PAX East 2016 - The Games

Inadvertently following in the footsteps of PAX South, I didn't actually play any games at PAX East. The reality of the situation is that there's a lot to do at the event between the panels I wanted to attend and the time I wanted to spend with friends that the idea of waiting in long lines for short game demos isn't particularly appealing. If I had been there with the access of a media badge, I would have taken advantage of the early access or option to set up appointments, but I did not.

My friend Alex over at IrrationalPassions.com did have that extra access and has some great previews up on his site for games like Pyre, I Am Setsuna, and many more. I highly recommend you check them out.

As for me, here are a few games that caught my eye from the show floor that I (again) did not actually play.

Arena Gods - I first saw this game (as I did many of the games on this list) during the Kinda Funny GDC stream. I didn't realize it was at PAX until Jack from KnerdsOnline was talking about it over dinner one night (you can read his extended thoughts on the game here). Once I knew it was on the show floor, I sought it out and watch a couple matches of other people playing it. A mixture of Nidhogg and Towerfall: Ascension, Arena Gods is a fast-paced local-multiplayer brawler featuring gladitorial combat and weapons that looks like it would be a great party game with friends.

Party Hard - Originally released on PC and now available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Party Hard is a retro-style action-stealth title where you work your way through a series of different parties with one goal: kill everyone without getting caught. You can use your trusty knife or interact with assorted other weapons or environmental traps to take out the party-goers that are keeping you from getting a good night's sleep.

Katana Zero - Another game from the Kinda Funny GDC stream, Katana Zero is an action-platformer where you progress through a series of levels, fighting your way through obstacles and enemies in a somewhat 2D side-scroller version of Hotline Miami, where pretty much one hit will kill you and force you to tackle the situation anew.

Cuphead - Perhaps the most high-profile game on this list, the Microsoft-exclusive Cuphead popped on my radar with it's beautiful art style showcased in the E3 trailer above. A run and gun shooter with the look of a Steamboat Willie-era animated cartoon, the game is visually stunning. For more, I recommend checking out Ryan McCaffrey's IGN preview from PAX.

Death Squared - A co-op puzzle game, Death Squared beauty stems in part from its simplicity. The booth instructions told players all they needed to know: the left analog stick moves you, the rest is up to you. Through trial-and-error and communication with your partner(s), you have to move around levels without anyone dying. You can fall off maps, switches that you need to trigger might also unleash spikes that your partner happens to be standing on, and certain elements might respond based on your location on the stage. According to the website, there is a single-player mode, but I imagine the 2 or 4-player co-op modes are where this game really shines.

And with that, so ends my coverage of another event. Thanks for reading!