PAX East Saturday Roundup
Day two for me at PAX East and it was a busy one! Saturday was a packed house at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center with gamers checking out upcoming releases. Here are the ones I was able to check out on Saturday at PAX East.
Mythwrecked: Ambrosia Island
The first game of the day is not an RPG. Polygon Treehouse and Whitethorn Games’ Mythwrecked: Ambrosia Island is instead a relaxing exploration game that has the player become friends with Greek gods! Alex is a backpacker who is washed up on an island after a terrible storm. She finds herself alone on the sunny island and learns that it is different from the world she knows, with the demo seeing Alex first meet Hermes. Players will be tasked with things to do by the Greek gods that help build Alex’s friendship with them. There’s a time mechanic as well and Alex will only be able to meet the gods at certain times of the day. It was relaxing to play through with subtle music playing in the background and gorgeous, sunny scenery. If you like to-do lists, relaxing games, and sunny islands then this game is one to check out when it arrives some time in 2023.
WrestleQuest put on quite the show at PAX East. Skybound Games and Mega Cat Studios’ booth featured wrestling matches that had large crowds gather around the ring for thrilling action. After that I tested out the game and it was immediately clear that WrestleQuest is more than just a wrestling game with RPG mechanics. It is a full-fledged party-based RPG. The demo has the player take control of Randy Santos and learn the ropes of its combat. There are many clever ways that Mega Cat Studios incorporates wrestling into its mechanics and combat is especially delightful. In a turn-based battle, players will have the choice to strike with a basic attack, use special moves called gimmicks, and hype up the crowd. Once the enemy is damaged enough, the player can pin them and successfully do so after completing a command. Even in just a short time with the game, it is easy to tell it is bursting at the seams with clever wrestling mechanics and world. This is not just for wrestling fans though. If your a fan of JRPGs it has everything here that you could want.
The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story
There was a lot of anticipation for The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story as I arrived at Riot Games booth. From Digital Sun Games, the developers of Moonlighter, The Mageseeker was already being billed as one of the best games from PAX East and it did not disappoint. The game begins as Sylas breaks free from his 15-year imprisonment and sets out for revenge. Now broken free, Sylas displays incredible combat as his chains can steal magic from enemies. For example, Sylas can steal magic from a fire mage and use it to deal greater damage to an ice mage. Using the right element against another is key to dealing maximum damage.
These chains are the central mechanic to The Mageseeker. Not only can they steal magic and deal damage, but also be used to hook an enemy to get closer and deal physical damage. Physical damage from standard strikes build Sylas’ magic meter, which can be used for his own spells separate from the ones he steals. It all works together for a frenzied, strategic, and engaging combat system. What also sets The Mageseeker apart is its incredible pixel art. There was an emphasis put on the hand-crafted pixel art and it shows, with stellar movement and effects. The Mageseeker is without a doubt a force and could easily become a sleeper hit that stands with some of the titans that will be released in 2023. The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story will be released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC on April 18, 2023.
It can be hard to find enjoyable co-op experiences in the RPG genre. When one does arrive though, it’s certainly notable. Trinity Trigger can be played solo, however, it is better with friends. Luckily, I was able to test it with RPGamer’s very own Michael Apps and my friend Jason Fanelli. The action combat felt responsive and simple to understand, with the difficulty lying in avoiding oncoming attacks. Perfectly dodging an enemy attack automatically refills the players stamina bar, while characters have three slots for chain attacks that can be swapped out at any time. The in-engine graphics are fairly standard, though the character portraits have a style reminiscent of those in Octopath Traveler. In fact, Trinity Trigger’s development team features hints of members’ previous games including Secret of Mana, Octopath Traveler, and Xenoblade, with the combat and structure of the game closely resembling Secret of Mana. This could be a good game to pick up and play with a friend, which you can do April 25, 2023, on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.
Loop8: Summer of Gods
I’m a fan of many anime movies from Studio Ghibli and Makoto Shinkai, and at first glance Loop8: Summer of Gods has captured those same visuals and aesthetic. It was an immediate draw and one of the best looking games visually that I tested. What’s even more incredible about the art style is the quality of it getting only stronger during action sequences. This truly is a gorgeous game. Loop8’s coming-of-age story set in 1980s rural Japan furthers comparisons to those previously mentioned films.
Almost every part of the game is influenced by relationships with the characters. The player takes control of Nini and chooses dialogue options when interacting with other party members. Those can increase stats, but also affect the type of relationship Nini has with them. The type of relationships include friendship, affinity, and hate. This will also directly impact battles and how bosses will attack the player. Loop8 also has a time-loop mechanic. If the player loses in battle or wants to reshape relationships, they are taken back to the first day of the month. Admittedly, that aspect of the game does give me pause, but I couldn’t help feel excitement to find out more about this story and see more of its stunning art. Loop8: Summer of Gods arrives on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 6, 2023.
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails
NIS America continues to catch western RPGamers up with previously missing Nihon Falcom titles and that continues with The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails. Originally released on the PSP, Nayuta is now remastered with improved graphics and the coveted 60fps for an action RPG. Movement is quick and snappy, with combat resembling the arcade-like action from another Nihon Falcom game series, Ys. For those that have played it before in Japanese, this is worth picking up for the upgrades. Meanwhile, its standalone spin-off status means that newcomers will not need to have played previous Trails games and the upgrades are good enough to consider it a modern game, although the story scenes look a bit stiff. Either way, this was a game worth porting over to modern consoles and is a perfect treat for fans of Nihon Falcom.