Your alarm went off 20 minutes ago, but you’re still in bed flipping through pictures of cute hamsters wearing hats Imgur. You ask your brother how his cats are doing more often that you ask about his kids. You’d rather sit on a bench at the dog park than on a stool at the bar.
If any of this sounds like you, you’re in luck. The PAX East Expo Hall this year was full of games for those who hear the “call of the cute”.
Russian Subway Dogs
(Spooky Squid Games: Action, 2D Arcade, Mac and PC)
Inspired by the strays that roam the subways of Russia’s capital, Russian Subway Dogs is a fast-paced feeding frenzy. The player must knock shawarma and burgers out of the hands of pedestrians while avoiding rival Dobermans, policemen, and pigeons. Score more points by destroying your enemies with explosive bottles of vodka, or by completing missions from the “Proletaricat”. Level designs are based on real Moscow subway stations. A recent update revealed guest appearances by corgis from VA-11 HALL-A and KC Green’s “This is fine” dog.
Ya Gotta, Piñata!
(RNG Studios, Inc.: Snake-like, Free-to-play, Android and iPad)
Have you ever wondered how the piñata feels when it sees a horde of candy-crazy kids approaching? Here’s your chance to step into the colorful shoes of Peppa, a pony piñata determined to save her friends from a birthday massacre. The player has 2 minutes to escort as many fellow piñatas as possible to the safety of the dance floor, where they can escape. The game’s lively music and bright colors stand in contrast with the constant threat of death-by-bat. Its tongue-in-cheek charm may be what sets it apart in a sea of mobile games.
(Coatsink: 2.5D Platformer, PC and Consoles TBA)
Shu, a bird-like creature with the gliding capabilities of a flying squirrel, must rescue his friends as he outruns a massive storm that will end the world. The 3-D environments were inspired by the work of Barcelona’s favorite son, artist and architect Antoni GaudÍ, and 2-D characters are hand-drawn. The cuteness is contrasted with a sense of desperation; when we spoke to Bryn Morrison Elliott, one of the game’s developers, he said that the team embraced bittersweetness as a theme. Each of 5 worlds has 2 friends to find, and each friend unlocks a new ability for Shu. Online time-trial challenges (“Shu-Downs”) are live as of fall 2016.
Sausage Sports Club
(Luckshot Games: 3D Party Game, Mac and PC)
You’ve got to play Sausage Sports Club to believe its because description can’t capture just how adorably strange it is. Up to 8 players compete as cute animals with long, floppy necks in team and solo sports. One stick controls movement, and the other controls the head, which rolls around. The result is silly and chaotic, but that’s by design. Solo developer Chris Wade has been responsive to community feedback so far; customizable head accessories and a dash ability have been added since the game debuted at PAX East 2016. The full game will have a couch and online multiplayer modes as well as single-player (vs AI), so you’ll be able to hone your “sausage-physics” (yes, that’s the official term) skills before your friends join in.
(RNG Studios, Inc.: 2D Platformer, Free-to-play. Android and iPad)
“Dogs or Cats?” is a timeless question. Postal Paws features our favorite furry friends on motorcycles, competing to deliver packages. The player can perform tricks and steal from rivals to score points and make the day’s deliveries in record time. Levels are only 60 seconds long, so speed is key. Characters and vehicles are upgradeable via gameplay or in-app purchases. The character design (cartoonish and pastel, but badass) may be the game’s strongest point.
If you can bring yourself to pause the Puppy Bowl for just a few minutes, give these new games a try. Maybe you’ll find inspiration for your next amigurumi.