Five Cool Games We Played At Days Of The Devs
Day of the Devs is an annual event held by Doublefine where the indie developer tries to help highlight other indie developers. It is, in essence, a Woodstock of indie games, complete with a big stage and drinks.
We wanted to do a quick a roundup of some of the games we played at the show and some things you might want to keep on your radar in the future.
Developer: White Paper Games
Estimated Release: 2018
One of the most interesting games I played at the show, The Occupation puts you in the shoes of a British journalist circa 1990. A major terrorist attack has shaken the United Kingdom, leading to major legislation similar to the U.S. Patriot Act being enacted. You have been invited to a security base to conduct interviews and see the changes for yourself.
As a journalist, you can choose how you handle this opportunity. You can choose to sit and interview the people you have been told you can talk to, you can sneak around the building and avoid security, you can walk out in the middle of an interview and let the person think you’re rude, or do a mixture of all of these.
In my playthrough, I immediately chose to sneak around and, in the process of navigating my way through the building, found myself traversing through vents in the building. I pored over documents until a guard politely told me I shouldn’t be there. I tested his patience until he escorted me back downstairs forcefully, but the developers explained I could simply walk away from him and avoid the confrontation altogether.
I am very fascinated by the idea of The Occupation and am excited to follow its development.
Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy
Developer: Bennett Foddy
Estimated Release: December
The follow-up to QWOP, Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy has you taking the role of an at least half-naked man sitting in a cauldron who needs to get up the side of a mountain using only a pickaxe and physics. It is amazingly fun to watch, incredibly frustrating to play, and is the only successor to QWOP I can possibly imagine.
The game is entirely mouse-controlled, with fast movements giving you more momentum but less control and slow, deliberate movements being more accurate but not nearly as funny. Additionally, whether you’re using the axe side or the pole side of your climbing utensil matters when getting up the mountain. The pole side is better for bouncing yourself up, while the axe lets you pivot better.
This is all academic, however, because none of it will actually help you and you will lose all your progress in the blink of an eye. That fall is the worst feeling in the world when you’re on the controls and the best thing to watch. Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy is a game I would stand in line to play over and over but not sure I’d actually play.
Developer: Fat And Dumb Games
Estimated Release: Early 2018
Platforms: PC, Switch
An eldritch horror is preparing to sing a song that resets the world. The only thing that can stop her at this point is a song to rival her’s. Well, first you try a sword, then you try the song.
Wandersong is a platformer-adventure that has you interacting with the world, both in conflict and out, by singing using what is essentially a weapon wheel. A circle surrounds your character, a happy bard, and each segment is a different pitch that corresponds with attack angles.
In the short demo I played, the gameplay was a little loose, but the dialogue, characters, and art were so endearing that I was consistently charmed by every new thing I saw. Even the ethereal spirit telling me that the universe was pretty old and a reset was probably due put a smile on my face. While I played the PC version with mouse controls, I imagine the game will work even better on a controller or on the Switch early next year.
Developer: Mossmouth (and other collaborators)
Estimated Release: 2018
The new project from Derek Yu and a host of other developers is one of the most tantalizing prospects at the show. Mossmouth’s insistence that the games were not minigames, but full-sized NES titles built to modern standards was a bit hard to believe from a logistical standpoint, but from what I played, UFO 50 makes good on its promises with surprisingly full 8-bit games.
One game was a platformer fighter with eight or so characters, each with drastically different moves and movement options for a three-hit brawl. One character fired rockets, another shot energy in triangle pattern, some flew with angel wings, one character could only travel vertically within an elevator that spawned around them. It was more fleshed out than I expected.
The second game I played was a pitch-perfect River City Ransom clone in co-op. The musclebound characters clashed with other musclebound characters in the kicks, punches, and dropkicks form of interaction. As a 2D brawler, it invokes everything about the genre you remember from the NES, but feels much more than a simple one-off idea.
I cannot wait to get my hands on the full game and spend time going through all fifty titles. Some are bound to be better than others, but I played both games I played in the collection so far.
Way of the Passive Fist
Developer: Household Games
Estimated Release: Early 2018
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
There is a rhythm game quality to a lot of great action games and Way of the Passive Fist is trying to distill that to its core essence. Rather than act aggressively against your enemies, this game has you dodge and parry your way to defeating enemies by pushing them over when they get tired. (And yes, I asked, that’s partly based on the Simpsons episode “The Homer They Fall” where Homer becomes a boxer and wins by tiring out opponents from overpunching.)
Set in a Mad Max-meets-Fist of the North Star wasteland, Way of the Passive Fist encourages you to reach a zen-like state of pattern recognition and response even when the environment isn’t playing along. Sandstorms occasionally block your view, so listening for cues and knowing a certain enemy type only punches twice and then backs away is a better strategy than only trying to use visual information.
You can even set any number of variables for how the game plays, from timing windows to crowd sizes, so you can adjust the experience to your comfort level without letting it get too frustrating. Way of the Passive Fist is a smart way to shake up the tried-and-true 2D brawler and I am curious to see how the design stays fresh over the course of the entire game. If you want to get a look at the game for yourself, you can check out our recent video of it here.