Welcome back to the PAX West Fifty-Game Frenzy, where I run down a grand total of 50 Switch games I played at PAX and you can decide which ones pique your interest! Last time we concentrated in on publisher Ysbryd Games and a couple other odds ‘n’ ends, and this time we’ll be talking about what Nicalis showed off, as well as Sega’s upcoming racer and a brief talk about one of the finest indies ever made. Let’s a-go!

Crystal Crisis

Developer: Nicalis | Release Date: Fall 2018 | Price: $39.99 | Crystal Website
Eclectic crossover block puzzler with fighting game elements.

Nicalis just released Blade Strangers, a crossover fighting game featuring a stable of their own characters plus some other indie favorites, but apparently that wasn’t quite enough. Crystal Crisis is a Puzzle Fighter successor featuring characters from Cave Story, 1001 Spikes, and… the works of Osamu Tezuka, godfather of manga? Johnny Turbo from old Turbografx commercials? Whoever dreamed up this cast had quite the imagination, alright.

Crystal Crisis plays like its spiritual forefather with blocks requiring gems of the same color to be cleared, but it has some twists. You can wrap your blocks around your field, pulling off interesting combos that would be impossible in other games. You have meters like in a fighting game, which means you can execute both offensive and defensive specials at different levels to either spite your opponent or save yourself. And both the specials and the drop pattern you use change depending on your character — Quote plays differently from Curly, and Astro Boy, and Black Jack… and I can’t believe I’m typing this sentence right now, good lord.

I got to play this one with Nicalis president Tyrone Rodriguez — shoutouts to him, he’s a cool guy — and while he delivered defeat in every match because I’m terrible at match-puzzlers, I could feel that this was definitely a departure from the norm. Adding in fighting game elements to the classic style is a novelty that could add a lot of potential depth. While I suck in this genre, Crystal Crisis may get me to give it a more earnest try.

RemiLore

Developer: Pixellore and REMIMEMORY | Release Date: Winter 2018 | Price: $39.99 | RemiLore Website
Co-op rougelite anime action RPG featuring some goofy costumes and weaponry.

Sometimes you just gotta beat stuff up. RemiLore is a game that enables this desire with isometric hack ‘n’ slash gameplay that’s just as satisfying as it is silly. While I didn’t get to try any of the game’s story, the short co-op dungeon I played with a Nicalis rep was plenty fun, mixing enjoyable combos with procedurally generated floors and a whole bevy of weapons and spells.

RemiLore is a pretty ridiculous game. I know this because I was dressed as a chicken wielding a toothbrush that could summon tornadoes. And any game that can cause such a phrase to spring to existence has to be worth something. While some of the high-pitched anime girl yells upon taking damage were ear-splitting, they were ultimately overcome by the sheer dumbness of what was happening on screen. Check this out if you’re one for the lighter side.

Save Me Mr. Tako

Developer: Chris Deneos and Nicalis | Release Date: 2018 | Price: TBD | Tako Website
Game Boy-styled Metroidvania about the divide between octopi and humanity. And hats.

Most retro games go for either the NES or SNES look, but Save Me Mr. Tako honors the great portable Game Boy graphics of eras past. The story follows the exploits of a helpful octopus who saves a human woman and then quests to bridge the divide between humanity and his own people. To do so, he’ll explore a rich 2D world, shoot ink at baddies, and don a number of hats that change his abilities (such as giving him arrows to fire).

Mr. Tako brings to mind a curious middle ground between Kirby and Metroid, and as someone who loves both of those things I’m all in on this one. There are multiple characters with different skillsets, a host of interesting puzzles, and even the ability to change the color filter — so you can relive that ol’ Game Boy green, if you so wish. The premise may appear like a Splatoon prequel, but Save Me Mr. Tako looks to provide some octacular fun… That’s not a word, is it. Wait, it is?

Team Sonic Racing

Developer: SUMO Digital | Release Date: Winter 2018 | Price: $39.99 | Sonic Website
Everybody’s Super Sonic raciiiiiiiing try to keep your wheels right on the groooound

Do you like kart racers, Sonic, and the value of teamwork? Sega’s next big racer is here for you, as Team Sonic Racing takes the Blue Blur’s cast of allies and pits them in team based racing. Unlike the immoral every-man-for-himself position of Mario Kart, TSR calculates the overall winner based on the averaging of your team’s three positions in a race, meaning coordination and consideration can take an edge over pure skill. Though that’s also helpful.

Now I suck at every non-Mario Kart racing game in existence, but this one had some wrinkles that looked potentially interesting. The lead of each team leaves a trail behind them that provides a speed boost for other team members, allowing them to slingshot ahead. You can trade items to one another, providing a boost to whichever of your members is struggling the most. And your individual character stats seem a bit more nuanced and particular than that of other kart racers — each driver I tried (Knuckles, Blaze, and the Chao) played pretty differently. If you’re into super sonic racing, then this will almost certainly be your jam.

Bastion

Developer: Supergiant Games | Release Date: September 13th | Price: $14.99 | Bastion Website
Legendary indie action RPG featuring painterly landscapes and the most golden voice in all of games.

Have y’all never played Bastion? What? What are you doing sleeping on one of the most iconic games of the ’10s? Listen here, kid — Bastion is one of the most silky smooth, beautiful indie titles to ever release, narrated by a man whose voice is greater than God’s, delivering a story filled with pathos and sentiment. You don’t need some beat reporter from a Seattle convention to tell you it’s superb. Heck, my man Ricky Berg wrote a spectacular review of it! Go and pick it up when it drops this week!

Oh yeah, Transistor was at PAX too, but I didn’t get a chance to try it, because I’m apparently an uncultured fool with a single brain cell. That’s coming out this year too, and also worth your money. I haven’t even played that one (again, uncultured fool with single brain cell) and I know it’s a must-buy.

 
Anyway, that’s all for the Frenzy this time! We’re almost halfway through our coverage already… tune in next time for more exciting coverage!

 

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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.

Amelia Fruzzetti