Keep in mind that there is no order of preference within our list. These are simply the games we most enjoyed playing at PAX.
01. My Memory Of Us
This game is an adventure platformer set during a time of war. While the developers told us that they didn’t mention any specific nations or groups of people, there is a strong influence from WWII and the oppression of Jewish people. This is seen with the beautifully composed music, which is based off of traditional Jewish songs, and military garb that the robots are dressed in.
You start out playing two characters, a young boy and girl who’s friends and family have been taken hostage by the robots. You swap between the two characters and use their different skills to solve puzzles and sneak past patrol guards. You can also have the children hold hands as they travel together through the levels.
This game, unlike others that we saw at PAX east, does not rely on telling the player how to do everything. Visual cues give you hints on what is happening and what to do next, rather than having it spelled out for you. This makes the puzzles more interesting as well as challenging.
The only difficulty I found in my playtime was the hide boxes did not quite end where I expected. Separating the children and having them run in turn could have easily solved this, but I am a stubborn person. It’s something the developers acknowledged and refining the edges is an aspect that they are still working on. Other than that, the game play is very smooth. While we only played a portion of one level in the game for the demo, the developers informed us that there are at least 20 planned levels so far, giving plenty of gameplay.
As of right now, the game is only going to be released on PC, although a date has not been set. They are hoping for late 2018, but this is tentative since they are still very early in development.
For more more information, please be sure to visit the official website. Be sure to check back with us later as we go more in depth with this wonderful game.
2. A Cat's Manor
The idea seems straightforward at first, but as you play, the game gets darker and darker. You play as a cat that has no previous knowledge of the house it now finds itself in. All you know is that this house is not normal, or even the least bit safe, and you must try and escape through exploration and puzzles. You will certainly not succeed every test however with multiple ways for your feline character to lose his head.
One unexpected feature was that the cat you play as has a hand for a tail. When we inquired about that, the developer, Tariq, told us how, during the initial planning stages, the cat just had a fluffy tail, and as time went on it transformed and became an important aspect of gameplay.
As I was playing, not only did I notice the wonderful visuals, but the wonderful audio. The music was whimsical like a childhood lullaby, while being incredible eerie. This ties into this dark family dynamic that unfold before you as you play. The voice acting is also very well done, helping the player become immersed in this twisted world of family ties and hidden secrets.
This project has not been in production for very long, less than a year, but it is already showing great promise. A Cat’s Manor was already a success on Steam Greenlight and when we asked about the progress of the game, Tariq told us that the game was approximately 70% finished. A Steam release is proposed for 3rd quarter 2017 with possible console and mobile releases in the near future.
03. Colina: Legacy
The game revolves around Alex, a teenager that is trying to figure out where his parents are as he wanders through a disheveled house where his grandmother used to live. Playing though the demo, it became clear that this is a callback to how horror puzzle games used to be before they forgot that players want suspense and not pointless action. The more I played, the more I could relate to games like Silent Hill where your fear at what's ahead is just as big a hurtle as the puzzles and monsters. As my character walked though the house, strange sounds of crying could be heard. What made it creepier was that the noises were given a point of origin. When I turned the character, the sound moved on my headset, yet there were no visual objects that could be seen as a source.
As similar as it is, this is not a carbon copy of Silent Hill. Other than a different plot, of which I only got a small taste, there are elements that add to clue finding as well as tension. Colina: Legacy gives you a flashlight to help you navigate through the dark, grim setting but you have a limited battery life. There are ways to charge them, but this adds a sense of urgency when exploring because, just like in real life, batteries take time to recharge. There is also a discovery aspect where the player shines their flashlight though specific amulets to discover messages. I understand that I was just playing a demo, but I did wonder at the origin of these amulets. Where did they come from and do they tie into the actual story? I’m sure that this will be touched upon more in the actual game.
For those that want to experience what seems to be an excellent addition to the puzzle horror genre, we highly encourage you to check out this amazing looking title by downloading the demo on Steam. The release date is set for the end of December this year for PC.
04. YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG
As we played though the demo, we could not help at laugh at the over the top 90’s references that are sprinkled everywhere. We found special hidden items, including pogs. Alex’s old room contains multiple old consoles like an original Playstation and SNES. Karate trophies and boy band CDs are littered about the room. Having only time to really explore the house, there is no telling how many wonderfully nostalgic 90’s tidbits are sprinkled throughout the entire game.
This sense of levity is counteracted however when Alex and his group of friends find an uploaded video of a woman, Sammy, that is mysteriously pulled from an elevator by an unknown force and goes missing. Alex and his rag-tag group go to look for this person, not knowing if she can even truly be found. What questions will be clarified and how deep will the mysteries run? There is only one way to find out.
This game is planned for release on multiple platforms, including PS4, PS Vita, Wii-U, and Steam. The game is set for release Summer 2017, however, you can find a demo version of the game on their studio's website for both PC and OSX.
05. Hello Neighbor
If you have not heard about this game, it is a first person stealth/ puzzle game. You are exploring your neighbor’s house, being careful not to get caught by him or the bear traps he throws after you. Neighbor will come after you at top speed where the only safe place is cowering in your own house with the doors closed. Even if the doors are left open, you will be struck by a flying bear trap.
One of the interesting aspects about this game is how it changes as you play. If you make an entrance through the front door and get caught, you might find that that entrance way is now covered with traps or monitored with a surveillance camera. One entrance that was once blocked is now open or vise versa.
This game will cause your heart to jump up into your throat and laugh at the same time. It may even cause you to question what constitutes reality as you pop up back in your safe bedroom, only to find Neighbor looming over you.
All of this effort is just to figure out one thing. What is Neighbor hiding in his basement? If you want to try your hand at being a nosy neighbor, be sure to try their free alpha demos or support the developers by buying early access from their website.
Hello Neighbor is set to be released for PC on Steam this summer.
What did you think of our list so far? Are there any upcoming releases you are looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.