PAX Online 2020

The Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX for short, is one of the largest video game conventions open to the public.  Unfortunately, the flagship show, PAX West in Seattle, had to be cancelled this year because of COVID.  So instead, they created PAX Online, which was all last week.  Virtual showgoers could watch videos of upcoming games, and even try demos of some of them on Steam and Xbox Live.  I got a virtual press pass to the event, so here’s an article about the show.

But first, I would like to apologize in advance if this article isn’t very good.  I’ve never written an article about an online show before (I doubt many people have), and usually whenever I do something for the first time, I’m pretty horrible at it.  Also when I go to a show like PAX or E3, I set aside time to take off of work so I can go to the show and write an article about it.  But since I didn’t know what to expect from this show, I didn’t take off of work, so I didn’t have as much time to check things out and write my article.  Plus I was pretty busy with other things during the show.  My birthday was smack dab in the middle of it, and one of my brothers is getting married at the end of the month, so I needed to make some preparations for that, too.  Also, since there’s no way I can cover everything in these shows, I only look at what I think is interesting for me and what might would go well with the theme of GamerDad.  And I didn’t play any demos because I don’t have an Xbox One, and I don’t have a Steam account either because I’m just not really a PC gamer.  I’ve got plenty of console games so I’ve never felt the need for Steam.  I guess PAX Online would be ideal for streamers and YouTubers, but I’m sorry, I just don’t have time for that right now.  I’d like to do that someday, but I’ve got a full time job and household duties so what I do at GamerDad already is all I have time for.  I guess I’m just too old fashioned and need to get with the times.

Finally, before I get started, I’ll say that while I guess it’s good they did a PAX Online (better than doing nothing I suppose), I really hope that when this COVID stuff gets better, we can go back to normal and have ACTUAL shows we can go to.  I really hate the term ‘new normal’ because NONE of the stuff we’re having to do right now because of COVID is normal.  I’m sorry, but it isn’t.  Shows like PAX and E3 are more than just game videos and demos, it’s about personal interaction with PR professionals and other gamers, and that’s what I enjoy the most.  So here’s hoping we can really go back to normal soon and go to real shows.  PAX Online isn’t a replacement, I hope.  OK, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the games at PAX Online!  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, these games listed should be coming to consoles at some point, that’s the main reason why I looked at them.

Alien Hominid Invasion (The Behemoth)

The Behemoth, makers of games like Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers, has ALWAYS been at PAX West.  Or at least the ones I’ve been to, anyway.  They even do a press breakfast which I’ve never been able to attend because I’m usually flying out to the show early that morning.  They had a new game this time, Alien Hominid Invasion, which looks like a four player version of their original cartoony shooter.  It’s so chaotic that I wish I could’ve played it to describe it better, but hopefully I’ll get to review it when it comes out.

Strings Theory (BeautifulBee)

This is an isometric puzzle maze game where you control bits of unraveled strings with various movements and characteristics.  Looks pretty cool and right up my alley.

Smash Ball (Gamepill)

In this futuristic sports game, you play as a robot and try to bounce a ball into the opponent’s goal at the other end.  It kind of reminds me of WindJammers in a way, like a cross between Pong and air hockey.  I think the makers wanted it to be a big eSports game, too.

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights (Binary Haze Interactive)

From the press release: “Lily, the last surviving priestess in a land devastated by an endless and oppressive rain turning people undead, awakens in a church with no memory of recent events. As she explores beyond the relative safety of the sanctuary, Lily will summon the spirits of purified undead to protect her on a journey to find the source of the rain twisting her home into a haunted shadow of itself.”  It’s a 2-D Metroidvania style game with neat black and white graphics.  Might be a bit too serious for my tastes, but looked somewhat interesting anyway.

Fury Unleashed (Awesome Games Studio)

Looks like a cross between Metal Slug and Comix Zone.  It’s a 2-D run and gun shooter with beautiful 2-D visuals set in a comic book world.  I hope I get to review it, but it looks awfully hard!

Neon Noodles (Radi Meresan)

According to the press release, Neon Noodles was made by the same person who did Semispheres, which I reviewed a couple of years ago, so that’s cool.  Neon Noodles is a cooking game where you are a robot and use blocks to prepare food.  It’s hard to tell what you do from the trailer, but the press release says you use programming commands and such

Neko Ghost, Jump! (PAX Rising)

A pirate dog has kidnapped all your kitty friends, so now your cat hero must save them by solving puzzles and stages that really remind me of the 2-D/3-D switching mechanic of Super Paper Mario.  You can also turn into a ghost, too, for some reason.  Really neat game I hope to review when it comes out on consoles!

PHOGS and Cake Bash (Coatsink)

Two games right up my alley.  Cake Bash is a four player game where you control cute little cartoony cakes as you smack around the other confectionaries.  Just watch out for crumb snatching pigeons!  And in PHOGS you play as a weenie dog with a head on each end (kind of like Nickelodeon’s CatDog), and you must stretch and wiggle to solve puzzles.  Kind of reminds me of Noby Noby Boy, but with actual gameplay.

Rangok Skies (Digerati)

This is a 2-D vertically scrolling “bullet hell” style shooter.  Looks like something Psikyo would’ve done.  The characters look cool and the game feels like it could be a lot of classic arcade style fun.

Ys 9: Monstrum Nox (NIS)

And I saved the best for last.  Well, it’s the game I’m most excited for anyway.  The next installment of the Ys franchise is coming next year in February!  Ys is an action RPG series that’s a lot like Zelda, just more ‘action-y.’  This is the game that makes me sad there was no real PAX West show this year.  I would’ve loved to visit NIS America’s booth and played this game for real!  Really looking forward to this next February!

And that’s all I have to say about PAX Online!  Again, sorry this article wasn’t very good.  I think I’ll conclude with links to my last to REAL PAX articles so you can see what a show coverage piece should be.  Sure the info in these links may be a bit outdated, but it’ll be fun to reminisce.

PAX South 2020

PAX West 2019


2 Responses to “PAX Online 2020”

  1. Man, I haven’t played Ys 8 yet. I really liked 7.

    Yeah, I’m sure it was disappointing to a lot of people that PAX was all online. But, these things happen. Can’t avoid history.

  2. Alien Hominid Invasion sounds interesting. I loved the graphics of the original Alien Hominid but it was hard.

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