Xbox Summer Game Fest – Demo Reviews

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(Note: This was originally written at the conclusion of the event at the end of July)

Recently on Xbox, 71 demos of upcoming games were made playable for a week as part of the Xbox Summer Game Fest event. I took on the mission to play every single one of them in the 7 days they were available. Beneath each title you will find the following:

Official synopsis
Trailer
My very brief thoughts
Release Date
Developer
Publisher

This was a monster effort to play through and compile all of this around work but I got it done!

Over a dozen of these will be day one purchases for me.

*9 Monkeys of Shaolin*

“Play as the Chinese fisherman Wei Cheng who wants to avenge the death of his friends and family. Get your battle staff ready for a challenging adventure in Medieval China and for merciless fights with hordes of various enemies.“

Featuring single and two player gameplay, this beat ‘em up is more fun than I expected. Wielding a pole to swing in a string of deadly attacks and combos is fluent and effective in tackling the multiple enemies that attack simultaneously. With solid enemy variety, the combat fails to become repetitive.

Release Date: 16/10/20
Developer: Sobaka Studio
Publisher: Buka Entertainment

*A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher*

“A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher is the only split screen single player twin stick risk ’em up in which your score is meaningless unless you exist. ARCADE IS NOT DEAD. In this Trainher version you’ll have access to Tear 1 which allows you to wrap your head around the mechanics and introduces you to a whole new genre that will bend your mind with delight. Control two ships simultaneously, but wait the devil is in the details. As with most shooters the whole purpose is to get a high score however, in Trackher you must decide when to keep your score by EXTRACTING. Playing till death is not an option. Your hand will not be held. Take your time pay attention, but most importantly never lose sight of your mission. Trackher.“

I am not afraid to say that I could simply not figure out how to play this game at all. This title outright tells you that it will not hold your hand. More time with this game may have allowed me to become familiar with the mechanics but after 10 minutes I was none-the-wiser.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Ask An Enemy Studios
Publisher: Ask An Enemy Studios

*Alchemist Adventure*

“Enter a fantasy world waiting to be explored. Follow the story of Mya, a young alchemist trying to solve the mystery of a forgotten land while searching for her loved ones. Solve puzzles and fight monsters using the power of alchemy granted by combining fire, water, air, earth, and many ingredients.“

If wielding a sword and creating potions to use as weapons to destroy obstacles as well as enemies sounds intriguing, this one utilises both in a fun puzzle solving adventure requiring mastery of all the elements. The combat itself doesn’t flow quite as seamlessly as it perhaps could but just falls short of the puzzle solving itself.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Bad Minions
Publisher: Super! Games

*Aniquilation*

“Twin Stick Shooter Multiplayer Action Game set in small planets that can be terraformed as you play! in which not only your shoots, but also the enemies and planet environment are your weapon!“

This twin stick shooter is a chaotic frenzy of bullets and things to destroy where the aim is to terraform planets within a time limit. It’s fun, handles well and offers couch co-op which sure to add to the experience.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: R-Next
Publisher: R-Next

*Antipole DX*

“Antipole DX is a fast-paced, retro action-platformer — using gravity manipulation! Join our mysterious space outlaw, as he explores an “abandoned” spacecraft in hopes of finding his next meal ticket. Little does he know, the ship isn’t deserted like he thought, and now his only hope is to master the power of the mighty gravity-manipulating device: the Antipole. Generate gravity fields with the Antipole to defeat vicious robots, solve puzzles and run on ceilings as you jump and shoot through the game while powering up the device to it’s true potential.“

A fun retro action platformer sees the player shooting and using puzzle elements and gravity manipulation in this fast paced adventure. Cool enemy and environmental designs are easy on the eyes and results in a refreshing yet familiar presentation.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Saturnine Games
Publisher: Saturnine Games

*Armed and Gelatinous*

“Fast-paced blob warfare! Take on your friends in a fighting game of epic proportions! Grow your girth and firepower by gathering as many weapons as you can! Or play small, dodging bullets and charging up that super-lethal dash attack to unleash on unsuspecting opponents!“

By absorbing as many weapons as possible the gelatinous blob grows in size and can shoot from every direction simultaneously. It’s wonderfully weird and wild and gets chaotic very quickly. Environmental hazards pose as much of a threat as enemies which can include your friends in the multiplayer offering. This kind of frenzy is oddly satisfying and fun to relax with.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Three Flip Studios
Publisher: Three Flip Studios

*Ars Fabulae*

“Decades have passed and the Actress returns to the abandoned theatre to uncover an anthology of magical performaces, each with a unique gameplay, distinct setting and… a hidden message. Explore a variety of magical, hand-painted worlds as you piece together the story of your past.“

A first person mystery with personal and emotional motivations, Ars Fabulae doesn’t shy from its theatrical themes. Varying art styles and gameplay mechanics separate the primary timeline and mystical performances such as switching from first person to a third person perspective for the latter. Some fun puzzle solving add depth to a title that is already as layered as they come.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Punk Notion
Publisher: Punk Notion

*Back to Belt*

“Back to Belt is an old-school arcade Shoot ’em up spiritual sucessor of Asteroids. The game itself is an homage to Asteroids 40th anniversary”

https://youtu.be/4IC8uU2vVno

As an homage to classic arcade shooter Asteroids, this is as faithful an adaptation as any. Rotating around defending your ship from asteroids looks, plays and feels just like the original hit.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Mauricio Felippe
Publisher: Mauricio Felippe

*Bite The Bullet*

“Run, Gun and Eat your way through this roguelite RPG shooter. In a world where every enemy is edible, what you eat and how much you eat drives everything from your waistline to branching skill trees to weapon crafting (in your stomach, of course). Shoot fast. Eat big. Satisfy your appetite for destruction.“

This 2D side scrolling shooter uniquely features the ability to eat every enemy, consuming calories, fat and protein in the process. Failing to maintain balance will result in the players character fattening up and moving slower for instance. The retro feel and presentation is a fun companion to this one of a kind run and gun shooter.

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: Mega Cat Studios
Publisher: Graffiti Games

*Book of Adventum*

“Book of Adventum is quirky, old skool, atmospheric and compelling FPS adventure, which throws you in the middle of a conflict on a remote island. Discover a story of deep philosophical meaning or dual-wield your way through the conflict. Do both. Craft potions and ammunition or make do what the surroundings provide. The choice is yours. Adventum awaits. This is the free demo version of Book of Adventum. The full game will be release in late summer 2020. Book of Adventum soundtrack includes songs from KuuDelta’s debut album “Beautiful Illusion”.“

This first person shooter is presented with a cel-shaded like artsyle that works well in its dystopian setting. Dual wielding weapons is a greta feature to see while combatting some very rustic looking robots.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Dark Amber Softworks
Publisher: Eleven Productions

*Cake Bash*

“Fight to be the tastiest cake in Cake Bash! A frantic four-player party game where adorable drawn-to-life cakes beat the crumbs out of each other.“

Featuring 4 player local co-op and cute customisable character models that represent sweet delicacies such as cupcakes, cake slices, donuts and muffins, a simple combat system that is fun and silly. Objective and score based game modes are definitely something the whole family can enjoy.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: High Tea Frog
Publisher: Coatsink

*Chickens Madness*

“Chickens Madness gives you the ultimate power of being and behaving like a chicken in a very unique set of party games against your friends.“

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQjPB4tUNgU

A wild and whacky couch co-op experience pitting friend against each other as chickens in a playful, cartoon inspired visual playground. A plethora of different objective based game modes offer a ton of variety to smack each other around with fun gameplay and over the top results.

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: Vikong
Publisher: Vikong

*Clea*

“Outwit the Chaos Servants and escape from the Whitlock Mansion.“

Presented in an anime art style, the stealth mechanics used to sneak and hide from Chaos Servants are fun and simple. Tension is high as being caught results in instant death and having to restart. Interacting with items for light puzzle solving and the ability to hide round out an overall fun experience that will be great to play more of.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: InvertMouse
Publisher: InvertMouse

*Cris Tales*

“Cris Tales is a gorgeous, indie love letter to classic JRPGs with a new perspective. Peer into the past, act in the present, and watch as your choices dynamically change the future — all on one screen as you play! Beautifully hand-drawn 2D animations bring to life a world where your choices will change both the present and the future across more than 20 hours of gameplay.“

Featuring turn based combat that requires precision, Cris Tales is beautifully presented with an enchanting art style and soundtrack that playfully explores the past, present and future as means to complete the task at hand. By allowing the player to switch between these times at will, intractable characters may appear as children, adults and elderly versions of themselves or sadly disappear implying death.

Release Date: 17/11/20
Developer: Dreams Uncorporated
Publisher: Modus Games

*Curved Space*

“Curved Space is an intense arcade shooter about battling cosmic energy spiders across warped, physics-defying battlefields. Space stations and asteroids curve and loop around themselves. Up? Down? Who needs those when you’ve got a spaceship, guns and swarms of bugs to blast?“

Curved Space is a fast paced arcade style shooter with a variety of nasty space spiders to obliterate. The point based system offers a challenge for those that enjoy being ranked based on their performance and the gameplay is packed full of intensity to keep players on their toes. A fun cosmic art style compliment the experience perfectly.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Only By Midnight
Publisher: Only By Midnight

*Dandy Ace*

“Dandy Ace is an over the top action game that follows this fabulous magician seeking to combine and use his magical cards, fighting and looting his way to defeat the Green-Eyed Illusionist and free himself from a cursed mirror. Play with Dandy Ace, the amazing hero, and survive the challenges of the extravagant, lavish and ever changing palace created to defeat him, filled with bizarre creatures and outrageous bosses. Find all precious cards, gather shards and gold, and get help from other imprisoned magicians that now work as shopkeepers or other jobs.“

A tale of magicians and cursed mirror alone are an interesting premise and when combined the result is an interesting concept with some fun gameplay mechanics. Attacks/abilities are presented as cards to be equipped to each face button that require varying recharge times. Enemies with varying short and long range attacks encourage experimentation with the skillset.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Mad Mimic
Publisher: Mad Mimic

*Darkestville Castle*

“Dear Potential servant of chaos, Everything in Darkestville was just fine: I was tormenting the town people, the town people were being tormented… Who could complain? Not me, that’s for sure! …until that moron, Dan Teapot, hired a group of demon hunters to banish me. I don’t even know why. Maybe I burnt his house a couple of times, but I only did it because it was hilarious! Sincerely Evil, Cid“

A fully voiced point and click adventure extremely similar in presentation to Monkey Island 3, Darkestville Castle is funny, smart and most importantly fun. The puzzle solving was never too difficult and fans of the genre will likely enjoy this experience while being constantly reminded of the greats that came before it. Want more of my thoughts? Check out my full review right HERE!

Release Date: 13/08/20
Developer: Epic Llama
Publisher: Buka Entertainment

*Deleveled*

“Master momentum in this unique jumping game that features no jump button! Preserve your potential energy and fall to new heights as you solve these clever puzzles and maneuver your way to victory.“

This puzzle platformer requires mastery of momentum and gravity to progress. A very simplistic art style allows the player to concentrate on increasingly difficult stages while giving the brain a solid mental workout.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: ToasterFuel
Publisher: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild

*Destroy All Humans!*

“Play the demo of the cult-classic remake for free! Experience the first mission of the game and terrorize the people of 1950’s Earth in the role of the evil alien Crypto-137. Get a taste of the unique mix of over-the-top weaponry, psychokinesis, jetpack and flying saucer gameplay that made this game a milestone of the genre! One giant step on mankind!“

What did I think about the Destroy All Humans! demo? Click HERE to see what I thought of the full version in my review over at onemoregame.com.au

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: Black Forest Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic

*Doodle God: Crime City*

“Crime Does Pay! Play as a Gangster or Cop. Over 500 Puzzles to Solve & Items to Create WATCH YOUR CRIME CITY COME ALIVE AS YOU PLAY! Doodle Mafia is the biggest “Doodle” game ever! Over 500 puzzles to solve and items to create as you play the role of Crime Boss or Cop. You decide how you want to play as you play through multiple hard-nosed storylines & play modes. As you build your Gang and make your fortune you must evade the Cops as well as fight off rival games in order to become the “Big Boss” of the City. In the “City” mode watch your Crime City come alive as you successfully pull off heists, escape the Cops or beat-off rival gangs. But you gotta watch your back because behind every corner there is a good Cop trying to make a name for himself or a rival Gangster trying to take your turf! In the “Campaign” mode, nab the bad guys or pull off heists to build your fortune. Can you successfully rob the bank and escape the Cops? Are you tough enough to defeat the rival boss and be the Crime Big Boss of the City? We shall see how good you are… Remember Crime Does Pay!“

Solving crime in this puzzle title requires the player to interact with people, environments, weapons and so much more to uncover new clues. Combining clues together will reveal new connections and links to put together to solve the crime at hand before progressing to even harder cases,

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: JoyBits
Publisher: JoyBits

*Dungeon and Gravestone*

“Death and resurrection, death and resurrection. There is a world full of grief and sadness, were only end of life is certain. In this world, there is a city where people take annihilation for granted, and this city is grim like an empty shell. Who am I? Just stepping into the dungeon in front of me… Rogue-like RPG where one dies over and over again. Generated dungeons are full of difficult traps and puzzles. Putting one’s life on the line, player is challenged with over 500 quests, weapon and item collection, fishing. How deep can you dive? Defy the unprecedented dungeon automatic generation algorithm! Finally find out what lies beyond the deep dungeon…“

Visually inspired by Minecraft, this top-down dungeon crawler packed with RPG goodness boasts some very creative enemy designs. The gameplay is simple enough to become familiar with and presents a challenge with its procedural generation of the map to keep players entertained for hours.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Wonderland Kazakiri
Publisher: Wonderland Kazakiri

*Dungeon Scavenger Inferno*

“Fight dungeon denizens in this old-school, turn-based dungeon crawler. Each class has unique ways and real choices in combat to thrive scavenging a random dungeon. Can you save the town from the danger below?“

This turn based combat dungeon crawler allows the player to move in any direction one step at a time in a grid like map. Lurking within the map are monstrous enemies that drop loot upon defeat utilising melee attacks and elemental abilities. Some basic visuals don’t detract and actually work in favour of the simplistic gameplay that packs a more complex inventory management system.

Release Date: 21/08/20
Developer: Vidama Software
Publisher: Vidama Software

*Ephemeral Tale*

“Ephemeral Tale is a classically inspired RPG for the modern age, featuring hand-crafted dungeons, classic JRPG-style combat, and a loot-driven progression system!“

With visuals straight from the Gameboy Advance era, this RPG feels both retro and modern at the same time. With cool turn based combat and a deep progression system, fans of the genre will enjoy this adventure and its nostalgic charm.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Dawdling Dog
Publisher: Dawdling Dog

*Flowing Lights*

“Flowing Lights is an Arcade Puzzle Shooter. Each combat is a puzzle that will challenge your reflexes and tickle your neurons. Improve with each try, improve until the perfect run, there is always a smarter way to win!“

This puzzle shooter incorporates score and time based objectives while challenging the players reflexes. Its simple mechanics are fun to play but trial and error will become all too familiar. A simplistic art style and retro score are a fun addition.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: gFaUmNe
Publisher: gFaUmNe

*Fractal Space*

“Live the memorable experience of a first-person, story-driven adventure and puzzle game! Use your Jetpack and Taser-Gun to think your way through zero-gravity puzzles of this mysterious space station.“

Equipped with a jetpack for traversal, this puzzle platformer also puts great focus on its story. The platforming seems forgiving though what was offered in the demo suggests each stage will become increasingly more complex and challenge the players accuracy and timing. The overall presentation works with the gameplay and concept in a fun way.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Haze Games
Publisher: Haze Games

*Freshly Frosted*

“Solve puzzles in the world’s most adorable donut factory! Place conveyor belts to guide your donuts between haphazardly placed topping stations and deliver your line of delicious desserts.“

Freshly Frosted is a fun puzzle title set inside a donut factory is oddly satisfying. Strategic placing of conveyor belts in order to send a donut around a grid to receive icing and other finishing touches that we all love so much is the core concept and it proves more difficult than it seems. This challenge and trial and error approach is as much fun as it is mesmerising.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Publisher: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild

*Galacide*

“Command destructive spaceships to obliterate hordes of enemy vessels, while quickly solving puzzles to weave through networks of vibrantly colorful, adversarial machines.“

An intensely paced shooter with a fun and dynamic array of weapon upgrades and ship customisation options, Galacide is chaotic, challenging and ultimately fun take on its retro genre. Puzzle elements breathe further life into the concept and offers an overall solid experience.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Puny Human
Publisher: Puny Human

*Gauntlet Force: Rise of the Machines*

“As an army of mechanical minions lead by Baroness MadHead is threatening the world, two heroes will rise, the only two soldiers left from the Gauntlet Force, Major B. Campbell and the advanced AI Venus! Equipped with the new, powerful Omni Gauntlets they will lead the fight to the Baroness’s Fortress of Doom, a lair filled with traps, threats and many secrets. Will our heroes manage to defeat the evil Baroness’s army and stop her plan for world domination?“

An action platforming and side-scrolling adventure with a fun art style set the scene. Accompanied by fun gameplay with a variety of melee attacks and abilities using the powerful Omni Gauntlets, Gauntlet Force: Rise of the Machines is fun, vibrant, challenging and just a joy to play. The visuals are stunning and the character and environmental designs are excellent. Fans of these genres will want to keep an eye on this one.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Forge Studios
Publisher: Forge Studios

*Genesis Noir*

“A noir adventure spanning time and space. When a love triangle between cosmic beings becomes a bitter confrontation, you’ll witness a gunshot fired by a jealous god—otherwise known as The Big Bang. Jump into the expanding universe and search for a way to destroy creation and save your love.“

This stylistic noir features basic animation that oddly compliments the unique nature of the game itself. Jazzy music instils a relaxing tone for some gameplay and puzzle elements that may frustrate until figured out. The use of comic like transition panels and presentation is unique and works well. Genesis Noir looks interesting and challenging in a playful way.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Feral Cat Den
Publisher: Fellow Traveler

*Haven*

“They escaped to a lost planet to be together. A RPG adventure about love and freedom.“

The love between a man and a woman trapped on a lost planet packs heart amongst its decision based dialogue which is fully voiced. The scenes authentically showcase the love they have for each other and deliver as much enjoyment as the hover mechanics that are used to glide across the alien world. Drifting and performing U-turns make this system fun and fluid and are a joyful way to explore the unknown. The ability to pet giant lizards is of course a massive positive.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: The Game Breakers
Publisher: Plug In Digital

*Helheim Hassle*

“Helheim Hassle is a narrative adventure game with puzzle platforming elements. Play as Bjørn, a pacifist Viking that can detach and combine limbs at will to solve challenging puzzles and get out of uncomfortable situations involving desperate Norse Gods, Goblins, Dragons, and angry skeletons.“

With Adult Swim style animation, this side scrolling point and click adventure offers entertaining dialogue and character interactions that keep things interesting in between the puzzle elements and environmental interactions. The detachable limb mechanics to solve puzzles and platforming situations are interesting and are often amusing. Still not convinced? Read my full review HERE!

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: Perfectly Paranormal
Publisher: Perfectly Paranormal

*Hellpoint*

“The Thespian Feast is a free sequel-like chapter of Hellpoint, a dark and challenging action RPG where the line between science and occultism is unclear.“

Starting out with the choice of three loadouts, Hellpoint throws players into a gritty world inhabited by gruesome creatures such as large hands with tendrils for legs and other demonic oddities. The melee and shooting mechanics work well and the environmental designs look good and gritty. Gear and armour customisation look fun and deep, rounding out a rather fun experience.

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: Cradle Games
Publisher: tinyBuild

*Kaze and the Wild Masks*

“In Kaze and the Wild Masks, you journey through the Crystal Islands in 90’s classics platformer style. Play as Kaze and save your friend Hogo from a curse that spread chaos around the islands. Face enraged living vegetables by invoking the powers of the Wild Masks. Pounce ferociously like a tiger, soar through the sky like an eagle, sprint fiercely like a lizard and rule the sea like a shark.“

Beautiful visuals resembling a children’s cartoon for the story sequences and clearly Sonic inspired gameplay visuals, this 2D side scroller pays homage to everyones favourite blue hedgehog in the best of ways. Despite being a modern platformer, the overall experience is masterfully familiar in its aesthetic and gameplay. I absolutely can not wait for the full release.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: PixelHive
Publisher: SOEDESCO

*Klang 2*

“Lightning-fast combat powered by electronic dance music.“

The combination of time and rhythm based combat with a techno style soundtrack results in a unique overall presentation. The precision required is likely to take some practice to master but becomes satisfying when it starts to feel familiar.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Tinimations
Publisher: Ratalaika Games

*Knight Squad 2*

“Knight Squad 2 is a chaotic arcade multiplayer game for up to 8 players. Pick an eccentric knight and fight for glory with wacky weaponry. Triumph over your friends in a ridiculous amount of game modes.“

This arcade multiplayer allows up to 8 players, with bots filling lobbies, to play across Free For All, Duos and Quad modes in point based chaos. With fun power-ups and objectives to complete, this is a solid sequel that is as fun to play alone as it is with friends and family.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Chainawesome
Publisher: Chainawesome

*Kova: AlphaLink*

“Kova: AlphaLink is a new multiplayer shooter based off the Kova sci-fi back story. Compete in local or online PVP matches, talk to NPCs in the hub about lore and upcoming events, customize your character, and take part in the global faction leaderboard! Kova: AlphaLink will continuously live with new updates giving fresh new features!“

Fans of multiplayer titles similar to Super Smash Bros. will be familiar with the gameplay on offer with a variety of characters to compete against each other with in this local and online PVP driven game. With fun and over the top animations, weapons and abilities and deep customisation options, this live service experience is engaging and interesting enough to regularly enjoy.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Black Hive Media
Publisher: Black Hive Media

*KungFu Kickball*

“KungFu Kickball is a team based fighting-sports game where the best ball kicker wins! Punch, kick, and headbutt your way across the field to smash the ball into your opponents’ bell and rack up points!“

Jump, kick and teleport dashing a ball into a bell with an opponent trying to do the same is more fun than I expected. The gameplay is very simplistic but it works effectively for the objective of the game. These attacks can also be used on the enemy to keep them away from the ball or remove them from the goal area. A silly bit of fun here that can be enjoyed by the family.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: WhaleFood Games
Publisher: Blowfish Studios

*Long Ago: A Puzzle Tale*

“Solve relaxing puzzles, enjoy a beautiful world and unravel a tale told in rhyme about a brave princess striving for freedom from the status quo.“

Moving a ball across a grid to collect feathers to move to the next stage is simple in theory. Requiring complex calculation within a set number of turns to complete, this puzzler is a satisfying type of challenge for fans of the genre. A rhyming narrative unfolds via text based dialogue at the bottom of the screen, fusing narrative with puzzle gameplay to offer a unique experience that mixes up the typical formula for puzzle games.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: GrimTalin
Publisher: GrimTalin

*Lost Wing*

“Pilot a super fast ship through brutal environments, and try to top the leaderboards! Featuring numerous challenges, ships, enemies and traps, Lost Wing is a shot of pure unadulterated adrenaline.“

Lost Wing is a fast paced, score driven ship racer with environmental obstacles to destroy and earn points from. The arcade style makes for a fun challenge and the incentive to maximise score is something fans of the genre will be satisfied with, extending the enjoyment beyond the campaign itself.

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: BoxFrog Games
Publisher: 2Awesome Studio

*Mars Power Industries Deluxe*

“Mysterious puzzle inspired by 2001:Space Odyssey. Manage resources, solve challenging puzzles and uncover what lies beneath the surface! Year after year, strange happenings plague our tiny colony, darkness devours Mars. Your job as an Electrician? Bring light where darkness reigns!“

A Tetris like presentation of machine parts lines the side of the screen to place with precision on a grid to create electricity connections. Each stage is represented as a single year of the development on Mars, a clever way to coincide with the increasing complexity of the puzzles and pieces themselves. This one will test the players patience but for those that enjoy some mental stimulation, this is the place to be.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: 7A Games
Publisher: 7A Games

*Mayhem Brawler*

“Mayhem Brawler is an urban fantasy themed beat ’em up that brings back the 90s arcade vibe to present day. With comic book style art and kick-ass soundtracks, it offers a unique experience that you can tackle solo or as co-op with friends while defining the next step in the story with your choices.“

A modernised take on the beat ‘em up genre sees the player side scroll their way through an authentically retro urban landscape. Fun combat and decent enemy variety are both present and this can be enjoyed solo or co-operatively with a friend.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Hero Concept
Publisher: Hero Concept

*Momentus*

“Gravity Defying Momentum! Push through both Arcade and Endless to conquer the dark forces which cross your path. Ensuring you plot the trajectory correct is crucial, so be careful during deployment!“

This visually simplistic platformer challenges the players ability to carefully plan their trajectory to launch their circular avatar through increasingly difficult stages with precision. Utilising jump and double jump at the wrong time will result in significant trial and error. Those that enjoy putting their thinking hat on when playing will enjoy this but a casual player may be easily frustrated.

Release Date: 10/11/20
Developer: Swerve Studios
Publisher: Swerve Studios

*Nine Witches: Family Disruption*

“When an occult German WW2 division releases an ancient curse upon the world, a supernatural problem is going to require a supernatural solution. Take control of two playable heroes as they embark on a comedic, alternate-history adventure with a truly original story (99.9999% guaranteed).“

The age old classic pairing of pixel art and point and click adventure gaming come together nicely in an alternate history World War II setting. The dialogue is entertaining and the characters have unique personalities that come across well. The puzzle solving isn’t too difficult but enough to keep the player thinking.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Indiesruption
Publisher: Blowfish Studios

*OkunoKA Madness*

“Challenge your skills in 6 levels (from over 100 in the full game) and in one (of the 4) boss battles to give you a taste of all the adrenaline coming in the full version of OkunoKA Madness. and welcome Pink Pepper, one of the several bosses you will find in the full game fast paced experience. Pre Order OkunoKA Madness NOW! ———- This exclusive demo includes: – Six game levels to experience OkunoKA Madness – One boss fight to leverage your skills“

This fast paced 2D platformer has playful character and environmental design that are a joy to experience. Each level tasks the player with platforming to the end to eat a creature that resembles a little black ghost. The gameplay itself is fun and the manipulation of elements at the press of a button to change a platform from fire to stone for instance is a cool mechanic that works well. Trial and error will be a recurring theme here but it was certainly fun to figure out.

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: Caracal Games
Publisher: Ignition Publishing

*PHOGS!*

“In PHOGS! you play as a duo of dogs on a captivating, puzzle-filled adventure. Linked by a stretchy belly, you’ll need to bark, bite and bounce your way through obstacles set across the themed worlds of Food, Sleep and Play, in co-op or single-player.“

Playing as a pair of dogs joined together like Nickelodeon cartoon CatDog is entertaining, charming and oddly satisfying when completing the puzzle platforming elements either solo or co-operatively. Its weird, wonderful and playful in its overall presentation. This would be a fun one to play with the kids too.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Bit Loom Games
Publisher: Coatsink

*Pixel Skater*

“Fast-paced arcade style skateboarding and a deep combo system that will make you eager to score higher and higher! Try out the tutorial section of Story Mode as well as 3 uniquely themed levels to complete goals and try for some high scores!“

As one would expect from a game with the title “Pixel Skater”, the visuals are exactly as described. With extremely appropriate retro music and arcade gameplay, this combo based skateboarding title is oddly addictive with its over the top presentation.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Chickopie Games
Publisher: Chickopie Games

*Ponpu*

“Get ready to break some eggs in this frantic multiplayer party-game! Ponpu mixes classic gameplay with new crazy mechanics, all packaged in one of the coolest art-styles ever seen!“

Playful cartoony animation and a variety of attacks to defeat enemies in story and multiplayer modes, Ponpu is wacky in a family friendly way that is sure to entertain with its couch co-op mayhem. The black and white colour pallet gives in only to coloured eyes of the different characters in a very striking manner.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Purple Tree Studio
Publisher: Zordix

*Projection: First Light*

“Projection: First Light follows Greta, a girl living in a mythological shadow puppet world, as she embarks on a journey across cultures meeting legendary heroes on an illuminating journey of self-enlightenment.“

A Limbo-esque presentation beautifully compliments the themes of light and darkness as well as the power one can have over the other. Utilising shadow puppets and sets in contrast with a glowing light orb that is used to manipulate shadows to create ramps to climb in this 2D platformer, the gameplay is fun and challenging in a way that is likely to satisfy as much as it can frustrate.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Shadowplay Studios
Publisher: Blowfish Studios

*Raji: An Ancient Epic*

“Raji: An Ancient Epic is an action-adventure game set in ancient India. A young girl named Raji has been chosen by the gods to stand against the demonic invasion of the human realm. Her destiny? To rescue her younger brother and face the demon lord Mahabalasura.“

A vibrant and colourful Indian tale of a brother and sister that packs heart. With animations that appear like cardboard puppets for the cutscenes, the gameplay itself is a 3D side scroller with grand and majestic scope with its architecture and environmental design. The platforming is familiar and fun and mythological staff to use in combat is very satisfying. This is definitely one to watch.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Nodding Heads Games
Publisher: Super.com

*Road to Guangdong*

“A family emergency reunites a young art graduate and her elderly aunt for a memorable road trip across 1990s China. Settle into the driving seat for a moving tale of faded memories, family ties and generational angst. With tough choices at every turn, how will your journey of discovery end?“

Featuring a decision based dialogue system and a car maintenance system that isn’t overly complicated yet requires time to feel familiar, this narrative driven road trip experience is unique and layered. Having to maintain, upgrade and replace parts of the car, playfully called Sandy, feels a little more of a distraction than a fun and engaging system. Perhaps more time and familiarity with these mechanics may ease these early thoughts.

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: Just Add Oil Games
Publisher: Excalibur Games

*Rover Wars: Battle for Mars*

“What if MOBAs and RTS games had a baby? Rover Wars combines resource management, farming, building and strategy into an intense tug of war. Fight in an interplanetary campaign and challenge your friends in the configurable Battle Mode. Rover Wars might be your gateway ticket into the strategy genre.“

Resource management and tactical turn based gameplay come together in a battle for mars in campaign and multiplayer modes. The art design is fun and the gameplay mechanics are reasonably accessible for those not overly familiar with the genre.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Sakari Games
Publisher: Sakari Games

*Sail Forth*

“Explore beautiful scenery and battle pirates with a fleet of custom-outfitted ships in this procedural sailing adventure.“

Cute chibi-like animation steals the show in this customisable ship adventure. Controlling the sails to manipulate speed is executed well and the shooting mechanics are fun and accessible. A radial menu with map and fast travel options also contains a camera, harpoon and fleet management options. With missions to complete on every island this one is sure to entertain for hours.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: David Evans
Publisher: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild

*ScourgeBringer*

“ScourgeBringer is a fast-paced free-moving roguelite platformer. Help Kyhra to explore the unknown and slash her way through ancient machines guarding the seal of her past, and maybe the redemption of humanity.“

This pixel art platformer packs a fun and simple combat system that combines physical attacks and a chargeable gun to vanquish the enemies that populate the area. Utilising jumping and dashing to scale the room, it efficiently blends fun with challenge.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Flying Oak Games
Publisher: Dear Villagers

*Seasons of the Samurai*

“Lead a samurai through a series of puzzles set in the eight provinces of Japan. Control the season and the time of day in order to change the configuration of each level, allowing the samurai a safe passage to the next level. All puzzles require logic reasoning and good memory skills. New mechanisms appear as you make your way through each prefecture of Japan, increasing the challenge throughout your journey. The combinations of seasons and times of day create realistic sunlight conditions. Leaves in the trees reflect all four seasons depicting the glowing reds of the maple trees in autumn and the beautiful purple and pink tints of the cherry trees in the spring. Discover all the pieces of a Japanese painting and earn all the belts all the way to the black belt!“

Controlling seasons and the time of day raises and lowers platforms to guide the samurai from one side of the screen to the other. This simple enough concept is complicated by the inclusion of a turn counter, requiring the puzzle to be solved in X amount of turns. This is a fun one for those who enjoy a challenge with the added pressure of limitations.

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: Francis Malka
Publisher: TopView Studio

*SkateBIRD*

“Grind on bendy straws, kick-flip over staplers, and carve killer lines through cardboard and sticky tape parks. Above all else, skate birds try their best!“

Rocking a skateboard as a little bird is a weird concept I never knew I wanted. Performing tricks and combos while accepting challenges from other animals within the stage is more fun than it should be. Flapping wings while upside down in the air and screeching is oddly satisfying.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Glass Bottom Games
Publisher: Glass Bottom Games

*Skycadia*

“Collect bounties on sky pirates in this chill pastel dogfight sim.“

An incredibly retro dogfight sim sees players fly through the skies and shoot various targets, enemies and bounties. With retro visuals ever present, Skycadia is an authentic arcade experience that is fun enough to play but lacking that special something to draw you back for more.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Studio Nisse
Publisher: Studio Nisse

*Solaroids: Prologue*

“A skill-based spectacle of the classics of old with a dash of retro charm and a heaping injection of kick butt adrenaline. Master drift and upgrade your fighter to become the top pilot in the galaxy, or team up with up to three of your comrades and decimate the enemy.“

Similar to galaga, the players’ awareness of their surroundings is put to the test as they try to survive and score as many points as possible. With fun power-ups to modify the gunplay to destroy enemy ships and asteroids, this is fresh take on a familiar retro experience.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: DynF/X Digital
Publisher: DynF/X Digital

*Space Otter Charlie*

“Revitalize your puzzle platforming adventures in ZERO GRAVITY! With no fuel, no map, and only a dream, help Charlie and his ragtag team find the resources they need to survive.“

A fun art style sets the tone of a weird and wacky world for an Otter to shoot and platform through with fun gameplay and power-ups. Environmental hazards add a challenge and mastering the jetpack will be essential to progress. This one looks great and the playful environments will likely be more dangerous and challenging when this releases in full.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Wayward Distractions
Publisher: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild

*Swim Out*

“Dive into the relaxing and refreshing atmosphere of Swim Out, a strategic, turn-based puzzle game, that will transport you into a sunny day by the swimming pool, the river or the sea. Plan each of your strokes wisely and be sure to never cross any other swimmer’s path if you want to peacefully enjoy the sea view on a cosy chaise-longue. • “I am delighted by how unfamiliar a swimming experience this is to me” – Rock, Paper, Shotgun • “There are precious few things I appreciate more than a straightforward puzzle game with a strong commitment to its aesthetic, and Swim Out is exactly that” – Waypoint “TIGA Games Industry Awards 2018” Finalist, Creativity Award, Strategy Game “Indie Prize 2018” Finalist “Ping Awards 2017” Finalist, Mobile Game “TIGA Games Industry Awards 2017” Finalist, Puzzle Game“

This turn based puzzle game asks the player to navigate a swimming pool or beach to reach the exit without colliding with other swimmers or objects. Anticipating the directions and movements of those within the environment challenge the players ability to plan ahead.

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: Lozange Lab
Publisher: Lozange Lab

*Swimsanity!*

“Swimsanity! is a multiplayer underwater shooter with action-packed Co-Op and Versus game modes, all supported by online and local play. You play as our hero Mooba, who uses a variety of unique power ups and weapons to survive in this aquatic world.“

An underwater co-op shooter featuring scuba divers taking on weird and wonderful enemies and creatures is fun kind of different with an assortment of multiplayer modes to check out. Cool art design and music make it feel as fun as it plays.

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: Decoy Games
Publisher: Decoy Games

*Tesla Force*

“The cosmic horrors are awakening. It’s time to call upon the heroes of science and eldritch knowledge to defend mankind from an assault from the outer reaches of reality!”

Comic like cutscenes segway into this twin stick shooter with an assortment of abilities and new weapons to wield against the varying enemies. The environmental and character designs are great and compliment the fun gameplay. Collecting all 4 parts of a mech suit allow it to be built and controlled, resulting in a very powerful machine of destruction that is as fun to control as it is to lay waste to the enemies with.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: 10tons
Publisher: 10tons

*The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines*

“Freeze time, outsmart your enemies, and reverse the annihilation of your home in The Ambassador: Fractured timelines, a twin-stick fantasy shooter.“

Pixel art and time manipulation are two of my favourite gameplay elements and they come together nicely in this spear throwing, magic wielding twin-stick shooter. Clearing enemies is the key to progression, opening a portal to travel to the next section. Good enemy variety and the ability to slow time is fun and gives this title some great potential.

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: tinyDino Games
Publisher: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild

*The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav*

“Face your Destiny! In Andergast, whose inhabitants are considered to be notoriously superstitious, King Efferdan awaits a state visit from high-ranking dignitaries. For centuries the kingdom has been at odds with neighboring Nostria, but now first steps are being undertaken toward a lasting peace.“

The gorgeous painting style character and environmental art are simply stunning. The point and click gameplay is effective with the art direction by keeping motion and movement to a minimum. The level of detail is excellent and the characters themselves have personality. The story looks on track to provide emotion, I definitely can’t wait to see some more of this one.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment

*The Dark Eye: Memoria*

“In Memoria, players travel through different time periods, following two distinct protagonists: Sadja, a southern princess who wants to be a war hero, and Geron, a bird catcher who wants to lift a curse from his girlfriend.“

Extremely similar to The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav in terms of gameplay and presentation, including the same playable character. Clearly a part of a series, I look forward to seeing it unravel.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment

*The Last Cube*

“Venture through six unique areas of the cube-world and overcome 3D brain-teasers in this upcoming puzzle adventure game. You, the Last Cube, were awakened for a purpose—save this peculiar world from collapsing by solving puzzle tracks left by your ancestors.“

The Last Cube is a puzzle platformer that tests the players ability to think ahead. Spanning multiple levels in its vertical stages, this kind of stimulation will either frustrate or satisfy depending on the players experience with the genre. Navigating this cube through the stages takes a little trial and error but its very satisfying to finally solve a part that has proven difficult.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Improx Games
Publisher: Improx Games

*The Vale: Shadow of the Crown*

“CLOSE YOUR EYES. BECOME A WARRIOR: Feel the enemy’s low, rasping breath; A companion’s whispered warning; Footsteps on swampy ground; The swish of mail armor; The crack of steel on wooden shield.“

At first I was unsure what I was experiencing. Glowing orbs littered the screen with narration of the narrative and command prompts initially feeling like accessibility options. Then it dawned on me. This story is told from the perspective a girl who is blind and the game cleverly utilises audio cues and prompts to guide the player towards sounds and instructions to engage characters and objects with a cane. The Vale is certainly an experience like no other that I can’t wait to play in full.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Falling Squirrel
Publisher: Falling Squirrel

*Tribble Troubles*

“Boldly go where no Tribble has gone before! Play as a Tribble from Star Trek in this action filled vertical platformer game.“

This 2D platformer has a cute art style and simple combat. Jumping and avoiding traps while collecting gems and crystals from defeated enemies to buy shields and sonic attacks at the end of each stage provides some retro inspired fun.

Release Date: 30/12/20
Developer: Scary Robot Productions
Publisher: Tribble Games

*Unspottable*

“Unspottable Demo is a competitive couch party game for 2 to 4 players. Blend in the crowd of AI characters, hunt down the other players and use the many different environment specific rules to win the game. Walk like a robot and punch like a human!“

Hiding in plain sight in a room where everyone looks the same is stressful, especially considering that other players are patiently waiting to strike. By observing behaviours of all characters on the field, the player needs to identify other players and defeat them in this point based couch co-op brawler. Fun and laughs are a certainty with Unspottable and playing with friends and family is definitely what helps this one stand out.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: GrosChevaux
Publisher: GrosChevaux

*WarriOrb*

“WarriOrb: Prologue is a free standalone demo for the action platformer WarriOrb, where you play as a mighty demon trapped in an unlikely body. The path ahead is not an easy one… Are you ready to do whatever it takes to regain your freedom?“

Incorporating puzzle elements and action to this side scrolling platformer, the premise of being a demon trapped inside the players character offers intrigue, artistic flair and most importantly some fun gameplay. The stages themselves offer a reasonable amount of challenge and the overall presentation is solid and charming.

Release Date: Available Now!
Developer: Not Yet
Publisher: Not Yet

*Welcome To Elk*

“Welcome to Elk: Demo is the free intro of this upcoming biographical adventure set on an island like no other. Every character you encounter has a story to tell. From the weird and wonderful to the dark and desperate, all the tales told on Elk are based on true stories.“

Coloured characters and interactable objects appear striking among the black and white environments. Text based dialogue and some wonderfully silly animation and art styles round out the amusing visual presentation of this point and click style adventure game.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Triple Topping Games
Publisher: Triple Topping Games

*YesterMorrow*

“YesterMorrow is a single-player time travelling 2D platformer, mixing action sequences with puzzle elements. Follow the engaging story of Yui, who travels back into the past to save her family and the remnants of a world now trapped in Never-ending Night.“

https://youtu.be/3D3DikgMMqc

This 2D side scrolling platformer has environmental visuals reminiscent of classic Sonic on the SEGA Mega Drive. The character models are cute and similar to avatars as seen in the Pokemon series of games. An oriental score and fun gameplay compliment this platformer playfully with a sinister story surrounded by dark entities.

Release Date: TBA
Developer: Bitmap Galaxy
Publisher: Blowfish Studios

That’s a very brief look at all 71 games that were a part of the Xbox Summer Game Fest Demo event. This event demonstrates there are some excellent titles  on their way to current and next-gen across a wide range of genres. There was something for everyone during this event and I can’t wait to get my hands on a number of these on day one!

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