If there’s one thing that PAX East doesn’t have a shortage of, it’s independent games. A number of developers are on the show floor with their projects in tow, allowing folks to walk up, chat with them and try them out. Some of them have big-time publishers for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360; others are just getting their start in the industry, hoping to make a break. Regardless of what you’re in the mood to play, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the highlights we spotted from the show floor…
Retro/Grade - 24 Carat Games has been working on this rhythm music game for some time, but it’s finally set for release later this year on the PlayStation 3. Taking place in deep space, the entire game runs in reverse, as you have to hit the right rhythm notes on shots fired from your ship, using either a game controller or a preferred guitar controller, like the one that came with Rock Band or Guitar Hero. This one’s looking like a lot of fun, and with online leaderboards supported by the PlayStation Network, there won’t be a shortage of competition.
Dyad - The work of one man, Shawn McGrath, Dyad channels the old-school days of the likes of Tempest and Rez, while at the same time presenting something fresh and unique. You run through tunnels, linking together enemies that will help push you forward. The more you link together, the closer you are to completing that stage. There are mines to avoid, and certain notes you have to hit to keep your run going, but the game never gets to the point where the challenge is too great. It’s quite enjoyable, and set for release on the PlayStation Network this summer.
Joe Danger! The Movie - Following up on the original release for Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, Hello Games is bringing the stunt rider back for a second run. This time, he’s filming crucial scenes for movies, including a mine cart chase inspired by Indiana Jones, dangerous ski runs and other crazy activities. The game plays similarly to the first, but features plenty of variety, as well as new challenges to overcome.
Orcs Must Die! 2 - The orcs have returned, and now this PC-exclusive sequel is giving you even more chances to kill them. This sequel features an all new character, a sorceress who can summon spells and traps of her own design. You’ll need her help too, as the new batch of orcs set to invade your space are nastier than ever. The sequel also comes with co-op support, so you can kill ‘em all with the help of a friend. Expect the slaying to begin sometime this summer.
Mark of the Ninja - Following up on Shank 2, Klei Entertainment is set to take the world by storm with the power of ninja. Mark of the Ninja features a solid mix of action and stealth elements, as you hide from enemies before getting the jump on them and use other ninja tools to your advantage. The game’s beautiful hand-drawn art style makes it stand out, along with its excellent control scheme. Be sure to look for it over the summer on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.