PAX East 2011: Top 5 games – Number 2

The penultimate day of our Top 5 games of PAX East 2011 countdown is here. Read on to find out which game came in second place, which is no small feat given the variety on this year’s showfloor.

You can check out our number 3, number 4 and number 5 picks here.

Dyad was nearly my favorite game on the entire showfloor, though it was certainly the biggest surprise. It feels like a natural progression of the Tempest formula, with intuitive controls and timely graphics. I would like to think the sound will be as polished when I get a chance to experience it at home, but convention-noise makes it impossible to judge without a headset or isolated room.

What made up for that, however, was the custom-built Dyad booth (as played here by David S). This ingenious contraption is built with simple parts at a minimal cost and added a lot to the experience. I know I’ll still enjoy Dyad on my couch, but I’ll always consider building one of these somewhere in the back of my mind. – Anthony

At first glance I thought Slambolt Scrappers was an insanely confusing and complicated game.  There was so much going on that I had a hard time keeping up with the action on the screen while I watched.  What I found was that after getting my hands on it and playing a few matches, I was quickly able to get a feel for the game, and it turns out that it is a ton of fun.

Even though everything looks crazy, the gameplay is rather simple and involves you attacking enemies so that you can collect pieces used to build towers.  Each enemy drops a different color or shaped piece, and when those pieces are put together into square blocks, they form different types of towers based on their colors.  You an also attack your opponents and steal pieces from them so you have the freedom to move around the entire map.  We played five matches, and I probably had more fun than I did playing any other game on the show floor.   I can’t wait to get my hands on the full copy of the game and you can be sure to find a full review here in the near future.   – Dave

A cooperative sidescrolling shooter made by ex-Bungie guys sounds pretty good, right? As I watched the demo reel play at the Moonshot booth, my initial impression was that the characters moved a little slowly. Once I started playing I didn’t notice it at all, although this was possibly because I had discovered the grappling hook and had declared that moving around on foot was for losers and/or suckers. Jump, grapple, shoot dudes. It was a pretty satisfying experience, especially when I would accidentally grapple onto Dave and prevent him from moving.

Once I picked up the shotgun, one of the Moonshot guys leaned in and told me a secret: grapple enemies to you, and while they’re flying helplessly towards you hit them with the shotgun. Instantly my body became a meat grinder, sucking in a constant stream of live bodies and carelessly discarding corpses in a lifeless heap behind me. I’m fairly proud of myself that I didn’t shout I AM BECOME DEATH on the show floor. So, yeah, I had a good time with Fallen Frontier. — Dan

Okay, this is really just an excuse to bring up the 3DS. Most people familiar with the storied past of Nintendo know all about their forays into 3D, from the gloriously choppy Mode 7 days through to the low-test cartoony polygons of the N64 and GCN. They even know about the Virtual Boy and the guarantee that by using it you would enter the Matrix and contract pinkeye. But could victory in 3D for Nintendo, which escapes them time and time again, finally be within reach? The answer is yes, and I’ve held it, and her name is 3DS. The AR games are packaged with the system, and act more as a tech demo, but nevertheless it belies a glorious advancement for gaming that will be affordable, and is guaranteed to move a lucrative number of units. And if 3D isn’t your thing? Turn down the slider, and it’s still a Nintendo DS. – Bill

I was really taken by not only the amount of useful moves in this game, but the innovative ways in which you could use them. For instance, using the grappling hook to latch on to another sprite during play and throw him — rather than just being able to swing from the ceilings — really impressed me. The gameplay was smooth and co-op with a friend will only add to the fun of playing; it’s not intrusive in the slightest. I almost didn’t get a chance to pick this up due to time constraints, but I’m glad I did. I’ll definitely be snagging a copy of this on release. – David S

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