Alex breaks down some of the more interesting games he saw at this year's PAX East.
This year marked my eighth PAX East with Nintendo World Report, and my third hosting a panel (this year’s was on Animal Crossing!), so it’s safe to say that this time around, I know what I’m getting into. PAX East is a place where you play cool indie games, stand in long lines, and people-watch all the people in cool cosplay.
This year, I played a bunch of video games, and to switch things up, rather than giving you 500 words on each game in separate articles, I’m going to give a few words each on the many different games I played. What looks most promising? Find out below!
Sayonara Wild Hearts
Revealed in December, Sayonara Wild Hearts is a pop music game that includes poppy music, poppy visuals, and gameplay that reminds me of Rez in that you’re constantly moving forward with rather simple controls, and while it’s not a pure rhythm game, it is rhythm-y. The music was catchy, the game looked pretty, and the gameplay was fun if not a little on the simplistic side.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
It’s a cart racer starring characters from the Crash Bandicoot series, taking the levels from both console Crash racing games and presenting them in the context of a modern game. The game reminds me of Mario Kart, but the two-button drifting (and overall game) is a good bit harder. If you liked the gameplay of Crash Team Racing back in the day, you’ll probably like this too. One of the developers I talked to at our appointment assured me that the Switch version would both run and look good (I played the PS4 version).
Mortal Kombat 11
I played this one on the Switch’s handheld mode, which I was happy to do since I’ve always been a fan of MK9’s Vita port. It’s definitely the next iteration of the nu-MK/Injustice fighting gameplay, so if you like that kind of game (I do), you should feel right at home. It didn’t look the prettiest in handheld mode, but it ran great which was enough for me. I was told MK11 would have more single-player content than any of the newer MK games before it, so that’s something to look forward to.
What surprised me most about this Yacht Club Games-published ninja game is how much it reminds me of Shovel Knight, even though the Shovel Knight team didn’t actually have a hand in its development. You’ve probably seen the trailer already, but it’s worth knowing that it plays great, looks beautiful, and is one of my two most anticipated games from the show.
If you like Windjammers, you’ll probably like this game too. Windjammers is a lot of fun, and you can get the original, excellent arcade game on Switch right now. 2 feels like more of a good thing.
Skullgirls 2nd Encore
Remember Skullgirls, that indie fighting game that came out some years back? Well, it’s finally coming to Switch as a physical release published by Skybound Games that includes all of the content from previous releases on other platforms. As a fighting game, it played well and good (I’m not a fighting game person by nature, so don’t take that opinion as law), but I was more impressed by the visuals, which had a neat animation style seemingly inspired by cartoons of yesteryear. It doesn’t go full Cuphead, but it had a similar fuzziness to it that I dug. I recommend looking at videos to decide if it’s for you.
Okay, this one’s not coming to Switch, but I was someone who dug the zombie-biker theme it has going for it and wanted to learn if it was any good. The first demo level was a perfectly competent Last of Us-style sneak level where you had to break into a gas station. In the second level, I was tasked with eliminating a horde of zombies that was coming after me. The developer told me that the hordes would be spread throughout the map, and once you beat one, it goes away for good. Fighting said horde was extremely difficult, to the point that I couldn’t actually beat the dozens (if not hundreds) of walking dead. It was fun thinking of creative ways to thin the pack, I’ll say. I’m interested in the game because I love me some biker fiction and zombie fiction, but my less-biased impression of the game was, “Yup, Sony made another pretty solid AAA action game.” Take that as you will.
Super Meat Boy Forever
This is the other game I’m most excited about from PAX East. It’s weird to think of Super Meat Boy’s sequel as an auto-runner with procedurally generated levels, but they’re totally pulling it off. I played a number of the game’s levels, and it felt good in the way Super Meat Boy is supposed to feel. Challenging, lots of deaths, plenty of wall jumps, and a feeling of accomplishment when a level is beaten. Super Meat Boy is back, and I couldn’t be happier.