ultimate Chicken Horse. Seriously.
I’m confident saying that Ultimate Chicken Horse is the best couch multiplayer game at PAX. It’s certainly the number one generator of excited screaming and “OH SHITS” I’ve seen so far. You and your friends are all adorable farm animal characters in a standard empty Mario-style platforming level. The goal is to get to the flag across the screen, but there’s a pit separating you from it. You all, as a team, will have to use bits and pieces of scenery to build a trail there. But some of the pieces of scenery are things like crossbows. Or swinging buzz saws. Or traps. You only get points if you make it to the end of the course, but some of your friends don’t, so make it as deadly as you can without making it impossible.
Actually, just watch the video for the explanation.
It’s instant fun that will have you calling your friends names while you cheer them on. Easily the most fun I’ve had playing a game at PAX this year.
I plan to put together a few deeper pieces on games that I’ve played in the coming days. Stay tuned for more on Darkest Dungeon’s latest content patch The Cove.