Just Shapes & Beats (Berzerk Studio)
Hectic, bullet hell, difficult
Just Shapes & Beats has actually been out for awhile now – 2018, to be exact – but even if you’ve already played it, the demo set up on the PAX show floor is a fun, hectic blast to play with other gamers on a huge screen.
Just Shapes & Beats’ mechanics simply involve dashing and dodging. Honestly, I’ve never seen a more aptly titled game in my life. Have you ever played a shooter game? Now imagine the game is the player and you’re the one with bullet hell coming your way. You’ll have to zip, zoom, and squeeze your way past fast dots and lines that will break your little player-controlled shape. If you do get broken, one of the other players (up to 4) can help you out. As long as at least one of you is still going, you have a chance!
It’s hard to call Just Shapes & Beats anything other than hectic, but it’s also a blast, and with fun remixes blasting in the background as you dodge your way to safety, it’s a great mini party break to have as you wander the booths.
Hyde’s Haunt & Seek (Smol Games)
Party game, PVP, Horror
It seems like a lot of Dead by Daylight and Phasmophobia inspired games pop up these days, and I’m always interested in what new aspects these titles have to offer. Haunt & Seek is, of course, a multiplayer game, featuring a team of ghosts (up to four) and a team of Seekers in spooky Hyde Manor.
The ghosts have something special to them, that they want to keep hidden. Meanwhile. The seekers are set on finding it. Ghosts can block their way by scaring them with pranks, moving furniture, and even eventually summoning an evil clown to finish the job, while seekers are armed with a trusty flashlight and a few tricks to fend off ghosts and exorcise them from possessed furniture and items. It’s a silly, fun approach to this style of game, letting players have a good time and focus on the goal rather than loading them up with wild jumpscares and pitting them against demons – a great fit for anyone who likes horror but perhaps nothing too horrific.
Over time, I’m hoping that the gameplay will feel a little more in-depth – there’s only so much possessing furniture and floating musical instruments that one can be entertained with and the seekers seem to be at a huge disadvantage, but it was a fun play (and we won! Team Ghosties forever). You can wishlist it here to keep track of its release!
Beat Beat (Janarik Games LLC)
Rhythm, nostalgic, platformer
I love rhythm games, but I have to say I’ve never played anything quite like Beat Beat – a 1990s-style pixel perfect rhythm game featuring bright colors, silly minigames, and an addictive gameplay style that challenges you to hit your notes while also platforming your way across surfaces.
It’s wild, it’s chaotic, and it’s a lot of fun with plenty of difficulties to choose from that should be a good fit for any level of gamer. While I obviously loved the rhythm game itself and that was the reason I was there, the little extras really gave it something extra. The game menu is set up on an oldschool windows-style desktop, and from there you can find details like a fishing minigame, a dog to pet (we love the dog), and even a cute new friend to talk to. The music used is also safe for Twitch streaming, which is great in a world full of games that always end up with DMCA controversies one way or another.
Beat Beat is already available to purchase on steam – and it’s on sale this weekend! But if you’re at PAX and have a moment to stop by, you can beat a level to get yourself an adorable Beat Beat die to add to your PAX memorabilia!