PAX East 2016 - Trevor's Most Anticipated Titles
Trevor | April 26, 2016
PAX East has come to a close. Here's four stand-out titles from the Expo Hall.
Developer: Discord Games
Release date: 2016
It’s a good thing someone out there wants to make a Castlevania game these days.
I was initially drawn to CHASM by its stunningly detailed pixel art. There’s an outrageous amount of retro-style games out in the world these days, enough to where it’s usually not enough to catch my attention. CHASM, however, uses a bright and lively palette of colors and an impressive amount of detail in its animation. Even the character’s standing pose bounces in place, the whole world filled with a sense of life and spirit. The backgrounds share the same level of color and detail, making it all look like a place I’d be happy to get lost in for a while.
Metroidvania style games are all the rage these days, but CHASM seems eager to return to the “-vania” portion of the famous portmanteau.
Developer: Capybara Games
Release date: 2016
Where CHASM caught my eye with its bright pixel art and personality, Below did the same with its tremendous lack of it.
Curiously, both games involve descending into the depths. Where Chasm makes it look like a bright and lively adventure, Below hammers home the isolation angle of spelunking. In the ten minutes I played of Below, I never heard any music. Instead it was replaced with distant drops of water, crackling bonfires, and the echoes of my footsteps.
I have no doubt there will be music in Below -- the game does have music credits from Jim Guthrie after all, who also composed the music in Sword and Sworcery -- but I get the feeling Below will also be content to let the player stew in isolation.
3. BATTLE CHEF BRIGADE
Developer: Trinket Studios
Release date: 2016 (or until well done).
I’m a huge fan of cooking shows. From Gordon Ramsay screaming at a revolving door of amateur Chefs to Bobbie Flay losing to Anne Burrel on whatever Food Network contest is running, I'll consume all food related competitions.
So here’s Battle Chef Brigade, a fantasy-themed game with a similar premise to Iron Chef -- only in order to collect your ingredients, you’ll need to dart out of the kitchen and kill whatever beast has the body parts you need for the current recipe.
The way the game’s fantasy setting plays out even during the cooking portions is a genius attention to detail. Instead of using stoves or frying pans, chef’s are content casting flame spells to cook meat, or use their weapon skills to dice garnishes.
Also I got an apron with the logo to wear in my own kitchen, so thanks Trinket Studios!
Developer: Supergiant Games
Release date: 2017
If you were at PAX East as well, you may not have played Pyre, but I bet you saw the line for it. It was the line with an enforcer standing in front of it every hour the Expo hall was open, with a sign saying “Line capped -- please go see other booths and check back later”.
The setting for Pyre is a desert expanse known as Downside, described as a “mystical purgatory” for those exiled from society. It's not unlike the “Cursed Earth” in Judge Dredd, albeit with far less gun violence.
The actual gameplay of Pyre involves two teams competing in a supernatural, fire-dousing, sporting event. A floating ball acts as the object in play, while each of your players has unique abilities for banishing the enemy combatants or tossing the ball into the opposing Pyre. The catch is you can only control one character at a time, meaning you’ll need to position your non-active players in desirable locations ahead of time.
The winners of this flame-extinguishing event will be absolved of their crimes and allowed to return home.
As usual with Supergiant, the music is poised to be just as memorable as the game itself. You can hear the first new original song for Pyre in the trailer.