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PAX 2009 Impressions: Game #3

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There is perhaps no game more curious than The Behemoth's Game #3. We know little of the game, other than who is making it (The Behemoth) and that it's very much a multiplayer title with a lot of platforming. We don't even know what platforms it will be on, though since all the demos have been on the Xbox 360, that's a good first guess.

So far, several game modes have been revealed, including ones where you have to collect coins or souls, kick a ball into a goal, knock opponents into hazards, or touch blocks to paint them a certain color. I ended up testing out the coin-collecting game at PAX with a teammate.  In it you collect gold by hitting a floating blob-like creature with a huge smile on it and deposit said gold in a safe with wings floating around the level.

But first, before I could do any of that, I had to create a character. The game offers quite a few options for customizing your character.  There are three different head shapes, a number of faces, and a variety of weapons to pick from, including mines, grenades, and the like. It's just enough customization to be satisfying, and the actual designs for some of the faces are very entertaining. There's no denying that Dan Paladin has had his hands all over this part of the game. I ended up creating a guy who looked a little bit like a robot. This is also where you can set your character's color for the team they'll be on.

Jumping into the main menu, I found myself in a room with a bunch of doors. Each door led to a different type of minigame, but before I could check them out, my partner for this round walked up to a door and entered it. I hopped up to catch him just as a timer popped up on the screen. I wasn't sure what it was for, but I'm guessing it's kind of a "hurry up and get to the door!" warning. Like I said before, this game's a bit mysterious.

As the level loaded and our A.I. partners were picked out in a lovely shade of pink, I began to wonder just what I would encounter on the other side. I soon found out: a level with platforms, the aforementioned blob and safe, and a bunch of traps like lasers that would blast me to kingdom come and make me lose all of my gold I had collected. I would become pretty good friends with those traps by the end of the game. There were no cinematics, no text to read through before the level started: it was just "Go!," with the game's timer on top ticking down. Quickly, I began jumping around, trying to find out what to do and occasionally picking up some gold pieces. I blew up a rival with a landmine and saw his pieces fall out of him, quickly scooping them all up. I frantically hurried back to the safe and banked them, watching my team's score go from 0 to 5 in an instant. For the next 5 minutes, it was pretty much that same process all over again, mixed in with some deaths of my own. The fact I could pick up and play right away, without needing a whole tutorial to understand what to do, speaks volumes for how friendly this game will be to both gamers and non-gamers alike. This is the kind of game your mother, or for that case, my casual-gamer mother, could play. Not necessarily like, but could definitely play without a problem.

As for how it played? Think Mario Bros. meets Castle Crashers. It's the style of amazing art and non-stop game play we've come to know from The Behemoth mixed in with an old-school platforming title. And, lack of a plot aside, it's really, really fun. The controls are very simple: one button handles jumping, one button handles weapons, and the analog stick moves you around. That's it. It's so amazingly simple, yet it works so well, even for this longtime gamer. Maybe that's just because it's a change of pace from the multi-button controls of so many other games.

At the end of my brief time with Game #3, I found myself wanting to play it more, but this time, with my friends. I had dreams of nights with buddies, just sitting around and having fun while playing through all the chaotic levels of Game #3. It's something that I haven't had the joy of experiencing since Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out on the Wii, but it's one I'm looking forward to. Maybe the greatest mystery of all about Game #3 isn't it's story or how the other game modes will work … it's after I start playing this game, how long until I stop?

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