There was plenty happening during the Indie Live Expo 2020 online event (only viewable on YouTube). From the excellent performances of Undertale‘s soundtracks and game creator Toby Fox’s message for indie creators, to a whole slate of game announcements for the Nintendo Switch, the four-hour stream was quite the lively affair.
The Western gaming community may recognise some of the names on the list, such Children of Morta, Liberated, Coffee Talk, and Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble – all of which are primed for a localised version in Japan. Others, meanwhile, are newly-unveiled projects making their stage debut, with genres spanning across many different fields.
Here are all of them.
COGEN Otori Kohaku to Koku no Ken (COGEN: Sword of Rewind)
A 2D-action platformer, COGEN: Sword of Rewind is for lovers of retro gaming, The hero’s weapon of choice is, as the title suggests, a sword, but there’s a twist to his powers: die, and something called the “ouroborous system” will activate. Expect a great deal of action mayhem when it drops sometime in 2020.
Project Starship X
A melting pot of humour, shooting, and rogue-lite elements, Project Starship X is shaping up to a lighthearted and enjoyable adventure, with a welcome touch of chaos. Throw into the a mix a colourful character cast, and the game’s all set to be a blast.
Apocalyptic worlds in games aren’t always pretty, but this upcoming 2D metroidavnia title serves to up the ante. Featuring an intriguing, quiet protagonist, HAAK brings players through a journey filled with smooth movements, unique combat elements, and intricately-crafted puzzles to “seek light in a wasted world”. Coming to multiple platforms soon.
Puzzle-solving is all fun and games, until you get stuck. In physics-based puzzle-platform Derpy Conga, there’ll only be joy and pleasant feelings, as players seek to gather their friends in a conga line, and help them flee from an alien world that’s at peril of disappearing. Sounds easy? That’s when the challenge kicks in: the longer the chain, the easier it is for everything to lose control. Jolly.
If there’s any sort of hint as to what kind of game Reggie is going to be, just take a look at its name. Reggie, his cousin, two scientists, and most likely the end of the world (yes, no capitalisation) exudes fun-loving, hilariously zany vibes, and probably makes for a perfect family title. Take on the role of Reggie, a little guy from the future, as he travels back and forth in time to save science, and of course, the world.
Devil Slayer: Raksasi
The main objective in Glasses Cat Games’ 2D top-down action game is all in its title: Devil Slayer – Raksasi. Killing devils (duh), exploring dungeons, and strategising make up the core of gameplay. It’s not as simple as it sounds, though, for players will have to time their strikes and dodges accurately. Tough luck.
Kill or be killed is the name of the game in Kansen Maze, or Infected Maze. The zombie first-person shooter puts players in a randomly-generated, maze-like hospital, as they fight through throngs of undead to get to the basement, where the character’s sister is asking for help. Twice the pressure, twice the fun (fear?).
Hakoniwa Explorer Plus
Nothing says bizarre than the monsters in Hakoniwa Explorer Plus. On one hand, there are the typical, damage-inflicting creatures like slimes; on the other, there’s a host of female monsters that are more than ready to throw some punches and kicks, wrap you up, do some blood-sucking, and uh, devour you as food. The game is scheduled for a 18 June 2020 launch, with pre-loads going live from 7 June for an additional ¥1,200.
Creativity runs the show here. A painting simulation title, SuchArt! allows players to flex their creative muscles, and transform a huge, blank canvas into a masterpiece to call their own. The best part? They can do whatever they want, from splashing paint all over the floor to dousing the canvas in a swirl of colourful tones.
Katamachi Yuusha Plus (One Way Heroics Plus)
Horizontal-scrolling RPGs are hardly the most common sight today, so it’s always nice to see the genre revisited every now and then. Katamachi Yuusha Plus follows the story of an adventurer who must travel across lands to defeat the Demon Lord, before the world gets engulfed in darkness for eternity. The game will head to the Switch on 18 June 2020, with preloads available from 7 June at an additional cost of ¥1,500.
Sumire no Sora
The world of Sumire no Sora is a world without responsibilities, and a rural dream come true. For one day, main protagonist Sumire will embark on a quest through a mythical Japanese mountain village, where encounters with strange characters, magical elements, and talking creatures become the norm – much like Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. With a lot less running away, we reckon.
Senkyou Monogatari (Immortal Life)
True to its translation of Immortal Life, 2P Games’ upcoming project is a life simulator game that takes its cues from similar parties like Story of Seasons. Featuring a 24-hour clock, four seasons, and NPCs with individually-tailored schedules, it does feel like a rehash of everyday life, except with way less stress. A nice alternative to the real world, this one is.
With 2.8 million players in China, Chinese Parents is quite the unexpected hit. Like the above-mentioned Immortal Life, it serves as a simulation of real life, and see players taking on the role of an average kid from birth to high-school graduation. Studying hard, making friends, and acing the final national examination are the main objectives of the game, and that should prove familiar for those who have been brought up in a Chinese or Asian household. If it’s always been an impossibility to put the ‘A’ in ‘Asian’, here’s a shot at redemption.
The indie gaming scene has been expanding in recent times, and it seems Japan is no exception. That’s good news, because it’s always nice to have more accessible alternatives to AAA titles, be it on the Nintendo Switch or otherwise. More game announcements are slated to come in the second part of the Indie Live Expo, which is currently scheduled for 7 November 2020.
Si Jia is a casual geek at heart – or as casual as someone with Sephiroth’s theme on her Spotify playlist can get. A fan of movies, games, and Japanese culture, Si Jia’s greatest weakness is the Steam Summer Sale. Or any Steam sale, really.