Top Three Surprises Hidden at PAX West 2017
Another PAX West has come and gone, and with it, thousands of gamers got their hands on some of the biggest titles coming out in the near future. Yet hidden amongst the crowds and booths competing for everyone’s attention, gems are just waiting to be discovered. Here are three of the most intriguing games I found at PAX West 2017.
This game just oozes style. Necrobarista is a visual novel about a coffee shop that serves both the living and the dead. The anime-esque art style and haunting synth/techno soundtrack creates a rather unique aesthetic, but what really pulls you in is the vividly detailed world crafted by some of the best writing I have experienced in video games. The witful interactions among the characters and flavor text of seemingly insignificant objects, like a milk crate or a bare light bulb, craft a world that I want to delve deep into. Out of everything that was showcased this year, Necrobarista made a distinctive mark in my mind, and I can’t wait for its release.
A stick shooter influenced fighter themed around coffee, makes you scratch your head, right? At first glance, Coffence comes off as silly, having little substance, but after spending some time with the game, there is a lot more than just smacking each other with cups of coffee. The whole goal for each match is to knock your opponent’s coffee out of their cup and catch it in yours. Sounds simple enough, but throw in a yo-yo coffee cup, air dashes, slide cancels and boosts from drinking your own coffee and a fight can get pretty bold (sorry...I had to). This game is still in alpha, but I suggest keeping an eye on this party brawler.
When first looking at this game, I thought, “Oh cool, another Zelda clone….next,” but that is far from the truth. Writing off this little gem would be a terrible mistake, as Moonlighter blends a tightly controlled dungeon crawler with Animal Crossing town mechanics. At night, you scour into a procedurally-generated dungeon, looking for ancient baubles and knick-knacks to sell while hacking and slashing baddies. Then during the day, you try to turn those treasures into gold by running your own shop. Through the townsfolk’s reactions to your prices, you can optimize your profit margins and rake in the coin. Personally, I love in-game economies, and Moonlighters take on running your own shop through the spoils of your dungeon runs makes it stand out in a rather crowded genre.