6 Best Indie Games From PAX East 2020 to Keep on Your Radar
The video game fan convention that is PAX East 2020 was filled to the brim with indie and AAA titles for people to get their hands on. While I played a variety of different games during my time there, here are the best indie games from the show that you’ll all want to keep an eye on this year.
Spin Rhythm XD
I thought the whole DJ turntable rhythm game idea died out once DJ Hero was slowly wiped from the minds of gamers back in the day but with Spin Rhythm XD, the development team is bringing back a similar style of gameplay with the sickest of beats.
I was surprised to find out that this rhythm game is already out on PC, but it’s coming to Switch sometime in 2020 with full touch-screen and motion control support.
My demo at PAX gave me access to an actual turntable to give me a next-level DJ’ing experience but the game can be played with standard controls.
As a rhythm game fan, the premise looked to be a bit confusing at first, but after playing for just only a few seconds, the idea starts to kick in and you can really get a feel for how it all works.
It’s essentially like Guitar Hero, in which you’re trying to hit colored blocks in time with the music and then spin the turntable when prompted to get the highest of scores and appeal to the crowd.
I’m not entirely sure if it’ll work as well on Switch, but Spin Rhythm XD is a game that all rhythm game fans need to keep an eye out for, and if you play on PC, you can go play it right now while it is in early access.
Spiritfarer is described as a “cozy management sim about dying.” Not sure about you guys but that doesn’t scream “fun” from the get-go. However, once I spent a good chunk of time with this relaxing indie title from Thunder Lotus Games at PAX East 2020, I walked out very excited to play it again.
You play as a girl named Stella, ferrymaster to the deceased, a Spiritfarer, as you explore a variety of locales to befriend spirits before releasing them into the afterlife –yeah, it’s heavy on metaphors and can be extremely emotional in all of the best ways.
One of the first “quests” sent me to a gorgeous island that was based on a mountain range in Japan and I encountered a spirit that told me that they wanted a particular house.
Stella then obtained a blueprint to build said house, and once I found all of the materials necessary, I built a home for the spirit on my ship, prompting it to come on board and reveal its true self.
Some of these quests will remain on the backburner as they can be pretty long, requiring multiple steps, but you can have more than one going on at the same time, which is where the management sim aspect comes into play.
You can fish, mine, harvest, and craft while you unwind on your ship and search the world for new spirits to join your escapade. Its themes can be heavy, but Spiritfarer totally gave me similar vibes to games like Animal Crossing.
Spiritfarer is due to launch this year on Switch, PC, Xbox One (day one on Game Pass), and PS4.
Fall Guys is one of those games that you just need to get hands-on time with to fully comprehend how enjoyable and nonsensical it all is. It’s a battle royale competition game show with really fun ideas and a physics engine that might make you giggle.
You start off with 60 cute little “fall guys” and you then compete in randomized minigames that will narrow down the competition until there’s one winner and yes, there will be lots of yelling.
One game has you running around an arena with little golden tails and the goal is to keep your tail before the time runs out. You can jump and dive around to avoid having your tail pulled off by other players and there are even squeaky hammers and other environmental objects that you can use to your advantage if you’re clever enough.
Another game has all of you running up a steep hill to reach a golden crown, all while avoiding falling boulders and other dangerous things that are all around you.
It’s a mad dash to the top of the hill to claim victory and it’s insanely fun. Fall Guys is coming to PS4 and PC sometime in the Summer of 2020 and it’s being published by Devolver Digital, a company that has been killing it lately when it comes to putting out unique and wonderful little indie games.
This was my second time playing Fall Guys and although the experience was similar to my first demo at E3 last year, I still had a fantastic time with it.
Takelings House Party
Takelings House Party is a frantic multiplayer title for PC that lets other people join in on the fun of using VR. One player takes control of a grumpy man who lives in a nice suburban home and must eradicate little creatures by grabbing them, throwing them into a garbage disposal or even stuffing them into a toaster.
The other players control the little guys and must run around the kitchen and work together to avoid capture by any means possible. You can hide under drinking cups, chill in the breadbox, or even go on the offensive and stab the man’s hands with a fork.
It’s a very simple game but if you have a bunch of friends around you and some type of VR device for PC. Takelings House Party is something you should definitely try out.
And don’t worry about having physical controllers because players can download an app to control the little guys with a smartphone.
It’s out now on PC but the devs are planning on releasing it for other platforms in the future.
See that shirtless man with the long hair on Boyfriend Dungeon image above? That’s the weapon/man that I chose to romance during my demo with the game and I think I made a terrible mistake.
You see, in Kitfox’s Boyfriend Dungeon, you can choose to date the weapons that you can then bring into dungeons to hack and slash your way to obtain items. The higher your romance level is with them, the more abilities you can obtain for the weapon.
There will be a total of seven different attractive weapons that you can date and thanks to the inclusive nature of the game, there are no rules when it comes to gender or sexuality –you can choose to date whomever you want with no restrictions and, of course, I chose the suave bad boy that’ll probably break my heart in an instant.
Boyfriend Dungeon’s unique take on the dating sim genre is a breath of fresh air and, although the dungeon-crawling segments felt a bit bland, the writing and interaction with the other characters is done very well.
You can look forward to taking long walks on the beach with your favorite weapon once the game launches on Switch and PC. Unfortunately, there is no release window just yet but trust me, the wait will be worth it.
Probably the single-most impressive demo that I had hands-on time with at PAX East 2020 was none other than Ghostrunner, the slick and stylish first-person action game that comes from One More Level and All in! Games.
It’s a very delicious and savory mix of Hotline Miami, Titanfall, and Mirror’s Edge and it astounded me at just how well-polished and smooth it all was.
I started the demo off with just a simple katana sword that can kill enemies with just one hit, but the thing was that I also died in one hit, creating a sense of danger that left me feeling vulnerable but also super-powerful.
While the demo progressed, I learned how to wall run, boost to give me a quick movement mechanic, hook onto to certain hanging objects, and the best ability by far, the power to slow down time in the air for a second to dodge bullets and then go in for a sweet kill.
Ghostrunner is a frantic, frenetic, and adrenaline-fueled indie action game that feels punishing at times but also occasionally very forgiving as it respawns you immediately whenever you die, just like Hotline Miami.
It’s a mix of some of the best action games out there and while it’s an indie game, it feels much more like a AAA title.
There’s no release date just yet but it’s planned to come out in 2020 for PC, Xbox One, and PS4.