Airing several hours before The Game Awards, Wholesome Game‘s indie-focused showcase will be a hard act to follow. Unless Tunic wins all three of its awards. Packed into its 20-minute air time were world premieres, unexpected updates, and new looks at long-anticipated games. I’m gong to dig into those, but you can also watch the entire show here.
My first encounter with Mail Time was at GDC, with an in-person, hands-on demo. The game’s silly vibe shined even brighter with solo dev Kela Van Der Deijl adding commentary as I played. So, I’m thrilled to learn that the game is now coming to PlayStation consoles alongside Switch and PC April 23. The new trailer bundled with the announcement also brilliantly showed off character personalities and new locations. Plus, there’s a whole new demo in Steam, so don’t miss out!
Mineko’s Night Market
I’m not going to lie, when I saw the recognizable art style pop on my screen, I was hoping for a release date. While waiting for something more concrete than a vague 2023 window, fans can check out a new demo on Steam right now. It’s only up until December 12, though.
A Most Extraordinary Gnome
Recently launched on Steam, this short adventure’s cut paper aesthetic stood out in a show full of striking titles. And it’s always great when event hosts get to say, “and it’s out now.” If you’re looking to fill the boots a small forest protector, this might be your game.
Introduced as a game for fans of Animal Crossing, Spirited Away, and Stardew Valley, Spirittea dropped a new trailer. Speaking as a not-exactly unbiased observer (I’m an NPC in the game), the new gameplay looked great! But that’s not all we got at today’s showcase. It looks like the game is also coming to GamePass when it launches on Switch and PC in early 2023.
Not knowing much about this title, I’ll let the team behind it explain the concept. “Escape to the fairytale life of your dreams in Fae Farm, a farm sim RPG for 1-4 players. Craft, cultivate, and decorate to grow your shared homestead—and use spells to explore the enchanted island of Azoria!”
Way To The Woods
It was good to see Way to the Woods at this event, as its development has been a long journey. The developers originally believed their thoughtful title would come out in 2019, but years later, news on the game had gone dark. However, we got an unexpected March 2023 release window today! With that, and the trailers hilariously bizarre ending, Way to the Woods was definitely a stand-out.
We didn’t get much in the way of new information on Tchia. Instead Wholesome Games gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at the team behind the game. If you are interested in learning more about the real-life culture inspiring Tchia’s world, check out the video above.
Another of the game’s shown today that has a special demo on Steam right now, Loddlenaut will let you raise a herd (gaggle? flock?) of axolotls. And, I guess, help clean the ocean, but mostly petting the cute underwater creatures. And if you like what you’ve played, the full game is coming September 2023.
Set your calendars, the black-and-white, enemies-to-friends tale is coming February 14. The Wholesome Snack’s new trailer showed off even more of the world and announced the game is available to preorder on Switch and Steam.
This small reveal made a big impression on me. The first look at Pounce Light’s relaxed building sim is the kind of surprise I love to see during showcases. Its sun-drenched landscapes and no-pressure gameplay came out of the blue, and now I have a new game to watch.
Bits & Bops
According to the creators, “Bits & Bops is a collection of original rhythm mini-games. Featuring over 20 mini-games filled with catchy music, snappy gameplay and gorgeous, hand-drawn animation, Bits & Bops is sure to brighten your day.”
The actor that did the voiceover for this management and exploration game trailer went so much harder with his David Attenborough impression than he needed to, and I just want to take a moment to appreciate that. While there’s no info beyond 2023 on the launch date, anyone interested can play a demo now.
Again, in the category of went harder than needed, the devs called this game a “ribbiting” 1st-person climb sim. I was already in when I saw the unique newspaper comic-esque art, but throwing that wordplay at me means Valley Peaks’ demo is now a must-try experience. I don’t make the rules.
World Premiere Alert! Because, what’s a Game Awards-partnered show without this signature feature? In keeping with the theme of the rest of the show, I have yet another game I simple have to play. Unfortunately, there’s no demo for this one, but it looks like it’s releasing next year on Steam and “consoles.”
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