Welcome back! Time for Round Three! In this edition… my face and voice, augh!
It’s okay; it’ll be cool. I got brave, asked some developers a few questions about their games, and got it on film! I also got to play all the games live at the event, and you’ll see a little bit of that, too. This list includes some of my favorite games of the show so do check it out!
This time: Cuphead, Knee Deep, Dragon Fin Soup, and Soda Drinker Pro – plus a bonus interview from the Indie Megabooth.
I don’t use the phrase “most anticipated” lightly, but Cuphead is one of my most anticipated games in years. You can, er, tell by my T-shirt in all these videos. No apologies. Something long-time readers may not know about me is that I did my honors thesis on the history of animation. Given that, this game grabbed my eyes the minute I saw the first trailer. I didn’t believe a game could possibly look like this. I’m excited for this game based on the art style alone, but when I got the chance to play it on the show floor at PAX East I was also surprised at how smoothly it played. Having to balance a smooth animation (at 24 frames per second, give or take a cheat or two) with responsive gameplay (which occurs at 60 frames a second!) is no simple feat, but Studio MDHR is pulling it off. The studio was founded by two brothers, Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, hand drawing frames of animation the old fashioned way! The team has grown as the game has grown, which you’ll see in the video below.
If you haven’t seen footage of this game yet, you’re missing out, but you’ll see it in the video below. Cuphead is a run-and-gun platformer with visuals based on 1930s Max Fleischer cartoons. One part Contra, one part Bimbo’s Initiation – or, Swing You Sinners, if you want to watch the cartoons cited as the biggest inspiration for this game. The game captures a vision of Hell where everything, even seemingly innocent things, comes to life and wants to kill you. Just like in video games!
Because I work for Microsoft (I feel this disclosure important when I discuss an Xbox exclusive, regardless of my evident for-real enthusiasm) this video is using the embedded Channel 9 Player.
Knee Deep is an interactive fiction set up as a three-part drama play. In the game, the characters you play as are also actors in a play without a specific script. The story is a noir story about investigating a murder in the swamps of Florida. But the game is also about playing out a play about that murder investigation. Okay, it sounds confusing to explain, but the conceit of the game is really cool. You choose dialog for characters from menus, and make choices as you do in a Telltale-style game. But then, instead of “really” traveling from point to point, your character steps off of a stage, moves onto a platform, and the stage set shifts around them to mark the next scene. It makes for a slick, engaging mystery story with an extra layer of unreality.
It might make more sense to see it in action. Here’s my quick interview with Colin Dwan from the Knee Deep team.
The third part of this drama just came out, and I hope to be able to play it all the way through very soon. It’s available now on Steam and Humble if you want to give it a try!
Dragon Fin Soup – Extra Chunky Edition
In Dragon Fin Soup, you take on the role of a Red Riding-Hood like character who also happens to be a hard-drinking mercenary. Lush graphics overlay a tile-based turn-based RPG. These are probably all the details you need to know why I’d be interested in this title. Tactical combat plus hot babes is pretty much my thing forever. I’m actually really fond of the Survival mode, which plays just like an oldschool roguelike including permadeath.
Grimm Bros. is actually a local Philly studio, but I hadn’t nailed down the cofounder for an interview before PAX, so I caught up with Ash Monif at the event to discuss the game and what’s coming with the new “Extra Chunky Edition” that they’re releasing. At the show they had tournaments, and, for that special touch, an irritable Red Robin yelling at people who caused her to die. Well, it’s a roguelike, so it’s bound to happen…
Soda Drinker Pro
Soda Drinker Pro has been at PAX for years, and I’ve been on their mailing list this entire time. The sincerity of the press releases about this game, a truly absurd game about drinking soda, finally wore me down at last. I opted to get a code for the game’s recent console release on Xbox One. Then I stopped by the booth to talk to the Soda Master himself, Will Brierly, and get a taste of the real “Bonus Soda” made specifically for the event.
I can’t really explain this game easily at all. It’s a game where you walk around and drink soda. The art and controls of the game are terrible on purpose. It’s really more of a parody of games. But… hidden inside the really bad game is a different game that, while it still looks awful, has a few layers of hidden depth to it. That’s mostly the game you’re going to see in this video, because I’m the weirdo that played Vivian Clark enough to actually kind of understand what’s going on in it. (Vivian Clark is the name of the hidden, second game. This video will hopefully help that make sense.)
Soda Interview: Indie Megabooth
To close out this entry, my chat with Jess Floyd from the Indie Megabooth. Indie Megabooth has been a staple at PAX for a long time. For me, seeing the indie games is my favorite part of the show. We discussed how the booth has evolved since its more humble beginnings.
But when the Indie Megabooth is now truly mega, what does the littler little guy do? Next time: The Indie Minibooth – a minibooth inside the megabooth…
Email the author of this post at aj@Tap-Repeatedly.com.
It seems as though the gaming industry as a whole is pretty healthy, in that there seem games of all sizes and scopes, many different funding options, and a general wealth of creativity. True/false?
I feel that way right now. There’s still a lot of difficulties in different spaces, but most people are adapting. What’s interesting is that indies are filling in the gaps a lot. The growth of IndieMegabooth is testament to that. I think there’s still a lot of problems with discoverability for a lot of indies though.