3 Awesome Indie Games at PAX South 2016

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The second annual PAX South has come to an end, but with it kickstarts another exciting year of Penny Arcade Expo’s around the world. What was once simply a small web comic has exploded into one of the most inclusive, important, and flat-out entertaining places to be for gamers of all shapes and sizes. If you don’t know how PAX works, it’s essentially 3 days of big developers, small indie developers and gamers from all over coming together to share their passion for gaming. It’s only the second year of PAX South in San Antonio, but it’s already growing into a permanent staple to the San Antonio gaming community. This year was noticeably larger than last, and it shows no signs of slowing down. My personal favorite aspect of PAX is getting surprised by upcoming indie games that you’ve never heard of before, but that you can’t wait to play again when they release. There were a number of these this year, and these are three of my favorites.

Ultimate Chicken Horse

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Don’t let the name throw you; Ultimate Chicken Horse was probably the most fun I had playing a new game at PAX South. It takes aspects of similar games like Mario Maker and Little Big Planet, but adds an ingenious and unique multiplayer component. The game starts with you and up to 4 friend picking a farm animal. From there, you select a level, and a box of random objects appears at the beginning. You and your friends select one item each and slowly, turn by turn, build a level. However, there’s a twist. In between each ‘build’ turn, you race each other through the level you’re building to earn points. This gets infinitely more fun when items such as rotating chainsaws, slippery ice, and even black holes become available to you. Even better, if everyone gets to the end of the level, then nobody gets any points. That would be far too easy! Immediately after we quit playing, I wanted to get back in line and go again. Ultimate Chicken Horse has the potential to be the next indie breakout hit along the lines of Castle Crashers or other similar party games. It’s due out in March on PC (Steam) and later on PS4 and Xbox One.

Enter the Gungeon

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Enter the Gungeon isn’t incredibly revolutionary or game-changing, but this roguelike game is simply a blast. Due to a lengthy line for the Devolver booth this year, I didn’t get a ton of time with EtG, but I got enough to see that it’s going to be enormously entertaining when it releases sometime this year. Like other roguelike games (the Devolver specialty it seems), Enter the Gungeon is a procedurally-generated dungeon crawler with sprite-based graphics. Where it differs is in the weapons and combat. There is a massive variety of them to choose from, buy, and loot from various bosses on your mission. The game hosts intuitive controls based around the analog sticks (on the PS4 version of course) and it keeps the gameplay incredibly fast and tight. We can’t wait for Enter the Gungeon out later this year on PC, Mac, Linux, and PS4.

InnerSpace

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If you loved Journey, (let’s be honest, we all did) then you’ll love InnerSpace. Made by a small team of young new developers at PolyKnight Games, InnerSpace was kickstarted successfully in 2014, with an expected release date of May 2016. Like I said, it shares many similarities with Journey in its surreal, beautiful art style to an almost spiritual search for mysterious relics of the past. You play a cartographer flying in a bird-like plane, mapping various ‘bubble-worlds’, or the aforementioned ‘innerspace’. Like Journey, it’s an incredibly zen experience, but where I think it may have an edge up on its inspiration is in its tight flight controls. If you ever played Crimson Skies, you’ll be right at home exploring the various skies, seas, and cave-structures of InnerSpace. It’s a game I could see myself losing hours in, exploring every nook and cranny of the game world. Keep an eye out for this one, coming to PC (Steam) in May of 2016.

 

Do any of these indies tickle your fancy? Sound off below!