Screenshot Saturday: Special PAX West 2018 Edition

Okay, sorry for the delay in delivering Screenshot Saturday again, but…well, we warned you this would happen. After our massive Special Gamescom 2018 Edition last week, it only made sense to move on to PAX West 2018. And while we do have intrepid writers there on the scene right now who will soon report back in the coming week with their hands-on experiences, I wanted to make sure we still gave a showcase to all of the games possible even if not attending, highlight some of most interesting-looking titles. And hey, there’s still one and a half days left, so you can consider this a slight guide for games to check out if you’re attending! After all, we were clearly able to narrow this down to a select few games, right?

I ended up picking thirty games. Yeah.

Well, technically, thirty-five, since Breach, Felix the Reaper, Generation Zero, Lonely Mountains: Downhill, and Star Renegades from Gamescom last week have all appeared here at PAX West as well, and you should definitely take a peek at them in addition to this week’s entries. And don’t worry, next week we’re going back to the normal format, with notably less games and less crazed, enthusiastic writer picking things. I’m sure when we’ll try this again, unless EGX has a particularly good showing (the ever-elusive Chucklefish does have an amazing lineup). But enough of that! For now, let us focus on PAX West 2018’s highlights, once again in alphabetical order! On with the show!!

Biomutant- And automatically, we’re off to a weird start. Because Biomutant isn’t the standard indie game usually featured here (THQ Nordinc having full acquired developers Experiment 101), but at the same time, it also isn’t as large as regular triple-A games, so it could probably still use the shout-out (it is still one of our most anticipated games, despite the delay to next year), and yet it was also apparently second to Cyberpunk 2077 in getting attention at Gamescom (at IGN, anyway), so…oh, screw trying to figure this out. The open-world kung-fu action RPG with potentially teenage mutant animals still looks like it kicks ass, that’s all you need to know, go play it.

https://twitter.com/superscarysnake/status/1035989756243374080

Black Future ’88- This action-packed old-school synthpunk run-and-gun game is still amazing, intense, and looks to have some rather unique hooks, but I should point out that the original tweet I wanted to use would no longer embed here, for some reason. Thus I can only assume that a message like that led let WordPress itself to believe that the game and its taunt were too too hardcore and intimidating for it. That’s a good sign in my book.

https://twitter.com/theblackoutclub/status/1035941125926735873

The Blackout Club- This co-op horror game about a group of teens investigating the potential conspiracies and supernatural goings-on in their town has been described by some as a video game version of It Follows in regards to its signature monster and the way it hunts you, which sounds quite clever and awesome. Although to get a larger shot at the game, it looks like attendees will have to make like the monster and do their own hunting…

Bloodroots- If there’s one game it the Indie Megabooth this year that seems primed to become the breakout hit, this is probably it. Colorful and stylish cartoon top-down action and fast-paced gameplay are a must that work in its favor, as seen here, but then throw in a Dead Rising-style hook of being able to use virtually anything as a weapon, and I’m sold. This isn’t even getting to the part where you can bludgeon someone to death with a carrot, bringing to mind the all-time classic Shoot ‘Em Up.

Double Cross- Okay, 13AM’s new Mega Man-esque 2D platformer with grappling hook-based mechanics still looks quite incredible, there’s no denying that. But this new level featured here raises some important questions based on its description, namely…Is this an ode to the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie? Do we now at least have part of a playable game based on that? I am bizarrely curious now…

Dragon Marked for Death- Getting merchandise for an upcoming game at an expo or con can be awkward at times, especially if the game in question doesn’t turn out to be as great as the demo made it out to be upon final release. But given Inti Creates’ track record and what we’ve seen of their new 2D fantasy action RPG, it’s probably safe to say that you can splurge here and still expect an amazing game this December.

Falcon Age- Weirdly, after Eagle Island, this is now the second indie game about falconry in the works right now. Who saw this miniature trend coming? But this title is vastly different, being a VR adventure game in a sci-fi world, a unique experience where one can still truly master the ancient art of HOLY CRAP IS THAT A LITTLE TOP HAT CAN YOU PUT LITTLE TOP HATS ON THE FALCONS SCREW IT 10/10 GOTY

Family Man- Considering that Family Man can basically be considered Breaking Bad: The Game, as seen in its announcement trailer, one has to wonder how many of these people knew what they were getting into. Imagine deciding to let your kid see the silly game with the Minecraft graphics only to then find a man having to assassinate someone in order to earn desperately-needed money. That kid’s definitely going to need therapy. Anyhow, the game still looks awesome, yay!

Gato Roboto- Fun fact: The moment this game was announced this week, we had three writers here at Hardcore Gamer fighting to see who would cover it first. I mean, it’s a cat in a mech suit. CAT IN A MECH SUIT. We are only human, dammit. And of course, it also looks like a highly impressive retro metroidvania game. That being said, if the developers can also somehow include the falcon with a little top hat from above as a sidekick or power-up, then we can pretty much just die happy.

Gravastar- The Media Indie Exchange’s events always seem to include that ONE game (or even more) that’s being showcased there alongside PAX, E3, GDC, et cetera, but technically isn’t part of the event proper, and you question why a game that looks this impressive somehow isn’t at the official show, getting the attention it deserves. And this year, that game is Gravastar, a gorgeous turn-based JRPG with a clever use of fighting game mechanics for its battle system. The MIX has sadly ended, though, but you can still check out Gravastar tonight at the Motif Hotel, as seen here.

GRIS- Honestly, I’m at a loss for words here. All I can say is that this is one of the most gorgeous platformers I’ve ever seen. The landscapes, the watercolor aesthetics, the smooth gameplay, what appears to be an intriguing and dialogue-free story…all breathtaking. Just go and check it out, I really can’t add anything more to this.

Gunhead- No trip to PAX West is complete without a look at the PAX 10, a selection of ten of the most promising and best indie games out or in development at the moment. This year has a pretty good crop, but I suppose the standout would have to be Gunhead, a sequel to Cryptark (that itself being a previous PAX 10 selection) that this time around is a roguelike RPS where you play as a pirate mech with a gun for a head. And yes, that last part is why it’s here, but it looks awesome regardless (also, no, I haven’t watched My Hero Academia, why do you ask?).

Killer Queen Black- The home version of the hit arcade game (wow, that’s a phrase I haven’t used in a long, long time) is debuting its mysterious Black Team at PAX West. It’s a King of the Hill-style title where the winner keeps the Black Team mantle for as long as they stay victor. And apparently the kicker is that all of the Black Team’s matches will automatically be streamed online. So to whoever wins the PAX tournament being held for this awesome Joust-like strategy game, odds are the rest of us may view your glory, so take it all in.

Knights and Bikes- Of course. The one year I don’t attend PAX West is the one year that not only are appointments for Knights and Bikes finally officially being booked, but also the year where they have the most elaborate, kickass booth. So to anyone attending, please rightfully enjoy it as much as humanly possible in my place, because this is definitely set to be one astonishing, charming, and just plain fun old-school action adventure game. Also, the Alpha is apparently completed and will be available to certain backers soon, so yay to that as well!

Log Jammers- Technically first released for the NES in 2017 as one of Mega Cat’s many amazing homebrewed retro titles, Log Jammers is getting an enhanced version for the PC soon, updating the sweet Windjammers-meets-lumberjack sports title with new modes, gameplay tweaks, and more impressive graphics, with a Kickstarter campaign for console versions set to start on September 12. It certainly makes for an impressive game…which also makes it frustrating that this was seemingly the only current official tweet that we could find for it. It looks like the one on the left, which may actually be the NES version…well, it’s at PAX West regardless, so check it out, and have the trailer as a bonus as well.

The Missing- Here we see SWERY’s twisted new narrative platformer at the start of the Media Indie Exchange’s PAX West event…and by the end, it ended up winning the Player’s Choice Award there! From what we’ve seen so far of this macabre beauty and its intriguing story and black comedy, it was definitely a deserved win! If you want to see what the praise is all about but missed the show, then don’t worry, Funkotron has you covered, assuming you don’t mind hoofing it to Post Alley.

https://twitter.com/deadtoast_com/status/1035874921673502720

My Friend Pedro- Well, it only makes sense that the King of Screenshot Saturday pops up here as well, in all of its twisted assassin ballet glory. It still looks as sleek and insanely fun as ever, as the ability to pull off over-the-top explosions like this shows. And as a bonus, those who play through the demo of the joyfully bananas game get a free banana, appropriately enough. Not sure what you get if you unlock the secret skateboard level, though…a whole bunch?

Necrobarista- Not only is the Australian developer serving up Carlton’s finest beverages, but they’re serving up a new, more polished demo for this stylish supernatural visual novel, one apparently showcasing the unique tag-based narrative system as well. It’s definitely shaping to be one of the more unique and impressive entries in the genre, so make sure to stop by and give it a look.

https://twitter.com/hoverbird/status/1035616227006107649

Neo Cab- Fellow Traveler’s recent venture into focusing on story-based games seems to be paying off, as seen by all the people here enjoying Neo Cab. Truly, it looks like it will end up being the finest indie graphic adventure game about a cab driver gradually solving a mystery through chatting with people and driving them around town!

https://twitter.com/nightcallgame/status/1035991962426466305

Night Call- Oh…right, the OTHER indie graphic adventure game about a cab driver gradually solving a mystery through chatting with people and driving them around town. Heh, forgot about that. Well, one is sci-fi and one is noir, but both look to be terrific regardless, so let’s just be lucky two extremely creative games latched on to this concept and call it a tie. Sadly, it looks like Night Call has driven out of town with the MIX event having ended, but keep an eye out for it.

Rapture Rejects- Yes, we may have an overabundance of battle royale games (or at least an overabundance of people hyperbolically complaining about battle royale games), but would mixing this mode of gameplay with top-down action and the Cyanide and Happiness universe inject some freshness? So far, it seems like that is indeed the case, and now it looks like you can get an opportunity to see if it is for yourself (in its early stages, at least).

Samurai Gunn 2- If this tweet is correct, then by now, we should hopefully see a crowd of players knee-deep in the middle of some four-player retro samurai battles. And if it’s even half as fun and chaotic as the original game, then we’re in for a good time. I do have to wonder if any four players got into a fight to see who gets to play as the dog seen in the trailer, though…

Steel Rats- The Indie Games Poland booth always has some highlights at PAX West, and Steel Rats may be the most notable one this year. The invitation in this tweet doesn’t do it justice, though, so here’s the trailer showing off what can only be described as a Trials game turned into an action platformer that’s set in a dieselpunk 1940s universe. Definitely some eye-catching stuff, to say the least.

Stormland- Yes, this heads into that same not-indie-but-still-deserving territory mentioned back there with Biomutant, possibly even moreso because any coverage given to Insomniac’s first-person VR game is likely to quickly be dwarfed by its big brother, Spider-Man, when it comes out this weekend, so it needs extra love to make up for that. Sadly, the pop-up is gone now, but this still appears to be coming along nicely as one of VR’s most ambitious and impressive shooter/adventure titles, so make sure to keep it on your radar.

UnDungeon- This was definitely the highlight of all of tinyBuild’s recent reveals, though I would imagine that it’s a bit tricky to actually showcase at PAX West. From experience, RPGs are difficult to demo, as it’s a genre that requires a ton of investment, which is tough to cram into a thirty-minute demonstration. But hopefully UnDungeon’s gameplay still shines through, as it has what appears to be some impressive top-down action, and mind-blowing pixel art on top of that, so make sure to give it a shot.

With Friends Like These- Heading back over to the PAX 10, we have Shy Kids Club and their unique, sleek and simplistic, kickass co-op shoot-’em-up. Imagine a slight cross between Ikaruga and Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, and you have the recipe for a potential sleeper hit, so get in on the ground floor while you still can.

https://twitter.com/gamewillpdx/status/1035991990398144513

The World Next Door- It would appear that Rose City Games decided to cover as many bases as they could this year, a wise option. Especially since a unique action adventure game like this with such a colorful cast needs all the attention that it deserves, which it thankfully appears to be getting. So yay to that!

https://twitter.com/panstasz/status/1035330010029088768

World of Horror- “can’t wait to disappoint everyone” is what the developers joked when things were just getting set up for their Junji Ito/Macintosh adventure throwback horror game to be showcased. Two days later? It was declared Best of Show by the judges at The Media Indie Exchange’s PAX West event. So I think your prediction here may have turned out to be thankfully incorrect, guys.

Wytchwood- Alientrap actually gets to show up here twice, as we move away from Gunhead’s sci-fi FPS combat and over to a top-down adventure game set in a world of Gothic fairy tales, where players hunt for ingredients that allow them to cast new spells. Gorgeous, intriguing stuff, and it just popped up in the Indie Megabooth’s Minibooth as of today, so it’s fresh for the picking!

Young Souls- Finally, we sadly missed out on the fact that while this stylish beat-’em-up with RPG elements was apparently playable for everyone at Gamescom, it appears to be press-only at PAX West (along with Streets of Rage 4 and Windjammers 2, though those are supposedly hands-off). But nonetheless, it still looks just damn amazing, and it is still playable to those who see it, so the narrative-focused brawler definitely more than earns a spot here. Of course, you might still be able to play it if you’re skilled enough to break into a hotel suite, though we highly advise against that (apologies to the Hyatt if it does happen, though).

BONUS IMAGE

https://twitter.com/MegaMan/status/1035542979493023744

Mega Man 11- Yes, for the second time in a row, I just HAD to fit in a triple-A Capcom game, because Mega Man 11 just looks that amazing and I absolutely can’t wait for it, especially with Robot Masters this colorful. The wait is looking like it’s absolutely worth it. But I promise this will be the last time we do this, unless Capcom suddenly announces Darkstalkers 4 or Power Stone 3 in between now and the next big gaming event (hint, hint).