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Help, my Steam wish list is under attack from all these great Japanese indie games

Asobu's 2021 indie showcase is jam-packed with new games

Japanese indie collective Asobu are holding their second annual showcase today, showing off loads of delicious new indie games that I'll no doubt be stuffing onto my Steam wish list before the day is out. Last year's showcase yielded some great new finds on that front - I'm looking at you, Pull Stay - and with over 60 new games to sink your teeth into with this year's selection, I guarantee there'll be something to catch your eye this year as well. While some will no doubt be familiar faces - Eastward, Tangle Tower and Garden Story all feature in this year's line-up, for example - I've highlighted a bunch of my favourites below that have caught my eye.

The main presentation is in Japanese, but there are full English subtitles available and you can watch it in full right here or over on Twitch if you prefer.

Cover image for YouTube videoasobu INDIE SHOWCASE 2021

You can find the full line-up of games over on Asobu's website along with Steam links and more information about each game. 20 of the games highlighted today have been selected as official entries for this year's BitSummit festival as well, which kicks off tomorrow until September 3rd both online and in-person over in Kyoto. We highlighted a couple of neat-looking BitSummit games when the full line-up went live the other week, so be sure to check that out as well if you missed it.

From this year's Asobu selection, ElecHead by Nama Takahashi is definitely high up on my list of wish listees. I love a good puzzle platformer and ElecHead looks like it will scratch that itch wonderfully. I particularly like how you can detach and throw Elec head's to send a current through them and activate far-off platforms and switches - although you'll need to be quick on your feet, as Elec's body only lasts for 10 seconds on battery power. There's still no firm release date for it yet, but it should zap onto Steam and Itch before the end of 2021.

Cover image for YouTube video

I'm also super intrigued by OU, which is being made by Japanese dev Kodaosakana in collaboration with room6 and G-Mode. Also due out before the end of the year, this hand-drawn adventure game sees you play as a young boy who finds himself in a picturebook world inspired by German writer Micheal Ende (The Neverending Story chap) and bereft of his own memories. His only companion is a possum named Zarry, who has a flaming tail of all things. It looks gorgeous, and I can't wait to find out more closer to release.

A boy and a possum stand in an illustrated picture book landscape in OU

Japanese onomatopoeia puzzle game Onomatopeya is another one that's caught my attention, mostly because I'm currently reading a book all about Japanese onomatopoeia, but also because it stars a rather dashing flamingo. Made by Studio Pomidori and due out on PC in 2022, you play as said flamingo who's just been taken on as a store clerk. Your job involves trying to satisfy customer requests that come in, but they have a bad habit of never asking for stuff directly. Instead, they ask objects that have a certain kind of sound, and it's up to you to root through the shop and find the right object through lovely onomatopoeic sound effects. I'm not sure how well these Japanese sounds will translate into English, admittedly, but consider my interest well and truly piqued.

A flamingo holds a cactus in Onomatopeya

I mean, I could go on. There's also first-person text adventure Mindhack that revolves around finding 'bugs' such as hate, grief and anger inside people's evil hearts; there's the cat cyberpunk samurai adventure game Ukiyo, whose woodblock painting art style just looks so damn rad I'm finding it hard to tear my eyes away from it, and cute unicycle platformer Insight Of L to name just a few of the others I clocked during my early sneak peek of today's showcase.

I'd highly recommend checking out the full showcase if you can. There's over two hours worth of games to discover in there, and you can find out more about all of them over on Asobu's website. Are there any games you'll be adding to your own Steam wishlist?

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About the Author
Katharine Castle avatar

Katharine Castle


Katharine is RPS' editor-in-chief, which means she's now to blame for all this. After joining the team in 2017, she spent four years in the RPS hardware mines. Now she leads the RPS editorial team and plays pretty much anything she can get her hands on. She's very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests, but also loves strategy and turn-based tactics games and will never say no to a good Metroidvania.