What Game Should I Play on My Way to PAX East?


#1

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Tomorrow, I climb onto a bus and head to Boston for PAX East. It’s a drive that could go totally painlessly or which could get so bogged down in traffic that it takes the entire day, so it’s always a good idea to bring distractions. I’ve already packed a couple of books and planned out which podcasts to save for the trip, but I’m having much harder time deciding what game I should spend time with, and I’m trying to work out why that is.

When I was a kid, I did lots of traveling to see family, and between various iterations of the Game Boy, I spent a lot of that time head down and absorbed in the surprisingly vast worlds of that portable system. Metal Gear: Ghost Babel wowed me, even though it only lasted the length of the car ride. Because it ended on a tease for a sequel (and because so much was left unresolved), wrapping up Golden Sun on the road was painful, but remains one of my clearest portable gaming memories. And then there were the tactics (and Tactics) games, and the various Castlevanias, and Pokémon, too.

Screenshot courtesy of Nintendo, via LPArchive

Between the Switch, phones, tablets, laptops, and yes, even the Vita, there’s an even larger pool of games I could spend time with during trips these days. But while it felt like games were my only escape on those long childhood road trips, now games need to compete with other things. Then, trips felt like vacations from schoolwork, now I can’t help but feel that I should reading more. Then, the only other people to talk to in the car were my parents, now there’s social media’s hellgrip and the long list of podcasts I've been meaning to get to. Then, as now, there was always more work I could be doing, but now I have a harder time pushing it to the back of my mind.

Still, I’m committed to turning some of this bus trip into game time, and there's a lot for me to choose from. On Switch alone, I never revisited Skyrim or Darkest Dungeon with the focus I intended, and I fell off of SteamWorld Dig 2 earlier than I'd like to admit. I also didn't get around to Flinthook, Subsurface Circular, or or honestly dozens of other indie games that have ported to the system. I never even touched Celeste. I know. I know.

So what the hell should I play during this trip Waypoint readers? Let me know over in the forums! And if you’d like to, share your memories of gaming-on-the-go, too!


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/vbx3a3/what-game-should-i-play-on-my-way-to-pax-east

#2

Code: Realize Guardian of Rebirth for the Vita


#4

There’s never a bad time for Stardew Valley on the switch.


#5

Look, Austin, there is a reason you wanted us to click on this forum link with Celeste on our minds. Was it a conscious choice from your part? You know. You know.


#6

A couple years back I played the witness on my netbook on a 6 hour Greyhound ride.

I don’t recommend that.

Play Darkest Dungeon (with the expansions stuff)!

EDIT: to further clarify my experience, yes I played on minimum settings, yes I used the trackpad, yes it was framey, yes I finally solved the burgundy desert puzzles.


#7

I’m doing the same in the opposite direction on Sunday.

Just played through SteamWorld Dig 2 which is a nice short Metroidvania. Also got Mario + Rabbids and looking at Celeste/Wonder Boy.


#8

The Switch has so many good travel games. You mention Darkest Dungeon, Flinthook, and Steamworld Dig 2, but the switch has so many bangers. There’s Celeste, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Fast RMX, Gonner, and whatever else.

My favorite travel game would probably be puyo puyo tetris, but play celeste if you haven’t.


#9

Definitely try to get back to playing Steamworld Dig 2. I only recently started after buying a Switch, but I’m loving the sequel, personally.


#10

I remember Patrick and Danielle talking about it, but did you play or finish Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle? I like tactics and turn-based games while commuting since I can play them while also listening to music or podcasts since they seem to work on different parts of my brain.


#11

I’ve got a plane ride looming on the horizon and Infinite Space for the DS is on its way.

C’mon Austin. You know you want to.


#12

If you’ve never played Tearaway on the PS Vita, you’re really missing out on one of the most charming experiences on a handheld console.


#13

Celeste is definitely at the top of my list when recommending switch games at this point, but Slime-San is also a platformer that’s totally worth playing.


#14

Darkest Dungeon (switch) just got a UI patch to make the fonts less tiny. They patched the bug out of the crimson court DLC as well.
I had a very good run during my last train trip, the Bandits event happened (the event that removes town improvements if you don’t commit to fighting off a very difficult encounter) , and I actually beat the bandit leader with no lives lost.
The bandit raid is actually an interesting potential sacrifice situation in the game: do you risk your A team to actually try and beat him or que up some B team members that will probably lose, but keep your town from being ransacked.


#15

I recently bought all the Steamworld games on Switch. Really any of them will suit your plane journey, Austin. Dig 1 is a really comfy mining game with some progression mechanics on top. One of my favorite podcast games. Dig 2 is a much bigger game (as you know) and by the end is a really fun platformer. Still really comfy but more involved. Heist I just picked up and I think that should be what you really play, Austin. It’s a XCOM-like but in 2D only. You’d think it wouldn’t work all that well but they make up for the lack of a third dimension with ricocheting bullets. I’m only an hour in but I’m really enjoying it. Once you get a hang of the geometry of shooting you really unlock some truly amazing combat potential. I’ve taken out a guy from 2 rooms away with one shot ricocheting 4-5 times. It was sick.

For anyone else reading, all three are on sale on switch for today for 5 bucks off. All are worth diving in to in their own unique way.


#16

Celeste is very good. I played most of it while I was on planes or in the relaxing portions of a vacation and it’s feels very nice in that context (as it does in all of them, it seems).

Also, shoutouts to Golden Sun. I wish they could’ve truly rounded out that trilogy properly.


#17

since you never did Bayonetta that’d be a great one! you can start with 2 which is a little easier, finished it on a recent trip


#18

Celeste

Flinthook is really good too, and Steamworld Dig 2 is great as well, but Celeste is a masterpiece.


#19

SteamWorld Dig 2 is a really great game! I’m not sure where you left off, but it’s also a game that gets more and more fun as you play and get more mobility options and level up Dot. It has one of the most perfectly designed learning/difficulty/fun curves in video games.


#20

I was gonna agree with Celeste, but nah, the first post was this and I cannot disagree. Definitely would like to see your, or anyone on staff’s, thoughts on Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~.

Code: Realize is extremely good and the type of thing I’d love to see more coverage of on Waypoint, especially with the sequel/PS4 collection having been released last week and Aksys having 3 more otome games out this year. I’m not gonna say it’s the most brilliant handling of (steampunk) London and its monorachy ever, but it goes some surprising places that are handled largely well and most importantly: all of the guys and the dynamic the protagonist has with them are extremely good. Actually, truly most importantly: the protagonist is also extremely good. It also has one of the best route structures I’ve seen in a VN I’ve played, with a vaguely episodic common route allowing each character route to feel like a good continuation of the previous events before tying everything together at once in the final route.

(Route order I’d suggest for the most satisfying learning of plot details, since you can very easily indicate who you want to end up with, is definitely Impey Barbicane -> Abraham Van Helsing -> Victor Frankenstein -> Count Saint-Germain -> Arsene Lupin and yes that’s who you date in this game.)


#21

I have to vote for Celeste, like a few other commenters here. The gameplay is tight and fun, and the difficulty scales well. Plus it’s just a lot of fun, and that’s always nice when you’re on a trip.

Secondary tip of the hat to Steamworld Dig 2, which is also great, but not Celeste great.