The Best Indie Games From PAX East 2020
PAX East 2020 is filled to the brim with indie games from all over the world; here were a few of our favorites from the show floor.
While PAX East 2020 had some notable last minute absences from the show floor such as PlayStation, what the convention didn’t lack was a breadth of indie games to choose from. PAX has always held its reputation of being a treasure trove of incredible indie gaming experiences, and PAX East this year was certainly no different.
During PAX East 2020 last weekend, the DualShockers team played an assortment of indie games from all different backgrounds, genres, and development teams. We’ve already covered a few of our favorites and will have more in-depth previews coming in the next week or two ahead with a few of our favorites, from newly-announced indies like Curse of the Dead Gods to major upcoming releases like Baldur’s Gate 3.
Though we can’t list all of the dozens of amazing indie games that we played collectively on the show floor of PAX East 2020, here are a few of our favorites that we wanted to highlight from the show.
I spied this game on the last day of PAX by pure happenstance while on my way to an appointment. Filled with stereotypical ’70s super-spy tropes, the trailer for Deceive Inc. from indie developer Sweet Bandits Studios stopped me in my tracks. Before me were silly spies, outlandish gadgets, and grandiose locations fit for a super villain, all wrapped up in the style of Pixar’s The Incredibles. The gameplay is what I would describe as if you took Overwatch–with unique characters each with special abilities–and instead of killing one another, they had to sneak around and work to try and steal the same item. Everyone is vying for the same keycards, intel, and goodies that everyone else is. Spies can take with them a loadout of super-secret gadgets into each round, helping them to blend in, stop foes, and secure the objective.
After playing a game with some friends and speaking with the developers at the booth, I quickly realized just how much of an absolute blast this game has the potential to be. Sweet Bandits Studios has a plethora of ideas in store for this game. Team-based modes, a take on Splinter Cell’s “Spies vs Mercs” (but with “Spies vs Security Guards”) and more are all being considered, and then some. Keep your eyes peeled, Agent, when this game launches later this year on Steam, and possibly consoles. – Scott White, Associate Staff Writer
Deceive Inc. is currently in development on PC and expected to arrive later this year.
With playing over fifteen different titles at PAX East, there was no other game that was more chaotic, addicting, or just plain fun than Disc Room. Filled with arcade goodness, Disc Room has players going from room-to-room to survive an onslaught of discs. It’s simple enough, but the design has more layers to it, which creates a gripping cycle of gameplay that includes being rewarded for dying. Ever since I got my hands on it, all I’ve been thinking is about playing it as long as my body can will itself. – Cameron Hawkins, Staff Writer
Disc Room is currently in development on PC and expected to arrive later this year.
There’s something fitting about having the ability to live your life as a massive man-eating shark, but it’s another thing to live out that fantasy in a game as chaotic and satisfying as Maneater. Putting players into the role of a shark on the loose, what starts as essentially “Shark Simulator” turns into something a bit more, as playing through the demo on the PAX show floor showed me the numerous ways that Maneater challenges players to take out their prey. From chomping on sea creatures to creating a literal bloodbath with beachgoers a la Jaws, Maneater is looking like a delightful source of fantasy wish fulfillment as a killer shark. Dum dum, dum dum… – Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor
Maneater will release for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on May 22, 2020, followed by a Nintendo Switch version later this year.
I can’t say that I’ve ever been a fan of moving out in my lifetime (read: it’s a pain in the a**), but Moving Out might have convinced me otherwise. A frantic multiplayer game in the style of Overcooked!, Moving Out captures the energy that any great couch co-op game should have, even when it literally involves couches. With the game coming out next month, you won’t have to wait too much longer to start packing up your things and enjoying what Moving Out has to offer for fans of fun, silly multiplayer mayhem. – Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor
Moving Out will release for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on April 28, 2020.
With the popularity and success of games such as Shovel Knight and The Messenger, several indie developers have found interesting ways to turn retro-style throwbacks into unique experiences of their own. One of the most promising of these is Panzer Paladin, which seems to take the elements of games like Mega Man and Castlevania and wraps it around the dynamic of players swapping in and outside of a super-powered mech suit to take on enemies, solve puzzles, and defeat challenging bosses. From the brief demo that I played at PAX East on the show floor, Panzer Paladin already shows a lot of promise for mech lovers and fans of retro-styled games, and it’s only a few months away from release on Switch and PC. – Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor
Panzer Paladin will release for Nintendo Switch and PC this spring.
Throughout my gaming life I have never been attracted to or found any management games fun or compelling. While gamers are clamoring for the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I look at the game, shrug, and move on. The same goes for indie hit Stardew Valley. They just have never been my type of game because I never felt any satisfaction or purpose. It wasn’t until I played Spiritfarer from developer Thunder Lotus that has not only got my attention, but it is now one of my most anticipated indie titles for this year. The tasks that you complete have nothing to do with relaxing and passing the time, but instead help your companions learn to accept death and move on. Along with a gorgeous art style and lively animations, Spiritfarer has quickly become the management game I’ve always wanted. – Cameron Hawkins, Staff Writer
Spiritfarer will release for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC later this year.
Wintermoor Tactics Club
In case you haven’t seen or heard, Dungeons & Dungeons (and everything revolving around it) has been having quite the moment in pop culture. From the RPG’s pop culture resurgence in shows like Stranger Things to massively popular webseries and podcasts like Critical Role and The Adventure Zone, new generations are gathering around the table with their friends to embark on fantastical adventures, and the upcoming Wintermoor Tactics Club seems to be tapping into that sense of discovery and wonder. As the main character Alicia, players are transported to a magical academy where the students challenge each other in a D&D-esque RPG, wrapping its core strategy gameplay around a story and character-driven experience. Mixing the elements of strategy RPGs and visual novels, Wintermoor Tactics Club so far seems like an intriguing blend of genres that D&D fans should definitely keep their eye on. – Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor
Wintermoor Tactics Club will release for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC this spring.