There were a ton of games to try out at Pax South a week ago. So much so that it felt like seeing them all was improbable. The games below were stand out titles among the sea of gaming fans, developer, and cosplayers that roamed the Pax South floor.

#1 – Nelo

It was a struggle not to include this one on the ‘Best In Show’ article. The two-person team who worked on this have done a superb job so far. The game looked absolutely gorgeous on the show floor. It felt like a meld of Warframe mixed with the wild combo antics of both Bayonetta and Neir: Automata.

Nelo switches between the third person perspective and top-down perspective, I don’t know if the game does it at key moments or if the player can change it at will. Either way, that ads a ton to combat that is sure to keep the player on their toes. I spoke briefly to a developer about collectibles and they told me that finding them will help the player get an edge on in-game enemies.

Another thing we spoke very briefly of was customization, so far the developer only had plans for different in-game helmets for players but was open to trying to implement new customization options. The release window was 2019, and I hope this two-person team can pull it off, regardless of a pending delay or not, the team behind Nelo has done a damn fine job with what they have. I haven’t seen a demo look this good in a long time.

#2 – Toejam & Earl: Back In The Groove

Toejam & Earl was on the show floor. The newest entry in the series called Toejam & Earl: Back In The Groove feels more like a hybrid of the first two games, which is a good thing. The story still follows Toejam and Earl trying to find all the parts to their ship across every level. Along the way, mini-games from the second game can be played by any number of players. The one we came across the most involved everyone all scrambling in a race, collecting bonuses along the way. The zany and crude humor that fans of the series are accustomed too is still present.

Speaking of presents, players can find those throughout the rogue-like game. Presents can do an array of things to change up gameplay. You can teleport an ally to your side. Give yourself, and others, around you spring shoes and more. I also found out the hard way you can fall off the map to a previous level, so try not to do that (Which since I’m a youngun I don’t remember from the first game). Don’t trust the end level elevator either, there are several fakes later in the game that will demote you to the previous level if you can’t escape it fast enough.

#3 – Shot One

Shot One is a game you bring up when you want to talk about hidden gems on a show floor. It takes the simple premise of games, like air hockey, and builds upon it to something unique and amazing. The game is simple enough to pick up but skilled players can put on absolute spectacles of matches.

There is a lob system to the game that allows players to lazily fling the disk up on to the opponent’s side. If the disk is not caught before the floor hits the ground, the player who threw it gets two points. On the other side of the equation, if the player catches it they can whip the disk in a few different ways at the goal more than likely scoring. There are power moves and specials that can be done but they are all one button, keeping it super simple and welcoming to new players.

Shot One looked incredibly well constructed for being in pre-alpha. The roster looked like it is going to be full of diverse and unique characters, though only two had been finished on time for Pax South. One of them was an offense based quicker character who moves around the court with ease. The other one was a defense based character who while slower seemed to fling the disk with a lot more power than his lighter counterpart. I am truly eager to see the final product when Shot One gets an official release date.

#4 – Eternity: Last Unicorn

Eternity: Last Unicorn has promise. I will admit it wasn’t my favorite game of the show BUT that should not deter you from giving it a chance. The basic story boiled down to Elves trying to keep the last unicorn alive, because if it perishes they lose their immortality. A noble quest in its own right.

The gameplay itself felt similar to a Dark Souls. Combat relied on getting into the fray, dealing some damage and getting out. I think that is where I disconnected a little bit, I tend to not play games like that because I want go into a fight and take everyone out as fast as I can. More of like a hack-and-slash style as opposed to the tactics employed by Dark Souls styled games.

There is a huge market for games like this though and I encourage those looking to either get into the genre or looking for their next fix to try it out. There seemed to be a solid amount of exploration and a pretty diverse amount of enemies. From the little trolls that could have armor or healing abilities, to this spider enemy, and even a huge behemoth style boss I saw another player encounter. Give the game a shot later this year on PS4, PC, or Xbox One.

#5 – Ion Maiden

Ion Maiden is a love letter to the 90’s style shooter. “The golden era”, as the developer put it. Featuring a bad-ass female protagonist, Ion Maiden looks to bring that 90’s feeling to a modern audience.

The enemies I encounter were tiny little spiders that would hop at the player and bite. I also came across these robed cultist style enemy that deal a ton of damage with their guns. My deaths were my fault, as soon they said 90’s style my brain shut off all memory of a Y-axis. Games back then would lack one and sort of auto lock on enemies. That is not the case this time around, players are free to move and react like the would in any other modern shooter.

One final thing to note is how full of secrets and references the game is. According to the developer they are hidden in every level and I hope that personality bleeds into the games achievement list. I hope it strays away from just the boring chapter based ones and throws 5G or more towards players for finding the secrets. It would be so much more interesting to have it pop when you find a cake from Portal and have it say “Guess The Cake Wasn’t a Lie”.

Regardless of what genre you like to spend your time in Pax South was filled to the brim with games for everyone! There were more I didn’t get the chance to see or talk about here. Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 were there in full force with a massive booth. Mage Quit had a tournament, there was a vampire MMO that was shown off, not to mention all of the board games and so much more. Make sure to keep all the games listed above and all the games mentioned in our Pax South coverage on your radar this year.