A show like PAX East in Boston offers a wealth of games, and it's a challenge to even see half of them during the four days the doors are open. But after walking the show floor, interviewing developers and checking out and playing a huge number of titles, we picked out a bunch that we hadn't seen before or that really impressed us out of the vast number of indie titles on display.
PC (and consoles potentially)
Developer: Joy Masher Publisher: The Arcade Crew
French publisher Dotemu and their new label The Arcade Crew drew a lot of attention to their booth at PAX East with two indie titles, Dark Devotion (with the catch line "Dark Souls of 2D Dark Souls") and the Contra-inspired Blazing Chrome. The later offered adrenaline-fueled 8-direction arcade action with an interesting retro look (the game even adheres to the colour limitations of the Sega Mega Drive, so not even Super Nintendo amounts here). It's hard to judge most games on a busy show floor like the one at PAX East after just a few minutes, but Blazing Chrome immediately captured our attention with its furious pace.
Projection: First Light
PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Developer: Shadowplay Studios Publisher: Blowfish
Shadow puppets may not have inspired many video games, but if you think about it they are a very good fit for a video game and this is something that Shadowplay Studios has picked up on. Having studied various shadow puppet traditions, Shadowplay Studios settled on a mix of Polynesian traditions as inspiration for Project: First Light. The main mechanic here is to move a light source in order to create shadows so that you can make your way from left to right, a physics puzzler of a different ilk in other words.
The King's Bird
PC and consoles
Developer: Serenity Forge Publisher: Graffiti Games
There are a few things that can help ease the frustration we sometimes feel when playing precision platformers. Instant respawns is one. Beautiful easy-to-read visuals is another. The King's Bird features both, making it easy to see yourself trying to clear each screen over and over until we manage to progress. The developers at Serenity Forge call The King's Bird a momentum platformer as you'll need to expertly glide and use your momentum to gain altitude and progress through the levels.
The Gardens Between
Developer: The Voxel Agents
We did see The Gardens Between at Sony's pre-show during Paris Games Week, sure, but we got a closer look at the time manipulation puzzle game about friendship in Boston, and we really liked what we saw. The word "gimmick" has a somewhat negative connotation in games, but the gimmick here is that you don't actually control the characters on screen, but rather the flow of time. That's not what we'd call a negative feature, and to top it off it looks gorgeous and the theme of friendship is one that typically translates really well in video games.