Play-NYC 2019: Review and Recap!

The time has come for the sun to set on another Play-NYC and while it’s sad to see the con end, it continues to shine on all the wonderful projects that were shown off this year. This year was bigger and better than the past two years in several ways.

First off, the venue was fantastic. The Metropolitan Pavilion was a perfect place to house all the gaming goodness that Play-NYC 2019 had to offer. It was one level, it was more spacious, and it felt like every developer had equal exposure at the end of the day. Previous years there were games rarely seen just due to being on a high floor on a tiny balcony.

Second, the staff was incredibly helpful. There was a full security team this year which allowed everyone to feel safer. There were helpful employees wandering around ensuring that everyone was having a good time. A central booth was setup so you could go to them directly with any questions. The process of picking up tickets was so smooth as well. Gone were the long lines of last year where three fourths of the press hour were spent waiting to get tickets instead of talking with developers.

The man himself, Dan Butchko, CEO of Playcrafting!

Third, the ease of arriving at the destination just made it a joy to get to. Even though for us personally, it took slightly longer to get to the Metropolitan Pavilion then the Hammerstein Ballroom of last year, it didn’t feel that way. Everything just seemed to flow and I think all of these factors boil down to the excellent work that Playcrafting has been doing since this show originated back in 2017. It really shows how much they’ve learned and streamlined in such a short time and they deserve all the credit. It makes me really excited to see how 2020’s show turns out.

The entrance to where the magic happens!

Now with that out of the way, how about what was shown off. After-all, a gaming show is really only good as the games being shown off and this year featured a stellar lineup of titles. Many were titles shown off back in 2017 or 2018 with newer builds and more refined gameplay while other titles were brand new to Play-NYC. One thing was common among everyone I talked with though; everyone was having a great time! Those that had done this for years loved it and those that were new said they would most certainly be back. The atmosphere was very positive which only helped to fuel the games, most of which were passion projects, and that allowed the games to have an even better showing.

Speaking of games, there was a ton. From video games, to VR games, to AR games, to board games, to card games, etc. There was something for everyone! So let’s talk about some of the ones that I had the pleasure of checking out!

The first game we checked out was Swim Sanity! from Decoy Games. This is a title featured in the Nindies Showcase from Spring 2019. You play a sea creature of your choosing with a gun where you either try and destroy your fellow players in a deathmatch similar to Smash Bros with zero gravity or work cooperatively to complete a level. We played one level where everyone is chased by a giant shark and we had to work together to make it to the end while hordes of enemies came towards us. It was a lot of fun and can’t wait for this to arrive on the Switch later this year! It’s also coming to other platforms. This is certainly a title too look out for if you enjoy multiplayer mayhem!

Next up we had a wonderful discussion with the team at Glass Robot who were showing off their game, Tranquil Garden. This title is a love letter to 16 bit RPG fans where you take control of a group of adventures and are dealt a series of unique situations. The game features a bunch of scenarios where you must make a choice and depending on your call, your party members will agree or disagree with you and that will effect your party’s stats. It’s a really cool system. The combat is turn based with a new elemental weakness mechanic and you can actually avoid battles if you are low on time. The game is coming out on PC shortly and will hopefully hit the Switch soon according to their plan!

Then we hit up Windy Games which were showing off Miasma Caves, a title that has been at previous shows but we didn’t really give it as much attention as we were able to this show. If you like rogue-like cave explorations with a hint of Tomb Raider and Minecraft, this is the title for you. You’re able to explore randomly generated caves for treasure, bring them back to the surface to sell, and constantly increase your abilities along the way. This is another PC title that they plan to bring over to the Switch.

We then found ourselves at the Fabraz Company, the makers behind the excellent Slime-San which was actually shown off back in 2017. They were showing off Spirit Sphere DX for the Switch last year and this year, they were showing off Skellboy, also for the Switch! Skellboy is a really unique adventure title that is 1 part Zelda, 1 part 3D Dot Game Heroes, 1 part Metroidvania, and 1 part RAD. You play in a beautifully rendered 3D pixelated world where you can steal weapons and body parts from enemies. Depending on what body part you have equipped, your stats will change. It’s a fantastic system and the game play is solid. I can’t wait for this title to hit the Switch later this year. Here’s hoping they work with Limited Run Games again as this would make an excellent physical title!

From there we stumbled upon an unusual 2D platformer called Ayo the Clown who’s world looks like it belongs on Yoshi’s Island. This title is actually right now live on Kickstarter where it is 75% funded as of this writing. This is a very beautiful looking game with a ton of promise and while initially it will be for PC only, if the stretch goals are met it will find its way to consoles with the Switch being the platform of choice! Here’s hoping we get to play Ayo on our Switch’s soon!

Next up we met two sisters who make up the company Angry Otter Games who are passionately developing their title, Pure: Birth of the Goddess. This 3D action RPG is a very ambitious project that pulls inspiration from Zelda, Dragon Age, and even Mega Man Legends! I have high hopes for this title and look forward to where these girls take this game. Like many other titles shown, it’s being developed for PC with plans to bring it to Switch after so I really hope that comes to fruition!

We were able to turn around and find ourselves watching a 2D action brawler that looked ripped right out of the Mega Man ZX universe. This was Team Einherjar’s booth and the game, Fiction Sphere looks amazing. A true love letter to the Mega Man X/Zero/ZX universe with some really cool mechanics. Hoping this comes out soon as I think it will be a blast to play. This is another title on Kickstarter that ends soon. It is already funded and close to reaching the Switch stretch goal so let’s make that happen!

We made a brief stop to check out Computer Lunch’s latest title, a mobile game called Cell to Singularity: Evolution Never Ends. It has a really unusual concept of going thru the stages of evolution from the tiniest of cells to humans and beyond. It’s available right now on PC and android with iPhone support arriving shortly. They did express interest in bringing it to the Switch so hopefully that becomes reality as it’s a fun free-to-play game with no micro-transactions and the Switch would be a good home for it.

Hiding in one of the convention’s corners were Razbury Games, a studio we saw last year with their title From Rust. From Rust was still on display, it looked as good as ever and was slowing coming along. At the moment, the co-op collectable card game is still slated for PC but has good chances of landing on Switch. That’s because they were showing off another title, Outpost Delta, which has been approved to land on Switch! Outpost Delta is a 2D Metroidvania with twin stick shooting, gravity mechanics, and most importantly, a blast to play. Can’t wait to delve into that universe and hopefully we’ll be playing both titles along with anything else they publish on the Switch soon!

Along the back wall we noticed an unusual table filled with cheese and crackers, soup, and other goodies. As we approached we saw that the table belonged to RatBird Games who were showing off their 16 bit RPG Revery Rebirth! With this title they really want you to fall into the role as you get to make the choices you would make. Romance is something featured heavily and it appears that everyone, regardless of sex, is a romance option, so make sure to be more confident in your actions of seduction. Music is another big aspect of this game and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more. The main take-a-way here is how much diversity there is in this fantasy game! This is another title headed to Kickstarter next month! They are targeting PC as their first platform with Switch in the cards afterwards, like so many other smaller developers!

A game that caught my wife’s attention was from Anthropic Studios (although I would have liked it better if she noticed sexopoly!). The game, titled Way of Rhea, is an interesting puzzle platformer featuring no combat as you play a spirit trying to get thru each level. The artwork is gorgeous, the puzzles are clever, and everyone playing it, including my wife, were having a blast. It’s planned to launch on Steam but they are hopeful to also get onto the Switch so here’s hoping.

We were able to see Snow Hydra Game’s booth but didn’t really get a chance to get much time there. They were showing off the arcade title Zarvot for the Switch. We saw it at last years show where we got some hands on time with the title. It’s already out so check it out if your interested in a fun game about cubes. There were a ton of people enjoying the multiplayer mode and it was great to see them return to Play-NYC. Hope next year they show off their next project.

From there we came across Astral Clowertower Studios showing off a very ambitions 3D adventure title called Kristalia. This title looks fantastic and I have a feeling it will be. They had a super early build playable but they are steadily working on it. Another PC release with Switch planned so we’ll see how that goes but I think it would be a treat for all Switch owners if this adventure found it’s way onto our favorite hybrid console.

Another one of last year’s best showings, Dog Fight from Petricore Games was there. This 3D dog fighting arcade titles, where the pilots are dogs, is pure bliss for Starfox and Crimson Skies fans. Switch is planned for this one so hopefully we’ll have some heated high flying fun soon!

For the third year Saturnine Games was showing off his title Antipole DX. The more I see of this title, the more I’m upset that Nintendo allowed him to develop it for the Wii U/3DS but since those systems are now defunct, won’t let him bring it to the Switch. This excellent 2D action platformer with gravity mechanics looks like another Mega Man X love-letter. What makes matters worse is the title is done. At the moment he’s trying to work with Microsoft but it looks like we won’t be seeing this on the Switch. Such a shame really so hopefully Nintendo wakes up soon and picks this game up!

Another title to catch my eye came from Scholarcade who is releasing a 2D 16 bit spy adventure called Spywatch Lex, where you use the microphone to learn another language. They have two languages right now with more planned. It’s been developed for PC and mobile. While no Switch version is planned, the creator did say once they were satisfied with the game, they would look into possible Switch development so here’s hoping!

Overall, this year was a blast and better then the past two years! Thanks again to Playcrafting for putting on a truly spectacular show! For those that were there, I hope everyone had an awesome time. For those that weren’t able to go, I hope you were at least able to check out their stream. There’s always next years show so I do hope to see you all there!