Feature: Misc. PAX West 2021 Highlights!

By Jenny Geist 17.09.2021 1

Feature: Misc. PAX West 2021 Highlights! on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion
PAX West 2021 may have been smaller than previous years, but it still had a great selection of stand-out indie games! From Overcooked in space, to a doggo-themed tower defense, to a tranquil puzzle platformer, there were certainly some exciting displays that are still worth covering. Luckily enough, Cubed3's Jenny Geist was able to preview several of these just last week, and has written brief impressions of each!

Skystone Games' Spacelines from the Far Out is a collaborative party game where players work together to manage an interstellar transport. As expected, this is an extremely difficult task—between aircraft safety, power distribution, and customer satisfaction, there is far too much for one to manage on their own. While the demo was experienced in single-player, co-op play is absolutely the name of the game. With so many tasks to do in such a short time, getting help from a friend will make your job much easier, if not much more chaotic. Like Overcooked, part of the appeal is barking orders at your friends to manage this hectic situation as efficiently as possible. Spacelines from the Far Out does seem to be slightly derivative of the game it's inspired by, but in fairness, that is far from a bad thing. Overcooked is fun, so why not Overcooked in spaaaace?

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The Last Friend, also published by Skystone, is a tower defense & beat 'em up hybrid where one befriends and collects dogs like they're Pokémon. Ignoring the fact that this is one of the best ever thought up by human minds, the game itself was an absolute stand-out of the show. Right off the bat, an impressive opening animation introduces players to a distinct post-apocalyptic world, where one man is setting out to save all of the dogs from a sinister conspiracy. The colourful, cartoon-esque artstyle is absolutely gorgeous, both in and out of the cutscenes—couple that with the aforementioned blend of genres, and it's no wonder that this title is already making a splash.

The gameplay itself is extremely similar to Plants vs. Zombies. As deadly mutants slowly approach through a gridded battlefield, one must place dog-manned turrets to protect their turf. Some pups will act as traditional sentries, some will give AOE stat boosts, and some will unlock new moves entirely. Unlike others of the genre, however, the player is also an active agent on the field, able to hop between layers and beat up enemies alongside their pup protectors. Dogs are unlocked at random rates, across five worlds, within a surprisingly extensive 15-hour campaign.  Cubed3 could only preview one early level, which doesn't give a great idea of how the progression will work, but it is already clear that the final product will be incredibly addictive. Best of all, it's releasing in only two weeks! Pet-lovers will not have to wait long to give this game a shot.

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To cap things off, Anthropic Studios' Way of Rhea is a wonderfully tranquil puzzle platformer with 'more puzzling, less platforming.' Despite its genre, the player cannot jump at all, so instead one must utilize a variety of carriages, teleporters, and circuits that only respond to a staff of the corresponding colour. (For those of you that are colourblind, accessibility options are already built into this title from the start!) Even at the busy PAX West show-floor, this mellow twist proved to be relaxing and engaging. Instantaneous undo and redo options are available with the mere click of a button, so the stakes never feel too high. The story elements and dialogue were cute, but not especially important, so lengthy bouts of trial-and-error- are never too distressing, either. The best existing comparison to this style would be Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker, as both are puzzle games where the protagonist cannot jump, but Way of Rhea sets itself apart by tying all of its puzzles into one interconnected, progressing world. If you want an early peak into this world, a demo is already available on Steam ahead of its 2022 release!

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Sounds like you had a blast! Hope you enjoyed yourself!

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