PAX Prime Impressions: Choice Provisions

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

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Fun fact. While they were still Gaijin Games, I knew much less about the company than I do now that they are called Choice Provisions. I have also gone from a distant admirer to a rabid fan. I don’t know if it was the name change or what, but since becoming Choice Provisions, they have put out tons of great content, both self published as well as indies from other teams. As such, I was very happy to get the chance to demo several Choice Provisions games yesterday evening. The following will give quick rundowns of all three games, as well as my impressions, listed alphabetically by game.

PAX Prime 2015 | Choice Provisions

Laser Life is not only the most high concept game in their roster, it’s also the most high concept game I have ever heard of. The premise is this – what if memories live on past our death? This complex idea is explored in the game, as the corpse of a dead astronaut is investigated and teased apart by alien forces. This is done through rhythm mini games, where you control two beams of light with which you need to strike energy balls to the beat, as well as flying them through and around gates. Doing so unearths hidden memories from the dead astronaut’s skull. Playing the game is like a vivid drug trip, with bright colors, sounds and a truly unique experience. Laser Life is set to release on PS4, XBox One and Steam on September 17th.

PAX Prime 2015 | Choice Provisions

The next game was by far my favorite, and best of all, one that has already been released! The insane SHMUP called Shutshimi!

PAX Prime 2015 | Choice Provisions

How can I explain Neon Deity Games’ insane approach to the SHMUP genre? The best way I can think of is to call it the love child of Gradius and WarioWare. It has typical SHMUP mechanics, like swarms of enemies, power ups and bosses. But that’s where sanity ends and fun begins. It also strongly resembles WarioWare, in that each level is only 10 seconds long. Reason for this is that the game is playing fun with the myth that 10 seconds is the maximum amount of time a goldfish can remember things, and the titular Shutshimi is a goldfish with massive Rambo arms (has to hold his guns somewhere). Another unique quirk is that between each level you can pick an upgrade from three random choices. The downside? You only have 10 seconds to read the lengthy descriptions of the items, meaning you usually pick blind and hope for the best. This combination of features makes Shutshimi an utter delight for SHMUP fans. It has all the things you want from that genre, but with lots of fun and humor. Out right now for PS4 and Vita, but eventually making its way to Steam and Wii U!

PAX Prime 2015 | Shutshimi

Last but certainly not least was Tharsis. While it’s true I played this game last year at Prime, this time I was treated to a heavily upgraded build. Everything looks, plays and sounds better, and that makes the already atmospheric and creepy experience even better. While it was initially set to release on mobile, it is now slated to hit PS4 and Steam sometime this Fall. In case you forgot, it is a turn-based experience with lots of strategy and permadeath. You’re on a space station that is slowly falling apart, and being bombarded by space debris.

PAX Prime 2015 | Choice Provisions

You have nine different crew classes, each with different skills and affinities. By rolling virtual dice, you can repair the ship, research new solutions and even make food. And if you run low on resources, you can always turn to cannibalism! Yes, Tharsis has cannibals in space. You know you want it. Now that it is headed to Steam, I am certainly more interested in it.

PAX Prime 2015 | Choice Provisions

I’d like to thank Choice Provisions again for their generosity and time, and hope you all consider checking these great games out. They may be known for Bit.Trip Runner, but they are on the verge of many great new games.

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.