This year’s PAX East had a slightly strange experience. The last time we attended the show was Just weeks before the start of the entire country shutdown due to the epidemic. After a show was canceled in 2021, the Boston Convention Center was once again filled with gamers this year, although they were all wearing masks (with strict enforcement).
Several prominent publishers who were in previous PAX shows have lost sight of this year, whether due to pandemic risks or shrinking promotional travel budgets. This left the usual mix of independent developers and publishers hanging on their floor space – although not actually expanding to fill in the gaps.
Although the overall selection of games on offer seemed smaller, there were plenty of titles that stood out. Here are the nine games we’ve been thinking about since we left Boston.
It’s almost a cliché for many indie games these days to take two popular genres and smash them together to create a new concept. to DoerfDespite this, the combination of an RPG and a tower defense game creates something special.
While you can attack the different enemies you find Doerf Straight up, you’d quickly get confused if you did. Instead, each battle presents a new opportunity to run while putting in different automated defenses to annoy the waves of enemies that stream through the countryside.
Positioning is key to maximizing the potential for damage to each tower as well as traps that perfectly slow down your opponents and direct them down the infernal path of death. But battles don’t “set it and forget it” – because swarms wipe out your defenses, you have to hurry to replace them without exposing yourself to damage at the same time.
The story of a little boy who goes out to save the world isn’t particularly remarkable, but even this small portion of the hull helps provide some form for what seems to be meaningless in most tower defense games. And while the on-site demo was barely past the tutorial stage, the allure of the primary gameplay loop was readily apparent.
In a PAX show floor dominated by high-octane action games, Dordogne It felt like a breath of fresh mountain air on a cold spring day. That’s a fitting sentiment for this game, which is about exploring rural France as Mimi, a 32-year-old who has just inherited her grandmother’s house.
The little bit of the game we played happened long before that inheritance, though Mimi explores her memories of a visit with her 10-year-old grandmother. Walking through the watercolor memories, Mimi records sounds, takes pictures, and picks up stray words from her thoughts to collect in a diary that the player puts together at the end of each game day.
The game’s hand-drawn environments and thoughtful sound design evoke childish wonder, as do little touches like Mimi walking around with her hand outstretched to her side as if she’s about to take off Super Mario World. But beneath that idyllic, carefree facade are strong signs that Mimi is struggling with some painful changes in her life and emotions that she is rarely equipped to deal with.
Even those who did not grow up in the French countryside should be able to relate to the painful process of growing up in this charming game.
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