My favorite genre may be epic adventure, but as far as community-building, friendship-rending, knock-down-drag-out good times go, nothing tops a great multiplayer game. The floor of PAX was full of brawlers, co-ops, and friendly competitions to the death, and I had the privilege to play a few of these games and chat with the developers. Now it’s time to pass the word along to you about all the sweet multiplayer games I checked out at PAX East.
Now, if we are going to be talking about multiplayer games, the obvious place to start is the brawler. Since the young days of Nintendo, Super Smash Bros has turned many a relationship into a seething cauldron of Grade A salt. There’s something incredibly appealing about sending a dear friend soaring into oblivion with one well placed hit. Influenced by those fond, adrenaline-filled memories, the team at Blue Mammoth Games released their own battle royale for PC gamers known as Brawlhalla. Since its inception, Brawlhalla has had multitudinous support from its community, digging into the lore of each hero, the tactics of the game, and the occasional off-the-wall mini game.
I had the privilege of speaking with Nick Dolce of Blue Mammoth about some of the exciting updates coming to the game, including a new hero, the rogue werewolf Mordex and the introduction of a new 3v3 brawl mode. The brawl mode is particularly exciting because this mode was inspired by the support received from the Brawlhalla community of various specialty game modes created for holidays and special events, including games like Brawlball, Dodge Bomb, and Beach Volleyball. Speaking from personal experience, I cannot wait to trash my friends in a variety of fun new ways.
If you’re looking for something in the brawler genre, but you’d like to not get up close and personal with melee combat, I happen to run into another 2D platformer at PAX, published by Alliance Digital Media, known as SOMBRERO: Spaghetti Western Mayhem. Have you ever wanted to get involved in a ridiculous gunfight, including power-ups like shotguns, throwing knives, and high grade explosives? This is definitely the game for you! And, as with Brawlhalla, Sombrero gets the “Janky Seal of Multiplayer Approval: 10/10, would destroy my friends again.”
There is, however, always the chance that you, dear reader, are not into absolutely wrecking your friends in glorious virtual combat. It’s slim, but there’s a chance. If that’s the case, I do have one other multiplayer game that may be just your speed. Created by a developer who wanted a game he could play with his non-gamer wife, Death Squared is a simple couch co-op puzzler made for streaming with friends, in which you work together to solve puzzles and not get blown to pieces by a series of death traps. Dastardly in it’s simplicity, Death Squared gives you plenty of opportunity to work together with your buds while also yelling at them to “DO IT RIGHT THIS TIME!” My hope for this game is that, someday, with enough gamer support, they can add an online co-op mode, so friends across the country and across the world can swear profusely at the puzzles and each other. But whether it be Death Squared, Sombrero, or Brawlhalla, get out and play some multiplayer games because as all gamers know, that’s where the iron bonds on friendship are formed.