Due to this year’s pandemic, many gaming events had to be canceled or replaced by online presentations. Therefore, probably more game developers than ever decided to contribute playable versions of their PC games to The Steam Game Festival – Summer Edition 2020. In addition to live streams and Q&As with the developers, the hands-on experience is the main focus of this event. Fortunately, there are also many titles from Southeast Asia, for example from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam. So that you don’t lose track of all those games, we have this list of 15+1 game demos from Southeast Asia that you can try out from home and for free between June 16, 2020 (10 AM PDT) and June 22, 2020 (10 AM PDT).
Stronger together – this applies not only to many social movements around the world, but also to projects in indie game development. Not only effectiveness but also creativity are boosted when creative people from different countries and cultures come together to develop games together. Southeast Asia is a very diverse region with many cultures, languages, religions and of course also different possibilities and approaches to game development. While individual countries already have a very distinctive development scene, there are also regions in Southeast Asia in which game development plays a subordinate role, if at all.
Due to the current corona pandemic, UOW Malaysia KDU has decided to have this year’s summer showcase of its student projects take place digitally. It is an ideal opportunity for us to introduce you to the games made by students of the Bachelor of Game Development at the School of Computing & Creative Media. It is impressive what Malaysia’s future game designers have achieved already: from a culturally inspired point & click adventure, to a musical brawler or even a Souls-like, everything is there to delight a gaming enthusiast’s heart and what’s the best: all games can be downloaded free of charge, the links can be found below. We have picked five highlights for you, but the other projects are also definitely worth a look.
The time has come to look at the upcoming games from Malaysia. If you check out our list, you might not even know where to start. In any case, there is something for every gamer, whether on playing on console, PC or mobile device – so let’s go!
For the second time only, the EGX took place in Berlin. As the little sister of the main event from the UK, the EGX Berlin has proved to be a small, but fine gaming event for interesting indies. The EGX pulls its great strength in comparison to big competitors like the Gamescom from its family-friendly environment, short distances and waiting times as well as an altogether relaxed visit. Although blockbusters such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake were also presented and were largely playable themselves, the focus was, as in the year before, on the small indie pearls. At least half of the show floor was dedicated to these games and there was one or the other highlight to discover and try out. In addition to many German and European projects, two games from Southeast Asia also found their way to the EGX Berlin 2019. We at Virtual SEA seized this opportunity to send Andreas to the event to try out these two titles for you.
Nightstream is in its core an endless runner game, as players take control of a runner who is surfing the stream on hoverboards (shouldn’t they be called hovers instead?). Various levels represent the stream’s tube-like architecture in which the runners must avoid traps, collect orbs and power-ups as well as fight enemies. The game is super-fast, so quick reflexes are necessary to reach the end of each level. Fair reset points and the ability to ride the tube in 180 degrees are helpful to that task.
Monster Slayers! “What a generic title for a videogame.”, was probably the first thing we thought when we heard about this game. But its tagline intrigued us: A Deckbuilding Roguelike Adventure. This combination of probably some of the most popular genres today seems worth a look. Is it a great mixture of all those or simply a potpourri of half-baked ideas to jump on a hype train? While Monster Slayers has originally been released on PC by Malaysian developer Nerdook in 2017, we are now looking at the recently ported version for the Nintendo Switch.
Transferring own biographies and emotional experiences into videogames has been a hit and miss so far. One of the challenges is to make the story fit with the gameplay. We can often discover a discrepancy between both parts, leaving the narrative and the interactive elements in dissonance. With “She Remembered Caterpillars”, we see another attempt to link the heartbreaking testimony of Malaysian writer Cassandra Khaw with a clever puzzle mechanic. Does it succeed to deliver a satisfying union?
Waker is minimalism. This shoot’em-up comes with clear and simple graphics and basically consists of lines and lights of various colors. Players control a vessel, try to dodge millions of projectiles while shooting the “enemy”. To do so, it isn’t simply enough to spam the shoot button, but players must target their foes until the weapon lock-on is activated.
Simulacra: Pipe Dreams is another found-phone-game and a successor to Simulacra as well as Sara Is Missing from Kaigan Games. All games have in common that they simulate a phone in your phone. This idea, which can also be found in several other mobile games like A Normal Lost Phone, helps to get more involved into the game – the immersion rises. So, also this spin-off of Simulacra feels and behaves like a phone of a nameless person or like “your” phone.
In Cinema 14, players take over the role of a girl falling asleep during a show and awakening being trapped in a deserted movie theater. By choosing the seat of a long-lost child, she unknowingly triggered a deadly curse. Now, she needs to unravel the mysteries of the child’s fate, reconstruct the events and escape the cinema. Since the game is made in Malaysia it features many references to Malaysian cultures and mythologies, which adds a nice touch to an otherwise interesting but common storyline.
Silence. A strange ambience. A void. This is what awaits you at the beginning of Memoir, the latest game from Paperdoll Games (Malaysia). You start as a little deer, who must face an unknown quest and is only barely told to awake the ancient kingdom. But, how is he going to that?
Here at Virtual SEA, we are working hard to represent the vast diversity of Southeast Asian video game development. While we give our best at covering as many games as possible through in-deep reviewing, there are still a lot more games that just fall under the table due to simple lack of time and resources (not to mention each of our own piles of shame). Now we want to give credit to all those little gems we played only for too little time to craft a proper review but which still deserve your attention. This time, we present to you indie games from Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Go and give these games a chance!
We want to give credit to all those little gems we played only for too little time for a proper review but still deserve your attention. This time we present to you indie games from Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.
With SIMULACRA, Kaigan Games delivered a masterpiece. Building up on Sara Is Missing, this game has been improved in every possible way. It looks better and smoother, recreating a more believable phone experience. Voice and video acting is more professional (although still a bit overacted at times) and the story is more believable.
Embark on a journey between fantasy and reality with charming puzzler Uri – The Sprout of Lotus Creek
This passively controlled indie platformer is a blast with its gorgeous screens and the ability to tell stories without any audio sample or too many words. Every little chapter has a story, only told by pictures or a few sentences – and it works. The colors keep it magical and are evoking memories of the stories of Scheherazade.