Indies! It’s nice to see the little games take the spotlight during all the E3 festivities, a nice break from Ubisoft trying to make me care about Watch Dogs or something. This year’s Day Of The Devs stream took place during the kickstart of Summer Game Fest, and gave some fresh glimpses from games like Axiom Verge 2, Unbeatable, The Wandering Village and more. If you missed the power, fear not, here’s a great list of everything on display at the Day Of The Devs showcase.
Day Of The Devs is orchestrated by Psychonauts developers Double Fine, along with production company Iam8bit. All the games shown have already been announced in the last year or so, but there were definitely some gems I missed. In addition, it is always nice to hear more details about something you are looking forward to.
Axiom Verge 2
Kicking off the power was some new footage of Axiom Verge 2, the upcoming sequel to one of the best metroid habits on PC. Developer Thomas Happ talked about some of the differences between the first game and the sequel. The new main character, Indra, uses a melee-focused fighting style and is able to hack enemies. Happ adds that while the game is filled with bosses, it is possible to complete Axiom Verge 2 without killing any of them. The game will arrive on PC via Epic Games Store, Switch and PlayStations at some point “soon”
Possibly my favorite of the stream was the debut game from the developers Something We Made, Toem. It’s a wonderful adventure puzzle where you play as an amateur photographer, on your way to see a natural phenomenon called Toem. To get there, you need to earn your bus fare by using your photography skills to help people out. It’s black and white and everything is hand drawn, and it looks incredibly cute. The setting is inspired by the small Swedish town devs are also from. Toem is set to be released on Steam this summer.
Developed by Team Wiby and released by Devolver Digital, Phantom Abyss is an “asynchronous multiplayer game” where you have to run, jump and whip your way through a temple to get some loot. If you die, you will never return to that special temple again, but your ghost will remain and show other players which route you have followed (much like Dark Souls’ ghosts). Each temple is unique, and only one player can ever complete it, which is a cool gimmick. I imagine that this could produce some good speed races. Phantom Abyss is coming out early on Steam this month.
Next time we have some chibi fruits and vegetables running around swinging swords. In Garden Story you play as a grape who is the village’s guardian. A strange job for such a squishy thing, but hey, it looks cute. Garden Story has some RPG aspects: doing small missions for villagers, beating up the villains, exploring, fishing and more. The game is developed by Picogram and will be released this summer on Steam.
“Soup Pot is a chaotic and chilled cooking simulator,” said the developers Chikon Club under the stream, which mostly describes my real cooking experiences. Soup Pot looks like Cooking Mama but cooler, allowing players to create hundreds of different regional recipes. Devs says they worked with chefs to make sure these recipes could be used in real life, plus you can not fail at anything. It looks and sounds great, and it’s coming out sometime this summer on Steam and Xbox Game Pass For PC.
A musical story
Who needs dialogue trees when you can play a rhythm game instead? That’s what you get in A Musical Story, by the developers Glee-Cheese Studio. I do not know how to describe the art style other than 70s-inspired minimalism, and the music is influenced by bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. It’s launching on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox and iOS this summer, and there’s a free demo available on Steam right now.
Fear struck me when I saw Vokabulantis for the first time, because the main characters are scary people without mouths. There seems to be a reason for this, even if it is only hinted at in the trailer. Made by Wired Fly Productions, Vokabulantis is an animation platform with full stop-motion that has been in development for years, and still has some development left. It looks incredibly impressive, with detailed handmade sets scanned into the game using photogrammetry. It will take a while before we get to play this game, but it is definitely one to watch. Check out the official website for more info.
Road 96 is a procedure-generated hiccup game. You play as a child, try to get to the border, take trips with all kinds of weird and wonderful people. This new trailer shows one of the more dangerous situations you may find yourself in, with a taxi driver who is furious when you tell him you do not like dinosaurs. As in, he’s so angry he’s pulling a gun on you. Over dinosaurs. The whole game has a strangely tense vibe, but I’m very attracted to it. Road 96 was developed by Digixart and will be launched on Steam and Nintendo Switch this summer.
The wandering village
And now for a game I’ve been looking forward to for a while. The Wandering Village is an urban dweller where you live on top of a giant tortoise. The goal of the game is to create and nurture a symbiotic relationship with this animal: you help it by getting poisonous fungus off your back, and it helps you by letting you build your city on it. Developers Stray Fawn Studio showed new footage during Day Of The Devs of a player communicating with his turtle by building a large horn next to his head. You can give the creature directions (like a giant Pokémon!), And sometimes it will listen, depending on how well the relationship goes. The Wandering Village comes to Steam Early Access later this year, sometime after September.
Music is illegal! Do crimes! It’s unbeatable! Made by D-Cell Games, Unbeatable is a rhythm game with some great music. It started life as a Kickstarter that was funded within 15 hours. During the stream we heard some new songs, and saw some new recordings of the band that chose songs for the next concert. They write songs based on what decisions you have made in the game, then you play them at your concerts. A free demo is available on Steam and Itch.io right now if you want to try it.
It’s time for gloomy autumn machines and crows, except the crows are the gloomy harvests. Death’s Door is an adventure game in a fantasy world where nothing dies. So like your little crow yourself, you have to go out and harvest. It is a gloomy looking world, but with charming character and enemy design. I hate to say it, but it has the sweet but dark vibes of Hollow Knight, so I’m all inside. It’s made by Acid Nerve (who developed Titan Souls) and released by Devolver Digital, and it’s set to be released this summer. Check out the Steam page for more.
Behind the frame
Silver Lining Studio’s Behind The Frame is a game designed to look like an anime movie, and it certainly succeeds in watching Studio Ghibi-esque. It is the first person with some unusual pieces, and it is about a painter who preserves memories and reveals secrets in her apartment. It has a few point-and-click aspects, and seems like a wonderful kind of lifestyle. It has no set release date, but “coming soon” to Steam.
Elec Head is one of three games that appear as part of Asobus’ part of the stream. They are a company founded to support indie game development in Japan, and Japanese games abroad. Elec Head is a simple platformer made by NamaTakahashi, about a little robot boy who has his head electrifying everything he touches. You use this to puzzle and platform yourself out of different levels, and the game will hit Steam and Itch.io later this year.
Demolition Robots KK
Asobus’ other offering, Demolition Robots, puts you into a giant robot whose goal is to smash buildings. Always a good premise, that. It is a multiplayer game where the person who does the most damage to property wins. If you play it on a Twitch stream, viewers can influence the game by capturing bots and taking various actions to disturb you all. It will come to PC and console later this year.
The third and final game from the Asobus section, Walk, is a survival scare inspired by old PS1 games (it actually looks like something outside of Haunted PS1). You play as a little girl trying to get home before dark, wandering through a scary Japanese suburb, all while being hunted by shadow animals. Walk will launch a Kickstarter once this year.
Back to your regular scheduled Day Of The Devs trailers now, we’ve got a new look at Moonglow Bay, a fishing RPG in a city where everyone’s scared to fish (except you of course). Developed by Bunnyhug Games, the people behind Wargroove, Moonglow Bay features a Minecraft-like voxel style and the chilled atmosphere of Stardew Valley. The new footage from the Day Of The Devs stream shows your character as a fisherman, cooking up fish dishes and donating fish to a museum (if only we had a name for a water museum). The game will hit Steam, Epic Games Store and Xbox Game Pass For PC later this year.
“Imagine if Diablo and Tetris had a baby,” says Straka Studio. Okay, now imagine something cooler than that, and you’ll end up with something that looks like Loot River. It’s a 2D roguelike where you can change paths by moving platforms around and putting them together. Some of it looks quite confusing and intricate, as you have to push a variety of platforms around to escape or capture enemies. The dungeons are procedurally generated, the enemies look fun to hack and cut, and there are many great bosses just waiting for a kill. There is no specific release date for this yet, but it is definitely on my watchlist. When it arrives, it will be on Steam and Xbox.
Made by Julián Cordero and Sebastián Valbuena, Despelote is a first-person, hand-drawn lifestyle game about football. Seen in Ecuador in 2001 before the county was about to qualify for the World Cup, it is a reflection of the developers’ personal experiences of playing football in a park when they were children. No news on release date for this either.
Last but certainly not least, the stream showed a new trailer and revealed a release date for Last Stop. Developed by Variable State, The People Who Made Virginia, Last Stop, is a body-changing, galactic, life-giving, beginning-like kind of game. It’s a 3D supernatural adventure through London. It is published by Annapurna Interactive, and looks confusing, but quite funny. It’s coming to PC via Steam, as well as PlayStations, Xboxes and Nintendo Switch on July 22nd.
At the end of it all, Annapurna also announced its very own announcement stream, which will take place next month. We got a few small glances at what to show – I definitely saw a glimpse of the cat from Stray, as well as the sky-surfing alien from Hyper Light Drifter’s upcoming sequel Solar Ash. So if you want to look at them and anything else that the publisher has in store, you can catch their showcase on July 29th.
E3 2021 runs from 12 to 15 June. Please see our E3 planning post for more, really useful information on the entire virtual shebang, and visit our E3 2021 hub to stay up to date on the latest news.