This year marked my third year in a row attending PAX AUS and I was lucky enough to reach a personal milestone of attending the convention as media!
It was a lot of fun getting to scope out the show floor an hour early and get my hands on some of those heavily anticipated games before the lines got too long. I also managed to book a few demo slots with some indie developers in the PAX Rising area as well and I was very impressed with some of the games I saw. I’ll be writing up some feature articles soon on some games that were major standouts over the weekend.
Here’s a quick roundup of what I covered on day one!
Kingdom Hearts III
I absolutely loved my play through of Kingdom Hearts III. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it as much as some of the other titles, having only played through the first instalment myself, but I was really blown away by just how beautifully rendered and polished the game looked.
I played through some of the “Toy Box” chapter which introduced some beloved characters from Toy Story and some not as beloved enemies, The Heartless. The games’ core mechanics are still very similar to its predecessors but I did see some new finishing moves included during combat such as “The Swinging Pirate Ship” and “Mad Tea Cups” which were quite fun.
There was also a fight scene where Sora and the gang had to battle three types of giant toy robots, which Sora was able to take control of once they had all been knocked out. KHIII is definitely on my watch list for 2019.
Days Gone was also a favourite of the games I got to demo!
I started my play through in swarm mode, which is a bit more of an open world setting than the campaign. It was somewhat terrifying, as the zombie like “freakers” in the game starting running towards me when provoked and even starting climbing as well, which zombies aren’t allowed to do in my opinion! I was really forced to strategise my approach to defeating the horde instead of just going straight in guns blazing and there were plenty of weapons at my disposal to play around with.
The story mode was great too, I got to see a little more of the bleak, infested world of Days Gone as well as meeting “Boozer,” one of the side characters in the game.
Aura of Worlds
Aura of Worlds is a creative tactical rogue-like platformer, developed by the team at Cognitive Forge. The game has been in development since 2013 and is somewhat of a passion project for the developers behind it.
Each level is comprised of about twelve stages that contain different spaces and obstacles to get past and one of the core elements of the game is permadeath, meaning that once you die in a particular stage you have to restart the whole level all over again. While the prospect of that can seem frustrating it also does a great job of motivating the player to complete each section in full.
Influence for Aura of Worlds was taken from games such as Terraria and early Legend of Zelda titles, which I found especially present in its art design. It’s currently available on Steam in an early development state.
Necrobarista is a supernatural coffeehouse visual novel, developed by Route 59 Games.
The story is told through pieces of text that appear on screen and players will have to click to progress. Key words that are highlighted throughout can also be collected to influence how the story will unfold and each word will represent a certain topic such as thoughts, characters and so on.
The art style is very reminiscent of games such as Ni No Kuni and other anime inspired titles, I found it quite pretty to look at. The game also had a very investigative feel to it and I think the art design definitely complemented that genre.
Necrobarista is scheduled to release on Steam, Nintendo Switch and PS4 in 2019.
Damsel is a fast paced action platformer developed by Screwtape Studios. This is the studio’s first major game after releasing several mobile titles in the past and Damsel felt like a good entry point to Screwtape for a bigger release.
Each level is laid out as a mission and it tasks the player with completing mini games such as hacking a laptop or rescuing hostages as well as defeating enemies using Damsel’s gun, who is the game’s protagonist.
The games story elements are laid out in comic book form instead of traditional cutscenes and they do a great job of delving a little deeper into the character’s personalities. Meg Summers, one of the developers of the game mentioned to me that she wished Damsel delved even deeper into the storyline than it already has, but there are things that always have to be sacrificed during development.
I really enjoyed my time with the game and it’s currently available to download on Steam for PC and Mac. Console releases will be coming soon.
For all further PAX AUS related content be sure to check back at GameRVW!