Patrick Waring and Nick Ballantyne have flown over to Melbourne for the Australian gaming event of the year: PAXAus 2014! There’s a lot of coverage and interviews which will be going up in the days following the con; however, our editors wanted to give you a small taste of what it’s like to immerse yourself in the daily culture and chaos of the event. They’ll be giving us their favorite picks – be them games, panels, or just memorable moments – after each day of PAXAus to post up for all of you to enjoy.
As I walked through the PAXAus indie exhibition I stumbled across a banner sporting a spectral fiend towered over some classic fantasy heroes. The pixel-styled heroes flit across the screen out of the corner of my eye and I was beginning to dismiss it as yet another fantasy rogue-like, tugging at the memories of games from olden days. When those playing began cursing at one another, however, viciously mashing the gamepad and howling in frustration and delight, I became interested. After playing a few rounds, it’s easily become one of my favorite games at PAX. I was able to speak with designer and developer Chris Yabsley (interview incoming!), who is working on Dungeon League alone and has brought the game to a playable multiplayer version in only six months. Color us impressed.
Dungeon League is not overly complicated: 4 players take to a small dungeon arena to duke it out in a series of competitive game modes from Death Match to Capture the Flag. You pick your team and your class (Fighter, Wizard, or Archer), gather your friends around to do the same and then try your best to destroy your friendship. The game is fast paced and, while seemingly simple on the surface of things, has quite a strategic depth to it. Characters are squishy and it’s easy to get a leg up over your opponents early in the game, though the game is still in early days. Chris has said that he plans to introduce more multiplayer modes, a single player rogue-like and many other features before what he hopes will be an early 2015 release.
If you’re a fan of old-school fantasy hack’n’slash, and multiplayer games in general, then you’ll definitely love Dungeon League. You can check out Chris’ other work here and he will be in the PAXAus Indie exhibition through to the end of the convention.
Watching baubles floating around on a screen seemed a bit surreal for the normal caveat of PAX indie games, but as soon as a I realised they were sub-atomic particles, I was sold. Particulars is a game about being a quark, and it’s not about being a quark for the convenience of gameplay, it’s about being a quark because the developer is a physicist. You float around, as a quark, weaving past opposite quarks without annihilating each other, and it’s damn fun. Every interaction between you and other particles is based on scientific evidence and utilised for a strange game comprised of attraction and collision mechanics. It’s weird, like quantum physics, but in a far more enjoyable way than reading some textbook from the 70s.’
While it’s an enjoyable and challenging game on it’s own, the game also has a ‘particlepedia’. It’s a collection of all the particles referenced in the game and why they interact the way they do. It’s not included to make the game another unwanted addition to the stockpile of edutainment aberrations quietly lurking underneath the bargain bin at EB, but it’s definitely awesome to see that the game is based in reality. It’s also presented in a way that isn’t lamer than a 3rd year physics lecturer, which is an achievement when you’re explaining particle interations.
If you’re interested in being a quark or just not being annihilated, you can check out Particulars’ website. The game is set to be released on Steam on November 20th.
MOBA’s are all the rage these days, with every developer and their dogs attempting to cash in on dem sweet, sweet DotA clones. When Bethesda announced that they were working on Battlecry, a 32-player third person shooter of the same ilk, I wasn’t entirely sure if it would be anything to rave about. Having had a chance to play it this afternoon, however, allow me to do just that. Battlecry is set in an alternate Earth timeline where gunpower was outlawed following the first world war, forcing humanity down a different technological path. While peace lasted for a time, old tensions die hard and war has come once more. However, wars are now fought in specified war-zones by small, elite fighting groups, and to the victor go the spoils.
Unlike other MOBA’s, the game doesn’t have dozens of varied champions (with each requiring a Uni degree and several years of your life to master). Instead, a small selection of classes are provided to both teams, a la Team Fortress, and more will be forthcoming once the game has been out for awhile. I was able to choose from the Enforcer, a sword-which-can-totally-transform-into-a-shield wielding behemoth; the Duelist, a quick, dancing, twin-blade swinging fighter that can cloak themselves to stalk around the battlefield, and; the Tech Archer, slinging projectiles which soar across the map and through your opponents’ skulls.
While only a Point Capture mode was available for play and there were two other classes which were not ready for play, what’s to come has me excited. More modes, character classes, no pay-to-win (microtransactions are for cosmetic items only) and an Australian/New Zealand exclusive beta release early next year. For anyone interested, early beta sign-up can be found here – get on it, Turkeys!
You know Super Hexagon? Yeah, no, completely different guy. You’d be forgiven though, the game does look identical, right down to the lightly contrasted background regions to help guide your movements. However, looks are deceiving and Wave Wave is… Well, for a iOS game, it’s brutal. The concept is painfully simple: make your way through the ever-changing diagonal path and don’t hit the walls. You hold down on the screen to change from going diagonally up to diagonally down while the camera spins round and round. It’s intuitive to play, but to last longer than three seconds? No, completely different.
I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but the game messes up your brain. There’s something about the simplicity of it, the spinning architecture, the obvious goal of not hitting the walls that makes your head leak some brightly coloured ooze that should be helping you succeed. It’s an entirely different feeling of challenge from Super Hexagon, since it’s no longer about finding a position and waiting to make the next move, it’s about actively deciding whether to make a move each millisecond. It’s fun, it’s fast, and it’s immensely satisfying when you reach the 16 second mark.
You can pick up the masochistic delight of Wave Wave for iOS or Android (iOS is the newest one though) from the game’s website.