Sunday, April 8

PAX East 2018: Day 3 Nindie Summary

My final day at PAX East was a generally brief one, since I had to get home, but that isn’t to say that the games I checked out were anything short of amazing.

GRIP from Caged Element Inc - I’ll just start by saying I’m a huge fan of the combat racing genre, dating back to Racing Destruction Set on the Commodore 64. While Mario Kart absolutely rules the racing roost on Switch GRIP’s style is far more aggressive and distinct, though it has some craziness in common with the ability to race on the walls and even ceilings in more enclosed sections. On top of the combat there’s also a seed of a great idea with a “Rarkour” mode that I didn’t have time to check out but that helps further flesh this title out with a substantial amount of content. The one challenge will be how to take the incredibly slick presentation on PC and more powerful consoles and make it cooperate with the Switch hardware since, above all, a buttery smooth framerate would be critical to it playing well. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out once it is done with development!

Flipping Death from Zoink Games - For anyone who has played Zoink’s Stick it to the Man you should already have some familiarity with the fantastic and quirky art and humor Zoink excels at delivering. In Flipping Death you’ll find that you’ve died and have somehow stumbled into being a temporary stand-in for Death himself while he goes off for a well-deserved vacation. Powered up with his scythe and cloak you’ll be able to traverse the spirit world with ease and then take control of people in the living world as well, each person having a unique ability for you to utilize to solve puzzles. Aside from the base storyline there are also a multitude of added optional challenges for completionists to dig into that will unlock even more silliness and fun. Very much looking forward to checking out more.

Pool Panic from Rekim Ltd - That this is a title I hadn’t even heard of before the last Nindie Showcase Direct is an absolute crime. Unfortunately, given only a few moments of footage from the game, it’s also relatively easy to dismiss. Doing so is a major mistake though. The hook of being a cue ball and working your way through an adventure by removing enemy balls sounds simple but it is when you see more of what the game has to offer that you see the incredible care and creativity that is being brought to the table, or in this case away from it. With over 100 levels oozing with variety, laughs, and creativity I’d already be ready to call this very worthy of your time. Throw in the multiplayer modes that are easily among the most fun I’ve played yet on the Switch and based on only the 40 minutes I got to enjoy the game I’m ready to call it a must-own indie title already.

Super Meat Boy Forever from Team Meat - Super Meat Boy is absolutely one of the most punishingly addictive platformers I’ve ever played and that I gladly kept coming back for more with. When Super Meat Boy Forever was announced, and the fact that it is now more of a runner style became clear, it created a bit of a furor. While many kept their faith there were legitimate questions on how this would affect the sequel’s Meat-itude. After playing about 7 levels of Forever I’ll gladly tell you that any worries people had are completely unfounded. Though you can’t fully control Meat Boy (well, or if you’d like you can now play as Bandage Girl as well, a great touch) in terms of direction that change may have actually been for the better if the balance of the game feels as good as what I’ve played so far. On the one hand, with less variables to control, the game is easier. However, it is also precisely because of that fact that the door has been opened to the game having even more diabolical level layouts and it even gives the gameplay almost more of a puzzle feel in spots. Even as successful as the original was I can see where the sequel will bust things even further open when it comes to the Switch later this year.

Bullet Age from Halfbot - This is one of those happy situations where I saw some art and info on the game, saw that I’d only have a brief window to check them out before I left for home on Saturday, and was able to make the connection. With a particular focus on creating a great co-op action RPG-esque experience that blends both swordplay and weapons the build is still in progress but you can already see a ton of potential. The art style is fantastic, the action is relatively brisk but challenging, and in the final build ammo will be scarce so you’ll have to be sure to save it up for boss and mini-boss fights since they can be tough. One thing I’m particularly excited by is the promise of a Super Mario World-like overworld, complete with alternative paths and exits hidden in some levels. Very eager to see how this turns out when it makes its way to Switch.

That completes my PAX East experience for this year, hopefully my first of what will be many. I had a terrific time meeting so many developers who are truly passionate about the games they make and who were very interested and eager to hear feedback. This is a big part of the reason I created this site, to help people find the games they may enjoy and to help great games find the audiences they deserve.