Day of the Devs just wrapped up, leaving us with a heck of a lineup of fascinating indie games slated for the coming months and years. We saw a total of 16 games over the last hour, some of them from known indie studios such as the folks behind Monument Valley, and others the debut games from new studios.
We’ve got a roundup below of everything we just saw, so if you’re looking for the next indie darling to fall in love with, this is the place to check:
The newly-announced Time Flies explores the limited time we all have here on earth, from the perspective of a fly. The time the fly has to live is dependent on where you are in the world, converting years to seconds – so if life expectancy in the United States is about 77 years, players in the US will have 77 seconds to live. During that time, you can try to complete items on a bucket list (similar to Untitled Goose Game’s To Do list) such as “Learn an Instrument,” “Go on Tour,” or “Get Rich.” Time Flies is made by Michael Frei and Raphaël Munoz, and is coming to PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and PC/Mac sometime this year.
Planet of Lana
We’ve seen Planet of Lana before, but today we got a new, detailed trailer and breakdown of what’s going on in this puzzle adventure. Planet of Lana features the gameplay of something like Inside, but with much brighter and less disturbing vibes. It follows Lana, a young woman whose sister has been captured by an invading robot army, and she must try to rescue her alongside her loyal friend and pet. Planet of Lana is coming to Xbox and PC later this year, and is being developed by Wishfully Studios and published by Thunderful.
Inspired by Stephen King’s 2016 children’s book Charlie the Choo-Choo (which is itself extracted from King’s Dark Tower series), Choo-Choo Charles is pure nightmare fuel. This survival game takes place on an island inhabited by a horrible, evil, hell train with spider legs that crawls across the land looking for people to eat. Your goal is to upgrade your own train and use it to fight back, while not getting eaten yourself. Choo-Choo Charles is coming in “early 2022” (so… soon?) to PC, and is developed by Two Star Games.
You’re enrolled in the Escape Academy, a school that will teach you the art of puzzle solving to turn you into the ultimate escapist. The developer, Coincrew Games, has a background in arcade amusements and have previously designed real-life escape rooms. Escape Academy puts escape rooms into the digital space for you to solve and break out of. It’s headed to PC, PS5, and PS4 on July 14 (a few weeks after the original planned release of June 27) and will also be on Xbox Game Pass day one.
A Little to the Left
A Little to the Left is a cute, cozy puzzle game about organizing household items into arrangements that look and feel pleasant. Push pencils and wall hangs into straight lines, stack books correctly, adjust plant leaves, order silverware, and just generally tidy up… before the cat pushes everything around again. It’s coming later this year to PC and Switch from studio Max Inferno.
Bear and Breakfast
From developer Gumycat, Bear and Breakfast is a chill management simulator about being a bear, and building and running a bed and breakfast in the middle of the woods. It also includes exploration elements, as there’s a mystery at the heart of the forest that will require solving, with Bear and his friends ideally positioned to do it as they try to make money off of random human tourists. Bear and Breakfast is headed to PC and Switch on July 28.
Animal Well is a strange, surreal pixel art exploration game full of puzzles and secrets. In it, you explore a mysterious labyrinth and manipulate the environment around you with different items whose uses may not always be immediately apparent. Animal Well is packed with secrets, too, some of which developer Shared Memory promises may take years to find, or require community collaboration. It’s coming to PS5 and PC.
From HiWarp, Naiad is a relaxing, minimalist exploration adventure game where you play as a water nymph swimming in a mysterious river. Learn to swim, dive, and dash through the waters, find animal friends, and use your swimming skills to remove obstacles and help them find their way through the river with you, finding secrets as you go. Naiad is coming to PC and consoles by the end of the year.
Roots of Pacha
With a setting inspired by Clan of the Cave Bear and gameplay inspired by Stardew Valley, Roots of Pacha is a village builder and management game about building up a civilization from its fundamentals. Start by exploring the land, finding crops and animals and beginning to grow your village. Over time, develop farming and animal domestication, as well as other major advancements along the path of human civilization. Roots of Pacha, developed by Soda Den and published by Crytivo, is headed to PC this year.
Desta: The Memories Between
Newly announced at this showcase, from the developers of Monument Valley, Desta features a mixture of roguelike, turn-based tactics, and even sports gameplay mixed with themes of dreams and conflicting fears. Play as Desta, a young 20-something who has returned home in the wake of their father’s death. Upon finding a ball they used to throw around with their dad, they fall asleep and find themselves in a world where they can work their way through difficult conversations in their life, finding the right words to say as they solve puzzles with the ball.
Playing as the titular Schim, a little shadow creature, you’re on the hunt for the human being you’re the shadow of. Schim is a platforming game inspired by children’s games with made-up rules, where you can only move within the shadows of objects in the world. Jump from shadow to shadow, and help other schims you meet along the way find the objects they belong to. Developed by Ewoud Van Der Werf, Schim is headed to Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox, and PC.
Fox and Frog Travelers: The Demon of Adashino Island
Fox and Frog Travelers seems pleasant at first, following the story of Fox, a young girl who finds herself on Adashino Island with her traveling frog companion. But this 3D action adventure gets creepy, as strange creatures begin chasing Fox and creepy things begin to happen. Fox and Frog Travelers is developed by Rias Coast and is supported by Japanese indie games community Asobu. It’s planned for release “in a few years.”
The debut game from Yo Fujii published by Flyhigh Works, Goodbye World is a narrative adventure game about two indie game creators – one shy, the other an extrovert. It’s a story about making video games inspired by Ghost World, The Beginner’s Guide, and Mother 3, with pixel art in the resolution of the Super NES or Game Boy Advance. It’s coming to PC later this year.
Birth is a pleasantly creepy point-and-click puzzle game about living alone in a large city and constructing a creature to keep you company out of spare bones and organs you find lying around. Explore libraries, post offices, museums, cafes, and apartments that don’t belong to you, solving observational puzzles hidden in personal belongings and scenery. Birth is coming to PC in the fall of 2022.
How to Say Goodbye
From Florian Veltman and Baptiste Portefaix, How to Say Goodbye is a narrative puzzle game where you help a group of ghosts discover who they are and why they’re lingering in the world after death. Solve puzzles by reorganizing each level like a Rubik’s Cube, in a storybook world inspired by children’s illustrations like the Moomins and Where the Wild Things Are. Coming to PC and mobile this year.
Little Nemo and the Guardians of Slumberland
The final game shown at Day of the Devs wasn’t just shown – it was heard as part of a musical performance. Little Nemo and the Guardians of Slumberland is a platformer sequel to the NES game Little Nemo: The Dream Master, and is being developed by Die Soft. It’s launching a Kickstarter campaign today, June 9, as the show wraps up.
And the actual final announcement at Day of the Devs wasn’t a game – it was another showcase. We learned at the end of the show that Annapurna Interactive will once again hold its own summer showcase on July 28 at 12 pm PT / 3pm EDT / 8pm BST. Last year’s showcase included a release window for Stray, an expansion for The Outer Wilds, and over 15 more game teases and announcements.
IGN’s Summer of Gaming is in full swing, and we’ve got plenty more where this came from. Check out our schedule for details on how to watch everything coming up in Summer of Gaming, and catch up on what you’ve missed.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.