After the initial euphoria and a relatively calm first day of PAX East, more people were on site for day two. There was a ton of cosplay, plenty of excited industry folks and great games to check out.
My focus on this day was to wander the full show floor as well as check out a number of titles, both in the Tabletop and Digital sections. Some merch shopping was also necessary to get the best loot from PAX East, including the completely epic PAX bomber jacket.
Plenty of Pinny Arcade trading was also done as I traded in some unwanted pins for some new ones. I was truly happy to get the CPT staff pin as well as the LE PAX East 2022 pin which was a really nice get from the show.
I greatly enjoyed seeing a number of vendors featuring PC hardware, geek themed paraphernalia and plenty of roleplaying supplies.
Wise Wizard Games – Star Realms and Robot Quest
It’s always a great time when I visit the Wise Wizard Games booth at PAX East. One of my favorite board games is Kapow! from this group. This year I demoed a new game coming out later this year called Robot Quest Arena and checked out larger boxed set of their iconic game Star Realms.
Robot Quest Arena is a really cool looking game that combines the awesome deckbuilding fun of Star Realms with skirmish style battles using beautiful fully painted robot miniatures. Initially it looks tailored to a younger audience but once I dug in I discovered a deep system that was a lot of fun.
Essentially, battery cards give the energy to move, power weapons, and buy powerful new cards for the deck. In order to score points you navigate around the hazards of the arena and blast your opponents. Destroyed bots respawn each round, so your bot is never out of the action long. The robot pilot with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Star Realms is one of the anchor games at Wise Wizard. It’s a space combat card game pitting players against each other in a fight for dominance over the entire galaxy. To accomplish this, players must steadily grow their deck’s weak starting fleet into an armada powerful enough to overwhelm the opposition.
In order to win the game, you need to attack your opponent’s Authority using Combat, which can be generated with Ships and with Bases. Each player starts with 50 Authority. If you reduce your opponent’s Authority to zero, you win. It organically develops and the game is easy to pick up and a blast to play.
I was able to check out their new Star Realms Box Set that includes all of the cards from the Star Realms Core Set and Gambit Set, plus a game board and two additional starting decks. This was a great way to learn the systems and I played this after hours with some PAX friends and we had a blast.
One of my favorite games of the last 10 years is the phenomenal Dead Cells which is nearly four years old but developer Evil Empire keeps pumping out new content keeping it on my radar. This year at PAX East they were featuring the recently released Break the Bank free DLC and an upcoming release adding an insane amount of accessibility options.
The Break the Bank DLC has been out for a couple of weeks, but I have not had a chance to try it yet. The DLC introduces a new Biome, The Bank, as well as new weapons, enemies and mutations all centered around loot and gold.
It was fun running through the new Biome getting mutations and enemies that generate gold on hits or by being hit. The new area looks amazing and I noticed some new outfits that I am looking forward to discovering.
The big reveal the team was incredibly proud of was the host of community-driven accessibility options to make Dead Cells playable by as many people as possible. Things like color scaling, font changes, difficulty sliders, automating actions and one-handed controls were the big focus.
The developer I talked to said they really wanted to make sure people of all walks of life and skill levels could enjoy the game while still keeping the core challenge alive. As a result there are many options available to tweak individual settings to suit anyone’s playstyle.
It was frankly amazing to see all the effort they poured into these features. For a smaller Indie developer they have one of the richest accessibility ecosystems I have seen in the gaming industry. This update is only in the alpha branch but should get released to the main game very shortly.
This is a game I checked out at PAX Online nearly two years ago and I was shocked at how different the game is after that development period. It was a fun, if limited and rough, mech romp back then; now it’s a fully featured and deep sci-fi experience.
In Uragun you play as a Mech unit that has awakened to discover a world overrun by corrupted AI. In order to survive, you must master your weapons and learn how to fight back against every enemy.
This is an isometric overhead action game that I originally thought was going to be a very limited arcade-like experience. The developer has added many new areas, like a deserted Barcelona, an overgrown and futuristic Hong Kong, and mines hidden in the snowy mountain rifts of North America.
These varied locations all had different scenarios packed with hidden lore packets, story messages and enemies to mow down. There are now many different types of weapons, ranging from shotguns and auto-rifles to plasma boomerangs and rocket launchers.
Adding to this the developer showed me the heat attack system which are equipable skills that are learned during exploration and add devastating attacks. This plus the greatly enhanced upgrade and customization options made this game really stand out as I played through the demo.
Uragun is currently available in Early Access on Steam with a full release planned later this year. It is a fun romp in a deadly mech and I highly recommend checking it out.