The Day of the Devs presentation after Summer Game Fest featured some indie games to watch out for in the near future. Indie games provide more creative experiences, and if you’re looking for something that’s not your typical AAA action-adventure title, these smaller games are ready to fill in the void.
We were fortunate enough to try out three Day of the Devs games during our time at Summer Game Fest: Viewfinder, Hauntii, and Beastieball. Though our 30-minute playtime was a bit too short to render a detailed preview, it provided some strong impressions of what these titles are like.
Of the three Day of the Devs games we played, we were treated to a good variety of action, sports, and a puzzler/walking simulator. We will be breaking down our hands-on impressions with these three Day of the Devs games individually, their unique gameplay, and what to watch out for in the future.
If there was a hidden gem amongst the Day of the Devs games, we would be more than happy to award it to Viewfinder. It is an intriguing first-person puzzle title that gives off some strong Manifold Garden meets Maquette vibes. It encourages exploration, creativity, trial-and-error, and above all a semblance of accessibility as it is a puzzle game that does not make it difficult for the audience.
The point is simple, players can bring pictures to life by placing them in the world, reshaping reality. In our brief playthrough of Viewfinder, we enter the puzzle stage searching for loose polaroid photos that we can utilize to solve puzzles to make it to the next area. In one instance, we had to search for three batteries to power a device to open a portal to the next area. The first two batteries were straightforward affairs, but for the third one, we had to think out of the box in order to solve.
One thing about the game is how it offers players many ways to solve challenges. The third battery could be claimed by simply entering the photo and picking it up, but another approach sees players tilting the photo to make the battery fall from it’s place and picking it up then.
There were other straightforward puzzles where we can use photos to cross unreachable areas. We can tilt and rotate the objects in the photo to create a bridge so we can cross the chasm. The moment we place the photo, the image manifests, connecting both worlds.
We can imagine that the puzzles will become more challenging from here, and the game provides a rewind function that makes it so players do not get overly frustrated, providing a friendly environment to allow ease of play and ultimately be enjoyable rather than annoying.
We were told that later in the game, players will be able to pick up a camera and take photos to use in solving these puzzles, offering another way of making progress. In combination with the photos scattered around the world, the game gives players creative tools to conquer the many puzzles that lie ahead.
Developed by Sad Owl Studios and published by Thunderful Games; a familiar name came up alongside the rest of the developer team, who is none other than Business Director, Gwen Foster. She’s no stranger to the Day of the Devs showcase as she’s also worked on another title: Chickon Club’s Soup Pot. Foster is also a well-known personality in the local game development scene.
Viewfinder launches on July 19, 2023 for the PS5 and PC.
Day of the Devs usually features stylized titles with a unique visual look. Hauntii, developed by Moonloop Games and published by Firestoke, sports charming hand-drawn art that tells the story of a ghost in the afterlife. They have a unique ability to “haunt”, giving them the ability to possess different items to progress. It is a twin-stick puzzle shooter that intrigued me when I watched the developer video.
What makes Hauntii stand out is the ability of the player to haunt certain items and objects in the game, each providing a different effect that can help players proceed. One of the more common objects to haunt are shrub-like objects that provide currency. Another structure that I haunted allowed me to shoot a stronger spectral blast, which was perfect for eliminating groups of enemies.
We didn’t get far enough to haunt other objects or encounter other enemy types, so it’s really difficult to make a definitive judgment at this point as to how creative things can get. One thing for sure is that the visuals are unique and are gorgeous. We can’t wait to see more of this title in future demos or gameplay videos.
Hauntii is slated to launch in 2024 for PC and consoles.
Beastieball was another standout title during the Day of the Devs presentation, and is developed by Wishes Unlimited and published by Klei Entertainment. If the art style appears familiar, Wishes Unlimited previously developed Chicory and Wandersong, titles with vibrant visuals.
This game is Pokemon meets Haikyuu, where you have your beasties play turn-based volleyball against each other where they will form relationships with their partners and rivals.
Cutesy cozy games are definitely a Day of the Devs staple, and Beastieball is a straightforward and simple concept to get behind. Your beasties will face off against rival teams and as the game progresses, your beasties will improve their stats based on their affinity with their partners. They can become rivals or even sweethearts depending on their progression.
Beasties have different skills and they can be a better attacker or defender and potentially build different duos for specific opponents. In this case, you’ll be able to collect different beasties for every occasion. This creates a potentially addictive collectible game that will be fun for everyone.
Beastieball is coming soon and is currently on Kickstarter.
And that’s a wrap! What are your favorites from the Day of the Devs showcase? Lets us know in the comments below!