The stellar lineup of indie games from all corners of the globe that we saw at Tokyo Game Show 2022 proves that not all that glitters is AAA. Here are some that caught our eye and are ones to consider playing or wishlisting as we wait with bated breath for their drop.
Rogue-likes have been all the rage recently, but some interesting ‘half and half’ combinations keep an arguably tired genre fresh. Cuisineer by Battle Brew Productions is one such hybrid that has its developers touting the game as ‘Hades meets Diner Dash’. Players play as cat-girl, Pom as she returns to her hometown to take on the family restaurant, which comes with the added necessity of dungeon crawling to obtain her cooking ingredients.
“We [The studio] game together a fair bit, and some like games like Stardew Valley and casual management sims, [while] the other half love hack and slash games. Why not try our hand at fusion cooking?”, says Shawn Toh, Co-Founder and CEO of Battle Brew Productions.
What truly drew us to this food-focused game was the way Cuisneer has incorporated lesser-known South East Asian dishes such as ice kacang and chicken rice in a fantasy world, an homage to the developer’s Singaporean roots. The art style for Cuisineer is also simply mouthwatering, we can’t wait to order up once it’s available end of Summer 2023.
Clash of the titans has an all-new meaning with this kaiju-themed arena brawling game by Passion Republic Games. Choose from a roster of 10 titan or titan-hunting mecha characters and take to the streets to bash it out. Fight styles not only differ between characters but leverage the arena such as being able to beat one another with radio towers or throwing opponents right into oozing lava. The game also offers a variety of game modes for single, local multiplayer and online PVP.
Inspiration for GigaBash stemmed from the developers’ background. As a Malaysia-based company, movies and tv shows such as King Kong, Godzilla, Ultraman and Power Rangers were all part of their collective childhood. One specific kaiju, Rohanna, is also based on the hibiscus, Malaysia’s national flower with its name derived from the word ‘roh’ (‘spirit’ in the Malay) and ‘hana’ (‘flower’ in Japanese) to make the words ‘Flower Spirit’.
GigaBash also announced a collaboration with Godzilla IP (Toho Co., Ltd) during Tokyo Game Show 2022 and exciting updates are expected to follow. In the meantime, GigaBash is already out on Steam, Epic Games and PlayStation 4 and 5 stores.
My Lovely Wife
How far would you go for love? My Lovely Wife by GameChanger Studios answers this question through its unique blend of succubi dating, management and alchemy simulation. Play as Jake, a grieving widower who discovers the ability to raise succubi. To unlock their true power, he must romance them before sacrificing them in a ritual to bring his wife back.
Succubi can be managed by putting them to work at brothels but it’s through romancing them that players can get to know their personalities and discover their individual backstories, making it all the more heart-wrenching when it comes to decision-making time. Such a macabre story is told beautifully through a remarkably gothic art style and an eerie soundtrack to really set the mood. My Lovely Wife reshapes and recontextualises the idea of grief and romance in one of the most unexpected settings. Published by Neon Doctrine, the game is out now on Steam.
Pastry Panic (with cat)
In a multi-hall space housing thousands of games, there wasn’t anything quite like Pastry Panic (with cat), a game built around a university research project involving haptic feedback. The objective of the game is to create as many pastries as possible along two conveyor belts, similar to cooking simulation games such as Cooking Mama and Overcooked. What sets it apart is one man designer and developer Zhen Zhou Yong’s completely custom-built controller challenges a player’s ability to manage multiple input slides, each with different haptic feedback.
‘[The game concept] evolved to include trying to challenge the player in real life, physically (dexterity, etc), after I did some research on other alternative controllers, and thought something interesting about them was how when you made a controller, you could also design how the player interacted with the game in real life, as well as in the game,’
The release date for Pastry Panic (with cat) is still pending, considering the nature and beauty of the game revolves around having the physical controller. Potential options that Yong is thinking of are a physical arcade release, a Kickstarter, a boardgame with a digital component or transferring the game to more conventional controllers. Pastry Panic (with cat) was the recipient of two awards for Tokyo Game Show’s Sense of Wonder Night for Best Technological Game Award and Best Presentation Award.
No Place For Bravery
The premise of No Place For Bravery, Glitch Factory’s latest 2D top-down action RPG, might seem simple enough. The main character, Thorn, is a retired warrior who embarks on a quest through dangerous Dewr to save Leaf, his lost daughter. But beneath the game’s fast-paced and punishing combat against colossal foes and roving gangs, belies a deeper story that sits at the core of the developers’ Brazilian heritage.
“As born-and-bred Brazilians, Glitch Factory wish to present a particular reflection of our lived experiences, where father figures often exhibit traits of highly toxic masculinity and leave behind far-reaching consequences upon the family unit and wider society.”
Tactful gameplay is rewarded as players dodge, utilise stamina efficiently and are able to quickly react to slight openings within an enemy’s defence. Decisive parries and counters are also a mainstay of the combat, which the Glitch developers say are a nod towards Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Embark on Thorn’s odyssey, a tale of redemption, parental love and fragility set against the backdrop of highly detailed pixel art and beautiful hand-painted textures. No Place for Bravery, published by Ysbyrd Studios will be available on Steam on September 22nd 2022.
Gibbon: Beyond The Trees
A beautiful game with a sobering message about deforestation, poaching and climate change just about sums up Gibbon: Beyond the Trees by Austrian developers, Broken Rules. Play through the adventures of a lost gibbon as it embarks on travels from treetops to a Bornean village to a bustling city through brachiation, the art of swinging from branch to branch at high speed. The dynamic movement within the game is based on real-life gibbon movement and encourages players to master thrilling acrobatic moves against a stunning backdrop that really captures the spirit of the untamed wildlife.
Two game modes are available, liberation mode which allows full swinging freedom and story mode which unfolds an hour-long narrative about the struggles of animals living in an environmentally hazardous world. The visuals are 2D hand-painted illustrations based on Southeast Asia. While the studio admits to taking creative liberties, Gibbon is still heavily informed and based on real-world issues. For this reason, Broken Rules made the game in collaboration with locals and experts from the region to ensure the subject matter was handled respectfully and accurately with appropriate representation. Gibbon is out now on Steam, Apple Arcade and Nintendo Switch.
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