From GRID MASTERS to ARTEMIS, from BRAWLHALLA to THE METRONOMICON. What do these quirky games have in common? They were our favorite games at Momocon.

Momocon is Atlanta’s answer to Comicon. Every year, downtown Atlanta becomes a paradise for nerds, complete with cosplayers, new video games, and even robot battles. I had a blast at Momocon this year, and we’ll be talking about it all month long! Today, I wanna go over some of the best games we played at the con, the stories behind them, and why we think they’re worth checking out.

GRID MASTERS – Like Chess on Speed

To say GRID MASTERS is a weird game would be an understatement, but sometimes weird is good.

GRID MASTERS is a grid-based fighting game made by local college students and recent graduates.  Every character has four moves, each of which effects a certain part of the grid based on where the character is standing. So basically, your goal is to position yourself in a place where you can attack your opponent, but your opponent can’t attack you. My description of this game might make it seem like a slow, methodical, contemplative game, and that’s what I thought I was getting myself into.

Well, I was wrong. I was completely wrong. GRID MASTERS is anarchy.

And I love it.

You’re constantly moving, constantly attacking, constantly trying to change your tactics based on where you are at any given moment. It’s like chess on speed. Top it off with a charming art style and a chiptune soundtrack, and you have one of our favorite games at Momocon.

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GRID MASTERS is in early access on steam right now. I try not to recommend early access games, but with a $6.99 price-tag you really don’t have much to lose. If you’re in the mood for some chaotic fun, check it out.

ARTEMIS – SPACESHIPS!

ARTEMIS is about as far from GRID MASTERS as you can get. It’s a spaceship bridge simulator where you and your friends work together to pilot a giant starship. Each player mans a different station on their computer, which controls a different aspect of the ship. The goal is to give you a sort of Star Trek feel, where a single captain coordinates a team of specialists.

ARTEMIS caught my eye for three reasons: first off, unlike a lot of multiplayer games, you don’t need to buy 6 full priced copies to play with your friends. At its base level, the game costs $7.00 on steam, and $35 for a 6-pack. Second: this game is designed to be moddable. You can make it look like Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, even Warhammer 40K. Whatever starship fantasy you want to live out, Artemis has you covered.

Pilot’s License Optional

Third and most important is an apparently low difficulty curve. When I played ARTEMIS at Momocon, I was pretty intimidated. Each computer had tons of options and buttons and blinking lights and it’s easy to assume this game is hard to get into. However, from what I’ve seen, anyone can pick this game up with relative ease. At the con, different people would join in and play the game blind. They rarely did well, but the sheer fact that they could pick up the basics of the game and enjoy themselves speaks volumes to the overall experience.

READ: Is NIER: AUTOMATA the apex of video games?

I should note that ARTEMIS isn’t exactly a new game. It launched in 2013 and has a small but extremely dedicated fanbase. People renovate their basements to look like a starship’s bridge, even installing lights that flash when their ship is under attack. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that kind of dedication to a single game. At the very least, the developers must be on to something.

Of course, needing 6 friends in the same room to play the game can be a serious barrier of entry for some, but if that’s not a problem for you, then you might wanna give it a try.

BRAWLHALLA – Deceptively Familiar

Next up is BRAWLHALLA: a platform-based fighter with colorful graphics and some interesting items. Sound familiar?

I gotta be honest guys: I’m getting tired of SUPER SMASH BROTHERS. Maybe it’s because I’ve played it since I was a small child, maybe it’s because my friends take it a bit too seriously, but I’ve been looking for something to break up the monotony, to breathe life into the sub-genre.

Well, BRAWLHALLA happens to be that breath of fresh air. Every character has 2 unique weapons that grant them special moves. Players are encouraged to fight over weapon drops, and it adds an extra level of chaos to each match. The character designs and move sets aren’t as unique as SMASH’s lineup, but there’s still a lot of creativity to be found. There’s Aztec warriors, old school gangsters, and even alien warlords on the roster. The fact that it’s not a Nintendo property gives the developers the freedom to make their own unique world.

Beautiful and Deadly

One of my favorite things about BRAWLHALLA is the art style. You may wonder why I care about this in a fighting game. Well, if I’m going to be staring at the same backgrounds and characters for hours on end, then I want them to look good. The developers told us they were going for a Saturday morning cartoon feel, and it shows. The environments feel lush and detailed. The use of color makes the world feel bright and inviting. SMASH’s art style always felt inconsistent to me, mostly because they use characters and stages from different IPs. In BRAWLHALLA, everything looks like it exists together, creating a cohesive, if bizarre, world.

Bright colors in a fighting game? Madness!

It’s worth noting that BRAWLHALLA is free to play. It works a bit like a MOBA, where you pay for costumes and taunts, but the core game is available for free. So, you can download the game now and try it for yourself. It’s available on steam right now, and it’ll be available on the PS4 sometime this year.

THE METRONOMICON – Proof Creativity Isn’t Dead

Last, but definitely not least, is THE METRONOMICON. Of all the games shown at Momocon, this one was a real standout.

THE METRONOMICON is a rhythm-RPG. If you’re wondering what the hell that is, well so were we. Imagine if DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION had a baby with DIABLO, and you’ll start to understand what this game is about. It takes place in a world where magic and music are essentially the same thing, where every battle is a violent dance party. Just like a traditional RPG, you need to level up your characters, buy powerful gear, and fight giant monsters, but in THE METRONOMICON the combat works like a dancing game. You press buttons in time with the music, as you heal, slash, and blast your way to victory.

Everything about this game is so damn charming

A Quirky Game Fueled by Music

The METRONOMICON is almost everything I want in a video game. It’s colorful, it’s quirky, it has a surprisingly detailed world, and an amazing soundtrack from some great artists.  There’s Perturbator, Mindless Self Indulgence, and an especially catchy track by Yacht. According to Danny Garfield, the lead designer, he had no idea he’d hear back from these artists, but many were eager to work with him. The quality and diversity of the music compliments the style of the game, and it wouldn’t be the same without it.

READ: Photorealism in gaming. Is it helpful or harmful?

THE METRONOMICON is available on steam for 20 bucks. If you’re a gamer whose into music, I can’t recommend this game enough.

Wrap-Up

At ComicsVerse, we always want to put a spotlight on quality games. Whether they’re from big studios, or a group of friends following their passions, we’re always on the lookout for something new, creative, and fun. Playing these games reminded me why I fell in love with video games, and why they’re worth writing about. With all the chaos and corruption going on in the industry, it’s good to know that some people just want to make great games.

 

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