Welcome to the Pax West 2023 Day 1 Awards! I had quite the experience on my first day of Pax West 2023. So for those who don’t know, Pax West is a gaming convention in Seattle Washington. It features a variety of games from the recently released and also upcoming gems to keep your eyes on. You can go around playing the demos for the different games to get a feel for them and hopefully find something to look forward to. As a member of the media, I was invited to try out the games and get an interview with reps from the studio.
This was a cool experience both on the networking side and getting to play these wonderful games. Many I had no idea even existed. On the first day, I played some AAA games like Tekken 8, Prince of Persia, and Persona 5 Tactica. Really Enjoyed these games and look forward to playing more of them when they drop. I got to play some Indies, many of which blew me away and left me salivating for more. All that said, here is Pax West 2023 Day 1 Awards.
Most Unique Game: Chicken Police – Into the HIVE!
One of the most unique game that I saw during Day 1 of PaxWest might be the most unique game that I saw all weekend. This game is none other than Chicken Police: Into the Hive! Never have I ever thought about playing a game where you play as an anthropomorphic chicken who’s on a hard boiled mission to solve a case.
Here is the description of the game: “Chicken Police – Into the HIVE! is a character-driven, story-rich, film-noir detective adventure in which you must uncover a complex, world-scale conspiracy by gathering clues, interrogating suspects, and solving puzzles.”
This is a point and click visual novel game that is tailored made for fans of noir-style detective stories. This is the type of game that doesn’t demo super well in a convention setting, but despite that I walked away from the demo really looking forward to playing more. While Chicken Police: Into the Hive! is a sequel, this story stands on its own. The first game is currently out for all platforms. Chicken Police: Into the Hive! is coming out in 2024 for PC first.
Other Dope Games I played:
First one that I want to talk about is 30XX by Batterystaple Games. This team helmed by their founder Chris King has been making games since 2013 when they started making the game 20XX. In Seattle they were there to show off their newest release that is out now, 30XX.
Here is the description of the game: “Jump, shoot, and slash your way through 30XX, the roguelike action platformer you can play with a friend! Explore lush, ever-changing worlds that mix precise platforming with fevered combat. Destroy fearsome Guardians. Master unique Powers. Rediscover the thousand years we’ve lost.”
My Impression of the game: 30XX is like Megaman x as roguelike experience. If you listened to The Single Player Experience podcast, then you know that I love love love me some roguelike games. In this game you run through levels as one of two characters, earning powers from enemies, and fight bosses. The level design and gameplay is tight. It felt like I was playing a modern day Megaman game, but with some modern day gameplay elements. I didn’t play its predecessor 20XX, but after playing a demo of 30XX you can be sure that I won’t make that same mistake with this game.
Long Gone Days:
Next up is a game that drew me in due to the nature of the game and the anime-esque cover art. The game is Long Gone Days by developers This I Dreamt. This is a small 3 person studio based out of South America. This small team made quite the impression with this one.
Here is their description of the game: “A modern-day RPG that imagines a world of war. Overcome language barriers, forge unlikely friendships, and find hope amidst conflict. Follow Rourke, young man trained from birth to be a sniper for The Core— a subterranean paramilitary state. born and raised in the undergrounds of a private military company called The Core.”
So let’s talk about my impressions of the game based on the demo. This turn-based RPG was very interesting because it brought quite a few cool concepts together. For one this is a turn-based game where you use guns. When it is your turn you target an enemy’s body part and you hit and do damage depending on your stats or miss the shot. This is a concept that I haven’t experience in a turn based game. Well you can bust a cap in someone in Persona 5, but you don’t target a limb.
The game also has a real time sniping game that is pretty fun. The one critique of the demo and this is probably due to the atmosphere morso that the game, but I didn’t get a real sense for the story. Based on my talks with the PR Rep from Serenity Forge I know that this game is aiming to tell a heartfelt and impactful story. I can’t wait to check it out when the game drops in October of 2023.
Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire:
As I said earlier, I absolutely love to play roguelike games. So it should come to no surprise that I set an appointment to play the Roguelike game, Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire. Just like with 30XX I didn’t play the previous installment, Phantom Rose. If I’m being honest, I didn’t even know that game existed. That said this game drew me in with its genre and its anime meets retro Persona-like artstyle.
Here is their description of the game: “Phantom Rose 2 is a roguelike deckbuilding game. Fight and collect powerful cards as Aria, trying to survive in her cherished school that’s being ravaged by evil creatures.”
Now let’s talk about my Impressions based off the demo that I played. Deckbuilding is normally a genre that is hit or miss with me. In some games I enjoy it, but I never usual search for games with hardcore deckbuilding elements. Thankfully Phantom Rose 2 mixes it’s deckbuilding well with its combat and roguelike gameplay. In this game you battle by using cards to simulate attacks, adding buffs, and defense shields. At the start of each turn your presented with line of cards and blank spaces which lets you know the rounds attack order, which cards the enemy is going to use, and in the case of the blank spaces where you can insert your cards. You use your cards to deplete the enemies health before they do so to you.
Phantom Rose 2’s demo didn’t amaze me with its narrative. Honestly I didn’t know what was happening story wise, but its artstyle and addicting gameplay more than made up for it. It was the most addicting game that I could see myself losing hours of the day to go on deep runs. Phantom Rose 2 is scheduled to come out Oct 30th 2023 and I can’t wait to play more.
The MVP Award:
When Lost Eidolons came out it was well received, but there were those that had problems with the continuous dialog and the numerous amount of cut scenes. Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch is a spinoff of the original that aims to address all these concerns. I was someone that thoroughly enjoyed Lost Eidolons. It sort of felt like a mixture of Fire Emblem Three Houses and The Dragon Age franchise, which are games I immensely adore. So when I heard that there was more Lost Eidolons coming I was intrigued.
Here is the description of the game: “From the world of “Lost Eidolons” comes an all-new turn-based strategy RPG. Stranded on a mysterious island with scattered memories, your only means of survival is to fight. Recruit allies, undertake a perilous journey, and battle to reclaim what you’ve lost… no matter how many deaths it takes. Recruit allies, grow your skills, and wage war across diverse battlefield environments. Along the way, you’ll collect the scattered memories of a life you’ve forgotten… and the brother you came here searching for.”
My Impressions after playing the Veil of the Witch demo is that those criticisms (not my opinion of the first game) have been addressed. I didn’t see or experience a lot of dialogue, the gameplay is much quicker and feels snapper, and I didn’t see a single cutscene. While I was assured by the dev team that the story is still a focus, Veil of the Witch gets you from battle to battle much quicker. While still a challenging experience that some might not want to endure, I thoroughly enjoyed everything that I played of Veil of the Witch. If you enjoyed the first game and also the Fire Emblem Three Houses or Engage, then you should have Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch on your radar.
Overall Day 1 impressions:
My first day was filled with a lot of variety. There was some Tactics games, some fighting games, a visual novel, and some Roguelike games. As a person who thoroughly enjoys games of those genres, I had a blast and I now have many titles to look out for. I like that each game had its own unique twist on familiar tropes.
So that’s it for my Day 1 impression of PaxWest. It was a good time and it made me look forward to a solid list of RPGs. Stay tuned for more PaxWest Impressions right here and on the Single Player Experience Podcast!
Check out our Day 2 Impressions and the Day 2 MVP!
Until next time stay safe, keep gaming, and enjoy the Single Player Experience.
Hear about the episode here: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4vJW0BD8wjA451q0GMnqvU