The PAX conventions are generally overwhelmingly busy for us just trying to cover whatever mobile games are at the show, but since we’ve expanded our coverage on TouchArcade to include some Nintendo Switch stuff we entered this year’s PAX West 2018 with an eye towards seeking out cool Switch stuff in addition to the normal mobile games beat. This was an incredibly stupid decision! There’s just Eli and myself struggling to cover an entire 4-day convention, but we hunkered down and braved the crowds and did the best we could, which resulted in us coming across a ton of cool games. Since we knew we couldn’t cover EVERY Nintendo Switch game at the show, we tried to keep it geared towards “Switch games that look pretty likely to come to mobile." The strategy for basically every developer we spoke too, and I can’t say I blame them, is to be very cagey about whether their games will ever come to mobile.
Officially a game is console and/or PC only and if one day down the line, after a game has done well on other platforms and built up a fanbase, THEN it might make sense to announce a mobile version. It’s sad but launching on mobile first or even simultaneously with other platforms gives the perception that a game is “just a stupid mobile game" and can cause it to tank, while launching on console or PC and then building up a fan base can mean a mobile version down the line is looked at as an awesome extra benefit as now those players can play one of their favorites on the go. It can be the exact same game mind, but it’s a perception issue. So with that said, these games are all Switch games that we saw that looked cool that COULD also work very well on mobile, but haven’t been officially announced as such just yet.
We actually posted about Necrosphere last year, as at that time it was announced for mobile in addition to other platforms. At PAX however, developer Cat Nigiri wasn’t ready to commit to a mobile version. That said, Necrosphere is a two-button Metroidvania platformer and, due to that two-button control scheme, would be an absolutely perfect fit for the touchscreen. If I had a million dollars I’d bet it all that we’ll see it on mobile someday, which would be great as Necrosphere is an absolute (brutally difficult) blast. For now though we’ll await the upcoming console release.
This is the new game from the folks who brought us the awesome Steppy Pants (Free), and we actually saw it back at GDC this past March under its tentative title Project Spin. That demo was–you guessed it!-on a mobile device, but here at PAX developer Super Entertainment wasn’t really talking about a mobile version and instead were demoing how the game now known as Spin Rhythm can be played using a DJ turntable deck. Which is pretty awesome! But the way the game is controlled by spinning a colored wheel to match up with the notes flying down the screen is just perfect for a touchscreen, so I imagine we’ll be seeing Spin Rhythm on mobile eventually.
Massive Damage is no stranger to mobile as they released the awesome sci-fi strategy RPG Halcyon 6 ($6.99) on the App Store just under a year ago following its well-received release on Steam the previous year, and it became something of a cult hit among our community. Their new game Star Renegades looks like it’s expanding on the Halcyon 6 formula in a number of ways, and I absolutely fell in love with its visual style and color palette when we wandered by the demo booth at PAX. If you liked the look of Star Renegades based on our brief over-the-shoulder-of-someone-else-playing video above, definitely check out the game’s official website where you can find a bunch more info and a meatier trailer, and we’ll all cross our fingers that this will make its way to mobile in addition to console and PC.
Super Crush KO
One of the early hits on the Nintendo Switch not long after the system launched was Vertex Pop’s stylish shoot ’em up Graceful Explosion Machine, and now the developer was at PAX this past weekend showing off their new title Super Crush KO. One of the best ways to explain what it’s all about is to look at their last game. Whereas Graceful Explosion Machine was a shoot ’em up first and foremost but with secondary elements taken from brawlers, Super Crush KO is a brawler first with many ideas taken from the shoot ’em up genre. The developer does a fantastic job of explaining this in the video above. While no mobile version is planned, Vertex Pop doesn’t completely rule the idea out if they can figure out a way to make the controls work well on a touchscreen. Even still this is a title I’ll definitely be picking up when it hits the Nintendo Switch next year.
Sword and Sworcery Switch
HOPEFULLY Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP ($3.99) needs no introduction around these parts, but just in case here’s the nutshell version. A bunch of the most talented indie creators came together back in 2011 to create an audiovisual gaming experience for touchscreen devices that was unlike anything ever released on the platform. They pretty much nailed it and Sword & Sworcery was our Game of the Year pick for 2011, along with winning numerous awards from all around the industry. It’s a classic, and now it’s coming to Nintendo Switch, so naturally we had to check it out. I never played the desktop version of Sworcery, so playing with physical controls took a minute to wrap my brain around. Luckily the Switch version fully supports the regular touchscreen controls too, but don’t expect to be tilting your device to portrait orientation in order to battle. The devs are also planning on an update to the iOS version of Sworcery soon to freshen it up, so we’ll be looking forward to that as well.
Untitled Goose Game
Ok, I saved the best for last, and Untitled Goose Game was by far my favorite game at PAX this year. I already mentioned how much I enjoyed seeing this game at the Nindies Showcase just prior to the first day of PAX, where I explained it thusly: “The entire goal is to play as a goose and basically wander around a small village wreaking havoc on the locals. The game has a really clever mission system that is constantly tasking you with completing various goals, like dragging a farmer’s rake into the nearby lake. Almost everything in the game is interactive in some way and figuring out how to accomplish those weird tasks is sort of similar to solving puzzles in a point-and-click adventure game." The Untitled Goose Game booth was crazy busy all weekend long, with lines to play the demo wrapping around the whole booth and then some. I simply can’t wait to get my hands on this one early next year, and of course I think it would work perfectly well as a mobile game so hopefully that’s in the cards someday too.