So as I have said in the past that the Indie Mega Booth is my favorite part of PAX, and again it stands as the victor again this year. My current favorite game of PAX is a little indie gem called Shovel Knight. It plays and looks like a cross between Zelda 2 and classic NES MegaMan. It is an insanely charming game made by a handful of people, and currently has a Kickstarter to make sure everyone gets a chance to play this game.
The game stars a Knight that decides that his weapon should be an all-around useful tool: a shovel. The combat plays almost exactly like Zelda 2, if that means anything to you. The platforming and the huge 8-bit graphics is where the real MegaMan references come in. A big, blue, pixelated hero in armor with a shovel: only just a bit off from everyone’s favorite MegaMan. The game is definitely very old-school platforming-like, in that it’s tight tip-toe jumps with plenty of room for error and it is very easy to make mistakes and fall to your death. Unfortunately for gamers like me, the game is pretty forgiving and has a lot of checkpoints, which was really the only noticeable difference from those old school platformers.
Ian Flood, the programmer I talked to, mentioned a bit about the platforms they want to launch on, which right now is 3DS and WiiU. He definitely mentioned that they have some ideas on how to use the GamePad in the WiiU version. Also he told me that 3D will be a big fun aspect to the 3Ds version.
Really, something in the game that stands above all else (apart from how tight and fun the game played) was the humor at play there. The hero uses a shovel, so in place of chests there are piles of coal, which you dig through to get treasure. Also, you fight bosses that used to be Knights of yours that act and try to kill you by ridiculous means, such as shooting off trumpets that launch confetti, which can then hurt you.
Overall the game left a great first impression. I really wish they make it a bit less forgiving to drive home the point of it references old school games, but we will have to wait until this year to see.