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Last week, we talked about some of the great puzzle games we saw from indie developers at PAX East 2016. This week, it’s time to get a little crazier and dive into the party games we saw at the show. While there were a number of old favorites we’ve covered before on IndieHangover that had new updates or new modes to try, we wanted to highlight four entirely new games that we’d never seen before that we think you’ll enjoy playing with your friends and family*.

 

 

Title: Shoot Shoot Mega Pack

Developer: Jon Remedios Games

Platform: PC/MAC

Release Date: TBD

Shoot Shoot Mega Pack (hereafter abbreviated SSMP) is a superb example in the slow build. Each round of SSMP pits four players against each other, trying to off the others and be the last one standing. Each round also introduces a different obstacle or mechanic. For instance, in the first round, the walls might slowly close in on you, forcing you together. In the second round, you might be invisible until you shoot. Third round, maybe you fire Black Holes that can gobble up the other players. It’s incredibly fun and promises great diversity as more and more modes and rules get added. But that isn’t where the game gets good.

It gets good during the final round. The Party round.

In that final round, all the rules (or some of the rules depending on how you set things up) get mixed topgether and end up in one level. It is utter chaos and it is beautiful. Does it feel cheap? Occasionally. Can it be frustrating? At times. But, is it Fun? Always.

 

 

 

Title: Arena Gods

Developer: Supertype Games

Platform: Windows / OSX

Release Date: TBA 2016

If there is one game I played more than any othe at PAX East 2016, it was Arena Gods. A four player, top down gladiator game, the beauty of Arena Gods is its simplicity and the freedom it gives you.

Each combatant is a color, and each arena you’re dropped into has a number of pads that will spawn weapons or shields. Your goal is to kill everyone else. Often times, it seemed to me like you were better off punching people to death as they went for a sword than actually going for a weapon. Indeed, it seemed like going for weapons was a death sentence, and you were better off running away from that miniature Hunger Games cornucopia.

Then people started figuring out how to throw things…and that the maps were continuous (a.k.a. if you exit of the right side of the screen, you emerge on the left side)

These two factor elevate Arena Gods from a really good gladiator game to an all out slug fest of hilariousness where you’ll end up throwing a spear only to have it stab you in the back. Half the gladiators I duked it out with must have just seen Civil War, since they were throwing around shields like Steve Rogers of steroids. Once everyone figured out  the controls of Arena Gods, the game went from tense strategic combat to utter entertaining madness. I was entertained.

 

 

Title: Blade Ballet

Developer: Dreamsail Games

Platform: Steam and PlayStation 4

Release Date: Summer 2016

Keeping with the theme of entertaining madness, enter Blade Ballet, a hilarious multiplayer brawler being developed by DreamSail Games. In Blade Ballet, you control one of a number of different robots with the goal of eliminating your opponents. While this might sound pretty stock standard, Blade Ballet is anything but. Each robot moves and attacks in very different ways, creating a great sense of diversity, even in these early stages of development.

Certain robots have only shields, others have dash attacks and some just spin to win. Some of the levels that you fight in do feel like they tip in the favor of certain robots, and you’ll need to try a number of robots before finding one that really clicks with you, but these are minor complaints, particularly at this early stage of development. I am confident that with time, and the addition of more levels and robots, Blade Ballet will hit a sweet spot between unbalanced chaos and balanced competition.

I’m also confident that STEVe is one of my favorite robots to exist in any video game I have ever played.

 

 

Title: INVERSUS

Developer: Hypersect Games

Platform: Steam and PlayStation 4

Release Date: TBA 2016

Inversus is a game of three colors and simple mechanics. You control a black or white cube on an opposing color tile. You can only move on the opposite color you are, and when you fire a shot across the background, you’ll change white tiles to black, or vice versa. It’s a simple mechanic that turns INVERSUS into a sort of multiplayer cat-and-mouse. As much as you are trying to shot your opponent, you’re also trying to wall them off and trap them in a corner. There are a variety of power-ups in the game that mix things up, and the levels range from simple to incredibly complex.

Now, some might be puzzled, and be thinking  that INVERSUS doesn’t really strike them as a party game. I’d disagree with this mainly based on my experience with how popular Geometery Wars was at parties in my University days. a simple game with very simple mechanics that just about anyone can pick up is a powerful thing, and co-op horde mode is a fast may to make friends.  In addition, INVERSUS has the same important moment that any party game has to have. It’s that moment where the entire room yells out a collective “OOOOH”. You get a lucky shot off, play into the opponents hand or accidently kill yourself. THAT is the moment every party game shuld aspire towards. INVERSUS captures that, and I think we will see it on screens at many parties in the future.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Knight Squad: My favorite brawler of all time has to get a mention. A new DLC was announced and teased at PAX, adding two new knights, more weapons and a new game mode.

Just Shapes & Beats: Inching closer and closer to launch, Just Shapes & Beats is going to be a must have if it can escape the legal mire it seems to be trapped in.

 

*IndieHangover is not responsible for prolonged longing for these game, nor any eventual fallings out, broken friendships, family fights or other effects on relationships as a result of playing these games.

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