Play NYC was my first ever foray into the world of conventions, I had been to a small town anime convention during my college years in Virginia but Play NYC was a whole different beast. Upon entry, there is an overwhelming volume of games to check out from the single AAA game Just Cause 4 to the sheer amount of indies. All of the games at Play NYC are from developers located all around the state of New York.
Honestly, if I never came here, I wouldn’t have known NY had such a large game development community of this magnitude. With 140+ games to check out from board games such as The Ultimate Clapback to VR games like Cynosure. There was something there for everyone to check out.
While I wasn’t able to get my hands on all 140 games, I did play over 30 games which were each unique in their own right. Amongst those 30, there were a handful of games that truly captivated my attention that I had to come home and write about them.
Release Date: 2021
Cynosure is a 2.5D game that has the player controlling a 3D character on a 2D plane. The game is set in what appears to be a dystopian future. Movement is restricted to the base cardinal directions, though there are elevators that move you between the background, the foreground, and from higher to lower elevations in order to continue your journey. While a player moves around the map they can look all around to see either a beautiful city or deteriorating walls of the damp underground. The coolest part of the demo was being able to go to the highest point on the map, look down and see everything you traversed through still fully functioning and then jumping down back to the base floor; which gave an amazing rush of adrenaline. There isn’t a VR game out that I can compare this game too, it is quite unique in its approach and delivery. Currently, there’s no information on which platforms specifically this game will be released on.
Release Date: TBA
Frost Lab Studios
Orbit Quest is one of those games that follows the mantra, “Simple to play, Hard to Master.” This game has simple rules, jump between planets and collect warp cores to move to the next map. However, the maps become more difficult as players move on to other galaxies, with planets moving in various trajectories, alien threats, and environmental hazards to give players more of a challenge. I made it to the third map where I encountered lasers and ultimately met the dreadful “Game Over” screen. Orbit Quest will be releasing on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
Trivia Streak – Free To Play
Release Date: Available Now
Trivia Streak is a game that tests one knowledge of all things. It’s a mobile game that is available now on both Andriod and iOS. The main objective of Trivia Streak is to answer 12 questions correctly in a row. Each question players are given 10 seconds to answer correctly, upon getting all 12 correct players to earn “Gacha Coins”. Players are able to use their currency to buy items from a “gacha machine” (similar to a vending machine) and win prizes that you can either keep or donate to Charity (as stated on their website). However, at ‘Play NYC’ players who answered 12 random questions correctly were entered into a raffle drawing for $100. Sadly, I failed horribly and made it only to question two. If Jeopardy or trivia is your thing, definitely pick this game up, as it’s free to play.
Release Date: TBA
Ground Up Games
Brawl City is a 2D mobile fighting game that is simple to play, but hard to master. The main concept is to outbox your opponent into submission to win the round. The game is in a very early Alpha state, but there are plans to add in unique traits for the characters, special moves, counters, parries, and more. Right now the game is reminiscent of Rock-em, Sock-em Robots from the early 90’s. The most unique feature of the game is the usage of Bluetooth, which will allow players a way to link up directly with your opponent and battle it out no matter where you are. No release date of yet, but this is a game I’m keeping on my radar.
Imposter Drawster – Free To Play
Release Date: Available Now
Immediately upon an explanation of Imposter Drawster it sounded like a game that should have been in the JackBox Game series. JackBox Game is an online party-centric game where players play various games, each with their own unique set of rules.
The game’s premise is simple, a group of players, 3 – 12, all have to draw a picture, however, one of the players hasn’t the slightest idea what is being drawn, the Imposter, their main objective is to try and continue the drawing without being figured out. Once the two rounds of drawing end, players then vote on who they think is the Imposter. If the Imposter gets the most votes they lose, however, if they get the least amount of votes, they win.
The game is played locally on one device at a time, which allows for play just anywhere. I would’ve loved to stay and play this game all day honestly, just because it was something that was a lot of fun and easy to get into. This game is available now for Android and iOS, and I would highly recommend picking this game up.
Release Date: 2018
Zarvot is a simple, yet addictive combat party game, similar to that of BomberMan, but instead of bombs, you shoot either bullets or lasers. The art style of the cubes is colorful and vibrant, in contrast with the simplistic tans and grays of the map. Players control a cube named after either a condiment or a food, for example, I played as Mustard and my opponent in the 1v1 match was Melon. Players attack each other until they destroy their opponent’s cube. There are two modes of attack, tapping the X button to shoot out bullets or hold the X button and unleash a laser.
The maps depending on play size either 1v1 or Free-for-All (4 players) are all different. Some will have walls that you can either shoot down or jump over or hazards that can set you up for the easy elimination. With each map being different each time played, players weren’t aware of what to expect next. The matches are fast and frantic. They last no more than one-two minutes before someone either makes a mistake or is defeated. Zarvot is coming to consoles later this year.
Neon Krieger Yamato
Release Date: TBA
The pixelated beat-em-up, Neon Krieger Yamato grabbed my attention just off the graphics alone. The art is chaotic in nature on the screen is a mix between Metal Slug and BroForce. The diverse cast of heroes allows players to approach the mission differently. In the demo, I played as Yamato with his laser Sword and my girlfriend played as Odessa a Mage type character who used geometric shapes to do damage. The tutorial alone was very in-depth and taught us all the basics as well as advanced combos to use in the game. Once in the game, we were met with challenging foes as we still were getting used to the controls but the game felt responsive and fun. Even with the challenge, the tutorial allowed us to be able to progress decently until the demo ended. The game itself has a level of complexity that will probably dissuade certain players as the combat can be difficult at times. There wasn’t a need for much input from the developer who was standing beside us after we left the tutorial. You can add this game to your wishlist on Steam, though there’s very little information on pricing and if it will be a PC exclusive game.
Release Date: TBA
AVARIAvs is the most memorable game that I played at Play NYC. I waited 15 minutes in line just to play and was not disappointed. AVARIAvs is a game that crosses turn-based JRPG combat and 3v3 PvP combat. It’s honestly the most fun I had played in a PvP game in a long time, and I’m not much of a fan of PvP games such as Hearthstone or World of Warships. The match I played was quick because my opponent didn’t have any healing potential since they were a Berserker.
I chose the custom class that the developer threw together quickly and easily won. There are 16 characters to pick from, each with variations on their skills, leaving players with 2000+ possible team combinations to discover. This game has some unique qualities, such as local multiplayer, real-world debuffs, such as “Confuse” which when casted on your team causes the game to change the words on your skills to an undecipherable language. The game has a mechanism called Judgement, which speeds up the game. When this happens the character with the lowest health is eliminated, but if it continues, it goes up to eliminating two heroes and so on, this is done so matches are kept within a 10-15 minute time frame. They have a discord in which they will be using to announce their next Closed Beta Test.