PAX West has hit Seattle once again! We've scoured the show to find the best and brightest games on the floor, and today we're excited to announce our Gampedia PAX Picks, a curated selection of 8 awesome games worthy of recognition at this year's event. Some of the titles we've chosen are already available, while others are coming sometime in the future, and they range from quirky puzzlers to intense, in-depth RPGs and haunting narrative adventures. The one thing in common? They’re all rad.
1. Super Slime Arena
Single-screen, competitive brawlers might be a dime a dozen these days, but it’s rare to find one as unique and charming as Super Slime Arena. You take control of an adorable little slime with its own unique ability. Every strike is a one-hit KO, and your next life will having you playing as a new slime with a new power, keeping every round fresh and exciting. The game’s designed to be compatible with an absurd number of controllers, and we even got bested by somebody wielding a DJ Hero turntable, so there are no nonviable options.
Pikuniku has a positively adorable look and an infectious charm akin to the likes of LocoRoco—but there’s a more cynical edge underneath, with the game billing itself as a “delightful dystopian adventure.” It’s all about solving puzzles to help bring happiness to the townsfolk, and the physics systems ensure that there’s no shortage of ways to complete your objectives. It’s also fully playable in co-op, so you and a friend can enjoy digging through the mysteries together.
3. West of Loathing
It’s tough to tell what’s so special about West of Loathing at a glance beyond its two-tone stick figure art. But digging in means getting wrapped up in a totally unique slapstick adventure that blends innumerable cowpoke goofs with good ol’-fashioned turn-based RPG combat. Digging any deeper would mean spoiling what’s so good, but there’s way more there than first appearances would suggest. Luckily, this one’s already available on Steam.
4. Where the Water Tastes Like Wine
The booth for Where the Water Tastes Like Wine really helped to set the mood, dressed up in rustic hay bales and the scent of campfires. This is a narrative game all about the stories that would be shared around those flickering flames, with various characters sharing their tales with you as you journey throughout the US. The stories grow and change over time, leaving and coming back with new wrinkles and new depths. We can’t wait to see where the folk tales take us.
5. Keyboard Sports
Keyboard Sports features very little in the way of sports, but a whole lot of keyboard action. Little Master QWERTY finds himself in all sorts of unfortunate situations, from running through traffic to trying to survive a plane crash, and at his feet is the silhouette of a keyboard. You’ve gotta tap keys to keep QWERTY moving out of danger, providing an incredibly unique take on hazard avoidance.
6. Children of Morta
The Bergson family comprise a troupe of adventurers, each of whom has a unique fighting style that serves them as they delve into a myriad of dungeons and dangers in Children of Morta. The story of the family is as important as their dives into the procedurally generated dungeons, and the incredible animation helps to ground their adventure. Digging deeper unlocks new relics and runes that will keep your abilities expanding.
Griftlands might just have the best pedigree on this list, since it comes from the developers of indie greats like Don’t Starve, Invisible Inc., and Mark of the Ninja. This time, it’s an RPG where everything is on the table, from money to morality. Klei’s penchant for gorgeous art and memorable characters continues, and we can’t wait to see more.
8. Return of the Obra Dinn
Return of the Obra Dinn has one of the most striking visual styles we’ve seen in a long time, evoking the look of old monochrome Apple computers. But this adventure is in full 3D, casting you as a lone sailor trying to solve the mystery of the crew’s death. This is the next game from the creator of Papers, Please, and you can check out an early version on itch.io ahead of the final release.
Dustin is a Missouri-based freelancer who enjoys long walks in digital woods. When he's not writing about geeky pastimes, he's producing videos on them. He and his wife bond best over tabletop role-playing.