There was a LOT on this weekend in terms of indie games showcases.
We had the Guerilla Collective Showcase, the Wholesome Direct, the GamesRadar Future Games Show, the Future of Play Direct, and the PC Gaming Show. Those first four showcases were all on Sunday, and that’s a lot of content to go through considering the shortest of these showcases is half an hour long and the longest is about two and a half hours long.
This is the reality of an E3-less world. Without one big event, we are served with lots of little events. The thing is, they’re not little! They’re really quite big! It’s hard to navigate!
Naturally, we decided to watch them all like the sick little freaks we are and pick out some of our favourite announcements from the shows to show to you. Taking into account just how chunky these events were, we whittled them all down to top threes for each show, as well as links to the full showcases if you want to go through them yourself.
The third annual Guerilla Collective showcase was the first indie showcase to stream live on Sunday, at an eye-watering 1:00 a.m. AEST. The livestream offered up 40 new trailers and game announcements to choose from, making a top 3 very difficult (never fear, Ari covered it all). That being said, that’s not even the most being shown in a single showcase on this list, so we have to laugh. Going on, here are our top picks.
Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga
This bad boy is a Fire Emblem-esque title that boasts 50 different classes to make up your troops and simple but clean graphics that harken back to the old days of turn-based strategy games. There’s also a giant lady in it, which we love, and it is out right now. Wahoo!
Taking us back to classic survival horror, Signalis looks deeply terrifying and oh-so-good. The retro look and feel of this game is nostalgic as hell, and somehow makes it even scarier. We now have a release date of October 27th 2022 for Signalis, and it’ll be coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One (including Game Pass), and PC (demo out now).
Time on Frog Island
Can you tell this one is a personal favourite of mine? I truly love everything about Time on Frog Island. Do favours for frogs, and fix your ship. It’s been known about for a while, but we now have a release date of July 12th, 2022 and a confirmed physical release for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
The cutest showcase of the lot, the Wholesome Direct from Wholesome Games, came after the Guerilla Showcase at an equally rough 2:30 a.m. AEST. Usually a very chilled-out showcase, this season’s Wholesome Direct showed off over 90 different games. That is… so many. Good grief. However, I have a lot of love for Wholesome Games and what they do, so I’m glad to see them going absolutely buck wild. Here are our top picks!
Little Bear Chef
While Little Bear Chef is not out this year, I say with confidence that 2022 is the year of the bear if this, the next game, and the announcement of Bear and Breakfast coming out this year is anything to go by. Imagine if Remy from Ratatouille was a sentient bear-shaped honey container with no human man to control. He even makes ratatouille in the trailer, which feels deliberate. Coming to PC and consoles in 2023.
I freakin’ told you, babes! Wholesome Direct understands that it is the year of the bear! LumbearJack is another bear-related game that I’ve been very excited for, where you play a bear on a mission to return nature to its former glory and destroy the man-made machines that scorn the Earth. It’s wacky, it’s fun, it’s a bear with an axe, and it’s out RIGHT NOW on Nintendo Switch and PC!
The Spirit and the Mouse
This title was announced at 2020’s Wholesome Direct, and had gameplay shown off at last year’s Wholesome Snack. As I said last time, The Spirit and the Mouse is like if Remy from Ratatouille were a magical electrician, but why can’t I stop making Ratatouille references? What sort of hold does that talented rat have on my psyche? The coolest thing about this one is that The Spirit and the Mouse now has a demo available on Steam, and a planned release for this year.
GamesRadar Future Games Show
GamesRadar’s Future Games Show was hosted by Denise Gough and Doug Cockle (Yennefer and Geralt from The Witcher 3), and was an absolute banger of a showcase streamed at the more or less reasonable time of 3:00 a.m. AEST. Honestly, all five of these showcases and the rest of the indie showcases made the official Summer Game Fest look… very average. Anywho, this one was also hard to choose favourites for, so we really did our best here with three very different games, and one of them is from an Australian developer!
Why is a bedsheet so scary to me? Why?! Luto is a psychological horror title first announced last year. Now we’ve got a in-game trailer, and it has shaken me to my core. Very clearly PT-inspired with some of the best cloth physics I’ve ever seen, Luto is coming to PlayStation and PC this year.
It’s a Pikmin-like. It’s a Paper Mario-like. It’s the combination of a Pikmin-like and a Paper Mario-like. Does it get more Wholesome Direct than a wacky genre mashup? I think you’ll find that it does not. Tinykin makes you a 2D guy called Milo and puts you in a 3D world, and hands you a whole bunch of ‘tinykin’, little guys to lead on your journey. It is, in fact, a little guy game. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and it’s coming out August 30th, 2022 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC. You can play the demo on Steam right now.
Dinkum isn’t just an Aussie-made game, it is thoroughly an Australian game. I’m not only excited, I’m obsessed. Developed by James Bendon, Dinkum is a gorgeous farming sim inspired by the wild Australian outback. From the animals to the plants to even the character attire, this game is a love letter to the beauty of outback Australia. You can wishlist it on Steam now, with the game hitting early access on July 14th, 2022.
Future of Play
Future of Play Direct came back for its third annual showcase, and was the last Sunday showcase to air at the latest-but-still-very-early time of 3:30 a.m. AEST. There were a lot of new gameplay trailers for games previously announced as well as new DLC announcements, but these three take the cake for both their content and what we learned. Here we go!
Hill Agency: PURITYdecay
Love to see a noir-style RPG. Hill Agency: PURITYdecay has you exploring a mostly black-and-white world, interrogating people you meet and gathering evidence to crack da freakin’ case, baybee! Visually delicious and a return to the age of L.A. Noire, this one’s coming out on PC on August 31st, 2022.
Honestly, just watching this trailer calms me deeply. From the makers of Golf Peaks and inbento comes Railbound, a train-based puzzle game where you must help everybody get home by connecting the rails in a bunch of different puzzles to lead the trains towards the right path. Simple yet satisfying, and there’s something deeply soothing about the music mixed with the soft sound of a train horn. Choo choo, I say. Railbound is coming to PC, mobile and consoles in September 2022.
Psychroma is easily one of the most visually-fascinating games I’ve seen out of all these showcases. I’m getting hints of everything in a really good way. The Artful Escape, WORLD OF HORROR, Detention, and even NextDoor. Just the trailer made me incredibly stressed, and I’m not even mad about it. No release date for this one except for a Q3 2023 window, but you can wishlist it on Steam.
PC Gaming Show
And finally, The PC Gaming Show. They gave us a rest on Sunday, as this bad boy aired after the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase on Monday, specifically at the most reasonable time of 5:00 a.m. AEST. This showcase had a little something for everyone, and was surprisingly difficult to choose a top three for. Nevertheless, we did it. Here are our picks.
Rotwood is a 1-4 player rogue-like dungeon crawler with an absolutely gorgeous art style. Seriously, this game is pure eye-candy and it looks like a hell of a lot of fun too! This one comes from Klei Entertainment, the creators of Don’t Starve, so it’s unsurprising that it looks so good. No release date for this one, but we assume it’ll be coming to early access soon. You can wishlist it on Steam.
I honestly feel like Decarnation was hidden a bit under everything in the showcase, which upsets me because I’m obsessed with it. I’m sure we all know by now that I’m a big fan of Junji Ito’s work, and this game feels like such an ode to the body horror he creates that I’m surprised he wasn’t directly involved. Decarnation shows that you don’t need the most hyper-realistic graphics to make something truly unnerving, you just need a keen eye for detail. Coming 2023.
Half-Life Alyx: LEVITATION
Can you believe one of the biggest reveals of this showcase is actually a fan-made mod? On top of that, can you believe that something so ridiculously polished like this isn’t an official Valve release? Half-Life Alyx: Levitation is a user-made mod being developed by Corey Laddo and FMPONE, and is expected to release in the third quarter of 2022. It will be free for anyone who owns the game and will be available in the Steam Workshop. Chefs kiss.