I’m starting off with demos of games which appeared during all the different showcases during not-E3.
Midnight Fight Express: Cool brawler game. The levels are short (about 5 minutes each) and encourage replayability with a combination of getting S Ranks, and several mini objectives. The third level takes place on a train which plays really well with a new mechanic introduced there.
A Little to the Left: This is just as pleasant as what they showed on stream. The puzzles of placing everything in its aesthetically pleasing place starts off simple and gets a bit trickier, and I found some difficulty with a couple of the alternate solutions.
Roots of Pachta: Prehistoric Stardew-like. I went through the full 8 days in the demo to see what the “Objective” is (which I know some people don’t care to engage in and just play freely). In Stardew it was rebuilding the community centre by delivering all matter of items via the bundles. Here it is a cave system where you meet some sort of animal spirit who has a puzzle for you to solve. I only managed to get two because getting through each chamber requires you mining a random number of rocks until the door opens. No currency, but there is a Contribution score, which functions the same way in delivering farmed items and using it for buying upgrades.
How to Say Goodbye: A puzzle game where you are moving floor tiles that are connected invisibly in a conveyor belt type of way. Interested in seeing how the mechanics are built out over the course of the game, so far they’ve put in moving two pieces at the same time and moving blocks that obstruct your way. Also has a rotating triangular cursor which looks cool. Can’t say much about the game’s theme of dealing with grief with what they have so far, but I’m optimistic.
There is No Light: Pixel art action game in a dark and dreary underground world, packed with gore. The beginning is kind of boring, since you only have a sword and have no special attacks (not to mention a tired old kidnapped family setup) nut eventually they open up a skill tree and additional weapons. I think the encouraged playstyle is to swap between weapons; the greatsword and fists both have cooldowns after activating a special, at which point you swap to the basic sword. You can however just stick with the sword for the most part. There are a couple of tricky encounters just because of how much enemies they throw at you, as well as all the particle effects and screen shake that comes with it. Beat the boss of the demo on my second try though. There’s also some sort of morality system that is affected by how you answer NPCs questions, although it feels a bit shallow. They nail it on aesthetic and worldbuilding however.
The Unliving: An RTS where you control a single necromancer directly with WASD and then raise the enemies you kill as your zombie army, directed by the right mouse button. I don’t have a lot of experience with these types of games, I don’t know if micro is the right term, but I struggled hard and died pretty quickly, and the long loading times were enough for me to give up. On the plus side, the base citadel you end up at when you die basically has a spell tree etched into the floor. More skill trees and the like represented physically in the world please.
Moonscars: 2D action game similar to Hollow Knight-like in the manner that you have a meter which you can spend for either healing or attack magic. There is a very satisfying parry attack because you do a wide sweep in front of you when you hit it, damaging everyone in front of you, and sometimes knocking people into spikes. You eventually get a choice of special weapons that deal status effects like a hammer that causes stun. If you don’t get to your grave after you die, it makes the enemies stronger, with the payoff being you get more souls for use in buying skills. Absolutely gorgeous visuals, I’ll be keeping an eye on this one.
Beneath Oresa: A roguelike deckbuilder where you’re controlling a warrior delving into a dungeon of some sort. Attacks are presented with your 3D character moving and swinging their sword in slow motion with dynamic camera angles rather than a side-on view or top down. I like the vibe of going through these depths with a companion, just wish there was some dialogue between them. I’d love to see how the final product turns out, because there are a lot of systems teased that aren’t available that have piqued my interest.