Sunday , February 25 2024

PAX East 2022: Day Four

The fourth and final day of PAX East is a weird one. The event ends completely at 6pm, whereas each of the other nights there are panels and concerts till late in the night. It is also a different vibe as most people are trying to see the last games they missed or buy some merch they had their eye on.

I actually had a big slate of games I was checking out on the last day of PAX East 2022. From Cursed to Golf to Brick Tales and Asterigos: Curse of the Stars to The Last Hero of Nostalgaia, all the games were quite different but very fun.

Asterigos: Curse of the Stars

This was actually the best game of the show for me, a perfect mix of action, story, charm and a great main character. It hooked me from the first moment I sat down. This action RPG title from developer Acme Gamestudio and publisher Tiny Build is not only gorgeous to look at but fun and exciting to play.

The game centers on Hilda, a brave Northwind Legion warrior hoping to find her lost father. She enters a cursed, mythical city known as Aphes. From there she is destined to uncover the story of the city’s rise and fall, witness history in the making, and face difficult choices that will shape the fate of the entire kingdom.

The demo was too short to see much of that story in progress but what I did experience was the innovative dual weapon fighting the team has implemented. There are many weapons – bracelets, daggers, staff, shield and sword. These can all be equipped for either hand and attacks can vary – hand to hand, weapon to weapon.

In motion it was incredibly cool to quickly strike with buckler and sword on my left hand and then slash the enemy with an overhand hammer strike from my right hand. There are also magic, abilities and special attacks that can be learned and utilized to take down enemies.

The demo also had an early game of cat and mouse as I chased a creature that stole items from me. The chase was fun and when I met the creature I had to complete some conditions to start hurting him. It was a fun mix of action and exploration that resonated with me.

Graphically the game looks amazing with a rich color palate and stunning vistas. The developer told me that they have a very Elden Ring-style scale without the drabness of that game and I believe it. Asterigos: Curse of the Stars has a vibe echoing Breath of the Wild and Immortals Fenyx Rising and I am done for that.

This is a game well worth checking out and I was stunned to hear it will be out in the fall of this year, as its first major reveal was just now at PAX East. Asterigos: Curse of the Stars will be released on PC via Steam as well as PlayStation and Xbox systems. It can be wishlisted on all platforms.

Cursed to Golf

This is a completely charming and wacky golf game that just happens to be set in Golf Purgatory. The world’s best golfer is struck by lightning at the final round of a championship and sent to Golf Purgatory. In order to escape he needs to complete the hellish 18 holes.

The scenario is ridiculous and fantastic at the same time. Cursed to Golf from developer Chuhai Labs is a fun romp that blends golf mechanics with rogue-lite systems to make a game like no other.

Each “hole” is essentially part of a custom biome and spans many layers. In order to complete the hole, careful planning and resource gathering of par points and cards is required, along with, of course, careful shots with the four included clubs.

The ability to use powers from cards and leverage the environment for trick shots or short cuts adds a huge strategic depth to the game that was surprising. Cursed to Golf is an amazingly fun and addictive game that had hordes of people lining up at PAX East.

The game will be released in the fall of 2022 for PC via Steam where a demo is available as well as PlayStation, Xbox and Switch platforms.

The Last Hero of Nostalgaia

Another game that caught my eye was The Last Hero of Nostalgaia from Over the Moon. It’s a satirical action-adventure Souls-like, with a dark but funny story, set in a world of variable fidelity. Essentially Nostalgaia is the world of videogames, and it’s collapsing backwards into a mysterious pixelation.

The main protagonist is the most pixelated of them all, comprised of stick parts. It is up to them, err, us, to figure out what is happening to Nostalgaia. The immediate hook of the game is the narrator who obviously hates the hero and expresses all kinds of bad advice and shrouded insults as the adventure starts.

Once gameplay proper began I immediately felt comfortable with the Souls-style controls including parries, dodge rolls, light and strong attacks. Exploration was encouraged as some mini bosses can be missed that offer rewards in the form of armor and weapons.

The game was actually a blast to play, with snappy controls, a really interesting visual style and cool switching between pixelated and HD visuals as missions are completed. It was a fairly balanced game with the developer telling me they wanted it challenging but not as punishing as games like Bloodborne or Elden Ring.

I really enjoyed my brief time with The Last Hero of Nostalgaia and am looking forward to exploring more of the game when it releases later this year on PC via Steam and Xbox Platforms.

Brick Tales

This was a game I had to try at PAX East. Unlike the many Lego games we have seen before, this one is a globetrotting Lego building adventure game. Traversal and puzzles require real physics-based Lego pieces to be used to build ladders, stairs, statues and other crazy contraptions.

I was so impressed by the look and feel of Brick Tales when I sat down to try it out. I could easily see myself getting lost in the build process as I had done so many times in real life. When I mentioned this, the developer laughed and told me how some people playing the demo spent 20+ minutes making perfect creations.

Perfection, however, is not needed to play the game. As the world is explored building tasks are discovered, such as creating a battery or a bridge to get across to continue the journey.

Once the task is discovered the build system pops up. It features a build area and an assortment of pieces. Generally there are more pieces than required so creations can be basic or elaborate.

As in real life if a bridge is not supported or a platform not secured when traversal starts it may not work. As a result, in the build system there is a simulation toggle that tests whether the creation will work. Once it is proven, the build is activated in the world and the game continues.

The system is really cool to experience and I could see so many hours of enjoyment building and placing parts to not only move on in the game, but to make it look cool as well. There were some aspects of the build system such as positioning and snapping to geometry that got a tad frustrating, but the developers at ClockStone said that is their main focus for polish.

The world the game is set in is completely comprised of Lego parts and is incredibly charming and vibrant. I really enjoyed my short taste of Brick Tales and look forward to the full release later this year. It will release on PC via Steam (other platforms are unannounced at this time).

About Michael Prince

A longtime video game fan starting from simple games on the Atari 2600 to newer titles on a bleeding edge PC I play everything I can get my hands on.

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