Four promising games from PAX South 2017

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend PAX South, the southern chapter of the massive annual game conference held in San Antonio, TX.  I also had the fortune to contract an illness at PAX that also hit hundreds of other con-goers and that put me out of the office for a few days this week.  Most importantly, though, I was able to play/observe a few new interesting games in the expo hall that, when they come out, might help distract me from everything that went wrong in my life and everything I’ll do wrong in the future.  These games included the following:

1. The Shrouded Isle

shroudedisle

Described by developer Kitfox Games as a “cult village management simulator”, The Shrouded Isle puts you in the role of the priest of a seaside town.  Your chief duty as priest is to maintain your town’s good moral character, in part by offering regular human sacrifices to appease the undersea monster-god that lurks near its shores.  With his power as the town priest, the player can also uncover heresies and punish people accordingly (maybe by making them the next course on the human sacrifice menu?)  The sacrifices are chosen from the town’s five most prominent families, though, and pissing off one of the families too much by choosing too many of them to sacrifice seems like it would probably be a bad idea.

The Shrouded Isle is currently scheduled to come out on Steam this summer, and I’ll probably check it out.  The interesting art style and the human sacrifice angle really pulled me in.  And it promises some potential Lovecraftian god-destruction too, and what more can you ask for than that.

2. Beat Cop

beatcop

Beat Cop puts you in the well-worn shoes of a New York City policeman patrolling the streets.  And this is NYC in the 1980s, before former mayor/current psychotic Rudy Giuliani solved the city’s crime problems by having all the homeless guys shipped out, so you’re in for a hard time.  You’re tasked with writing tickets and catching thieves trying to make off with valuables from the stores on your assigned block, but you can also talk to pedestrians and business owners and try to get leads on cases.  (You can even solicit a prostitute, as I found out when I tried to arrest one!  Needless to say she did not get arrested.)  There’s also a plot involving your character, Jack Kelly, and mob connections, or a framed murder, or something.  Anyway, the game was pretty fun for the ten minutes I played it and it’s developed by some guys called 11 bit studios out of Poland, which explains some of the wonky English on the game’s Steam page.  It’s coming out this spring supposedly, so keep an eye out if the idea of playing a pixellated Dirty Harry sounds fun to you.

3. Holy Potatoes!  We’re in Space?!

space-potato

This weirdly titled game seems to be essentially FTL starring potato-based life forms, which is admittedly strange.  But if you like FTL and you don’t mind potatoes, and way way too many potato-based puns, then this game could be for you.  Not much else to say about it.  Daylight Studios also released a game called Holy Potatoes!  A Weapon Shop?! a while back that I didn’t play, so this whole potato thing seems to be working out for them.  This one’s being released on Valentine’s Day next week, so if you don’t have a date and you were just planning to sit at home and eat a quart of ice cream or drink a pint of whiskey alone in your apartment, maybe you can check this game out instead.

4. Freedom Planet 2

Yeah!  We’ve known the sequel to Freedom Planet, the best Sonic game since 1994, would be coming out for over a year now, but we now have a playable demo, available at GalaxyTrail’s site at the link above.  I can say that the sequel looks even better than the original, and I liked Freedom Planet a whole lot.  This series is sort of filling the hole left by the fact that Sonic games have been mostly total garbage since the mid-90s.  It’s like a trip back into the past for me.  Not every game developer who goes for that retro-nostalgia appeal succeeds, but GalaxyTrail succeeded at it the first time around.  There doesn’t seem to be a release date for Freedom Planet 2 yet, but I’ll be watching, and if Sonic-style 2D 90s action done right sounds like fun to you, you should be watching too.

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