Behold! A new edition of Day of the Devs is upon us, and while many wonderful indie-centric online showcases have materialized since 2020, only one of them features introductions by the uncomparable Tim Schafer and other fine Double Fine and iam8bit folks. We got a peek at 20 of the games featured, and while drag queen fighters, roguelite music builders, and the absolutely adorable Flock don’t land in RPGFan’s sphere of coverage, the six below do.
So let’s take a peek at some RPG and adventure games spanning driving, detective-ing, being a hermit, spelling, and… one I can’t quite put my finger on.
I’ve had my eye on RESISTOR since it was revealed in June. A much younger me was fascinated by Square Enix’s Japan-only Racing Lagoon, which paired cars and racing with JRPG elements (yes, I need to check out that fan translation). But where Racing Lagoon seemed to live on the dark streets, RESISTOR explodes with color and has a fresh, beautiful animated art style. The game’s anime/sci-fi styling calls to mind favorites like Xenoblade, with car designs that feel like someone borrowed elements from Hot Wheels and Star Wars‘ podracers.
In RESISTOR, your customizable avatar has been exiled from the big city and resides in the wastelands with their mother. But when she falls ill, your character has to return to the city and racing life to try and find a way to get her healthy again. Racing is, of course, core to the experience in RESISTOR, with stylish racing sequences that have features like rhythm/time-based stunts to give you an edge, tournament races, and boss fights. But there’s much more to the gameplay, such as its narrative focus and dialogue choices you use to advance the story. Exploring the city and the outskirts on foot or by car will let you meet the locals, pick up missions, and perhaps one of the more interesting aspects, navigate media interviews as your character grows in fame and works to… well, resist and take down the mega-corporation, Dekker Industries.
Throughout all of this, you’ll be able to build a racing team, and RESISTOR promises “extensive” customization of your character, their outfits, and especially your car, letting you tweak and install custom parts and even choose music themes (I’m unsure if this means your character has a theme song during races or custom in-car soundtracks, but it’s a cool touch either way).
RESISTOR is coming from developer Long Way Home and publisher PQube “soon,” and will be available on Steam, the Epic Games Store, Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S.
In 2021, developer Feral Cat Den released Genesis Noir, an adventure game with stylish and unique visuals of mostly black and white with pops of color which look even better in motion. Given the positive critical reception it got — look at those awards on the game’s website — it was exciting to see the premiere of Nirvana Noir, a brand-new sequel once again starring watchmaker No Man. The official synopsis describes the game’s premise:
The cosmic watchmaker pursues mysteries across two parallel realities – one where the Big Bang was never fired, the other where it did, leading to an explosion of color and sin. It’s up to the player to solve the mysteries of the Bigger Bang.
No Man is living a double life across these two realities, visually represented by two contrasting art styles — the familiar black and white outlined visuals for the cosmic city of Black Rapture, while Constant Testament is presented through incredibly vibrant colors, starkly differentiating itself from the familiar style of the first game. Nirvana Noir will feature dialogue-based detective work, with language being a key component. Learning multiple languages will allow you to talk to more people effectively, increasing your odds of success.
Like Genesis Noir, the sequel’s music is being handled by London-based Skillbard. While it’s too soon for a release date, the developers revealed they plan on crowdfunding at least part of the game’s development so they can incorporate fan feedback into the final product. Learn more at the Nirvana Noir official website. Nirvana Noir is planned for release on Steam, the Epic Games Store, Xbox, and Game Pass.
If you have been waiting for someone to combine typing gameplay from Typing of the Dead or Nanotale with Scribblenauts, boy, have I got the game for you. Developers Paul Hart and Lee Williams are working on Cryptmaster, a gritty (mostly) black and white dungeon crawler with freeform text or voice input allowing you to spell words to progress. From the game’s Steam page:
SAY ANYTHING in Cryptmaster – the bizarre dungeon-crawling adventure where words control everything. Gather your party of undead heroes, then fill in the blanks to uncover their lost memories and defeat eerie enemies, all in the service of a mysterious and capricious necromancer.
Freeform word entry means there are a variety of possible solutions to any encounter, and the aforementioned necromancer’s excellent voice acting should mean the narration adds a fascinating and at times darkly funny aspect to Cryptmaster. The game also aims to deliver a variety of gameplay and scenarios, sometimes offering diversions such as creature collecting, bard rap battles, card combat, to… “dark fantasy fishing?” Sure, yeah, bring it on.
Long-term enjoyment with Cryptmaster — like Scribblenauts — will depend on just how creative players can get with word choices without needing to find the “true” solution to a battle or puzzle. No doubt the devs will need extensive play testing (the already-available demo on Steam is likely part of this) to offer the widest variety of possible outcomes. But if they pull it off, the final game could be both fun and fertile for Let’s Play videos.
Yeah, so… I don’t know what to tell you about this one. It’s easy to draw some visual comparisons to some of the weirder corners of the RPG world, like 24 Killers, moon, or other Love-de-Lic games. But Dome-King Cabbage, by solo developer Cobysoft Joe, is actually described as a visual novel with light RPG elements and monster collecting gameplay. Part of the official synopsis gives you some insight into what to expect:
Dome-King Cabbage is an award-winning visual novel about a cloud-person named Mush nervously making their way to a job interview. Mush has to grapple with their ability to perceive the world through the lens of a monster-collecting RPG.
After getting in tune with their newfound extrasensory powers, Mush is drawn to Crumb Island, an elusive site where they can get the enigmatic title of “Dome-King.”
So the premise is interesting, and the “unmistakable, perception-bending style” and soundtrack that “seeps into your very soul” are impossible to ignore. We may have a bit of a wait, since there is no estimated time-frame for Dome-King Cabbage yet. But it will be coming to Steam (for Windows and macOS) and Switch at some point.
Hermit and Pig
Another game revealed this past summer, Hermit and Pig is a quirky-looking RPG starring a hermit and a pig. (Who’d have guessed?) While it’s easy to think of the Mother series upon seeing the game’s graphics, the two-person development team of Heavy Lunch Studio seems to have a fairly unique game on their hands. Admittedly, EarthBound is one the game’s cited inspirations, but so are Pokémon and Street Fighter, especially when it comes to the battle system’s use of timed button presses and combos. In fact, growth is skill-based, in lieu of traditional EXP grinding methods.
But encounters aren’t all about fighting, as your socially anxious Hermit friend also has conversational encounters. Given his solitary existence, conversing with others (besides the pig!) make him nervous, so navigating these conversations and choosing the right dialogue options to keep him as comfortable as possible will be key. I think this is a clever system, as it goes beyond a game simply telling you a character has social anxiety. By having you step in the Hermit’s shoes, it clearly shows how that anxiety can manifest even in simple conversations.
Also, since you will play as a hermit with a truffle-hunting pig, it may come as no surprise that Hermit and Pig will feature a gratuitous amount of mushrooms — over 100 types, in fact. Rather than a simple side diversion, mushrooms are used to restore health, provide buffs and other battle effects, and can be bartered with some characters.
Find a quick official synopsis below. Hermit and Pig can be wishlisted now on Steam, and is slated to release sometime in 2024.
In this story-rich RPG, Hermit and Pig’s solitude is disrupted by a villager in need of help. These unlikely heroes soon become lost in a whirlwind of industrial stooges, violent wildlife, and bad bad bad times. Hermit and Pig must explore, forage, and fight to save their woodlands and unravel the mystery of a legendary mushroom at the center of an evil corporate plot, all while keeping Hermit’s social anxiety in check.
We’re starting and ending with games featuring driving, but Open Roads could not be more different from RESISTOR. The game tells a tale about Tess Devine and her mother, Opal, on a road trip to unearth family history, secrets, and possibly much more from a series of abandoned family properties. The gameplay seems to largely fall into two styles — the road trip portions interspersed with distinct sections exploring said properties.
The driving portions look to capture authentic road trip vibes, letting you — as Tess — chat with your mom and find something to listen to on the radio en route to your next destination. The exploration segments use a first-person viewpoint as you see what you can discover at each location. Open Roads’ art style is captivating, with backgrounds that are almost photo-realistic but with a soft tone and color palette, while the characters are hand-animated and evoke classic film animation styles.
In addition to the promise of mysteries to uncover, interactive dialogue choices, and a lovely art style, Open Roads features the voice work of Keri Russell (The Americans, and a personal favorite of mine, Felicity) as Opal and Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart, Uncharted 4) as Tess, with Garry Schyman (Bioshock, Front Mission: Evolved, Forspoken) on board for the music.
Open Roads has been in the works for awhile — it even appeared on our Most Anticipated Games of 2021! — but it finally has a release date. The game launches February 22nd, 2024 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (including Game Pass), Switch, and Steam.
Again, if you’re in the Los Angeles area, (free) tickets may still be available for the Day of the Devs In-Person Celebration, so be sure to check out the official website for details! You can also check out the Day of the Devs Steam page for links to these games, and many more.