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My trip to PAX Prime 2015 was a last minute affair. I booked my hotel and travel around two months out. Of course, by that time, hotel space was at a premium, so I'm a bit farther from the show than I would've normally been.
What does this have to do with Check In, Knock Out? The premise of this multiplayer action free-for-all is a swank hotel only has a single room available with multiple prestigious guests. Instead of suffering for double-booking a room, the hotel has somehow convinced the guests to fight it out. The guests (combatants?) have to throw whatever they have at hand - umbrellas, fridges, luggage, and even the very ground that they stand on - in an attempt to knock other competitors into oblivion. I would've appreciated this option in real life, as I most assuredly would've won.
Grab, aim, throw, jump; that's the list of actions available to you. Otherwise, the players can't interact with each other directly. The action is fast and furious with most matches ending in around a minute. Sometimes the matches end with the last man standing, with failed competitors falling into the abyss.
Some fights take place on endless stages, where falling below sees you appear on the top of the screen again in a loop stretching on into eternity. In these stages, there's a dark box with a skull emblazoned on the side, having this box thrown at you sees you sucked into a dark void. If multiple players are falling forever, eventually the dark box will do its best to hunt you down and eat you.
In addition, each character has a special ability. One hefty character, Dr. Doctor, turns any object he picks up into an explosive. Another vampire-like character can turn into a bat to float for a limited period of time, even while holding an object. Destiny can pick up two objects at a time. The gameplay is pretty simple, but the various characters extend the concept a bit farther.
With a full compliment of four players, Check In, Knock Out is a blast. Thanks to the relatively short match times, the game sits in the perfect gulf between each match being a random throwaway and somewhat mattering. You're happy when you win, but you don't feel too bad about losing either. That's a rather fine line that first-time developer Lionade Games has hit head on.
Check In, Knock Out will feature local multiplayer when it comes out for PC sometime this year. Hopefully you have three other friends, because otherwise just playing against the AI would be pretty sad. (Editor's Note: Mike will probably be playing by himself with three AI players.)