The 5 Best Games At PAX East 2022
PAX East returned to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center this past weekend for the first time since March 2020, bringing hundreds of new and upcoming games to attendees. Many highly anticipated titles were playable for the first time and indie developers from all over the world showed off their upcoming projects to thousands of players over the course of four days. While it wouldn’t be possible for anyone to play all of the hundreds of games featured at the con, here’s a collection of games you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on.
WrestleQuest – Release Date Summer 2022
WrestleQuest is my personal winner of PAX East 2022 and the biggest surprise of the show. While a turn-based RPG about professional wrestling may sound like a bit of a gag game, WrestleQuest is anything but. This labor of love from Mega Cat Studios is a full 50+ hour RPG that draws inspiration from classic JRPGs Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6, and Super Mario RPG while innovating on the turn-based formula with new wrestling-themed mechanics. Its reverence for professional wrestling culture and iconic heroes of the sport like Randy Savage and Diamond Dallas Page is sure to delight fans, but what really won me over is the depth and complexity of its combat.
With a massive world to explore, challenging combat to master, and a story that unfolds like a theatrical, Shakespearian epic, WrestleQuest is definitely one to look out for this summer. Check out our full preview here.
Evil West – Release Date TBA 2022
Arguably the biggest new game at PAX East 2022, Evil West is an upcoming third-person action adventure game from the studio behind Trek to Yomi and the Shadow Warrior series. It follows a pair of cowboys working for a secret vampire hunting organization in the Old West, and if the premise alone doesn’t hook you, the tight gameplay definitely will. Combat is a mix of close-quarters melee and ranged abilities that feels similar to God of War 2018, while the health recovery system takes its cues from Doom Eternal. There’s even a bit of Devil May Cry in the mix, just for good measure.
Evil West is an amalgamation of genres and game styles that all fit together beautifully. If you love the Haunted West genre of movies, games, and comics like Darkwatch, American Vampire, Priest, and the Dark Tower series, Evil West should be right up your alley. You can read our full preview of the PAX East demo here.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge – Release Date TBA 2022
The 1980s Turtles are back and better than ever in Shredder’s Revenge, a new pixel beat-’em-up from the publishers of Streets of Rage 4 and the developers behind Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and 2007’s TMNT on the Game Boy Advance. Shredder’s Revenge is heavily inspired by Turtles in Time – so much so that it has a nearly identical control scheme to the SNES classic. The pixel art is beautiful and pops off the screen with perfect, ‘80s cartoon precision, and the gameplay is everything you remember from Turtles in Time, updated with new quality-of-life enhancements and some cool new abilities, like taunts that fill your super meter and charged attacks that help you counter fast-moving enemies.
It’s not easy to remake a classic, and it’s even harder to make a new game that lives up to something as beloved as Turtles in Time, but Tribute Games seems to have nailed the formula and even improved on it in some major ways. For our full preview of the first two missions, follow this link.
The Mortuary Assistant – Release Date Spring 2022
Up-and-coming horror publisher DreadXP made its first PAX appearance this year, showcasing four of its new and upcoming horror games. The best of the bunch is a first-person job sim-like from solo developer DarkStone Digital about finding and exorcizing demonic forces from cadavers. Every moment of The Mortuary Assistant is filled with uncomfortable tension as you embalm bodies (with unbearable accuracy) and wait for all hell to break loose.
The Mortuary Assistant is built on replayability and utilizes a clever event escalation system to keep the spooks surprising and constantly escalating throughout each playthrough. Fans of puzzle games, job simulators, and Phasmophobia will instantly gel with The Mortuary Assistant. Check out our full rundown of DreadXP’s PAX debut here.
The Last Worker – Release Date TBA 2022
The Last Worker is a narrative-focused first-person adventure game about our increasingly automated world and the personal and emotional burdens of late-stage capitalism – but funny! You are the final human worker at the Jüngle corporation distribution center that falls into a plot to expose the company’s corrupt CEO by a group of human rights activists. As social satires go, The Last Worker is about as prescient as it gets.
The Last Worker is coming to PC and console, including Switch, later this year, as well as Meta Quest 2 and PlayStation VR. It’s a collaboration between writer/director Jörg Tittel and Wolf & Wood, the studio behind The Exorcist: Legion and A Chair in a Room, so I’m particularly excited to see what these VR innovators have in store for us. Additionally, all the assets are original and handpainted in 3D based on concepts by Mick McMahon, the creator of Judge Dredd and 2000 AD. The Last Worker’s impressive pedigree and compelling concept make it one of the most interesting games coming this year.
Honorable Mention: The Boomer Shooters
While there were plenty of Soulslikes featured at PAX East this year, including Prime Matter’s upcoming titles Dolmen and The Last Oricru, Boomer Shooters were the real genre kings this year. These Doom-likes (or Quake-likes, if you prefer) were the headliners at some of the most popular booths as players lined up for hours to get some hands-on time. One of the most popular was Turbo Overkill, which launched Early Access last Friday. Turbo Overkill is a high-octane, Cyberpunk-inspired shooter about Johnny Turbo, a cyborg with rocket arms and a chainsaw leg. Wallrunning, time slowing, and non-stop carnage made Turbo Overkill a real show stealer last weekend. Check out the free demo on Steam and look for our full review later this week.
Next is Scathe, a co-op Doom-like for hardcore bullet hell fans. Navigate the mazes of hell while a hail of bullets and fight back using unique weapons, like the explosive Bow Blade or fire throwing Hot Hatch.
2020’s BPM: Bullets Per Minute has a rival in Gun Jam, an upcoming rhythm shooter from Jaw Drop Games and Raw Fury. Gun Jam has a Borderlands aesthetic and a unique beat-pattern shooting mechanic that’s difficult to master but looks incredibly satisfying.
Finally, Exophobia is a true throwback that uses 2D pixel art in 3D environments to create a one-of-a-kind look. If you really want to relive the glory days of ‘90s shooters, Exophobia is a must-play. Check out the demo available now on Steam.
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