Today was the first day of PAX East and it was a blast! We got to see so many incredible games and talk to some amazing developers, some of which we can't wait to talk more about! While I personally went around and met with developers like Devolver Digital, Raw Fury, and Chucklefish, I want to highlight the games we tried throughout the first day at PAX.
Out first stop was PID Games where we were shown the newly announced title, Medic: Pacific War. This is a third person game where you will become a medic during the war with the goal to save lives. The game is a simulator, so you will find wounded soldiers, carrying over supplies, putting in gauze, bandaging them up, using tourniquets, and more, and then carrying them to safety. While the controls felt a little dodgy at times, this could have been my controller, the game tries to do something most others don't, which I can appreciate. Instead of killing others in a historical shooter, you are going out of your way to save people. The game is slated to release in 2023 and has controller support so far.
Before we left this booth, we took the time to check out Elypse, a gorgeous looking platformer that reeks of atmosphere and some metroidvania mechanics. I thought of Celeste a lot when playing this one thanks to its emphasis on dashing, which is definitely not a bad thing here! Combine it with the thorn attack you can shoot at enemies. You will be able to upgrade and unlock new abilities as you play, but the core will be timing those dashes to navigate the obstacles effectively throughout the levels. The game is due to release in Q2 of this year and has controller support. I would be surprised if this didn't run well on the Steam Deck!
Next, we went on over to the Dear Villagers booth and tried out Fort Solis. This third-person narrative driven game will see you investigating a routine alarm on Mars where a bunch happens that never could have been anticipated. With performances from Troy Baker and Julia Brown, this sci-fi game will last about 7-8 hours each playthrough. It does have controller support, but the focus right now is getting the game out and working instead of Steam Deck support, but I hope it ends up working as I am a sucker for these types of games and settings. The game is on the schedule to release Q2 of this year.
After Fort Solis, we went over to try out Born of Bread, a RPG that takes a lot of inspiration from Paper Mario. As a flour golem with child-like wonder, you will become the hero needed to solve this dilemma thousands of years in the making. With unique QTE turn-based combat, you will crush your enemies, leveling up and utilizing your party's abilities to traverse the world. I personally enjoy games just like this, so I am excited to dive in. Due to it releasing on the Switch as well, I am optimistic this will be playable on the Deck! The game is slated for release this summer.
Untitled Train Game:
We went on over to the THQ Nordic booth and got a chance to play an unannounced RTS game taking place in what is seeming to be World War 1 or 2. It feels like a combination of Company of Heroes with some XCOM influences spread throughout when it comes to abilities and controls. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get more information as its still too early to give much information, but I know this was our COO's favorite game to play on the first day. I see a lot of potential with it, so here's hoping we get more information soon!
After the untitled train game, I went over to try out the upcoming Alone in the Dark. The playable section at PAX was a short prologue showing the disappearance of Emily Hartwood's uncle. It was short, and mostly consisted of walking around, but it was cool to see the world that is being built for this re-imagining of the 90's classic. While the game has controller support, there is no release date noted on the Steam store page, but I am excited to see this game come to fruition.
After Alone in the Dark, I went over to try Tempest Rising, a vibrant RTS with two epic single-player campaigns, multiplayer modes, and 3 different playable factions that all feel unique to each other. I had a wonderful talk with a developer on the game and feel confident they are doing everything they can do to really make the game stand out from others. This includes the way they are implementing "specialist" units and trying to make each player start off on even ground, only relying on choices in-game to branch out and grow. The game is aimed to release this year, but is subject to change! It will also be relying on UE5, which is an exciting prospect too.
While we didn't play any of the games at the booth, all the spots were taken, we did check out the 3 games being shown: Sigil of the Magi, Knight Crawlers, and Homeseek. Sigil of the Magi is a roguelike deck builder game with similar visuals to Wargroove, while Knight Crawler feels like a more roguelike version of Vampire Survivors with some PVP and Coop elements to them. While they both looked fantastic, Homeseek really sold us.
Homeseek is a RTS as well, but takes a bit of inspiration from games like Frostpunk. The game's director likened it similarly to The Hunger Games, especially during multiplayer. You will be able to ally with each other in 2-8 player matches, trying to gather all the resources you can, but there can be only one winner. We were also lucky enough to get exclusive demos that we took home, which we will be posting an article about soon.
The easiest way to describe this is Call of Duty's zombie mode, but with a more arcade-like feel and set in Vegas. Starting off with a pistol, you will face off against waves of demons in rounds, using skulls you collect to open pathways and money you find to buy new weapons. It really is just like CoD Zombies, so if you like that game mode, you will enjoy this one. It is planned to come out this year and while we didn't get official confirmation on Steam Deck support, we are hopeful!
While I didn't get to personally try this one, our team did try our Doomblade. This 2D Metroidvania will see you partnering up with a sentient weapon to escape your prison and destroy the Dread Lords. The game is really stylized and is one I personally enjoyed watching. It looked extremely fun to glide around and chain together attacks, all while upgrading the blade itself to do some devastating damage. The game says it will be coming soon, but I am looking forward to playing this one on the Deck.
When we got to this booth, we had every intention of trying out the 4 games on display, but this one hooked us way more than we expected. Athenian Rhapsody is a RPG, heavily inspired by games like Earthbound and Undertale, where you create your own narrative. Based on the choices you make, you will have different events, party members, interactions, and more, all recorded in your own personal "Rhapsody" that you can show and share with others. The game features turn-based combat and comedy that will tickle your fancy.
Athenian Rhapsody honestly feels like a more colorful and expanded version of Undertale, in regards to gameplay elements. I enjoyed the vibrant colors of the world and characters and the unique little games to dodge attacks feels just as great as Undertale. The humor definitely hits the right notes too, making me laugh as I debated with a squirrel-like creature over who farted and smelled the fart. We also got to see the game loaded up on the Deck, which I believe will run smooth as butter on release. This game turned out to be one of our favorites though, so we can't wait to play this when it comes out sometime this year!
Now I played this game during the Next Fest, so this one was more me introducing the rest of the team to the game, but it still feels so addicting. This is a 1v1 or 2v2 first-person shooter where you will face off against your friends. You get a deck of cards each round, which you can use to give yourself new guns, enhance your abilities and health, or harm your enemy's stats. The game's style and gameplay captured me and it seems to have captured them too. I was actually asked when we left the event if the game was already out, so it seems I have hooked another onto the madness that is FvF. There is no release date yet, but we are excited to play when it is!
Lastly, to finish off the event, we got to talk to the developers of the upcoming game, Strayed Lights. I actually had the chance to take a look at an exclusive demo earlier and I was blown away by the visuals and how gorgeous they were, while putting a spin on the combat system that kept things interesting. I wasn't able to try the PAX demo myself, though I will come back to try it before we leave, but I had a nice chat with the devs and feel confident that any Steam Deck performance issues that were there will be ironed out at release. The game is set to release April 25th!
And that's all for the first day! We still have 3 more days of the event, which will be packed with more games to try and studios to talk to. We have a couple big ones coming up, like Dead Island 2 on Saturday and Atlas Fallen on Sunday, so stay tuned as we will be going over roundups of each day we spend there!
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