Waypoint Weeklies: Indie Games @ E3

Between the Xbox and Nintendo Indie Showcases, and the smaller presentations like Day of the Devs and the Wholesome Direct, a lot of great indie games are shown off at E3 and often slip from the headlines in favor of the biggest new games.

Throughout the week, let’s highlight the best trailers and previews for smaller games. Whether its art style, mechanics, or story caught your eye - share the games that the rest of us may have missed.

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I was immediately hooked by what I saw of Planet of Lana

Gorgeous artstyle and adorable cat thing aside, I’m very into this idea of a child’s perspective of a boots on the ground invasion of a much more technologically advanced, imperial, force. This is an extremely high bar, but I got major Come and See vibes

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Death’s Door is from the devs of Titan Souls, which I quite liked, but in this game… you play as a crow who reaps the souls of the dead. Good stuff.

Also, I’m not super into colony sim city builders like Frostpunk, but I do love the look of The Wandering Village. A town on a giant’s back, and the art for the buildings is really nice. You can imagine a late game town that just looks lovely.

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I will never pass up an opportunity to tell people to check out Unbeatable, the slick 2-button rhythm game with a big Studio Trigger vibe. It’s fun as hell, and the music they’ve shown so far is so damn good. There’s also a “White Label” demo out now on Steam that showcases some of the game’s narrative elements that I recommend checking out if this sounds even remotely interesting. Also, the developer D-Cell games just opened up a Slacker Backer campaign today for anyone who wants to support the development effort but missed the original Kickstarter.

Gotta give a shout out to another game with rhythm game elements–A Musical Story. Really digging the presentation on this one, from the art style to the way the rhythm mechanics works less like a beat-matching challenge and more like a tool for creative expression almost? This one also has a demo available now on Steam.

And for my non-rhythm game pick, Soup Pot. I don’t think I’ve ever played a cooking sim, but something about the look of this one really makes me wanna try it out. Maybe it’s cause I especially like a good soup??

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Vokabulantis got me really interested. I’ve always been a sucker for stop motion animation, but there is something about the way this game looks that also is reminding me of early computer graphics pc games that is making me feel weirdly nostalgic.

Loot River is a game I once saw a clip of on twitter but since forgot the name of until it showed up in Day of the Devs. I’m really interested in seeing how this game pans out, because manipulating the environment to affect how the enemies have to approach you seems really cool, but I’m also just curious to see how they tune the enemy encounters so that it’s not always the best to just run away.

Soup Pot was brought up earlier, but I also find that game weirdly tantalizing despite never putting much time into cooking games before. I feel like the main reason I would want to try that game is because I have a soup pot but almost never use it, so the recipes in that game just seems like something that I could actually try and make myself afterwards, unlike how I feel every other cooking game I’ve looked at presents me with ingredients or cookware that I will never own.

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Didn’t know Tribeca was doing a games showcase, but honestly, it might be the best one so far. Good pace, cool games. My highlights:

Signalis is a pretty neat, atmospheric looking pixel sci-fi horror game. Also, I guess Tribeca got Guillermo del Toro to introduce it which must be cool for the devs.

Norco reninds me a bit of Gabriel Knight, but some of the mechanical stuff seems more complex. It’s set in the titular town in Louisiana.

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The Wholesome Direct stream has had a lot of cute stuff so far, and I loved the look of the controls in Skatebird. There was a cute tea making game called Pekoe, I think? Paralives still looks excellent. There’s a LOT of games so I will update once more trailers are up online.

Here’s one I thought looked really good, Yokai Inn.

edit after show: I cannot link all of the trailers I liked because there were Quite A Few, so a few quick ones: Cloud Jumper looks like a fun airship game, I love this sorta A Short Hike-ish pixely 3D look; Sally looks like it could be a sweet adventure story; Loddlenaut is a sea trash cleaning game where you can have a lil guy that looks like an axolotl follow you around; Teacup seems like it could be very lovely, I love how the animals look; Passpartout 2! Also there was a queer Match-3 game I missed the title for, but I liked the look of.

Amber Isle has cute dinosaur villagers. I love dinosaurs (and I’m not just saying that to keep the taxi driver in Road 96 from losing it at me).

Dordogne has such good art, I love this.

Witchy Life Story has very cute designs, and I think of the handful of witchcraft themed games I’ve seen, this one I vibe with the most. (Though many of them look good, too.)

Also, that Lego game looks exactly how I’d want a Lego game to look.

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Devolver Digital funny gruesome corporate parody notes. July 20th for Death’s Door! And Trek to Yomi is getting called “2D Ghost of Tsushima,” fair enough, but honestly it looks much more committed to the Kurosawa style. From the Shadow Warrior devs, I think?

There was a neat looking retro bullet hell game, too, but I think it is only like… limited physical release? Seems bad, even if the game looks good.

WIZARD WITH A GUN is a pretty excellent name for a game

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Yeah, Trek to Yomi looks like playing a Kurosawa movie, not just a grayscale filter on top of a standard 3D action game.

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Wizard with a Gun looks like fun, and the title is :kissing_heart: :ok_hand:

Oh, and I found that cool queer Match-3, it’s called Spirit Swap (lofi beats to match-3 to). Adore these character designs.

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Fuck, I missed Trek to Yomi. I want to play that game now.

I’ve been playing the Unbeatable [White Label] demo all day and it absolutely rules. Probably going to buy the soundtrack now too. Going to second recommending this to anyone who’s even slightly interested in it.

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It’s a bit harder to tell what’s an indie at the Xbox conference since they are not showing studio logos on the end splash screen, but Replaced seems to fit the bill and looks like it could be cool.

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Wartales, believe this is from the Northgard studio? Isometric turn-based strategy, which I like more than RTS so I’m interested to see more of this even if it’s not the kind of medieval aesthetic I like best.

Really love the look of this city builder/… marriage sim?, Lakeburg Legacies.

Gloomwood gameplay weeeeeeww. Thief with Guuuuuuns.

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Citizen Sleeper looks pretty rad, and I love to roll me some dice.

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Dang, I was just looking for that trailer to post it. This looks really cool.

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Is anyone else watching the Future Games show? I’m finding it fairly underwhelming so far. And a few of these have looked pretty bad (Happy Game).

Yeah, I think I’d be more enthusiastic if I didn’t have to hear Troy Baker reading bad jokes between each game, but there’s not been much new here. “Jurassic World Evolution 2… has a Triceratops!”

(Happy Game looks very mid-2000s humour, and it made me want to die. :slight_smile: )

But, hey, Minute of Islands is out. That game has a nice look.

eta: Why is Geralt talking about rats?