Day Of The Devs is back for round two, with even more indie games for you to wishlist and ogle at. Back in June for Summer Game Fest, 15 games were given the showcase's coveted spotlight, and now a couple of months on Tim Schfer and his crew have given another group of indies the attention they deserve. That’s a lot of games! It’s also the showcase’s 10th anniversary so let's all pop our party poppers and jump right into the indie list.
As always, the variety this year has been exceptional with entries from diverse developers from all around the world. Curating the list is a group effort from both Double Fine Productions and iam8bit. Specifically, Tim Schafer and James Spafford from Double Fine, iam8bit’s Jon Gibson and Amanda White, and PlayStation’s indie champion Greg Rice.
The indies shown were a mix of world premieres, games that have already been announced, and a handful that have already been released. We’ve listed every one that was shown down below, so take your time and have a pleasant scroll through indie bliss.
Mina The Hollower
Keeping their blue mascot busy with the recently released Shovel Knight: Dig, Yacht Club have turned their sails to a new adventure. Mina The Hollower is the game, and it wears its retro influences on its sleeves. It’s a gothic action-adventure inspired by Castlevania that sees you playing as whip-ready Mina who’s on a mission to restore a cursed island's generators and bash some baddies on the way. A cool combat feature is that Mina can burrow underneath her foes, and burst through the earth's surface to strike from below. It’s a useful skill that’ll come in handy for some prime puzzle solving too. No release date for Mina yet, unfortunatley, but let's hope it's soon.
Snufkin: Melody Of Moominvalley
Whoever says that the Moomins are creepy is a heartless liar, but they’ll also be happy to know that this Moomin-centric game is actually not about the Moomin family at all, but their nomad friend Snufkin. Snufkin: Melody Of Moominvalley honestly looks so delightful - it’s a musical adventure where you get to run around as the green-hatted scamp restoring harmony to the valley after the Park Keeper has taken it away. It looks like a light-hearted and breezy game with (and this was a surprise) music from Sigur Rós, which is kinda awesome. They must be major Tove Jansson fans.
Escape Academy: Escape From Anti-Escape Island
Ed rather liked the locked room brain teasers in Escape Academy when it released earlier this year, so escape rooms fans will be happy to know that developers Coin Crew Games are releasing DLC titled Escape Academy: Escape From Anti-Escape Island. That’s a lot of escaping. In the DLC you’re jettisoned from the stuffy halls of the academy and plonked on an uncharted island
for a lovely holiday to break out of five new hand-crafted levels. Grab a pina colada and some mates for this one, out November 10th.
Frog Detective 3: Corruption At Cowboy County
They’re back! I missed this sweet froggy detective and this last entry in the trio of games has only made my pining stronger. Corruption At Cowboy County may be the final adventure in the Frog Detective trilogy, but it’s going out with a bang (get it because, like, cowboys and stuff). This time our favourite amphibian needs to solve the mystery of Cowboy County’s stolen hats which have disappeared from the heads of the locals. It’s quite the mystery, and together with its silly humour and a cast of socially awkward animal characters, this is a perfect finale for the iconic series. It’s out now over on Steam and Game Pass.
Dead Pets Unleashed
Dead Pets Unleashed is a slice-of-life adventure about a 30-something year old having a quarter-life crisis. Is that hitting too close to home? That description alone was the reason I picked up the demo last August and had a riot playing it. You play as Gordy, a bassist for punk rock band Dead Pets who are having their last stint at fame before they give up their guitar-thrashing dreams. You’ll need to help Gordy get her life together through story choices and mini-games including working a side hustle for cash, going on dates, appeasing pushy parents, and not pissing off your bandmates. No release date yet but you can play the free demo over on Steam and itch.io.
We’ve been banging on about the Terra Nil Steam demo for a while now and that’s because it's great! In this “reverse city-builder,” you need to bring life back to a desolate wasteland that’s been wrecked by humans (well done humans, typical stuff). To reconstruct this ecosystem, you need to plop down a variety of machines that will filter the water, clean the air, and cultivate the land leaving the surrounding environment pristine. It also looks gorgeous, and when you manage to clean an area, a wave of greenery will ripple out into the landscape - oh-so-satisfying.
A game where you get to beat the crap out of your exes? I’m in. Thirsty Suitors from Falcon Age developers Outerloop sees you playing as Jala, a young woman with a complicted love life who decides to amend her past romantic mistakes by battling her exes via over-the-top turn-based combat. It’s very Scot Pilgrim Vs The World but with a wider scope, as Jala also has to deal with family melodrama from her demanding parents and figure out her own insecurities (aka trying to get her shit together). I played the demo back in July and was surprised at how heartfelt the tone was underneath all the thirst jokes. There’s no release date for this one, but the demo is still available on Steam if you wanna check it out.
Colossal Cave - Reimagined by Roberta Williams
Announced back in March, Colossal Cave is a remake of the classic 1970s text adventure game of the same name, and it’s being remade by gaming pioneer Roberta Williams. She and her husband Ken are behind Sierra Entertainment, the game company behind 1980s retro classics like King’s Quest and Phantasmagoria. In Colossal Cave you'll be spelunking in a magical cavern searching for treasure and encountering trolls, dwarfs, bears, snakes, and apparently a very lost pirate. No release date yet, so expect something in 2023.
The showcase’s first world premiere was for Surmount by Jasper Oprel and Indiana-Jonas. This physics-based climbing game tasks you with climbing Mount Omn, the highest mountain in the world. As you would expect from a physics game, watching your rag-doll body flop around as you desperately grapple with the controls will always be funny, but with items and upgrades it looks like Surmount will make you cry with happiness rather than frustration. No release date for this one either, but you can check out the official game page here.
Graham described Gunbrella as a game that casts you as “a murderous Mary Poppins” and I couldn't agree more. This platformer sees you zipping around the world with the eponymous gunbrella, a powerful piece of kit that lets you glide, dash, and zipline through its levels. It also doubles as a powerful shotgun, which you’ll be using a lot in this dark, post-apocalyptic world. Playing as a nameless gruff protagonist, you've been tasked with investigating a local cult who have kidnapped the mayor and the town's citizens. This is another one that I’ve played the demo of (and absolutely loved) and you can read more about it in my entry in our Steam Next Fest demo round-up from October.
Evolutis: Duality looks like the very definition of a cyberpunk game: lots of violence, guns, drugs, neon alleys, murder, and vengeance. Tick, tick, tick. The story follows three characters. The first is Damon, a guy who’s searching for his pregnant wife, the second is Erick, who seeks vengeance for his cousin's death, and finally there's Chelsea, a wrestler trying to keep her father alive. The strange, choppy animation in the trailer certainly gives Evolutis an edge, but let’s hope that developers Poke Life Studio bring more nuance to the genre than what we've already seen before.
Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration
This game collection takes you through 50 years of Atari history all in one neat bundle. The collection is pretty chonky with 100 Atari games (plus six new ones) for you to dive into, including Asteroids, Tempest 200, and Yar’s Revenge. I’m not into retro gaming myself, but the fact that the bundle comes with mini-documentaries and interviews with designers and developers is pretty appealing. There are also product design documents and hi-res Atari artwork which is a great touch. If you're an Atari fan or just into retro gaming in general, Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration seems really cool, and you won’t have to wait that long to check it out as it’s out November 11th.
Day of the Devs also spotlighted two games that are being supported by the nonprofit Black Voices In Gaming, the first being Slime Heroes. I’m tired of wrangling slimes in Slime Rancher; I want to actually be an adorable slime. Pancake Games know what I’m on about with their new game Slime Heroes, an adorable souls-like that sees you exploring a vibrant world as a teeny-tiny ball of slime. The slime may be small, but they have pretty impressive powers, like forming a sword with their body and chopping up enemies, or blasting them with... slime breath? Ice breath? Something breath, anyway. No release date yet so let's hope it's sometime in 2023.
The second game in the Black Voices In Gaming segment was Samurai Zero. This PvP hack and slash is set in a world where samurai have been bestowed with supernatural abilities through bonds they share with ancient animal deities. The trailer is light on story, but we got to see some bombastic combat, which looks fast-paced with lots of wall-jumping and dashing. Characters include a mysterious automaton called Ryder, purple-haired, clan-member Luna, and ex-mercenary Wraith. You can find out more about Samurai Zero on the game’s Steam page.
Another world premiere for Day Of The Devs was Sunshine Shuffle, a game about a group of animals playing poker on a boat. This game isn’t just about trying to win one over against your pals at the table, but about hearing the player’s stories of how the group robbed a bank in the past and how they’re now wanted by the mob. Oops. You actually play real poker with the group, though, so if you’ve always wanted to learn, Sunshine Shuffle is the game for you.
What The Bat?
One morning you wake up and go to the bathroom to freshen up, but then as you go to turn the tap on you catch yourself in the mirror and see that your arms have been turned into baseball bats! How? When? Why? None of that matters in What The Bat?, a goofy VR game from the developers of What The Golf? The game is stuffed full of mini-games all about navigating life with a pair of baseball bats for hands and it looks hilarious. We also shouldn’t have to wait long to experience this usually nightmare inducing experience as What The Bat? will release sometimes in 2022.
Sea Of Stars
Last but certainly not least is Sea Of Stars, a turn-based pixel RPG that looks, frankly, super gorgeous. Straight away you can see echos of Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger in the art style but with much more detail, and the story sounds like it came straight out of the pages of a Square Enix game too. The story follows two ‘Children Of The Solstice’ who, with the combined powers of the sun and the moon, are on a quest to defeat an evil alchemist who's being a jerk. Sea of Stars was a great game to end the show on, and we can look forward to it releasing sometime in 2023.