A long list of indies to look forward to
It’s the time of year when big game publishers roll out their blockbuster launches, but there’s always time for the indies, too. Today’s Day of the Devs showcase, part of the Summer Game Fest kickoff, did just that: spotlight the creators bringing some new and interesting things to play.
From music and soccer to fishing and anime music, there was a lot shown today. There was also the debut of several games under the Asobu label, which is acting as a “lighthouse” for indie creators in Japan, assisting developers both there and bringing them abroad. Here’s a roundup of every game shown during today’s Day of the Devs showcase:
Axiom Verge 2 (Thomas Happ Games): The sequel to Metroidvania Axiom Verge got a new trailer and confirmation that it’s coming to PS4 and PS5.
TOEM (Something We Made): Explore an adorable world and take pictures. What more could you want? The way the camera moves between perspectives is a little mesmerizing to watch in motion.
Phantom Abyss (Team WIBY): Grab the goods and get out of the temple, before the traps and guardians get you. Every temple is its own, and only one of the many, many adventurers can claim victory over it.
Garden Story (Picogram, Rose City Games): Being a hero is cool, but what’s cooler? A heroic grape. Garden Story is a Zelda-like adventure set for this summer.
Soup Pot (Chikon Club): Today, the devs of Soup Pot showcased the world outside your soup pot. Grilling and skewering are also available, and will be part of your culinary toolset when Soup Pot drops this fall.
A Musical Story (Glee-Cheese Studio): This newly announced game tells a story through rhythm gameplay. It looks like a narrative music game with heavy inspiration from the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. I’m definitely interested, and it’s got a Steam demo available right now.
LIVE 👏 ON 👏 INDIEGOGO! https://t.co/tOIEXwTeXB
Vokabulantis is a co-op stop motion platformer game!
All you see is made by hand.
— Kong Orange – developer of Skullbeat on Roblox (@TheKongOrange) June 10, 2021
Vokabulantis (Wired Fly Stop Motion, Kong Orange, Morten Søndergaard): I cannot stop staring at this gorgeous stop-motion animated adventure. Seriously! The devs show the work that went into creating this specific look, and so far, it seems like it’s really coming together.
Road 96 (DigixArt): This branching journey to the border features a lot of different possibilities, some of them mildly terrifying! It’ll be interesting to see how this meshes together narratively when Road 96 launches.
The Wandering Village (Stray Fawn Studio): Sure, you can build a city. But what if you built the city on a moving animal’s back? The Wandering Village imagines a world built on a giant creature’s back, dealing with challenges as the creature lumbers along.
Unbeatable (D-CELL Games): Unbeatable exploded onto Kickstarter earlier this year, and it’s easy to see why it made such an impact. The mix of bootleg ’90s anime tape aesthetic, pop-punk music, and lane-based rhythm gameplay is just rad! There’s a demo right now and I highly recommend you play it.
Death’s Door (Acid Nerve): This looks like a punishing action game, but instead of knights and demons, what about… a bird? Yeah, a bird. Death’s Door somehow walks the fine line between dreary and adorable, and that seems pretty neat.
Behind the Frame (Silver Lining Studio): Paint pictures and explore a room in an absolutely gorgeous world. Seriously, this just has good vibes.
ElecHead (NamaTakahashi): The first of Asobu’s indie lineup, use your head to charge things with electricity! Old-school looks, platforming, and puzzle-solving abound.
Demolition Robots K.K. (Takaaki Ichijo, Throw the warped code out): Asobu’s second game of the showcase, compete with your friends to annihilate buildings and be the best breaker of the city.
Walk (Kazumi Games): Asobu’s third game, which was so horrifying and scary that I’m just going to move on now. Looks great for people who love PlayStation 1-era graphics and hate sleep! There’s a demo available, and please cherish this link, because it meant I had to go back to the demo page to get it for you!
Moonglow Bay (Bunnyhug, Coatsink): Moonglow Bay has captured my attention every time I’ve seen it. It looks like a very relaxing game that combines some good fishing with cooking and town life; the kind of game I could definitely see myself playing at the end of a long day.
Loot River (Straka Studio): A roguelite with vague Tetris vibes, as you can move blocks on the river to create new pathways and platforms to fight on. The idea of paying careful attention to your surroundings, and creating new opportunities by moving the world around you, seems pretty neat.
Despelote (Julián Cordero, Sebastián Valbuena): In one of the most intriguing trailers of the showcase, Despelote is a game about football (or, in the U.S., soccer). It isn’t a FIFA though; it’s more about football as a part of the community, as you play a member of a small crew of kids that go on a journey around their community. It’s got a great look and fascinating concept, and I’m really looking forward to seeing this one come together.
Last Stop (Annapurna Interactive, Variable State): Variable State’s narrative adventure closed out the showcase with a release date of July 22, 2021 and a teaser, showing all three of its protagonists and the adventures they undertake. The Virginia team looks like its building up a pretty interesting narrative journey, and thankfully, it won’t be long until we see how it all pans out.
Oxenfree II: Lost Signals (Night School Studio): In a surprise one-more-thing, Day of the Devs hosted a showcase of some music from the upcoming Oxenfree sequel. During it, symbols and letters appeared. What could they mean? That’s up to y’all to find out, I suppose. I’ll just say that gosh darn it, Oxenfree is rad, and I’m excited to see what Night School does with a second story in this world.