PAX East is a monstrous event now and there is no shortage of major franchises at the show, but one of the delightful things this conference has cultivated is their promotion and enablement of the Indie scene. Not only is there a sprawling Indie Megabooth, there is a funky space called the Indie Minibooth that features other smaller titles that may have otherwise been lost in the noise of the conference. I had a chance to meet with the developer of a truly fun and deep game called Cosmochoria. The developer Nate Schmold gave me a run-through of his game and its surprising depth.
Cosmochoria has you playing as a small spaceman in a big universe. At the heart of the game you control this little guy as he lands on small planets and plants seeds, towers, and shield bubbles as he fights off aliens also landing or circling the little planets. Aliens are defeated by shooting them in dual stick shooter format. Aim with the right stick and move with the left, right trigger to fire. You can jump around while running around the planet or blast off with your jetpack. As you plant and cultivate the plants, you fill a heart in the center of the planet, when the heart is full you control the planet and can return to it for health and other bonuses. Movement is neat on the little planets as you basically run around the planet on a 2d plane while battling or planting.
I didn’t have a chance to experience the narrative but Nate assured me there is one and that it is evolving. Initially he was going to force a story, but he found in playthroughs that people were coming up with their own narratives and he wants to cultivate that much like his spaceman cultivates the plants. The game is evolving at all times as you play but also from a developmental standpoint as Nate is really in touch with his fans. In fact, as I was there for a demo two of his Kickstarter backers showed up to check out the title and they were greeted like old friends. It was really cool to see the interaction Nate had directly with his backers as they checked out the game. During the demo one of them gave some control insight that he is taking to heart for future builds and demos.
The game is quite fun in its current mode and works at this time much like Don’t Starve; if you die, which is fairly hard to do unless you fly into the sun like I did, you start over. I could not tell if your planets stay controlled when you start again, but as the universe is randomly generated it did not matter to me to try again and find new planets. I just scratched the surface of the game, but Nate mentioned that there will be a lot of depth and some planets have a narrative focus that will flesh out the universe and your story.
I have to say what I experienced was a ton of fun and something I am going to keep my eye on as it grows and continues to shape into the full game over time. Cosmochoria is available right now on Steam early access and is a fun little game with a big vision…plus you know it features a little spaceman planting and killing aliens which is always cool.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00D3TRMD8]