PAX West 2021 brought people from around the world to Seattle in celebration of games, community, and fandom. As my first PAX West, it was an absolute delight to be in a safe space full of care and love. Over the four days, I was able to play and see dozens of games and below are six of the super-fantastic ones that have me wanting more.
Developed by Vanimals Games
Published by Skystone Games
In this zombie engulfed world, Anling gets bitten and the countdown to her eventual demise starts. Knowing what will eventually happen to her, Anling must prepare her young son, Cody, to live and survive without her. Through this third-person adventure, it’s up to you to help make sure Cody develops enough skills to protect himself and survive well past his mother’s eventual end. This premise absolutely floored me and I started to envision what the end of the game could possibly be (all points looking grim). Though I wasn’t able to play Undying, the emotional punch and gameplay shown has me invested towards discovering how this story unfolds. Currently this is planned for a Fall 2021 release on PC.
Developed by Orange Pixel
Published by Apogee Games
Your spacecraft crashes on a mysterious and long forgotten planet. In order to survive, you must craft tools, mine resources, and combat various life forms as you journey further into your procedurally-generated planet for answers. I really love the pixel art of the game, along with it’s ominous outlook within the game. The small time I had with the game allowed me to suss out the surface of the planet, while getting my bearings on movement and interactions with objects there. Residual gave me a bit of Metroid vibes spun together with crafting and the randomness of the planet through its procedural creation. The game is currently available on Nintendo Switch and PC (demo available here) with plans for PlayStation and Xbox. I am VERY excited to dive into this game on my Switch (thank you to Apogee for the code).
Developed and Published by D20Studios
This turn-based deck building tactics game allows players to traverse a wide array of areas to combat enemies and explore for treasure. The fantasy theme allows for some fun and whimsical cards, while also layering in incremental difficulty – even within the demo. What surprised me about the battle system was that there’s a specific focus on summoning characters to increase your armada against the rivals in the fight. At one point, I had a giant tree monster, souped up squirrel, and other full-on-fantasy creatures on my side to help defeat a giant skeleton monster. It was glorious. Plus, with over 400 cards available, I’m sure I won’t be bored of it anytime soon. Though there’s no current release date or time frame, you can check out the demo on PC here.
Cursed to Golf
Developed by Chuhai Labs
Published by Thunderful Publishing
Playing as The Cursed Golfer trapped in Golf Purgatory, Cursed to Golf is an adventure roguelite where you need to putt it all on the line to get out. Each level is a crafted challenge, but during my chats with Thunderful Publishing reps, they assured me that there’s a wide gambit of levels to randomly get. The levels are beautifully designed 2D pixel art and 2D levels, which threw me through a loop on what I expected a golf game to encompass. Gameplay was solid, but pretty brutal – which only emphasizes its likelihood in being a great roguelite during each run. Cursed to Golf comes to Nintendo Switch and PC ‘soon’.
Developed and Published What’s in a Game
Rescue Pets is an adorably cute Tamogatchi-inspired mobile game where you take care of an equally adorable Corgi. The game also transcends the screen because 20% of the revenue goes to Dog Gone Seattle, a non-profit organization to help rescue dogs, foster them, and eventually find their forever homes. It’s a wonderful idle game that I’ve been playing for a few weeks and may have already bought a few items for ‘research purposes’. The game is currently available on mobile at the Apple Store and Google play store.
Developed and Published by Poorly Timed Games
Grim Tranquility is a tactics-based RPG set in a future where humanity abandons Earth and looks for survival in the stars. In addition to this grim (heh) starting point, humanity starts to diverge into two cohorts – one that continues life the ‘original way’ by creating generations throughout the hundred years post-Earth and the other group that was cryogenically frozen for the journey. The tactics battles were fun to play and experiment with the different classes and abilities. Characters all looked a bit generic, but since this is still early in development, I’m sure things will only improve from here. Can’t wait to see how humans assimilate themselves into the hierarchy of galactic survival. Grim Tranquility has a tentative release window for 2022 on PC.
This article is also posted on Six One Indie.