When I first heard that an animation studio was shifting gears to create a video game, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would it be only cutscenes? Would there be bad mechanics? Would it just be riddled with performance issues? Luckily, Ember Lab quelled all the possible discourse with an intriguing and captivating game called Kena: Bridge of Spirits.
PAX West 2021 was its own adventure full of fun new games, exciting demos, and wonderful memories from Seattle. Among the dozens of games I previewed during the event, I was happily surprised about a totally unknown-to-me game that flew right under the radar.
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.
Tender: Creature Comforts, by Kenny Sun, is a narrative-driven game where you are swiping left and right for potential relationships within this new app that you downloaded. As a newcomer to this planet, you’re hoping to build relationships, where you can decide how you want to approach the app, and eventually go on various dates to see if anything will progress.
Knights of San Francisco by Raindead is an incredible text-based adventure on mobile devices that explores a strange and dystopian world, with dabs of mysticism for good measure. The black and white aesthetic of the game offers major Dungeons & Dragons vibes with touches of choose-your-own-adventure books.
I absolutely loved my time with this game. The simple interface with its crisp text and formatting made it easy to read the thought-provoking and well thought out story. Each line of text was deliberate and continued to layer the world bit by bit (and me hoping to wish into existence more content from this world). Though the large majority of the game is text where you’re creating the visuals within yourself, there’s occasionally a full screen image to help identify key moments and characters. In addition to the deep lore of the story as its primary gameplay mechanic, there’s also light combat, a sanity meter, and some other actions that can help further the experience. These moments were exciting, and more importantly, kept the story moving on a strong clip. I want to be as vague as possible with the story and gameplay elements because they should be experienced first-hand and could be spoilers the more I explain.
The two hour length was a perfect amount to keep me engaged and attentive. Once I got tired of reading/playing the adventure, I would take a break, then return right into the story. There’s little replayability, that I noticed, but you’re able to backtrack within the text of the story and see if different choices will affect the outcome. I highly recommend this game to fans of fantasy stories who don’t mind reading all the exciting moments. Knights of San Francisco is worth your time and I look forward to more people playing it so we can chat about it!
A copy was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this feature on iOS mobile.
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Fire Tonight is a small narrative puzzle game by Reptoid Games that chronicles a couple’s journey to reconnect with each other while the city arounds them burns up. Though Devin and Maya’s story is simple, the gameplay and mechanics don’t rise above serviceable.
Button City is a charming narrative adventure game that focuses on a small community of vibrant characters to explore and meet. With a delightful story, dynamic aesthetic, and adequate mechanics, Button City creates a fun and heartwarming encounter.
Mighty Goose is a modern run-and-gun game inspired from games in the 1980s. As you explore various worlds in pursuit of defeating all evil, Goose is there to save the day and destroy those bad guys with lots of guns, explosions, and calamity through a concise and fun adventure.