PAX is just around the corner. What does that mean? It means downtown Seattle’s going to be turned into Geek Gamer central, and the coolest games both big and small will all be gathered under one roof. And under that roof, the Indie MEGABOOTH reigns supreme as a big home for indie games. During the show, it’s an awesome place to hang out with shorter lines, developers eager to show off their work, and a fine variety of smaller games that may suck you in.
If you can’t go, well that’s what we’re here for. Here’s some rad games showing up at the Indie MEGABOOTH.
Moon Hunters from Kitfox games is definitely the right kind of weird. When game players talk about enjoying story in games, there’s a huge range of possibilities to explore, from straightforward adventure yarns to intricately designed experiences that record player actions and turn out feedback that subtly shifts the narrative of ‘what’ happens to the game’s characters. Moon Hunters aims to be more of the latter, a game where you take on the role of one of four tribal heroes on a quest to find the missing moon. Large meditative moments such as the decisions you make around a campfire, or even small conversational moments when crossing paths with other adventurers give subtle shape to how your character interacts with the world around them and how combat plays out.
The choice of tribal aesthetics in Moon Hunters helps boil a lot of the character traits and sensations to an imagining of a primal experience, with monsters and encounters that seem to walk out of a misunderstood dream than a literal understanding of the world–leaving the player with plenty of room to let their imagination fill in the gaps on what weird and wild rules govern this strange place.
Raise your hands if you’ve played Mario Kart. Okay, now put them down, entire population of North America. Now raise them again if you want to play more Mario Kart, but maybe if it was all more Rainbow Road than Peach’s Castle, with neon-fused cybertronic sounds and filled with sci-fi obstacle courses. That, is Distance. If Mario Kart is the game you break out to goof around with friends, Distance is the one to bring them on a high-speed journey through the city lights. Currently in Steam Early Access, Distance also puts a lot of work into melding its sound design with the pace of your race, inviting you to take on the kind of flow you might find in Audiosurf or other music based games. Seek Distance out either on PC or later on the PS4 if you want to see this sci-fi driving game at work.
Some days we must be resigned with the fact we probably aren’t getting another side-scrolling Metroid anytime soon. One of the great mysteries of those games was the illusion they held of entire functioning worlds being encapsulated in these confined two-dimensional environments, then invited you to explore them. Chasm is an adventure old-school vein, inviting you to not just stumble around in the dark looking for answers, but engage with challenging enemies who shape the individual spaces and provide life to the mysterious mine you set out to explore. Here, the challenge of Chasm isn’t just meant to be an arbitrary test of skill, but a set of puzzles (hopefully) that invite players to creatively engage with the characters and the space they live in. If Chasm strikes you as your fancy, it’s a reminder that the old-school games it draws from weren’t just about “being difficult” but inhabiting weird and offbeat worlds and stories honed after iteration to iteration.
We have readers who love Tabletop games right? Right? Armello should be right up your alley then. Currently also available in early access on Steam, Armello is a tabletop indie game with role-playing elements, where you take on one of four noble houses in the animal kingdom of Armello, carving out your kingdom and doing battle with dice rolls and collectible cards against the other factions. Armello’s animal-inspired fiction is enough to make Redwall fans stand at attention, but its gameplay should appeal to those who consider Settlers of Catan “easy mode.”
Some of the reasons traditional computer strategy games like Civilization can be obfusticating is that their physical analogues, like cards and dice rolls can’t be seen or held physically to provide a clearer metaphor for the ‘play’ elements of what’s going on. (Seriously in some RPGs the same actions are taking place but they’re hidden where the player can’t see them.) By bringing these elements of play to the forefront of its play, Armello could woo over both the strategy nerd looking for another fantasy world to dive into, and the Game of Thrones fan who loves board games but hasn’t found a video game that fits their needs yet.
Feature Image Source: Moon Hunters