Best Games You're Not Playing: PAX East 2015 Edition

Now that PAX East 2015 is over, it’s time to discuss the awesome indie games that littered the show floor. It was tough to narrow down my favorites to just a handful, but man I’m gonna try!

Here’s a list of some of games I got to check out that you should keep an eye out for in no particular order. (In case you’re wondering I’m skipping Hotline Miami 2 since we will be reviewing it shortly.)

These games stood out for various reasons, such as stunning visuals or just being odd by bringing something new to the table.


Developer:  William Dubé

In Jotun you play a viking named Thora who’s died an inglorious death and denied entry into Vahalla (heaven for vikings). In order to get admitted into Vahalla, Thora will have to prove herself worthy to the Gods.

What’s the best way to impress Gods? Taking on Giants seems to do the trick. There’s exploration and some light puzzles you’ll need to solve before squaring off against this massive bosses. It definitely has a Shadow of the Colossus vibe to it since there is no combat up until a boss fight.

Why You Need to Play This Game

If the sublime artwork isn’t enough, figuring out ways to bring down a 200 foot tall frost giant should release your inner Viking.


Developer: HareBrained Schemes

Necropolis is a third-person dungeon crawler where the combat relies heavily on timing and animation, similarly to what you would find in a Dark Souls game.

It has this brutal difficulty which makes death common place. I suppose this mechanic works since the dungeon feeds off the dead adventurers. The world changes with every attempt in this hardcore roguelike.

The game also has this weird persistent ecosystem that can be manipulated by exploiting the monster’s food chain. This causes drastic changes in the world and the way enemies behave. The trailer also has killer music.

Necropolis is being made by Hare Brained Schemes, the team behind Shadowrun Returns which is another reason to be excited about.

Why You Need to Play This Game

Necropolis is one of those games that will knock you on your ass a million times. Victories feel earned and the combat has a fantastic feel to every characters, who all play wildly different.

Dad By the Sword

Developer: Rocketcat Games

As far as weird games are concerned, Dad by the Sword definitely takes the cake. This fantasy action-adventure game has you playing as “your dad.” He wears jorts, swings a sword and fights these jerks called “anti-dads.”

The combat uses this one-to-one sword swinging mechanics much like you would find in Chivalry: Medieval Warfare or Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.

What this means is that you need to be more wary in how you strike, while keeping your backswing in mind. Dad By The Sword was by far the silliest game on the show floor.

Why You Need to Play This Game

It’s pure dumb fun that’ll leave you with a silly grin on your face. Also, if you had a lame dad, this dad is way cooler.

Party Hard

Publisher: tinyBuild Games

You know those young people next store who throw all the parties with the terrible wub wub music? Don’t you ever feel like just going over and murdering them? If not, that’s good. You’re a rational human being who should not be in jail.

Party Hard is a mass murder simulator where you need to kill all the guests at a obnoxious party without being caught.

A top-down view is used as you try to set up “accidents” for party goers — you could just stab folks the old-fashioned way as well. This ends up working like a puzzle game since there is an optimal approach to dealing with everyone.

Why You Need to Play This Game

There was something oddly therapeutic about killing everyone at a party enjoying awful music. I’m fairly certain I’m not insane.

Upsilon Circuit

Developer: RobotlovesKitty

Upsilon Circuit was by far the most intriguing game on the show floor. At its core Upsilon Circuit is an online action RPG where if you die you can never play the game again.

There’s one server with eight (two teams of fours) players. Oh, and that server is only up for a couple of hours a day.

What really makes this game special is the audience participation. As players kill monsters, the audience themselves will gain exp and decide where to allocate the current players’ skill points.

Think of it as an interactive gameshow. If one of the adventurers die, another is chosen from the viewing audience. It’s a game with some stakes which I can always appreciate.

Why You Need to Play This Game

Though it feels like a social experiment, this has to potential to sprout a new genre in itself. In a world where Twitch Plays Pokemon is a thing, something like this is weird enough to do really well.

Honorable Mentions

Lady Killer in a Bind — Christine Love’s newest game which happens to be an adult visual novel by far has the best synopsis I’ve seen in a very long time: “My Twin Brother Made Me Cross-dress As Him And Now I Have To Deal With A Geeky Stalker And A Domme Beauty Who Wants Me In A Bind!!”

Highlands The best way to describe Highlands would a cross between the board game Risk mixed-in with some Hearthstone. Sometimes that’s really all I need.


The beauty of PAX is that there are so many awesome, unique and groundbreaking games everywhere you look. Being able to find little gems like these is really why I love going.

In an age of “HD Remasters” of titles that came out last year and big budget snore-fests, it’s great to see that the industry’s most creative are still making fantastic experiences.

Anyone else make it PAX last weekend and want to add to list? Let’s hear it!


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Jorge Jimenez

Raised under the tutelage of Sonic the Hedgehog and the Gunstars. Jorge came from an age where protagonists never spoke and instruction manuals were over 50 pages long. When Jorge isn't writing about some obscure indie game, he spends his day talking about videogames regardless if anyone is listening or not. Jorge one day dreams of voicing a random npc your main character bumps into and punches in the face.

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