One of the best moments of Summer Game Fest Play Days was getting a chance to play a selection of games from Day Of The Devs. The group chose eight games from the list of titles they revealed this year to be showcased during this special event, giving people a chance to experience some of the independent titles that they support and promote. This was a rather interesting experience in that not only did we get to have a hands-on demo with all of these games with the devs themselves right next to us to explain what's up, but we also got to see these games in the best light possible. As we mentioned in our Samsung chat, the company provided 8K TVs for everyone who was participating, meaning all of these developers had to upgrade their games to be seen in 8K. Which was an interesting chat to be had with everyone there. Here's the full rundown of what we saw from all eight games.
Desta: The Memories Between
We start with Desta: The Memories Between, which is a turn-based strategy game where you play as a woman who has returned home and starts having interesting dreams. Through this dreamscape, she is able to relive past memories, rediscover friends that have grown up, and mend some of her past relationships as you explore your own history through dreams and regrets. The gameplay is pretty solid as you use different types of attacks and tactics, abilities, movements, and decisions to complete each stage and tell a much bigger piece of an ever-growing puzzle. We got to play through one specific memory between friends at a small concert and saw the way every interaction is handled while also making sure we made it out of the party intact. I'm interested to see what the full game will be like. The game has no release window so we're expecting it in 2023.
Time Flies was definitely one that caught our attention from the initial Day Of The Devs livestream, as you play a housefly that only has a short time to live. In that time, you will need to fly around the home and accomplish tasks on your bucket list. As you can see from the image above, one of them involved strumming a guitar, which is then checked off your list as "Learn An Instrument". We took a number of passes at this, which we could do since you have about 76 seconds worth of life as a housefly. We even made it into an area of the home that, according to the staff on hand, no one had even found yet. There's a lot to do in this game as it is essentially a Wario Ware version of Groundhog Day, trying to accomplish everything before the end. I can't wait to get my hands on it later. There's no release date for this yet, but we're guessing it'll end up being a 2023 title.
Bear & Breakfast
Bear & Breakfast was a bit of a surprise to us from Day Of The Devs as you play a bear that is helping out other woodland creatures construct a bed and breakfast in the woods. You'll go through your day collecting materials and building items that need to be made or fixed, in an effort to make one of the best places anyone could hope to stay out in the woods. But be careful as there are a lot of things out there that wish you harm. I didn't get to see a ton of how the game was played, mainly I spent my short demo time putting together a brand new room for someone to stay in and being made fun of by other woodland creatures who don't think a bear is smart enough to do this kind of labor. If you enjoy sim titles where you're basically bringing up something from nothing, this is the game for you. The game is set to be released on July 28th, 2022.
A Little To The Left
A Little To The Left is an adorable puzzle game that has a fun story behind it. The developers based the concept around owning a cat who has a habit of messing things up and getting into trouble, so it is up to you to organize everything in this simple yet strategic puzzler. Some of the challenges included organizing notes and papers to fit in a specific way on a desk, organizing books, setting physical keys for doors in a specific order, and more. Some of the puzzles are very easy to grasp and don't take a lot of brain power, however, there are others that have multiple solutions to them. Take for example, the books, which can be put in order of height, or in order of color to the binding. We also ran into one of the harder puzzles which is setting up a dinner plate and utensils with a placemat while the cat keeps reaching up and trying to drag it down. You have to swat the cat's paw away to get peace for a few moments, but if you miss, they drag everything out of place. This game was super cute and I had a lot of fun with it. Right now the plan is to release it sometime in 2022.
Animal Well was a lovely throwback to platforming world exploration that has you playing as a tiny creature exploring a pixelated forest with a lot of secrets and tons of danger, as you try to navigate the various paths. Along the way, you will collect items that will help change the environment and allow you to defeat enemies, or at least bypass them temporarily so you can move through the darkened woods to find out what else inhabits this forest. This is a game that if I had more time, I would have spent hours just exploring and finding new things to do. It is very much set up so that you have to think outside the box to move on, and uses the darker colors and patterns within the pixel art to its advantage. There's no release date for this game yet, so maybe we'll see it in 2023.
Birth was one of our favorites of the Day Of The Devs pack as you play a sort of scientist who is attempting to construct a creature from spare bones and organs that you find throughout the game. The mechanics are set up to be that of an adventure puzzle game where your efforts are driven by the goal of trying to cure your own loneliness, even if it's in the most macabre way possible. When we played the demo, there didn't seem to be a set order of things you need to do to accomplish your goal, although there are parts of puzzles that lead to other ones. So it felt very much like doing tasks at your own pace until you wanted to move on. Some of them are physics-based puzzles, some are mind teasers, and others are just straight-up common sense when you look at them. All of which have been hand-drawn and given a cute-but-deadly sort of feeling. We found a couple of body parts in our demo, but it wasn't nearly enough time to delve into the game. This one is currently set to be released in January 2023.
Roots Of Pacha
Roots Of Pacha will scratch a few different simulation and management itches for players as this game will have you bringing up a civilization during the stone age. In what feels like Stardew Valley meets The Land Before Time, you and your friends can take on this co-op experience of working together to bring your tiny village up from barely surviving in a cave to having a thriving ecosystem where everyone is doing more than just surviving. During our demo, we went over and helped out some of the people who were working on the crops to make them better. At first, we watered a few things, but then one of the people in the village figured out how to do irrigation. We installed a pump and set up rows in order to get the water where it needed to go to help our crops. Like a lot of the demos, we didn't have a ton of time with the game, and it was clear par to fo this was already accomplished from previous interactions by other players as we set up things for others to work out later. I'd love to see how long it actually takes for advancements to happen. The game has no release window yet, only that we'll see it in 2022.
Finally, another one of our top favorites from Day Of The Devs, SCHiM is a game where you will be playing as a shadow creature that looks almost like a frog, that moves by living in and jumping to and from other shadows. This is primarily an action puzzler as you will have to figure out how to get to a certain location on the map, and then plan out your route without losing your form or being cast into the light. Some of the levels were pretty easy to figure out as the team made many paths for us to pick and choose from. However, as you go up in levels, they get far more difficult where timing is everything. For example, one part had us jumping into the shadow of a jogger, who went on a specific path that eventually ended with the shadow vanishing. So if we didn't make it to the next part in time, we got sent back to the start. It feels like a 3D version of Frogger with different mechanics to it. Absolutely loved it, but the game is currently TBD for release.
Overall, I really loved the selection Day Of The Devs put out here for everyone to try. They basically were charged with selecting what they felt best represented the batch of 2022 titles, and they picked eight absolute bangers with some of the friendliest developers we've encountered from the event. We hope to see all of these games sooner rather than later.