PAX West 2019: Playism

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

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By


Playism | Outrider Mako

One of the upsides to any PAX are experiencing cool and unique indies, and many of those are published courtesy of Playism. With that in mind, I booked two different Playism games this year, and played them both back to back. I didn’t do a lot of research into either, instead winging it based on their visual aesthetic and genre. Somehow, I ended up with two “O” games that couldn’t be more different – Outrider Mako and Orangeblood.


Outrider Mako | Save Shrine

First, let’s start with Outrider Mako. The easiest way for me to describe this is Spirited Away by way of Zelda. The premise is something like this. You’re a human in the land of the gods (or spirits, I suppose). To win your way back home, you need to do odd jobs for said deities. The demo started me off hunting for resources, specific colored ores I mined. But it’s not all easygoing, the demo had lots of strange and devilish creatures that attacked me. They looked a lot like mythical Japanese critters such as Kappa, but what was even weirder is the combat in Outrider Mako.

Outrider Mako | Scenic

You have your standard physical attacks, and then you have what I call ‘sliming’. When you have collected some pink goo, you can leap atop foe’s heads and seemingly plunge them with pink goo, stunning them temporarily. Much of the non-battle navigation relies on hopping onto surfaces this way, that and finding keys to unlock mystical gates. My demo culminated in a boss fight against a bunch of crazy ghosts in a library, including a rather large one that teleported about while inundating me with bullets. Overall I enjoyed my time with Mako at Playism, even if I didn’t know what I was doing half the time. It’s very aesthetically pleasing and certainly different. Next up, let’s talk about Orangeblood.

Outrider Mako | Boss


Playism | Orangeblood

The demo had more English than this, but wasn’t 100% localized yet.

Orangeblood is a pretty traditional RPG with some really non-traditional elements. One such element is the hard rocking and utterly catchy music. Another is a lot of casual swearing. Orangeblood seems to take place in some sort of alternate reality. You play a convict given a chance at parole, but the catch is you have to do violent mercenary jobs to earn your freedom. Oh and did I mention all the playable characters in the game are adorable yet fierce women? It’s that sort of game.

Orangeblood | Jet Cars

I did think the combat was fun, if basic. It’s turn based 2D fare, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. You have regular attacks, special attacks and lots and lots of guns. In that way, it kind of reminded me of the original Parasite Eve, but that comparison ends there. There’s a lot of funky stuff happening in Orangeblood, and a lot of racy humor. Most of that didn’t quite stick the landing, but to be fair the demo build wasn’t fully translated yet. I’m hopeful that once it’s done, it will feature much tighter writing.

Orangeblood | Blam

My only complaint in the demo is that after a climactic fight I got stuck in one room, and for the life of me couldn’t get out. This might have been a bug, or at least I hope so. If the solution was obvious, I’d feel like a dunce. Thankfully, the music is transcendent, and easily was the best part of the game. If the rest of the game can match up, Orangeblood might be a great title for publisher Playism.

Orangeblood | Prison


Though neither of these demos was entirely without issues, I did enjoy playing both games at the Playism booth. With a little more time and polish, I’m confident both will be great games. If you like quirky and unusual titles, you owe it to yourself to put these on your radar. Both are slated for release on PC sometime in 2020.

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.