PAX West 2018: Media Indie Exchange (MIX)

Monday, September 17th, 2018

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One of my highlights at any gaming convention is trying out great indies. So after I got a chance to attend the Media Indie Exchange or MIX at E3, I was eager to try it in Seattle. It was held in the somewhat legendary Showbox, a locale known for hosting great music and other events. Best of all, it was a easy walk there from the Convention Center, so I hauled ass there after my last demo on the showfloor that day.

MIX | en route to MIX

I got there a bit early, which is usually a good thing, but this time led to me being held up by the bouncers. Apparently they had orders to only let media in at a certain time, so I was politely told to wait a few more minutes. On the plus side, they did a good job of checking everybody’s bags to avoid dangerous people, which is always a concern, but was especially on my mind after the recent tragedy in Florida. Once I had everything scanned, I went inside where I waited in another shorter line to get my credentials checked and then my arm stamped. From there, it was a calm walk up a small staircase to the main area, though first I was compelled to buy a shirt and pin from a vendor.

MIX | The Showbox

From there, us media were pretty much free to wander the expansive area, though I went to get some free food and drink first. I admit I only sampled it before disposing of it in the trash, since none of the food options much appealed to me, and I was frankly quite eager to get some gaming in. The Showbox was a dark area lit up with lots of lights and tons of exhibits. My only complaint was that it was hard to see a game til you were right next to it, but that didn’t stop me from finding some cool games. The following are the titles which most appealed to me at the MIX. To avoid bias, I’ll list them alphabetically.

MIX | Swag

Celeste and Blaster Master FTW

MIX Game #1Deep Sky Derelicts
Developer – Snowhound Games
Publisher – 1C Company

MIX Deep Sky Derelicts | Battle

I have grown to love any game with elements of rogue, and Deep Sky Derelicts certainly fans that fire. You play a poor scrapper in a dystopian future trying to make your living hauling loot and junk from derelict ships and stations, which constantly puts you in danger. But that’s okay, since fighting back takes place in a turn based RPG format. Each character has a deck of cards that you draw from which informs your skills, and combat itself has very spicy comic style panels. Visually, this is a great game already, though Deep Sky Derelicts is still in Steam early access. To see some of the game’s style for yourself, just check out this official trailer.

MIX Game #2Diluvion
Developer – Arachnid Games
Publisher – Good Shepherd Entertainment

MIX | Diluvion

It’s true I have very little innate sense of direction, so it might have been a reckless choice try a game that has you controlling an submarine. But Diluvion had an interesting aesthetic and a nice ominous atmosphere, so I sat down to try it. The game has airplane controls, with an inverted axis, and you have complete control over the speed of your vessel. I ended up crashing into a lot of debris at first, but eventually I started to get the hang of things. Once that happened, I found myself at an aquatic bar, full of stories of fame and glory and scoundrels to hire. Here the game transitions to a point and click format, which I had far more success with. Though I didn’t get far in the demo, that was mostly because I was having a good time wandering about and appreciating the aquatic beauty. Diluvion is actually already out on Steam and GOG, so if you like open world sandboxy games with a dash of Jules Verne, you might want to check it out.

MIX Game #3Nairi: Tower of Shirin
Developer – HomeBearStudio
Publisher – Another Indie, Hound Picked Games

MIX | Nairi: Tower of Shirin

Nairi: Tower of Shirin has been on my radar since I heard about in a info blast about upcoming Nindies. The cartoon aesthetic also appealed to me. Finding out it was an adventure game surprised me, so I decided to play it when I saw it at the MIX. I was introduced to a charming young protagonist, the titular Nairi, as her world is turned upside down. She’s a very spunky and mischievous young gal. The world of the game is full of humanoid animals, and my time with the demo ended with our hero being discovered hiding in a treasure chest by a literal cat burglar. Though I wasn’t able to spend much time with the game, I can see how great of a fit Nairi: Tower of Shirin will be for Nintendo fans, though it’s also coming to Steam. Be sure to keep close watch on the development of this charming looking graphic adventure.

MIX Game #4Rival Megagun
Developer – Spacewave Software
Publisher – Degica Games

MIX | RIval Megagun

I know I said I’d avoid biased treatment, but Rival Megagun is a special case. This is the only game I had previously played a couple years back at the Seattle Indies Expo. I got to see it in its infancy, and it’s grown up quite nicely. This is a SHMUP meant to be played cooperatively, and it works remarkably well. This time, I got to play against the developer himself, and I had a blast playing this fast and frenetic game. Paired with truly popping visuals and a cool comic book art style, Rival Megagun has the potential to be the next great SHMUP. Best of all, thanks to publisher Degica, it’s coming to every console, as well as Steam. I’m really looking forward to playing the final build of this one sometime later in 2018.

All in all, I had a fun time at the Media Indie Exchange, and was glad for the opportunity to experience these games. That said, there were a lot more great indies I didn’t get a chance to try out, but there’s always next year!

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.