PAX Highlights

I haven’t been as good about updates as I have been in the past. I didn’t do a PAX South post, and now PAX East has come and gone as well. I could go back and recap each show, but I am sure that most people have already seen all the coverage of them, so general overviews probably aren’t super interesting. What I will do though is point out a few things I was introduced to during the two shows that I think are worth checking out:

Rime:

I played a demo for Rime at South, and they were also in the Playstation booth at East. It is a puzzler, with a very Prince of Persia feel. However, it has a storytelling mechanic similar to Journey or Flower, where there is no dialogue or subtitles, just cues in the gameplay as to what you are supposed to do. Plus there is a fox that is one of your cue-givers…so I was pretty much destined to at least try it. After two shows looking at it I definitely plan to pick it up, though I may dish out the extra $10 so I can play it on the switch.

Acq Inc The C team:

If you have read any of my previous PAX recaps you know I am a huge fan of the Acquisitions Incorporated games, which are now at all 3 domestic PAXs. They announced just before the show that there is now going to be a weekly “spinoff” of the games, in which Jerry (aka Tycho) will be DMing with Kris Straub, Ryan Hartman, Amy Falcone and Kate Welch at the table as players. The streams are on Thursdays, and will apparently be up on an archive as well. If you have any interest in D&D the live games are a great intro to how the systems work, and I am certain these will be too. Plus Jerry is an excellent story teller so I am sure his adventure will be excellent.

Stonehearth:

I found Stonehearth in the indie section at East and I was definitely intrigued. As someone who likes the idea of Minecraft but gets a bit bored without some type of story or motivation to keep playing this seems like it might be more my style game. The Devs I talked to described it as Zelda meets Minecraft, though I didn’t get as much of a Zelda vibe as I did an RTS vibe. You have to build and protect a town while exploring the world around you. In my time with it I felt like it had an interesting mix of building and resource exploration. I didn’t get too far into the surviving part, but the Devs made it seem like the enemies had some potential to be interesting. It is certainly on my radar to take a closer look.

Atlas Reactor:

I will be honest; I first looked at Atlas Reactor purely because they had a giant adorable 198inflatable robot puppy at the booth at South, who made an appearance again at East. They lured me in at South by saying if I could beat the bots on hard I would get a pin of said adorable pup. When I tried I was actually pleasantly surprised by my experience. It is a turn based PVP game, in which you have to make your decisions at the same time as your opponents. This leads to times where your decisions end up being useless, as your opponent has moved, or sometimes being stronger than expected based on what the enemies have done. I did manage to get my pin at South by the way, and then won a PVP match at East to get a plushie of the same little guy. The game is free to play on Steam, and I have downloaded it after 2 good experiences, though I am a bit wary of how much you get as a free player. Hopefully it does not feel like a “pay to win” game once I start it up.

MarioKart 8 (on switch):

So I think it sort of goes without saying that if you own any Nintendo system you will end up with MarioKart at some point. In the case of the switch, at least for now they are updating MarioKart 8, which was the Wii U title, for the new console and adding a few new characters etc, like the inklings from Splatoon. Having had hands on I have two thoughts. First, is that if you are looking for a brand new game this is definitely not it. Many of the maps and modes are exactly the same so if you have MarioKart for the Wii U there is only a small amount of new content. Second, is that the game feels really solid on the switch. The Nintendo booth had the steering wheel accessories for the joy cons, which I do think will be a major help when it comes to play comfort since the joy cons are so small. However, I got to mess with both the motion controls and the controls using the joysticks on the joy cons and I felt like both were responsive enough for a MarioKart style racer. Most importantly it was still as fun as MarioKart has always been. When it drops on 4/28 I will be picking it up.

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