It's PAX East this weekend and there's an abundance of cool games to get excited about, and even more to play now.
Welcome to our new feature highlighting the best indie games of the week. In celebration of PAX East 2020, most of the games in this week’s edition showed new footage or revealed new details around the show.
As always, we’ve brought together different styles of titles from varying genres for a nice eclectic round-up of games we’re excited about. We also kept the 'games you can play this weekend' section, and there's plenty going on this weekend for those not attending the show.
Let’s get stuck in.
Hot indie games week of February 24
Spiritfarer is perhaps the most sincere, touching game we’ve included in this feature yet. The game was first announced at E3 last year, turning a lot of eyes misty. At PAX East, developer Thunder Lotus dropped the first gameplay teaser for a bit of a deeper look.
In Spiritfarer, you play as a ferrymaster tasked with taking care of a lovely group of anthropomorphic animals, and fulfilling their final wishes as they pass on to the next life. The PAX East footage shows the game’s main loop, which is based around maintaining and upgrading the houseboat you’re in charge of, as well as satisfying the needs of your friends. This is done through different means of resource gathering, such as mining, fishing cooking and so on.
The new trailer doesn’t fail to remind us that Spiritfarer is also a game about learning to say goodbye, which is what gameplay is in service of. Spiritfarer is coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch this year.
It’ll also be on Xbox Game Pass (PC and Xbox) at launch. Add it to your Steam wishlist.
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time
I know very little about the Samurai Jack anime, but I remember enjoying my time with its PS2 game, The Shadow of Aku. It doesn’t take much to sell me on an action game with a samurai hero rolling around with a katana.
The makers of Samurai Jack are once again trying their luck with a new game. Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time was announced this week for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch by Soleil. The developer’s pedigree is a bit mixed, having worked on Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker, and the ill-fated Devil’s Third.
The brief teaser released this week shows some decent combat with a variety of weapons. There is admittedly little to go on in there, but it’s promising nonetheless. We expect more to be revealed at PAX East. Until then, there’s a Steam page for Battle Through Time you can follow.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons
Ary and the Secret of Seasons is a Breath of the Wild-style action adventure starring a young girl with the power to control the seasons. That power is at the crux of the game’s core mechanics.
Ary has the ability to alter the season in any given area, drastically changing the environment. Spring, summer, autumn and winter all bring unique properties when called upon. As you can imagine, this is used for traversal and puzzle solving.
The game’s world is split into four regions, representing the different seasons. Within each one, you’ll be exploring bespoke locations with their own inhabitants to meet, and secrets to uncover. From the little snippets of combat shown, it looks like we’ll be manipulating the environments and the different objects within alongside the usual smacking.
It’s also a story of self-discovery for heroine Aryelle, who sets out on this adventure at a young age, taking on a responsibilities traditionally assigned to men. Ary and the Secret of Seasons is due out this summer on Steam, PS4, Xbox One and Switch.
Games you can play this weekend
Descenders, the extreme sports game where you go downhill on a bike and try not to kill yourself, received a big update this week.
During development, Descenders developer Ragesquid relied entirely on procedurally-generated trails to fill up the game's world. After adding mod support last year, the developer realised there’s demand for bespoke, handcrafted parks. So the team added a new section dedicated to showcasing the community’s best work.
Ragesquid also created its own parks, available as part of the same section. Descenders is a bit of a niche game, but it’s one of the good downhill biking games by most accounts.
In celebration of the new content, Descenders is free to play all weekend on Steam, where you can also get it for a nice 40% off, dropping the price to $15.
See how far you can push your speed down those treacherous hills on your own, or challenge a friend in multiplayer.
Knights of Light
We covered Knights of Light a couple of times in the past. This Egyptian-made action RPG is inspired by The Witcher, and Mount and Blade. The developer is finally ready for the world to play the game, which has been in development for three years. Knights of Light's Prologue hits Steam Early Access tomorrow, February 29.
The game's story takes place in 7th century Iraq during the Muslim conquests into the region and the clash with the ruling Sasanian Empire. The main game will focus on the Battle of al-Qadisiyyah, but the Prologue is instead dedicated to the events leading up to the skirmish.
Gameplay in Knights of Light follows the team’s inspirations, with the action switching from third-person melee and ranged combat to a strategy layer where you get to command and direct troops. There are two playable characters that each have access to unique skills.
Developer Rumbling Games reckons it’ll spend about two years in Early Access with more missions, locations and cinematics coming down the road.
The professional game development scene in Egypt is incredibly young with not a lot of experience, so this looks like one to watch. Hit up Knights of Light’s Steam page to learn more.
Edgar: Bokbok in Boulzac
Edgar: Bokbok in Boulzac came out Wednesday on PC, PS4 and Switch. Bokbok in Boulzac is a comedy adventure game starring a farmer and his hen. The debut game from La Poule Noire has a whimsical look, and a setting inspired by the French countryside.
Although the hero is an amateur farmer, we won’t actually be doing much farming in Bokbok in Boulzac. Instead, the story revolves around uncovering secrets the denizens of Boulzac would rather you didn’t go digging for.
The trailers don’t give too much away because it’s a short game. La Poule Noire says it’ll take you about two to five hours to complete. If you’re looking for something a little offbeat, check out Edgar: Bokbok in Boulzac’s Steam page. It’s available now for $19.
I will be the first to admit that a multiplayer game wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when THQ Nordic said it’s bringing back the classic Comanche series. But I also know better than to judge such a gameplay-heavy project with a few seconds of footage.
All weekend, developer Nukklear is offering everyone a chance to, well, see if the new Comanche is worthy of the name. The helicopter shooter is hosting an open beta that’s live now through Monday.
The multiplayer beta includes a training mode, some 4v4 multiplayer action. At the very least, it should give us a good idea about the mechanics underpinning the whole thing.
Alongside the beta, Nukklear also announced that Comanche is not actually going to be a multiplayer-only game, with plans to launch into Early Access with some single-player content that expands over time.
You can get involved by downloading the beta on Steam.