Saturday, September 7, 2013

Two Hidden Gems From PAX 2013

This year's PAX Prime was just like every other: Better than all the rest. And I had my share of great experiences like hanging out with Vlambeer, chatting with Tommy Refenes, and spotting some killer cosplay. But the coolest part of this gathering is what you find buried just below the surface.

Lilly: Looking Through

On Friday, while showing my family the tucked-away PC freeplay section, we were fortunate to bump into Daran Chapman of Geeta Games. He took us to the humble Lilly booth, where we were introduced to two other developers, Steve & Jessica Hoogendyk. Now I get a kick out of talking to indie developers, but I can honestly say that these are some of the nicest people I've met. Which made me really want to like their game...

My 6 Year Old Son Playing "Lilly"
Turns out, the game is fantastic. The quality of the visuals were impressive and I learned later (when viewing the trailer) that the soundtrack is equally as good. But what's really neat about "Lilly" is how it's designed form the ground-up to be played with your children.

My son and I already play a lot of point-and-click adventure games together, but a lot of the time I'm in the driver's seat. The puzzles in Lilly are perfectly suited for keeping your kid at the helm and then joining in when they become too challenging. That's not to say you have to be a parent to play, though! Have a look for yourself:


On the final day of PAX the Indie Mega Booth was clearing out when Chris Mansell pulled out the latest build of a game he's been working on for two months. It wasn't clear to me whether he was really even a legitimate exhibitor at the show as evidenced by his highly polished contact card:

But what was astoundingly polished was the most recent build of Omina. And as I conversed with Chris (While admiring his charming British accent) it became clear to me that this game is something incredibly special.

Omina was inspired by side-scrolling games of the 16-bit era like Super Metroid, but due to the awe-inspiring artwork, animation and attention to detail; I found it to be reminiscent of games like Metal Slug, Black Thorne and Another World.

Omina Title Screen

Omina in-Game
Chris is a very humble and like-able guy. This may be, in part, due to the fact that he has yet to be discovered as an indie developer (At the time of writing this, he has 9 followers on twitter). And while my description and screenshots may not seem like much-- You'll see... You'll see.

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