While I checked out many titles across the four days at PAX East 2022 there were a number of standout games that I just could not get out of my head. Phantom Brigade and Industries of Titan were two of them.
Drastically different games, they both stuck with me long after I had checked them out on the show floor. They are both unique and amazing experiences I cannot wait to get more of.
I had checked this game out at the last in-person PAX East in 2020 and it has developed into an incredibly complex and ambitious game since that time. In this game you design your city and grow it from just a few small buildings into a massive metropolis while also fending off rivals and trying to keep productivity high.
In this futuristic environment corporations own swaths of Titan and they build factories, housing units, ship ports and manufacturing structures to feed their corporate coffers. Balancing all of this takes hard choices to mistreat or nurture the workers and how to structure the City to generate as much possible while staying productive.
I was able to see some new features such as the ability to design the interiors of battleships by strategically placing weapons, shields, thrusters, and more, to reduce weak points and maximize fighting capability. It was really cool to build ships and then deploy them as the city continued to progress.
I was also told that very shortly enemy corporations will be added to the game and will add a big new strategic element to the city-building. A good example was placing pollution-producing stacks near the borders of your enemies so they are negatively impacted by the pollution.
Graphically there is something just striking and vibrant about the game, with tons of little effects, movements and colors just popping up everywhere. The animations of the workers, buildings being upgraded and ships moving off to do battle are so very cool and add so much to the game.
Industries of Titan had its hooks into me quickly with the nuanced balancing required to see to the needs of workers, factories and buildings to produce a powerful, efficient economy. Industries of Titan is available in Early Access via the Epic Games Store right now and coming to Steam Early Access June 21 with a full release later this year.
This is another game I checked out in 2020 at PAX East and while I was impressed at the time I could tell there was more that could be done. The past two years have added so much content, customization, polish and integrated story elements that it felt almost like a sequel to the early build I saw back then.
Phantom Brigade is a mech-based, turn-based tactical RPG by developer Brace Yourself Games with a big hook centered around abilities to see enemies’ movements before they happen. As each battle unfolds, a time slider allows players to see where the enemies will go and when/where they will fire weapons.
This allows friendly deployed units (called The Brigade) to be positioned along the slider to intercept, dodge and counterattack based on where the enemies will be. Once actions are selected the combat round executes automatically for all units, and success or failure is determined by how well the unit placements were orchestrated.
That part of the game was there in 2022. What I saw this year was a lot more polish, a huge step up in graphics, better customization and a greatly enhanced story and tactical mode. The overworld map is more fleshed out and the story beats I saw really made me feel the mission to have The Brigade retake their war-torn homeland.
With all of the pieces coming together in a well polished package it was really enjoyable to plan out a battle to re-take a city and watch the forces clash based on my decisions. The addition of more objectives and navigating the overworld in a more detailed way feels really good from what I saw in my demo.
Phantom Brigade is out in Early Access on Epic Games Store right now and while there is no fixed release date for the complete version the team hopes to see it released later this year on that platform and on Steam.