PAX Prime 2015 is just around the corner and as per usual we should expect to see an unholy union between big-budget, triple-A releases and oddball indie games collide together on the show floor.
With the 70+ indie games having been announced ahead of the games from big-name developers we’ll get to see at the event, it’s time to evaluate which of these titles we’re more excited about getting a closer look at.
These are the top 10 indie games we can’t wait to see at PAX Prime 2015:
Top 10 Games We Can't Wait to See at PAX Prime 2015
10. XING: The Land Beyond
Upon first witnessing
XING: The Land Beyond you will walk away under the impression that you have just experienced the modern reincarnation of Myst, given this mysterious first-person puzzler's close ties with the PC classic. While XING certainly has the appropriate extra bells and whistles adorning it in order to bring it into this generation, it is still cut from the same cloth as Myst and that is no bad thing.
Placing you in the ghostly shoes of a deceased traveler,
XING explores the particularly heavy subject of death whilst allowing the player to explore a lush, tropical environment filled with puzzles and zero combat. There has been a minor renaissance of first-person puzzle games since The Talos Principle blew us all away late last year, and while we don't know enough XING to suggest that it will further that trend, it seems well on its way to doing so.
We know very little of
Hob other than it's being created by Torchlight developers Runic Games, that it is coming to PC and consoles (though exactly what consoles it is coming to has yet to be specified) and that it features no text or dialogue, with its plot instead being conveyed by the player's surroundings.
Torchlight, Hob also adopts an isometric viewpoint but judging from Runic's previous comments, it will have a greater emphasis upon its puzzle-solving rather than following in its predecessor's footsteps as an RPG. But again, we do not know that for certain - all we know is that we loved Torchlight, and therefore we desperately want to get our hands on Hob.
8. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Those who previously got to experience
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes at E3 2015 know that it makes for an intense, oddly hilarious experience.
The virtual reality game tasks two players with diffusing a bomb; one player is in charge of cutting the wires, while the other must swiftly relay a set of instructions to them before the timer on the bomb goes off. It's a wonderfully unique game in which communication is key, but you'll often find that it'll be your downfall, too, as one false move will inevitably lead to a swift game over.
Keep Talking made an unexpectedly big splash at E3 2015, and it could wind up doing the same thing at PAX Prime.
FutureGrind looks to be a combination of Trials and OlliOlli, and if that doesn't sell you on its concept then we don't know what will.
Taking the rotating 3D environments of the former and the grind-focused gameplay of the latter,
FutureGrind is a game that looks to leave you hopelessly addicted to it, striving to beat your high score and the scores achieved by the rest of the world. The unique, potentially maddeningly challenging hook of the game is that the wheels of your futuristic race bike are different colors - pink and blue, respectively - and that they can each only touch portions of the game's tracks that correspond with these colors. Much like Trials and OlliOlli, FutureGrind is therefore as much about problem-solving as it is racing to the finish line.
Below has drawn innumerable comparisons to Dark Souls since its announcement, which is somewhat warranted given its bleak, harsh setting, yet still somewhat undersells the game's own unique aspects. A top-down game focused upon exploration, Below tasks you with exploring its stark, ravished environment, with its camera angle zoomed way out in order to emphasize that feeling of your player-character being dwarfed by this mysterious and dangerous world.
With an emphasis upon its crafting and survival elements, Below is all about exploring the game's world and making sense of its mechanics, as developer Capybara Games refuses to hold your hand and instead lets you figure out its mechanics for yourself.
We still don't really know what
Wattam is, which ironically makes us all the more interested in Wattam.
We know that the game will be coming exclusively to PS4, and it is being developed by former members of thatgamecompany, the creative minds behind Journey, and
Katamari creator Keita Takahashi. This along would be enough to pique our interest, but the game itself looks so wildly outlandish that even without that commendable pedigree, we'd still want to give it a try.
A succinct description of
Wattam would be that it looks like Katamari Damacy spliced with an oddball children's TV show, but in terms of explaining its gameplay, well, that's a problem that even its developers are having. It's a good job, then, that it'll be playable at PAX Prime, so we can get a chance to experience the game behind the ludicrous exterior.
4. YIIK: A Postmodern RPG
When a game starts drawing comparisons with
Earthbound it inevitably pricks the ears of those who remember the SNES classic. While on the surface YIIK may look like it borrows very little from HAL Laboratory's RPG, its modern-day setting coupled with its surreal themes and an out-there sense of humor suggest that it will appeal to fans of that game and many more beyond it, as there are very few games in the genre like it.
We're still yet to get a handle on what
YIIK is, and though its " A Postmodern RPG" subtitle may sound so hipster it feels like it should come with an ironically curled mustache, we're more than down with its Westernized Persona appeal. YIIK is a game that isn't on the radar of many people, though after PAX Prime that could all change.
3. Hyper Light Drifter
After a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign in which it attracted over $600,000 in pledges, for many Hyper Light Drifter will be the highlight in terms of PAX Prime's indie game showcase.
It certainly has a lot going for it - a smooth and stylish visual direction, combat that feels weighty and a variety of weapons to choose from that lead to a cornucopia of brutal death animations, Hyper Light Drifter certainly looks like it will be one of the most fun games to play at PAX, indie or otherwise. Couple that with a development studio in the form of Heart Machine that actually appears to be running on schedule with its plans, which is something of a minor miracle when it comes to crowdfunded games, and there's plenty to be excited about when it comes to this action RPG.
2. Death Road to Canada
Death Road to Canada sounds a lot like The Organ Trail, but whereas that game was restricted by following closely in the footsteps of the 1971 classic The Oregon Trail, RocketCat Games' "Randomized Permadeath Road Trip Simulator" can instead do whatever the Hell it wants... and it does just that.
The Organ Trail and The Oregon Trail before it, Death Road to Canada tasks the player with taking a merry band of characters across a zombie-ridden terrain, with the end goal being to arrive in the relative safety of Canada. However, the game provides a twist in that you aren't given a bunch of anonymous faces to work with this time around, but a group of dysfunctional companions who can range from heroes, to psychopaths, to dogs. You can even teach those dogs to drive, if you so wish, or as pointed out by its developers you can leave all of your human companions to die save for one dog, then have it pick up a bunch of other dogs during its travels and take them across the States in a muscle car. It's a road trip we most certainly want to partake in, and we'll get the chance to do so at PAX Prime.
1. That Dragon, Cancer
"We started this project in the hope that we would document a miracle,"
That Dragon, Cancer's c0-creator Ryan Green says in a trailer for the game. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case.
The game is an attempt to recreate the emotional experience of the Green family during their late 4-year-old son's battle with cancer. While it had been hoped that their son, Joel, would pull through and that the game would have a happy ending, after the game started development it transpired that would not be the case, after Joel tragically passed away.
That Dragon, Cancer has received many overhauls, with it attempting to recreate the infrequent highs and unfathomable lows of dealing with a child who has a terminal illness, and doing so whilst that tale is still ongoing. As such, the game was first intended to be released as a timed exclusive for the now-defunct Ouya, before moving development onto the more suitable platform of the PC.
Though a show floor demo doesn't exactly suit
That Dragon, Cancer's concept, it is appearing at PAX Prime along with a documentary filmed during the development of the game, titled Thank You For Playing, that will ensure that those interested will get to experience the game for themselves whilst also learning more about the story of those involved with the extraordinary project. It feels wrong to say that we're "excited" to play That Dragon, Cancer, but rather that this is a story we have yet to see being expressed in the video game medium, and one that is being told by people who have lived it, so we want to see more of it.