7 games to look forward to that you won’t find at E3

As we recover from the trail of destruction left behind by E3’s news conferences, it’s important to take a breath and remember not all the cool kids are hanging out in LA this week (and even if they are, they don’t always get heard). Here’s seven neat-looking games that have yet to be released, to whom we will gladly extend some of the industry’s overflowing hype.

Frostpunk [official site]

“Oh no the world is an ice cube.” That’s the premise of this survival management game from 11 Bit, the developers of This War Of Mine. The last remnants of humanity cling to life in a steam-powered city that looks like a gassy Midgar. Playing as the leader, you must “oversee your society, manage resources and make difficult, ambiguous choices”. That sounds like exactly the type of thing this crowd did with their last game. This time, the devs insist that the survival will be focused more on “empathy and decision-making”, rather than simple resource arithmetic. Although we’ve yet to see anything apart from the above frosty, bleak trailer.

Release date: “2017”

Stationeers [official site]

The cancellation of Dean Hall’s mega-ambitious space simulation Ion may not have come as a surprise, but it also might have resulted in a more manageable project with similar goals – a space sim inspired by the cult role-playing daftness of Space Station 13. It’s probably going to have plenty of crafting guff but RocketWerkz says it will also include “fully functioning atmospherics, science, power, engineering, medical, and agricultural systems”. But will it have a library? Will it have a bartender role? Only time will tell, but we do at least know you’ll need a doctor. “Perform surgeries, cure diseases and other medical aliments faced by other Stationeers,” says the Steam page. It’s going to be another early access child, despite Hall’s initial reluctance, but we remain hopeful that it could be a spiritual successor to one of the daftest role-playing games of recent years.

Release date: “2017”

Narita Boy [official site]

There are two ways to describe this one.

1. A Superbrothers-styled 2D scrolling action game.

2. A game where you ride a giant floppy disk like a hoverboard.

I know which description I prefer, but it’s good to keep both in mind when looking at Studio Koba’s debut. In this retrophile game-within-a-game you play a 1980s teenager who gets sucked into the vidyagame reality to save its people from a group of technobandits called the Stallions and their shady jefe. Like many games heavy on the art side, it’s hard to see what’s game and what’s just gorgeous-looking animation. But we’re told there will be sword fighting, vehicle sections and “time and dimension jump mechanics” – whatever that means.

Release date: Aiming for December 2018

Baobab’s Mausoleum [official site]

And there are either very few or too many ways to describe this one. According to lead developer Jacob Jazz, it’s Monkey Island vs Twin Peaks vs Zelda Link’s Awakening DX vs Spongebob Squarepants. Which is, uh, an unusual mix of influences. In other words, it’s a JRPG that goes out of its way to be strange. The main character is a chain-smoking eggplant vampire who works for the FBI. There are cosmic laser chickens, there are flamingoes, there is “psychedelic Russian surf music”. Looking at the turn-based combat in the trailer, you have the choices of “Run”, “Taunt”, “Object”, or “Spit”. It’s also an episodic adventure, with the first part being released next month. Will it join the Space Funerals and Undertales of the JRPG avant-garde? Or is it trying too hard to be oddball? Don’t look at me, I just try to describe things.

Release date: First episode on July 6th, 2017

The Pedestrian [official site]

Toilet Man Goes To The Big City. This is a puzzle platformer featuring the little man-shaped figure from street signs and lavatory doors the world over, otherwise known as Helvetica Man. You move across signposts, searching for Helvetica Woman, shifting signs around and connecting them so that you can traverse the world. There’s also a demo from developers Skookum Arts out there with some simple introductory levels to give puzzlefolks a taste. It’s slated to come with a level editor, according to the stretch goals on its Kickstarter, plus another friend: Helvetica Cat.

Release date: June 2017… wait, that’s NOW (at least this is what the Kickstarter says)

Knuckle Sandwich [official site]

Another weird JRPG? This list is a con! There’s a lot happening in the world of Knuckle Sandwich. You play a boy who moves to a new town and gets a job flipping burgers. But then: monsters, cults, bees. Also, something called “fibreghosts”. It’s a hugely colourful world and, for some reason, seems to include a part where a fully-realised 3D Garfield gets captured by a Pokeball. But judging by the footage so far there’s also rhythm minigames, turn-based combat, and the usual RPG party stat-building. Admittedly, we did first learn about it on April Fool’s day, which means this could all be some kind of elaborate and hugely time-intensive practical joke on the part of developer Andrew Brophy. But we hope not.

Release date: Don’t know

Norco [official site]

More bright colours, because I know you like them. This here is your basic neon text adventure in cyberpunk New Orleans, duh. It’s made primarily by a pixel artist who goes by name of Geography of Robots and follows a conspiracy-fuelled story about your mother’s death and brother’s subsequent disappearance. Set in a retro-futuristic Louisiana with “insurrectionary androids hiding in the swamp” it’s promised to be a short adventure game (two hours or so) of vibrant environments and “consequential dialogue”. And it too has a demo, showing off the opening chapter, Faraway Lights.

Release date: Don’t know

Well. That’s your lot, slavering masses. Our anti-E3 coverage will continue as the show goes on, whether that’s highlighting free games or snidely complaining about a lack of information within our various news posts. Bye!

16 Comments

  1. Suits says:

    Narita Boy looks dope

  2. Jstn says:

    I somehow mentally misread “pixel art” as “ASCII art” in the description of Norco… spent the next couple minutes amazed at the detail he squeezed from colored ASCII characters.

  3. Synesthesia says:

    Anyone know what happenned to Capybara Games’ Below? I really want to play below.

    • LexW1 says:

      It’s indefinitely delayed, thanks to Cartoon Network.

      There’s some terrible/wonderful (delete as applicable) cartoon series coming out from Cartoon Network, called OK KO Let’s Be Heroes, and they hired Capy to do a game of it, and then appear to have demanded that the game come out NOWNOWNOWNOWNOW.

      So Capy have had to “pivot” to get it out.

      Cartoon Network were gibbering the usual bollocks about “challenging the idea that licensed games had to be bad”, an idea was successfully defeated multiple times in the 1990s, let alone later, but apparently persists in the minds of Cartoon Network execs (presumably they think Rude Dog and the Dweebs is still on the air as well).

      The game itself looks like a fairly stereotypical “trying too hard” side-scrolling beat ’em up, with about 1/100th as much style as Narita Boy above. It really doesn’t look like a good game, but who knows.

      I’m just hoping it comes out real soon and Capy can get back to making Below, which continues to look remarkable.

  4. racccoon says:

    Good work, saw the first, the majority of whats here @RPS daily, is why its a daily thing to come, as you find play all sorts of crazy ass games as well as the norm.

  5. icecreamjones says:

    I’ve definitely heard coverage on podcasts that mentioned seeing Frostpunk at E3

    • Brendan Caldwell says:

      HOW DARE THEY BE THERE AND NOT HAVE A TRAILER AND CAUSE ME TO INCLUDE THEM IN THIS LIST WHICH I NONETHELESS DO NOT REGRET

  6. temujin33 says:

    Thank you, much better than the E3 announcements…

  7. Sleazy Ninja says:

    I have absolute confidence in Frostpunk. Those guys already have proven themselves as great developers!

    • dare says:

      That frostpunk trailer certainly looked incredible… but I just want an ice climbing adventure game in that setting, not a management sim.

      • draglikepull says:

        Yeah, I thoght the same thing at first, and I was pretty excited because there aren’t really any mountain climbing games (other than Breath of the Wild, I mean) but it seems like such a good subject for a video game.

        • Moth Bones says:

          “…it seems like such a good subject for a video game.”

          I’ve thought this for ages. Will have to give Breath of the Wild a look.

  8. Nevard says:

    There have been so many attempts at pulling SS13 out of the ancient BYOND engine and into its own system, none of which have resulted in games, that I am sceptical of any further ones. There are so many complicated interlocking systems in that game that I feel like it is a phenomenon that could only occur in the collaborative/competitive environment that created it, with multiple separate codebases of multiple coders working to copy, steal, leak, or occasionally actually ask to use the actual code of each other’s features.

    I’d perhaps hesitate to call it an RPG “of recent years” either, I am pretty sure I was playing it in secondary school :P

  9. caff says:

    Norco looks interesting – thanks for pointing this one out.

  10. Premium User Badge

    quasiotter says:

    Re: The Pedestrian

    I really want to be a Helvetica Man searching for another Helvetica Man
    And give him flowers
    Hold hands walking through the signs
    Little kisses
    Be the little spoon
    Make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast
    Maybe he can give me a foot massage after all of my travels

    Sigh…

  11. Keios says:

    I can’t be the only person who thought of this after reading the Frostpunk description, can I?

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