So PAX East 2018 is finally in the books. I scoured the Indie show floor for you folks to find the best games I can. Coincidentally a lot of them are for the Switch… yippie! So without further ado, the awards go to…
Winner: Just Shapes & Beats (Switch/PC)
A launch exclusive for the Switch, this game is a repeat from past Pax Easts but it is hard not to give it an award. The game is an addictive multiplayer survival ship game with a boss battle that is too much fun to resist. Staying alive and keeping the rest of your team alive is fast paced fun. How the game fares in single player… I’m not sure. The hidden stage features music from Mortal Kombat as well which puts it over the top!
Winner: The Messenger (Switch/PC)
People like to kind of degrade The Messenger by calling it just another Ninja Gaiden clone, but I have to say that isn’t a bad thing. However, the part that people usually leave out is the fact that this game has some of the tightest controls for a platformer of this kind. The game also switches from 8-bit to 16-bit styles throughout. Bravo to the developers, they really pulled off a great game… and the shopkeeper is hilarious as well.
Best Throwback Title
Winner: Blazing Chrome (PC)
This game is somewhat a clone of Contra 3: Alien Wars but don’t let that deter you. It also has some aspects of Metal Slug thrown in for fun as well. The game’s controls are good and the guns are a lot of fun… and there are mechs! Grab a friend, grab some controllers, and play some 2D run-and-gun action platforming fun.
Best Multi-player Game
Winner: Guacamelee! 2 (PS4/PC)
This game was a surprise at the show for me. I knew Drinkbox Studios was going to be there and I secretly hoped Guacamelee! 2 would be at the show but I didn’t think it would be the game on display for some reason. To be honest, I’m not sure what else they would have shown off… but I’m glad they chose this one. I personally enjoy the original Guacamelee! and believe it is the best Metroidvania game ever created. This game builds off the original but adds 4-player mayhem. It is a lot of fun to see 4 chickens going around the room beating up enemies and comboing. Also, the hilarious writing from the original game is back and better than ever!
Game of the Show
Winner: Light Fall (Switch/PC)
This was a pleasant surprise for me to be honest. It apparently is a Kickstarter title and I’m sad to say I didn’t get a chance to back this one. I saw this game during the Switch Nindie’s Showcase and I thought man that is a pretty game. It was a short trailer so I didn’t get to understand the gameplay completely until I was at Pax East and gave it a try. The game was indeed as beautiful in person as it was on the video. The art style is very Limbo-esque but not as moody completely. The mechanics of the game are sound and I have to say that trusting your life to a little square you can pull up under your feet a couple times is incredible. You just have to trust the square will keep you alive and once you do, you can fly through the levels and look like a pro. This game is a must-play on Switch in my eyes.
Runner-up: Guacamelee! 2