Sitting at my desk staring at the wall as I continue to procrastinate, it seems like it was months ago that I was standing in line with hundreds of other nerds waiting to get into PAX South. But it wasn’t, it was only a few weeks ago. How time flies.

It was my second time at PAX South but still I got the same reaction from other attendees, a combination of weird looks and genuine shock that I, a 20-something Scottish man, would spend 10 hours on an airplane to travel all the way to Texas for a con.

For most it was something just down the road to attend with friends without a second thought, but for me it was a grand adventure spanning two continents and more than one mode of transport.

That’s how I found myself standing in a packed, uncomfortably warm hall with a five-alarm-hangover with thousands of other people waiting to see what the latest indie developers had to offer. And believe me there were quite a lot of good games on show this year.

 

Rogue Stormers:

Starting off strong we have Rogue Stormers. Developed by Black Forest Games, Rogue Stormers is a side-scrolling roguelike game set in a steampunk themed world filled with gadgets, gizmos and goblins.

Set in the city of Ravensdale, players take control of a colourful cast of hunters that are trying to rid the land of mutations and monsters that were brought about by exposure to a mysterious oil the government uses in everything from cars to food.

Levels are procedurally generated so there’s a ton of replay-ability as you can scour new areas for loot, weapon upgrades and crafting parts. There’s also perma-death, so as soon as you die you lose everything and have to start over.

However, this is counter-attacked by a unique perk-a-lator system that lets players unlock permanent perks for their characters. So even if you die, you’ll still carry over your bad-ass perks to for your next attempt.

When asked how they came up with the idea for Rogue Stormers, Product Manager Mischa Strecker said: “Our first concept for Rogue Stormers got stale and very boring, very quickly, because the chunks were in one line, you went from left to right, had a boss at the end and it was always the same. “

He continued: “We felt it was stale, the community feedback was also that it was also boring, so we thought, why don’t we change it and make it like the old side-scrolling games. Back where you got three lives and then it was game over, and a rogue-like setup fits like a glove for that.”

Humour also seems to play a big part in Rogue Stormers as Mischa described the games character concepts: “We wanted to go a little bit over the top, we decided to make the background story of all the characters really, really over the top and not to be taken too seriously. We think it’s a good mix we came up with and it makes it a fun game.”

Rogue Stormers is currently in Early Access, but it’s set to officially launch on STEAM on March 24th and there are plans to port it onto Xbox One and PS4 in the future.

 

Invisigun Heroes:

There’s always one game at any convention that always generates the most amount of noise, regardless of where you are on the show floor you can hear people yelling as they play it and Invisigun Heroes was one of those this year.

Developed by Sombr Studio, Invisigun Heroes is a top down, single-screen multiplayer game, it uses the unique setup of having a battle arena for players, but everyone’s invisible.

However, there’s a twist in that players can only move in a grid and the second they open fire they become visible for a few seconds. It may not sound like a lot of time, but it’s enough for someone to get a fix on where you are and take a shot at you if you’re not careful.

Plus, there’s also environmental hazards that will give away your position like pools of water you need to run through, snow that will leave footprints behind or grass that will puff up when you run through it.

There’s also a range of power ups to play with and five different game modes that cover everything from last man standing to a king of the hill style mode. With 50 maps across five different planets, Invisigun Heroes seems to be one of those perfect party games you wheel out when everyone’s good and liquored up and looking for something fun to play.

Invisigun Heroes is currently on Kickstarter and they’re aiming to release on PC late 2016 with console ports to following at some point in 2017.

 

Knee Deep:

Out of all the games I saw on the show floor, one thing I was not expecting was a swamp noir murder-mystery adventure game, but that’s exactly what I got with Knee Deep.

Developed by Prologue Games, Knee Deep is an episodic adventure game that follows three characters as they try to get to the bottom of what’s going down in the small town of Cypress Knee.

Featuring Mass Effect style conversation choices and a few puzzle solving elements like rotating the sections of a fingerprint, fixing a fuse box, creating a QR code to sneak past cops Knee Deep is an incredibly absorbing and immersive detective thriller that will keep you guessing at every turn.

According to Lead Writer/Designer Wes Platt his idea for Knee Deep came from books by Carl Hiaasen, Twin Peaks by David Lynch and the fact that when he worked with the St Petersburg Times he wrote about all kinds of crazy things that were happening in the sunshine state of Florida.

When asked why they decided to use three protagonists for the story, Wes said: “I took influence from George R.R Martins Game of Thrones series where switching between more than one character keeps you from getting weighed down with them.”

He elaborated: “I really wanted to give a way for players to feel more detached, we want you be immersed in the idea of a stage play, but we want you to feel comfortable enough to make some more ‘interesting’ choices for these characters.”

Which means it encourages players to take a different approach to scenes in the game. Like going for the more belligerent answer choice or the strange choice, something you wouldn’t normally pick if you were sticking with one character.

The First two acts of Knee Deep are already out on STEAM for PC and Mac and on March 8th the entire pack will be out with a port to consoles later this summer. According to Wes Platt a port to tablets is also a strong ‘maybe’ for now.

 

Like A Boss:

Usually at a videogame convention there will be one game that makes you stop in your tracks to stand and watch it. For me that was Like A Boss, mostly because of the name of the game, but more so for the actual gameplay involved.

Developed by Fire Horse Studio, Like A Boss is an action RPG game with a twist. Instead of assuming the role of a stalwart hero on a quest, players take control of a gigantic MMO dungeon raid boss that’s being besieged by heroes that are after their treasure. Players have a number of special moves, magic powers and traps at their disposal to stem the horde of idiotic adventurers from getting any further into your dungeon to steal their treasure.

The build I got my hands on was on a tablet and was super early access, but it still played pretty well.

Controls were fairly intuitive, you simply tapped around the screen where you wanted to go and abilities could be triggered with a simple press and finger drag so it was relatively easy to plough through hordes of adventurers without breaking a sweat.

A fun feature of the game was that heroes attacking your dungeon would yell out and complain in the same way your stereotypical MMO player would. So there were lots of “OMG Noobz” and “Healer do your job” speech bubbles appearing which gave me a good chuckle as it reminded me of old dungeon raids during my Guild Wars 2 days.

Although Like A Boss is still currently in Alpha, there are plans to include multiplayer features at some point in the future, sadly no word of a release date though.

 

Ohklos:

Finally, to wind things down we have Ohklos. The creation of Coffee Powered Machine, Ohklos puts the players in the sandals of a philosopher that’s trying to take down all the gods of Olympus, but he won’t be doing this alone, as he has the help of ‘The Mob’.

In Ohklos players control and recruit passers-by into their mob whereby they then try to destroy the surrounding environment to enact the wrath of an oppressive deity or monster that they have to then eliminate.

Players can recruit anyone to their mob, from lowly peasants, slaves, beasts of burden and soldiers to legendary heroes like Leonidas, Heracles, Socrates and more. It features a fun pixelated style and its controls are almost Similar to Pikmin as you control your main character with one hand and the mob with the other.

A great feature of Ohklos is that every campaign is different, so in one run you could fight a set selection of gods and monsters and in another attempt it will be completely different. So you have plenty of reasons to try different mob and philosopher setups on each run. With gigantic boss fights and colossal creatures to face, Ohklos certainly caught my attention on the show floor.

Ohklos will be available on STEAM for PC, Mac and Linux in April this year.

 

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, PAX South never fails to impress, it’s a great show and I loved every stress-filled minute of it as I literally ran from developer to developer and networked my butt off trying to get those oh so important press contacts. It was a lot of hard work, but you know what, I would totally do it all over again given half the chance.

There are currently rumours floating around that PAX South could be the best place to be for Indie developers from now on and if that’s true it’s only going to get better as time goes on. There were some great games there, it’s a weekend I won’t be forgetting any time soon and I can’t wait to start planning for next year’s show.

But of course this is just part one of my PAX South adventures, stay tuned for the second part of my Indie Rodeo where I dive even deeper into the pool of indie titles that were on show this year at PAX South.