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Pax East 2013: Lords of New York

Posted on March 25, 2013 AT 10:00am

One of the most amazing aspect about PAX East that I was able to discover firsthand this past weekend was the abundance of indie games and developers in attendance showing off their wares.  One particular game that caught my attention was Lords of New York by Lunchtime Studios.

Lords of New York is an Adventure/Poker hybrid in which players take control of one of three characters as they infiltrate New York’s seedy underworld in the 1920′s.  My hands on time with the game put me in control of Vince, a Mafia captain looking to take control of the New York crime industry.  After meeting with the doorman of a well hidden speakeasy, I was invited inside to play cards with a mafia hoodlum as I waited for his boss to arrive.

The poker gameplay has actually been designed from the ground up to appeal to the casual audience, so there are plenty of tips and mechanics in place to help those who have little to no experience with Texas Hold ‘Em.  The AI for the mafia goon I played against was set at a well balanced level, not so agressive that I was intimidated but not so passive that I was able to steamroll over him.  Lunchtime Studio’s proprietary animation engine created an inviting noir feel that fit perfectly within the 1920′s setting.  Each AI player has also been programmed with a set of subtle tells that advanced poker players will pick up on as they play through the game.  After a couple of hands I was introduced to one of Lords of New York’s unique game mechanics, character abilities.

Each of the three main characters possesses a unique set of skills and abilities that players can use to get ahead of the competition.  Winning hands and otherwise playing well fills up a player’s moxie meter which allows the player to activate abilities within the game.  Vince is a master of intimidation and possesses the unique ability to cheat.  In one hand I was dealt an ace and 8 with another ace appearing on the flop.  With Vince I was able to swap my 8 for another ace giving me three of a kind.  This three of a kind was just enough to beat my competitor’s two pair and won me a particularly large pot.

Overall I was extremely impressed with what I saw of Lords of New York.  The animation engine is quite impressive and the gameplay is fun and accessible to players of all skill levels.  Each of the three characters will also possess unique abilities and story paths with intersecting story arcs throughout the game.  A light RPG mechanic also allows each character to upgrade their skills as the progress through the campaign and take on more cunning opponents.  Lords of New York will be available for the PC, Mac, and iOS sometime in the future.

Right now Lunchtime Studios is also running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the game.  The campaign ends on Tuesday, April 16 and has an overall goal of $295,000.  Right now almost 200 backers have pledged over $10,000 to help get the game released, so be sure to pledge your support for this impressive indie title.

Check out the videos below for the teaser trailer, Kickstarter campaign video, a 13 minute gameplay vid, and a walkthrough of the animation engine that is being used in the campaign.   For more information be sure to visit lordsofnewyork.com.  To pledge your support please visit the Kickstarter campaign page.

James is a complete gaming geek that moonlights as a guitar player for local Miami rock band phoenix/NEBULIN. When he's not rocking out onstage he can be found on PSN and Xbox Live as Anxiety83. You can also follow James on Twitter @anxiety83

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