This week I talked on the cast about my experiences with PAX, but there were a few notable games I skipped over. I figured I ought to take the time to go over some of the other notable finds from the expo.
First on the list is Screen Cheat by Samurai Punk/Surprise Attack is a 2-4 player first person shooter with one very notable effect: all of the players are invisible. The game is designed so that it is always a split screen experience and the level’s are set up so that there are notable features such as the color of the room. All of these things are implemented so that you are literally forced to screen cheat to find your targets.
This also generates some interesting interplay. For example you might want to stare at the most ambiguous stuff you can find while you look at the other screens. All things considered, it is a very fresh take on a game in this genre and it looks like a great party game. Booze? Even better! It is on sale now for pre-purchase on steam at a reduced price until October 1st.
Next is Speedrunners by tiny Build/Double Dutch games is an early-access game designed as a sort of race. The players are pitted against one another in an obstacle course with various objects and terrain designed to hinder or help the player take the lead. It is set up very competitively and the only way to eliminate the other players is to get far enough ahead that they fall off the screen. The game-play consists of platforming with wall jumps and a grapple hook while dodging the hazards and taking the “power ups”. Once again this feels like a fantastic beer and pretzels sort of game where you can have a blast while trying to out preform your friends.
Third is Fenix Rage by Green Lava Studio is an upcoming September game that takes fast paced platformer mechanics like Super Meat Boy but changes it entirely by giving you unlimited “double-jumps” and forward dashes. This puts emphasis more on a vertical precision and opens up level design which does not require floors. The games representative was there taking ideas for bettering the game and it sounds as if a level editor is in the pipeline to bring even more to the game.
Lastly I got a chance to preview the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition through a quick game showcased by Wizards of the Coast. Unfortunately I did not get a lot of time to dig into the depths of the rules through this game, but I did get a chance to see some of the streamlined effects. The big take away from my time was the dis/advantage system and the lack of specialized saves. Essentially you get to roll two dice instead of one when you are dis/advantaged and you take the higher or the lower roll depending on what the situation calls for. For example, you get to take the higher if you have an ally distract a foe before you attack.
The lack of saves means that you simply make rolls from your stats and do not need to calculate a bunch of values, and although it takes a minute to get used to it speeds things along. The sub 0 hp state is designed a little differently as well. You have a sort of chart where you have to roll saves to fill a pool of “stable” saves before the “death” pool fills.
Since PAX I have taken the time to look through the rules myself. After the polarizing release of 4th ED, Wizards of the Coast is certainly trying to take a step back and unite the audience yet again. This edition is very clearly aimed to bring back more interesting character choice while streamlining the character building, but still allowing many options. I know that sounds complicated and is a mouthful to say, but it really is a clear aim. They made feats optional, prestige classes a branching feature of your character, and have taken out a lot of the restrictions to equipment while being a spellcaster. This means far less number crunching and planning, and more choice in what you want to do to define your character. Further they have put some emphasis on who your character is through background choices and other rule related choices that can help start a character out of the box. I look forward to seeing this in action and I suggest any pen and paper players to give the rules a look through to see if this new DnD might call to you.