Every year there are hundreds of games that are showcased at PAX West and this year was no different. Most people know all about all the AAA game releases that are coming and will wait in line for hours just to play their demos. Those titles are the ones that usually get all the glory and some of the time, rightfully so. That said, we decided to do something a little different this year.
Kate and I got a chance to play well over 20+ PAX West games over the four day convention and we wanted to highlight some of our favorites that people should be on the look out for.
Beyond Blue, from E-Line Media
I played quite a few games over PAX West weekend and Beyond Blue was by far my favorite. This ocean exploration story-driven game looks beautiful and any fan of marine life or just the ocean, in general, should be excited for this game. E-Line Media worked with BBC Studios and Blue Planet to make this game so everything in here is the closest you can get to the real thing outside of putting on your own scuba suit and going for a dive. The technology is a little advanced in order to help with gameplay, but the marine facts, animal behavior, and design are all based on real science.
Coming in late 2019 to PC and select consoles.
Journey to the Savage Planet, from Typhoon Studios
This drop-in and drop-out co-op game by Typhoon Studios is a game that you want to hug while it tries to kill you. The platforming and exploration of this beautiful vibrant looking planet is a lot of fun and even better with a friend. You can tell the devs really enjoyed making this game between the comical dialog and creature designs. You really get a sense of what it would be like to work for the fourth-best planetary exploration company.
Coming to the Epic Games Store, PlayStation4, and Xbox One, sometime in January 2020.
Project Witchstone, from Spearhead Games
This role-playing game is set on allowing choice and freedom to their players as if they were using pen and paper. This game is full of endless possibilities and allows for players to be creative in shaping the game world around them. Whether you want to be a King for the people or a dictator ruling with an iron fist you can do it.
Coming to PlayStation4, Xbox One, and PC in 2020.
Stela, from SkyBox Labs
From SkyBox Labs, Stela was the most beautiful game I played at PAX West 2019. In addition to it’s beauty, this cinematic platformer offers up a desolate world that is filled with emotion. Without any dialogue, the developers at SkyBox Labs have designed a game that tells a story though it’s setting alone. The score dictates your emotion and the loud screeching roar of the del Torian creatures as they attack you sparks fear. Stela doesn’t rely on anything other than the strength of it’s platforming and its music. If you haven’t heard about Stela, now is the time.
Coming to Xbox One and PC late 2019.
Super Crush KO, from Vertex Pop
In world of gritty black and red metroidvanias, Super Crush K.O. is brightening up the beat-em-up genre of indies. Featured at the Indie Megabooth, this title from Vertex Pop features lightning-fast gameplay that seamlessly blends run ‘n gun action and the traditionally intense beat-em-up combat. With some platform elements adding complexity to the movement mechanics of the game, the gameplay is simple, challenging, and really just a whole lot of fun. Whether it’s ducking, jumping, or making new combos with your fists and your gun, there is a lot to do.
With each level completion earning a fighter ranking from F to S-tier, the replayability makes your biggest opponent yourself and not the AI overlords who stole your cat. Super Crush K.O. is warm, loud, and extremely fashionable. In a sea of pixelated and dark games, this title towers above them in all of its pink glory.
Coming to Nintendo Switch and Steam sometime in early 2020.
Astroneer, from System Era Softworks
Exploration seems to be taking a backseat in many space games, with combat taking the wheel. But in Astroneer, the team at System Era Softworks made the conscious choice to ditch the guns and embrace the science by creating a game that looks to balance survivor-lite elements with vast adventure, crafting, and environment building. As an Astroneer, it’s your job to explore the universe, find new elements, and build bases, to put it simply you explore.
While this may not be the most obscure game, given the numerous awards it has won, it is one that remains sequestered on the 6th floor of PAX West, and one hat more people really need to pay. With a wonderful community and transparent dev team, Astroneer is even more than just inventive gameplay in a beautiful world.
Now available on PC, Xbox One, and coming to PlayStation4 November 2019.