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  • Writer's pictureRoberto Nieves

Roberto's Top 10 Games at PAX West

After a tumultuous return in 2021, PAX West was officially back and was as close to a big video game convention than ever. Big booths, lots of merch, and far too many video games to possibly play for a single person. From Poland to Spain and England to Canada, the world of games converged for four days in Seattle, Washington, much to the delight and cheer of all who attended. It was a welcome and celebrated event that was a true return to form and gives hope for years to come that conventions are coming back, bigger, stronger, and better than ever. I played many video games, from small indies to highly anticipated first-person shooters. This is a list of 10 games that deserve a special shout-out, but I encourage everyone to find out more about all the games from this event. There are hundreds of adventures waiting to be played.

WWII games are a dime a dozen, whether a first-person shooter like Call of Duty or a real-time strategy game like Sudden Strike 4. Poland-based Madnetic Games challenges players with an idea: World War II games don't have to be about war and combat but about regular people, surviving, rebuilding, and healing. WW2 Rebuilder puts players as a rebuilder, fixing towns and places destroyed by the war, bringing a human and remarkable perspective to the subject matter and the genre. As a game that encourages players to fix things at their own pace, WW2 Rebuilder is shaping to be a strong title.

It's not easy to mix game types and genres, but the team at Chanko Studios and AMC Film Holdings has figured out a way to combine a movie editor with platforming to create an innovative and revolutionary platformer. Evolving the time manipulation mechanics established in Prince of Persia, It's A Wrap! puts players as the director of their favorite movie and the actor right into the heart of the action, controlling not just the stage but the hero as well. With a concept that could allow for hundreds of scenarios, It's A Wrap! is shaping to be the new Super Meatboy in terms of how excellent it polishes and reinvents platformers and more than ears its rightful place among the PAX Rising stars.

Many video games are waiting to be unearthed, lost to the sands of time, but the amazing team at Ziggurat believes in the mission of bringing these games to light. Slave Zero X is based on the original vision and concept of the 1999 Dreamcast title, Slave Zero, set within a biopunk world. It's tough but brutal and action-packed, but that's expected as the game comes from the maker of the sci-fi spaceship shoot Devil Engine. Poppyworks is helping to port the game, bringing Slave Zero X to as many audiences as possible. This hack-n-slash sidescroller action game brings old-fashioned white knuckle combat to a modern audience straight from the gaming world of the late 90s, and with a story penned by the co-creator of RWBY, Miles Luna, Slave Zero X is sure to be an excellent time.

The Souls games have often been dark, brooding, and crushing, but The Last Oricru takes that and turns it into an intense but overwhelmingly satisfying adventure, where the choices of a sci-fi fantasy world truly matter. During this planetary war of two civilizations, players can fight solo, but it is in split-screen co-op that The Last Oricru truly shines, giving players a unique experience to fight the foes of another world. With a colorful fantasy world, split-screen co-op, and a bevy of RPG mechanics, The Last Oricru is shaping to be a new and exciting take on the Souls genre. Having followed this game since PAX East this year, The Last Oricru is shaping to be another strong game to end the year and will be launching very soon in October.

Twin-stick shooters are common these days, but every so often, there comes a developer that sets itself apart from the rest of the pack. Dust and Neon from David Marquardt Studios and Rogue Games sets itself apart with a wild-west and cyberpunk aesthetic, where a cybernetically enhanced cowboy goes up against a hostile robot army. Dust and Neon encourages taking cover, taking out enemies like the good ol' days of the wild west, making the combat feel especially intense. When luck is against you, you're low on health, and you've got only a few bullets left, that well-placed shot could save your life. Using RPG mechanics and a thrilling manual reload system, Dust and Neon shouldn't be missed.

It's not what you have but what you do with it. Worldless dropped a trailer right before PAX West, and I was immediately seized by its minimalistic approach and heavenly presentation. Worldless is no cakewalk, though, as enemies will fight in fast-paced turn-based combat and are imbued with mystic energies. Worldless is reminiscent of the golden era of experimental side-scrolling action platformers like Earthworm Jim, Vectorman, and Another World. With a cosmic world to explore beyond the realms of time and space and enemies from beyond the universe, Worldless is shaping to be an adventure unlike any other.

The days of big, heavy metal mech combat in games have been a thing of the past until now. Taking inspiration from the classic online shooter Tribes: Aerial Assault, the team at Simutronics Corp are bringing back the big mechs and big weapons in Galahad 3093, a 12v12 PvP online multiplayer shooter. Featuring a variety of characters, weapons, and mech types, players are sure to go big and come heavy in the Arthurian-themed Galahad 3093. Having fought for a few rounds, Galahad 3093 is shaping to be the next big online shooter in the indie space. Galahad 3093 was just launched into Early Access, but from what I played, the game feels like it is finished, a testament to the dedicated team to make the best online experience possible.

An asymmetrical online game in the Dragon Ball universe, Dragon Ball: The Breakers is an experimental format for the legendary anime series. However, it works, taking some of the inspirations from the Friday the 13th online game and placing it within the context of Dragon Ball. one player is the infamous Cell to Frieza. Everyone else is a survivor trying to assemble a time machine and escape. Playing as one of the most popular animated villains of all time was incredible, literally decimating portions of the map. Playing as the survivor had its own fun, emphasizing teamwork and strategy to survive. Dragon Ball: The Breakers is an incredibly engaging take on the Dragon Ball franchise, and with a release date set for this October, players won't have to wait long to wage this legendary battle.

Sometimes, you need a good, old-fashioned, and rip-roaring good time in an action game, and Gungrave G.O.R.E is looking to deliver! Studio Iggymob and Prime Matter are ready to set things on fire. A tale of revenge, mad science, and more bullets than there are grains of sand on Earth, Gungrave G.O.R.E is going to be an action-packed good time, with insane stylistic moves, a solid story, and incredible cinematics. Blasting through hordes of bad guys was a total blast, all to the tune of a rocking soundtrack and ending with an amazing boss fight. This remake and soft reboot of the PS2 classic will be a wild way to end the year when it launches on November 3rd of this year.

The appropriately named Half Asleep Games combines soft, pastel dreamscapes with visual storytelling and engaging rhythm gameplay to create an immersive and striking gaming experience about the one thing everyone has in common: Sleep. Sleep is everything. It powers our moods, emotions, and feelings. Inspired by games like Unpacking, Melatonin is looking to say something profoundly important while not saying a word, as well as being a thrilling game where players not only learn but compete for a high score. For those rather not fond of rhythm games, Melatonin will feature plenty of options to tailor their experience, from calibration to visual cues. Melatonin looks to land in 2023.

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