PAX East 2023 is happening — right now, as you're reading this! — and Nintendo Life is there sampling lots of juicy upcoming Switch releases.
The Boston event is running from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th March 2023 and in this feature we'll be recording our hands-on impressions of the various games, large and small, that we play while we're running between appointments and roaming the expo hall.
From intriguing indies to chunkier third-party fare, we'll be covering as much as we possibly can over four days and noting down our quick-fire impressions below. We'll also include any gameplay videos and links to more in-depth coverage, plus trailers and other info as appropriate.
Enough waffle — onwards to the video games!
PAX East Hands-On Impressions
Born of Bread - TBA
Play as a flour golem who possesses a never-ending childlike wonder and a set of odd abilities. Team-up with a colorful cast of characters, explore the different regions of a wonderful world ripe with mysteries and engage in a fun and quirky turn-based combat system.
We found Born of Bread to be a visually appealing and engaging story-based adventure game, largely because it's heavily inspired by the Paper Mario series - and it wears this fact on its sleeve. It uses the familiar tap turn-based combat to tell an engaging and offbeat story, and at times felt a bit too like its mustachioed muse. However, if you miss that classic Paper Mario formula, with witty writing and loveable characters though, you'll feel right at home here.
Much like Bug Fables, the humor was the highlight of our demo. Each and every character had something silly to say and their animations were always expressive and hilariously detailed. We never expected to care so quickly for this gluten-based main character either, but why are we surprised? Everyone loves bread!
The 30-minute demo offered impressive visual effects on PC, but we'll be interested to see how it translates to the Switch version - which, as of now, does not yet have a firm date for release. We encountered a few technical bugs during the demo as well, but with a bit more polish we can see this one climbing up our list of most anticipated games this year.
Loop8: Summer of Gods - 6th June 2023
Step into the life of Nini, a newly earthbound teen who arrives in the quaint Japanese town of Ashihara in August 1983. Explore the town, befriend its people, and face off against the Kegai in turn-based battles where the outcomes depend on the relationships you’ve built and the decisions you’ve made. Use Nini’s special connection to the gods to reset the world, with each loop allowing Nini and his allies to relive the 8th month over and over until they get it right…or the Kegai overcome them entirely.
On the surface, Loop8 appeared to be a Persona-like RPG - with big battles, and a bright and picturesque depiction of Japan that's incredibly striking visually. However, once we began playing the 15-minute demo, we realized there’s also a very unique combat system in play that adds some originality.
If you're a visual novel fan, you'll be happy to hear it puts a major focus on the characters and interactions you have with them. Depending on how you build relationships, you'll be given new attacks and strategies to beat down demons in battle, something we only had a chance to touch on in our short time playing but that piqued our interest as something we haven't really seen anywhere else.
Unfortunately, because this style of combat is so unlike any other game we've played, it was difficult to gain a full understanding of the mechanics during a short gameplay demo, and it admittedly became a bit overwhelming. Although it is technically a turn-based RPG, it's so vastly different from any other game in the genre: you have to pay close attention to the dialogue during the battles, and use it to pivot your strategies and decisions - which almost requires you to retrain the way you think about playing a turn-based RPG.
Just like in real life, Loop8 revolves entirely around the relationships you create and we're curious to see how that translates to a full-length experience.