The Nintendo Indie World Showcase May 2022 is now over and left us with a couple of news. In the usual order, we want to summarize here what the broadcast gave us. We start as usual with titles you can download right now.
Mini Motorways is from the same team – Dinosaur Polo Club – who gave us Mini Metro. Where the predecessor was about planning train traffic, this title instead has vehicle traffic as an area. Like its predecessor, it is also a puzzle game with minimalism as a bit of a watchword. Mini Motorways is already available on PC, Mac and iOS devices.
Soundfall was released immediately after the presentation on all of its planned devices (PS 4-5, Xbox One and Series X | S, PC and of course Switch). In this cave crawler you explore a number of different environments and fight to the beat of the music. It’s not completely different Crypt of the Necrodancer, but seen in a more three-dimensional bird’s perspective. You can choose music from a playlist of over 140 songs, and also take up to three friends on this rhythmic journey of discovery.
OPUS: Echo of Starsong (Full Bloom Edition) is a self-proclaimed novel-style adventure game. The difference between this and a visual novel (VN) seems to be the amount of interactivity. The studio SIGONO INC. have more games in this series under their belts, but the Switch is still the only console these have been released on. With a total score of 90 on Metacritic and overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam learn this is something you want to take a closer look at – at least if “romance games” are your type.
Gibbon: Beyond the Trees has actually made its debut on Switch, but will also be released on PC in just over a week. It only appeared at the end of the presentation, during the quick preview (more about it at the bottom). Perhaps the game was put there because of its simple unpretentiousness; a simple, fast-paced platform game about swinging through the jungle landscape may not be one of the big titles even on the indie scene. Gibbon however, looks like a cozy mix between Donkey Kong: Joungle Beat and The King’s Bird. And you can play it right now.
The remaining games have release dates later in the year, and in some cases later than that. However, we do not have to wait very long for most titles. This list is intended to follow release chronology; the games to come soon are on top.
Card Shark. In this hand-drawn adventure, you will climb the mountains of society in 18th-century France. You do this by cheating your way up in gambling until you win or get caught. In the latter case, a duel results. In the meantime, you unravel conspiracies and reveal secrets among the country’s elite. Sounds interesting but you are unsure, there is a demo version out on the eShop. The game will be released on June 2, then also on PC / Mac. Like several games on this list, it is Devovler Digital which is responsible for the release, with the development of the studio Nerial.
SILT is a diving game in completely black and white graphics that aims to solve mysteries in the sea’s whimsically surreal environments. It spontaneously looks like that Limbo taken diving certificate, with a suitable eerie vibe somewhere below the surface. SILT reaches Switch already in June this year.
Wayward Strand is another story-focused game (“adventure narrative” this time), with the gimmick that it takes place in real time. It is up to you as a player to decide whose or whose stories you want to take part in. It will probably give a lot of replay value if it is put into action in a good way. On July 21 this year, you can take part Wayward Strand. Maybe it will be like a good summer book, but indoors instead of out in the hammock.
Ooblets of Glumberland takes the step over from PC and Xbox One to the Ninteno Switch. The title could be described as OlliOlli World meet Animal Crossing. However, the approach is more of the latter; Ooblets is about building, decorating and then exploring. It will be released in the summer.
ElecHead is a one-man project from the Japanese NamaTakahashi (written together) who in his own statement has worked with the title since his student period. ElecHead is a platform puzzle where the main gimmick consists of touching different types of surfaces. Here, a trailer says far more than a thousand words, and the only similar game that pops into this writer’s head is last year’s FILMECHANISM. Elec Head reaches us for the summer on an indefinite date.
We are ofk is an episodic “musical narrative” from Team OLK. Just like the above OPUS it is thus a story-rich game, but this time with the music at the center of character motivation. We are ofk takes place in Los Angeles and follows two young people with their sights set on the music’s career ladder, but in completely different roles. It will be released already this summer and will also appear on PC (+ Linux and Mac) and PlayStation 4 and 5.
Batora: Lost Haven is an action-packed role-playing game with heavy, life-changing choices and a very colorful palette to rest your eyes on. It comes from Remothereddevelopers Stormind Games and will be released Team17. We have to wait until the autumn before it’s time to play though. Batora also released on PC and the current generation Xbox and PlayStation.
Wild frost is a strategy card game with role-playing elements developed by Deadpan Games with the release of Chucklefish. The trailer mostly shows the battles and a bit of dialogue, which is why we do not have much to go on yet. Hopefully more details will be released about, for example, the role-playing game piece before the game appears with us this winter (also on PC).
Totally Acurate Battle Simulator presented by a European duo from Landfall Games and is a strategy game with extremely (conscious) wobbly physics. It seems to be a long-distance love project that has been in the works since 2016 (according to the copyright). The fiery aesthetics and physics engine together with the happy presenters make this title stand out a little, maybe a little extra because Landfall is a Swedish studio. TABS – as the game is also called – will be released sometime this summer.
Cult of the Lamb is a Devolver Digital project, this time by the studio Massive Monster. In this action adventure you play as a lamb obsessed with some kind of lower (or higher) power. You live, but are in debt to the one who saved you at the sacrificial ritual. In other words, the game is about getting rid of your savior, which you become by establishing a cult in his honor. Cult of the Lamb seems to have a strong focus on resource management, but with plenty of cavemen on the pagan path. It will be released sometime this year, but we do not know exactly when yet.
From Doinksoft and even that under Devovler Digital’s unconventional umbrella comes Gunbrella. Here you play as a pistol umbrella waving lumberjack in search of revenge. The set-up is a two-dimensional action adventure with a colorful host of characters in a world whose resources are running out. It looks really good, but unfortunately we have to wait Gunbrella until 2023.
Another Crab’s Treasure is the answer to what would happen if Dark Souls took place on the seabed (though with much happier graphics). This creative spin on the subgenre “soulslike” is directed by the studio Aggro Crab, which promises an experience that is not just for hardcore players. As the title suggests, this is what the treasure hunt is all about, and you’re probably not alone in wanting to get your hands on valuable items. However, even this release date is shrouded in a dark 2023.
And then a couple of quick ones
As usual, the broadcast ends with a bunch of glimpses of what’s to come – games that do not necessarily need any further presentation. Those not already mentioned above come here.
OneShot: World Machine Edition (ext: Future Cat LLC; utg: DANGEN Entertainment), summer 2022. Also available on: PC [+Linux/Mac] and coming to XBO and PS4).
Idol Manager (Glitch Pitch; PLAYSIM), August 25th. Also available on PC (+ Linux / Mac).
Cursed Golf (Chuhai Labs; Thunderful), summer 2022. Also released on PC and Xbox One and Series X | S.
A Guidebook of Babel (StarryStarry; Pixamin), autumn 2022. Also released on PC.
On the surface, this is probably one of the weaker shows Nintendo made under the label Indie World Showcase, especially as the former had such shooting stars as Sea of Stars. If you look closer, however, it is still about very many games with several hours of entertainment – and much is almost fresh news.
The number of games with storytelling as the core aspect of its design is increasing and it takes some turns, it seems. If you are a gamer who leaves the console at home in favor of a good book outdoors, the Switch’s summer schedule may probably make you consider taking it out instead.