September 3, 2013 7:00 AM | Anthony Swinnich
The upcoming hybrid beat-em up and turn-based strategy game Aztez was on the PAX Prime show floor and established itself as one of the most eye-catching titles in the Indie Megabooth. The stark black and white, thick-lined character models and environments are stylish, especially when splattered in blood.
The brawler portion of the game was on display for all to play. It provided a brutal and vicious look into how to squash revolts. The action is set on a 2D plane in a set arena, where enemies rush you from both sides. Smashing enemies is satisfying. There's a real heft to your connected swings. Air juggling and aerial combos are great additions to the formula, meaning you feel more like an agile warrior than a heavy tank. The insurgents do have quite a lot of health and can become quite numerous, so it's important to avoid becoming surrounded.
Eventually the standard enemies are joined by others with spears, jump into the air and dash-attack toward you. Your block becomes an important piece of your arsenal at this point, as the angle on these stabs is nearly impossible to outright dodge. This is good. It means you can't simply button-mash your way to victory, requiring the player to fight smart if they want to survive instead meeting a bloody demise.
The strategy section of the game was not on display because the details have yet to be finalized. However, we did learn that the idea is to expand your empire by pushing over your boarders and conquering neighboring city-states. The player's moves will be based on random dice rolls. The map will also be slightly randomized at the start of each new playthrough.
The overworld map will provide locations for the brawler segments to take place. For example, a plague may break out in one of your cities. You may have to go in and kill the infected commoners before they can spread the disease. Another situation may require you to put down rebels during a tax related uprising. Failure may result in a loss of money, or even the city itself.
Team Colorblind said the game has about six months-to-a-year left in the development cycle, so the studio has plenty of time to finish things up. Expect Aztez on Steam at release for Windows, Mac and Linux, with console ports potentially in the works as well.