Tons of indies with some killer vibes
Today marks the Summer Game Fest kick-off, and both the Live showcase and ensuing Day of the Devs have come to a close. In the latter, there were a bunch of really rad games, from both well-known developers and exciting newcomers.
While the Summer Game Fest Live showcase tends to focus on bigger games, the Day of the Devs: Summer Game Fest Edition showcase centered on smaller projects and teams. It’s a tradition that Double Fine has organized for a decade at this point, and it’s always nice to see what neat projects make their way into the showcase.
This year had some absolute winners, too. Bear and Breakfast continues to look like a chill, fun management sim and it’s arriving very soon. So is Escape Academy, a school life-meets-puzzle room adventure. And then there’s Choo-Choo Charles. Good lord, Choo-Choo Charles.
But if evil hell-trains aren’t your thing, there’s the whimsy of Time Flies, an open-world game about the life of a fly. Or the intricate puzzles of Animal Well, which had a puzzle baked into its trailer. Here’s the full rundown from today’s showcase.
Every game shown at Day of the Devs: Summer Game Fest Edition 2022
Time Flies by Michael Frei & Raphaël Munoz
Explore the life of a fly in this open-world adventure. Well, run-based open-world adventure. Flies don’t live very long, so you’ll have to tackle life goals and complete as much as you can before it comes to a close. Time Flies is coming to PlayStation, Switch, and PC sometime in 2023. You can wishlist it on Steam here.
Planet of Lana by Wishfully Studios
This side-scrolling adventure looks similar to Inside or Unravel. Team up with a little companion to evade baddies and save your sister sometime this year on PC and Xbox. Find it on Steam here.
Choo-Choo Charles by Two Star Games
Build a train to kill the demon train. That’s the crux of Choo-Choo Charles, an open-world exploration game with a giant spider train that’s like Thomas the Tank Engine on a very, very bad day. It’s set to launch on PC, with PS5 and Xbox Series X to follow later. Find it on Steam here.
Escape Academy by Coin Crew Games
This escape room game, made by real-life puzzle creators, has a narrative aspect and some wildly clever setups. You, the player, attend a school to become an escape artist, presumably after signing a staggering number of releases. Escape Academy launches for Xbox, PlayStation and PC on July 14, and it’s a day-one Game Pass launch.
A Little to the Left by Max Inferno
A cozy puzzle game that’s likely to appeal to anyone missing some Unpacking in their life. A Little to the Left is all about tidying and organizing household objects to solve puzzles, while also having them disrupted by a cat. And I thought video games were about escaping reality. A Little to the Left arrives later this year on PC and Switch. There’s also a demo live on Steam right now.
Bear & Breakfast by Gummy Cat
This seemingly delightful management sim about a bear opening its own bed-and-breakfast franchise finally has a release date. Open the woods up to travelers on July 28, for both PC and Switch.
Animal Well by Shared Memory
Heavy in pixel art and detail, this curious new exploration game is apparently littered with layers of puzzles. Animal Well seems like something that can scratch both a Metroid and Fez itch simultaneously, with some seriously great vibes. It’s in development for PS5 and Steam.
Naiad by HiWarp
Become the guardian of the river, and hang out with your super-cool aquatic friends. That’s the pitch on Naiad, and it’s a good one. Add in some gorgeous art and some theming around pollution and the climate, and Naiad could be one to watch for when it launches for PC and consoles by the end of the year. Find it on Steam here.
Roots of Pacha by Soda Den
This village builder goes all the way back to the Stone Age. Roots of Pacha has you learn to domesticate animals, irrigate and raise crops, and possibly fall in love somewhere in-between. There’s a demo going live today if you’re eager to make some caveman connections.
Desta: The Memories Between by ustwo games
This dreamy, surreal turn-based strategy game explores the past and relationships. It’s form the folks behind Monument Valley and Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, so it’s bound to be both gorgeous and inventive. Find it on Steam here.
SCHiM by Ewoud van der Werf
This gorgeous-looking game has the player jump from shadow to shadow to move around. It’s like one giant floor-is-lava game, and you help other shadow denizens find their home shadow as you search for yours. Find it on Steam here.
Fox and Frog Travelers: The Demon of Adashino Island by Rias (Rias Coast)
The first of two games from asobu, an indie community in Japan, is about a fox and a frog. These two travelers get caught up in a bad time on a mysterious island, brought to life beautifully by illustrator Rias. It’s planned for release in a few years.
Goodbye World by Yo Fujii
One of the show highlights for me was Goodbye World, a solo project from Yo Fujii about the struggles of game development. The story follows two indie game creators, Kanii and Kumad, as they work to create their project while dealing with real-life. It’s a great idea with some really cool ways of tying in the actual game the pair are making. Goodbye World arrives on Steam later this year.
Birth by Maidson Karrh
This point-and-click adventure is about moving to a new town by yourself, and trying to make friends. And I mean quite literally make a friend. It’s a mix of introspection and gorgeous art, arriving this August. Find it on Steam here.
How to Say Goodbye by Florian Veltman, Baptiste Portefaix, ARTE France
Get through the afterlife by shifting the world around you in How to Say Goodbye. This is another game whose visuals I really enjoyed, and it has some cool ideas in its trailer about moving the world around. It’s coming to PC sometime in 2022.
Little Nemo and the Guardians of Slumberland by Peter Berkman (Anamanaguchi)
Platform around as a lil’ guy, using toys and stuffed animals to fend off baddies. The adventures of Little Nemo are hitting Kickstarter today, and the showcase highlighted the musical work specifically, with a performance from Peter Berkman of Anamanaguchi.