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The games we saw at PAX that should be on your radar

We just flew in from PAX and boy are my arms tired. The rest of my body is also tired as evidenced by the fact that my brain couldn’t stop me from writing that terrible, terrible joke as a lede. Anyway, with Seattle’s best convention behind us, I wanted to give y’all a taste of the show by highlighting some of the games that you should put on your radar. Let’s dig into the games.

Image from Vlambeer

Space Hell

Ok so this game isn’t actually called Space Hell but that’s the working title on display at Vlambeer’s birthday booth. The all-star indie studio celebrated their birthday by surprise announcing a hybrid twin-stick shooter/ shmup that was one of my highlights of the show.

Space Hell takes the traditional arena of a twin-stick shooter and fills it full of enemies. As you destroy enemy ships, they spawn two ships in their wake. Think of Hercules’ hydra but with more bullets and less Danny DeVito as a goat. In practice this means that the arena is constantly bursting at the seams with insectoid aliens and their bullets as you try to keep from exploding. Space Hell is a white-knuckle thrill ride that harkens back to Vlambeer’s early work and reminded me what I loved so much about their arcade-y classics.

Image from Kitfox Games

Boyfriend Dungeon

I had to describe Boyfriend Dungeon to a friend at PAX and I decided on “Zelda but you have a bunch of swords and they’re hot and you kiss them.” This description cuts straight to the heart of Boyfriend Dungeon, but for the sake of this article lasting a little longer than 30 seconds, let’s go into some more detail.

Boyfriend Dungeon is an isometric dungeon crawler with some 2d Zelda esque combat and a host of weapons. Where the game becomes unique is that all of your weapons transform into date-able humans when you’re not in the dungeon. Each date you go on with these bladebabes (their word not mine) furthers their individual plotlines and strengthens their weapon when you take them into the dungeon. It’s a fun concept that marries two seemingly incompatible genres in a really fun way. The game is currently on Kickstarter with a proposed release date in 2019, but the build I saw at the show was fun enough that I understand how the game has already tripled its funding goal.

Image from Nyamyam


This one comes from the team behind the gorgeous Tengami, but it’s about as far from its predecessor as possible. Astrologaster is a comedy tale of a 1500s British town recovering from a plague and the doctor/ astrologer who either saved the town or was a snake oil salesman profiting off of death. This becomes the central conflict in Astrologaster. As more and more accredited doctors move back into town, your stargazing methods are called further into question. This is complemented by the player’s continual reading of actual start charts to help cure patients throughout the game.

What I saw of Astrologaster was genuinely silly event and I’m optimistic for where this obviously talented team will take this inventive concept.

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Tengami is an adventure game set inside a Japanese pop-up book.