When we last left off I had arrived at PAX South with a small hangover and had spent my first day avoiding the typical Texan heat and humidity by sampling the wares of the various Indie Devs that were on show at the convention. Unfortunately, there were so many great games that I got to have some hands-on time with that I couldn’t sum up the entire experience with just one article. After all, who would want to read an entire weekends worth of work in one article, its length would put War and Peace to shame. And so that’s how we find ourselves at ‘Part Two’ of my time at PAX South. An adventure where I continued to wander around the various booths and panels at PAX South sampling everything from VR to potential future ‘Indie Darlings’ all while wearing my best shirt and least torn-to-shreds jeans – since I am supposed to be a professional after all. Punch Club: First up we have what can basically be summed up as the love-child between Pokémon and Fight Club. Developed by Russian team Lazy Bear Games and published by tinyBuild, in Punch Club players assume the role of a small time fighter who’s trying to get into the big leagues by battling one opponent after another. A unique feature of Punch Club is that instead of taking direct control of the fighter as you would in any ordinary fighting game, instead you teach them various fighting moves and techniques and leave it all down to the fighters A.I. So a lot of the fights can be quite tense as you hope your fighter follows up on combos or blocks at the right time instead of taking a hit straight to the chops. There’s also a fun RPG element to the game as you can train up their strength, stamina and speed by visiting the gym regularly or just having them train at home. There’s a fun difficulty curve to Punch Club, but it can be quite rewarding to land that Rocky Balboa-esque vital hit at the last moment in a fight to cement your victory. For added immersion, why not listen to the entire Rocky soundtrack whilst playing this game, I know I will. Punch Club is currently available on PC through STEAM and you can also pick it up on iOS or Android devices. The developers are also teasing at a possible release on consoles sometime in the future. Infinium Strike: Next up we have Infinium Strike a strategy action game that comes with a rather interesting twist. Developed by Codex Worlds, Infinium Strike is set in deep space aboard a gigantic ship, players assume the role of the ship’s weapon systems commander and you have to defend the vessel at all costs from various threats that warp in. It’s a fun combination of strategy meets tower defence as you have to kit out each four quadrants of your ship to make sure you can see off any and all threats. There’s a real sense of your decisions having a greater impact on later enemy waves. For example, do you upgrade all your current lasers, do you start adding extra canons like heavy lasers or turrets that can shoot down incoming enemy projectiles or do you upgrade your ship to take more hits? Having to continually micro-manage four sides at once during the heat of battle can be equal parts stressful and rewarding as you sit back and watch the fireworks show of exploding enemy vessels from behind the safety of the ship’s shields. You can also send out intercepting fighters and cruisers or invest in super-tech like a satellite that warps gravity or one that takes up a sentry position and zaps incoming ships with lasers. According to Infinium Strike’s CEO and Creative Director Dexter Chow, one of the main inspirations from this game was the 1997 movie Starship Troopers. He said: “Our aliens are very Starship Troopers-like in design and the idea of having just one against many is very Starship Troopers-like and that’s a big inspiration for us.” He added: “Also Battlestar Galactica. When you see the Cylons attacking with waves and waves of ships whilst you see only a few vipers going out, like 10 to one, plus in Battlestar Galactica they have those awesome ship turrets which was another big inspiration for us.” Some of the games space skyboxes are well designed and are apparently closely based on real sections of space. According to Chow: “We have 10 different skyboxes for our game and we emphasise on variety. So we looked at nebulas and long range shots from Hubble and it’s unbelievable how colourful these things are, so we made very colourful kinds of backgrounds. Like a lot of things in our games it’s all inspired on things in reality.” In Infinium Strike players can blast apart aliens across a 10 mission campaign with four levels of difficulty. There’s also an endless deep space arcade level and there are plans to add a few special missions in the future, like freeing a giant space monster called ‘Bubba’. Infinium Strike is currently a single player experience, but I did ask Chow about possible a multiplayer addition in the future. He replied: “We thought it could potentially be a fun mobile experience, like if each person had their own quadrant and were sat in a room and you have four people just turn and yell at each other like a ‘hey you just took my resources’, like that sort of thing.” Infinium Strike will be launching on Xbox One, PC and Mac through Steam later this year and could potentially be announcements in the future for additional platforms. Feist: Another game that caught my attention on the show floor was an adorable little platforming action game called Feist. Developed by Austin-based Finji, in Feist players control a small nameless creature as they sprint through forests, mountains, swamps and dark caves all whilst avoiding larger monsters and dangerous traps. Think Limbo but with a tiny fuzzy monster instead of a kid with an abnormally large head. Although not as punishing as Limbo, Feist does provide quite a challenge, you can’t really outright attack enemies and a lot of the time encounters become kind of organic puzzles. For example, there could be two large creatures chucking spears at you, but there’s nothing stopping you from jumping between the two of them just at the right time to make them throw spears at each other. Or you could be chased by spiders through a crumbling cavern and your only option is to time it so that the boulders squash the bugs instead of you. With a great art style and a very atmospheric soundtrack, Feist was a game that really managed to suck me in to the point I forgot I was standing on a convention floor surrounded by hundreds of other people. Feist is currently set to launch on Steam for PC and Mac users at the end of July. Super Slam Dunk Touchdown: One genre of videogames that’s never really appealed to me in any shape or form is sports games. Be it football, soccer, hockey or basketball, it just never stuck, no matter how hard my friends tried. But one sports game that somehow managed to get me was Super Slam Dunk Touchdown by Tipping Goat and here’s why. In Super Slam Dunk Touchdown, you don’t just play one type of sport, you play all of them because in this game you can assume the role of someone from one of six different sport genres. You can be an American football quarterback, a basketball player, a roller derby girl, a hockey player, a baseball bat wielding slugger or midfielder from soccer. Plus, each athlete also has their own unique playstyle in the game. The Quarterback can come charging in and tackle you, the baseball player can smack the ball almost clear across the screen and the roller derby girl can zip around at lightning speed. Another great feature is that you can slam dunk the ball into the net when you get close enough and it can be quite satisfying to really drive the ball home with that added bit of style and impact from a perfectly executed dunk. Super Slam Dunk Touchdown is currently available on Steam for Pc and Mac users, the devs have also teased at another platform launch coming in the future. So there you have it, that’s the end of my PAX South adventures. As I mentioned in Part One of my Indie Rodeo this convention is one show that will never fail to impress me whenever I go. From the brilliant selection of games on show to the general friendly vibe and close-knit atmosphere of the entire convention, it’s regularly proven to be one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. Although I was there mainly for work purposes, to me it felt more like it was time spent with some of the best people I know inside and out of the videogame industry. PAX South is one of those shows I can never recommend enough, it’s a great showcase of the latest talent and developments in Indie gaming and it’s always fun to see what could be the next big ‘Indie Darling’. Plus, it’s a great way to get to know some of the people behind the games you will eventually be playing.