PAX East 2019: The Games

Calculator 2

Developer: Simple Machine
Publisher: Simple Machine, LLC
Release Date: Out Now
Platforms: iOS, It is also on Android but is in beta.
Price: Free
Genre: Puzzle, Math
Number of Players: 1
Offline/Online Play: Unknown
Games as a Service Plan: None
Downloadable Content/Season Pass: None
Loot boxes/Micro-transactions: Hints are available for purchase.
Control Options: Touch Screen

Sometimes you simply have to respect that you have your niche interests. One of mine are math games, I’m not ashamed of that. This is a sequel to Calculator the Game, which I’m still playing through. Both are games about using a defined set of values and operations to get from some specific x to some other specific y in z steps or less. The sequel includes new operations, multiple objectives and other fun things for me to sink my teeth into when I’m done with the first.

Kung Fu Kickball

Developer: WhaleFood Games
Publisher: WhaleFood Games
Release Date: Q2 2019
Platforms: Steam, Windows only.
Price: Unknown
Genre: Action, Sports
Number of Players: 2 or 4
Offline/Online Play: Offline Local Competitive/Co-Op, Online Co-Op/Competitive
Games as a Service Plan: Unknown
Downloadable Content/Season Pass: Unknown
Loot boxes/Micro-transactions: Unknown
Control Options: Full Controller support. Remapping unknown.

High flying couch co-op kick-the-ball at the bell action. Can be played as either 1v1 or 2v2, and the simple basically single color silhouettes that make up the characters popped nicely against the pixel art background. Had a lot of fun, partially due to winning 6-1. Definitely something I’m going to look into to add to my repertoire for parties.

Chibisu’s Costume Combat

Developer: Green Bray Games
Publisher: Green Bray Games
Release Date: Currently in Early Access
Platforms: Steam, itch.IO (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Price: $9.99/$7.49
Genre: 2d Deathmatch
Number of Players: 2-4
Offline/Online Play: Offline Co-Op only
Games as a Service Plan: Unknown
Downloadable Content/Season Pass: Unknown
Loot boxes/Micro-transactions: Unknown
Control Options: Up to four with Xbox 360 or Xbox One controllers, two with keyboards.

A 4-player deathmatch game where you play as these like, unicorn hamster things? It’s a fun idea and all, but it was difficult to understand where people were and the game feel was off–like there wasn’t good recoil from weapons, that sort of thing. I lost to a friend but I don’t think I’d be interested even if I had been good at it. Further research shows it is in early access and only has local competitive as options for gameplay–no online, no single player.

Liteboxer

Developer: Liteboxer
Publisher: Liteboxer
Release Date: Fall 2019
Platforms: iOS, Android, Dedicated Hardware required.
Price: $299 is the expected price for the hardware. Companion app is free.
Genre: Rhythm, Fitness
Number of Players: 1
Offline/Online Play: Unknown
Games as a Service Plan: None
Downloadable Content/Season Pass: Additional songs will be available after launch.
Loot boxes/Micro-transactions: None
Control Options: Fists.

I couldn’t find any screenshots directly. Linking the Developer‘s Twitter which does have footage of the prototypes.

Take Dance Dance Revolution and swap the dance pad for a punching bag and you essentially have Liteboxer. The piece that draws the eye was the prototype input device–a lasertag looking piece that had six circular sements and was strapped to an industrial looking stand, which I was assured was not the production device.
The game itself was really responsive. We were asked to go gentle on the prototype, but even so pulling on the gloves and punching the circles that lit up(lights would move from the center to the targeted circle) felt really good, and I fell into a good rhythm in no time at all. The game runs on a free phone app that talks to the input device, which will start with having 60 pop songs (most of which I probably wouldn’t recognize based on my niches) but pop music is good for beats, so it seems a natural fit.
Of course, any peripheral based game really comes down to the cost. The app and hardware are both primed to launch this fall, estimated costs being free and $299 respectively, the latter consisting of the input device and a stand for if you don’t have a punching bag. That isn’t a price to sneeze at–more than a Nintendo Switch with a new game after all. A lot of my interest is really going to depend on the build quality of the final product–there is definitely room in my life for beating something up to some good tunes.
Also of note: additional songs are being planned as paid DLC, not a subscription service, closer to the Rock Band model of buying tracks. Tracks are choreographed by hand so some time is required to get them right–I wouldn’t expect any support for importing your own music to the game.

Rabbit and the Owl

Developer: Formal Sheep
Publisher: Formal Sheep, LLC
Release Date: Aug 3, 2018 (Available Now)
Platforms: Steam
Price: $9.99
Genre: Co-Op Platformer
Number of Players: 1-2
Offline/Online Play: Local Co-Op and single player
Games as a Service Plan: None
Downloadable Content/Season Pass: Soundtrack available for $4.99
Loot boxes/Micro-transactions: None
Control Options: Full controller support(Xbox primarily), mouse and keyboard.

Co-op puzzle platformer where the Rabbit can only step in the floors/walls/ceilings for the Owl, and vice versa. A little tricky but very satisfying to play. Good atmosphere as well, and the gray-scale environments with colored characters/interact-able objects made everything of interest pop, which is always helpful with puzzles. Seems like a good bonding activity, which is a good feel for a co-op puzzler.

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