This year marks the tenth anniversary of Double Fine and iam8bit’s Day of the Devs indie showcase, and organisers are celebrating that milestone this Saturday, 5th November, with a big in-person event. Ahead of that, though, we got a taste of some of the titles that’ll be in attendance courtesy of a brand-new Day of the Devs livestream. You’ll find everything that got an airing – some of it new, some of it not – detailed below, but if anything takes your fancy, it’s worth checking out the livestream, which contains plenty of new footage from each game.
Mina the Hollower
Mina the Hollower is Shovel Knight developer Yacht Club Games’ latest retro-inspired project, a challenging action-adventure RPG inspired by the Game Boy Colour. Landing somewhere between Link’s Awakening and Bloodborne, it’s “a bone chilling new adventure” starring a whip-wielding inventor mouse whose attacks are intentionally slow – meaning spacing and timing is crucial during combat. Mina also has a signature burrowing technique preventing her from being damaged when underground, and an upgrade system that requires collecting bones from defeated enemies to level up different skills. There’s no release date for Mina the Hollower yet, but it’s currently “deep in development”.
Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley
We’ve seen plenty of developer Hyper Games’ gorgeous Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley before, but the cosy musical adventure got another airing in tonight’s Day of the Devs livestream. It sees players exploring the titular valley, meeting characters, and helping them solve their problems in order to restore harmony and balance to the world. The hope, says Hyper Games, is that Moomin creator Tove Jansson’s “magical Nordic atmosphere” will shine through. Expect to see this one at some point in 2023.
Escape Academy: Escape from Anti-Escape Island
Escape from Anti-Escape Island is the first DLC expansion for developer Coin Crew Games’ enjoyable puzzler Escape Academy. This time around, players are whisked to the titular island – a summer vacation paradise – for more escape room action. It launches on 10th November for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.
Frog Detective 3: Corruption at Cowboy County
Frog Detective 3 is the final instalment in developer Worm Club’s acclaimed sleuthing series, this time whisking its titular hero to the Wild West where a brand-new mystery is waiting to be solved. All the hats in Cowboy County have gone missing and players will need to question suspects, find clues, and do a spot of scootering to discover who’s responsible. Frog Detective 3 is out now on Xbox, PC, and Game Pass.
Dead Pets Unleashed
The latest project from Welcome to Elk developer Triple Topping Games, Dead Pets Unleashed is a “feminist narrative and management life game about punk music, friendship, and growing up”. Players take on the role of Gordy as they attempt to shape the future of their struggling demon punk band – which is floundering as its members turn 30 and their lives begins to get in the way. Its story – which touches on some difficult themes – primarily unfolds through conversations with characters, broken up by mini-games, and sees players attempting to balance the band’s success with Gordy’s mental wellbeing. There’s no release date yet, but it’s coming Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and PC – and a demo’s available on Steam right now.
Terra Nil, from developer Free Lives, is a “reverse city builder” that challenges players to revive a barren wasteland, turning it into a thriving ecosystem and then removing any trace of their involvement so wildlife can be re-homed. At first, this’ll involve building windmills to power facilities that can be used to cleanse soil and prepare for irrigation – needed to rejuvenate plants and grass. However, things get much more challenging as players turn their attention to creating mangroves, swamplands, rain forests, and more. Terra Nil comes to Steam early next year and will also launched simultaneously on mobile via Netflix’s app.
Outerloop Games’ Thirsty Suitors – an action-adventure RPG about “immigrant culture, resolving relationships, family pressure, and expressing oneself” – casts players as Jala, who returns to her hometown of Timber Lake after wrecking relationships with her family, friends, and exes.
Fixing Jala’s messy life involves an unlikely blend of activities, with players battling exes in turn-based combat, skating, cooking, and shaping the outcome through narrative choices. Thirsty Suitors is coming “soon” to Switch, Playstation, Xbox, PC, and Game Pass.
Readers of a certain age may remember Colossal Cave, an early text-based adventure from the 70s that would inspire a generation of developers – including Kings Quest creator Roberta Williams, who cites the game as a key inspiration for her first adventure Mystery House. And now Roberta Williams – alongside husband Ken – is reimagining Colossal Cave for modern audiences, with fully 3D visuals and VR support. One of the neat things about the footage shown is that, despite now having actual graphics, all the original text remains – fully narrated as players arrive at new locations or examine objects. Colossal Cave will release on Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, the Epic Games Store and Meta at some unknown future point.
Surmount is a physics-based mountain climbing game from developer duo Jasper & Jonas that casts players as a “little climber on a huge adventure”. Ropes, plungers, telporters, and other assorted tools can be deployed to navigate Surmount’s blend of procedural and handmade levels in order to reach the summit, and there’s a cast of interesting characters to meet – and perhaps secrets to uncover – along the way. Surmount’s control scheme is said to be accessible but adaptable enough to let pros pull off some “pretty sick moves”, and there’s also two-player co-op climbing with a friend. It launches in 2023.
Doinksoft’s “noir-punk action-adventure” Gunbrella stars a gruff, bearded woodsman hellbent on revenge. It’s a mission that’ll take players – armed with a gun that doubles as an umbrella (in case it wasn’t clear from the title) – deep into a murky world of cults, corporate greed, and even the supernatural. It’s coming to Switch and PC next year.
Poke Life Studio’s story driven action-adventure Evolutis: Duality is a bit of a visual stunner, combining rotoscoping and hand-drawn animation to tell three dark, intertwined tales in the ’80s-anime inspired city of Neo Hong Kong. One of those tales follows Chelsea Williams, a world-renowned wrestler struggling with losses and loneliness, whose only trusted companion is her pet cat Oliver. Evolutis’ Day of the Devs showing included a glimpse at some side-scrolling stealth infiltration gameplay, with Poke Life explaining outcomes of combat can impact Chelsea’s life and even the city. It’ll be out on Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, and PC next year.
Slime Heroes, by Pancake Games, is an action-RPG where you play as an adorable slime caught in a world consumed by a dark corruption. As players explore the map – taking in the sights from snowy tundra to overgrown jungles – they’ll encounter mini-dungeon-style ancient ruins containing puzzles to solve, as well ample enemies and boss-like corrupted ancient guardians. Besting the creatures will require the use of Slime Heroes’ various gooey melee weapons, including swords, spears, and hammers – each featuring their own moves to master – as well as special skills gained from consuming skill gems. These can be mixed and matched and grant access to the likes of fireballs, meteors, and whirlwinds. Slime Heroes is coming “soon”.
At the a-lot-more-stabby end of the spectrum is Neo Interactive’s PvP-focused hack-and-slasher Samurai Zero – in which players, cast as super-powered samurais in a science-fantasy universe, battle each other for ultimate supremacy. Each samurai has their own attack strings and combos, and additional unique talents – which last until the end of a match – can be acquired between rounds by spending points earned from eliminating enemies and completing objectives. Modes will include 1v1 duals, 3v3 Elimination, and the objective-based Control when Samurai Zero eventually arrives.
Strange Scaffold’s Sunshine Shuffle looks to be just as wonderfully oddball as its previous games, An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs and Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator. In Sunshine Shuffle – which is loosely inspired by Telltale Games’ Poker Night at the Inventory – players step into the shoes of a private detective investigating a huge bank heist perpetrated by a bunch of adorable animals years before. Mob money is involved somehow, but to get to the bottom of it all, players will need to interview the animals over games of poker. On a boat. Sunshine Shuffle comes to Steam on 6th December.
What the Bat?
If it’s irreverent, almost-sport action you’re after, then What the Bat? – from What the Golf? developer Triband – looks to have you more than covered. It’s a VR affair where players must navigate protagonist Betty’s everyday life, completing familiar tasks such as making breakfast, brushing their teeth, playing pinball, going into space, and challenging elephants to games of basketball. The twist, however, is that Betty was born with baseball bats for hands, complicating matters considerably. Triband calls What the Bat? a “game about life in the way that life and baseball is very similar”, and it’s coming to Meta Quest 2 and Steam this year.
Sea of Stars
And finally, another glimpse of developer Sabotage’s eagerly awaited turn-based RPG Sea of Stars. Set in same universe as the studio’s acclaimed The Messenger and inspired by classic SNES adventures, it follows the story of two Children of the Solstice as they battle the monstrous creations of an evil alchemist. It features exploration, dungeon crawling with simple puzzles, even mini-games, but Sabotage says the focus is on maintaining the story’s momentum, meaning minimal grinding. It’s due to launch on PC and consoles some time next year.