As part of the Berlin gamesweek, this year’s A MAZE festival opened its doors from April 10 to 13 to present talks, workshops and exhibitions from the field of art and culture and playful media. Being the Gamescom’s little artsy-fartsy sister, inclined visitors had the chance to experience mind-blowing VR installations, crazy indie games and other media that go way beyond mainstream gaming. Main topics were inclusion, politics, playfulness, and experimental visuals – all of it with a great and wide international focus
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.
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 and Indonesia. Go and give these games a chance!
Who’s the main protagonist in the Harry Potter universe? Harry himself may be a good guess, he-who-must-not-be-named would make the best antagonist. Honestly, isn’t Hogwarts, the magical school, and home to all of Harry’s adventures the secret star? A school for magical kids with secrets everywhere, astonishing architecture and a curriculum that makes every other study look like boring chores. And then Hogwarts is lead by one of the most characteristic figures of all time: Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts. Ever since, players all around the world have been waiting to become the head of magical school themselves. And here comes “Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story” to fill this gap.
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!
Nostalgia. That’s what obviously comes to mind when talking about Azure Saga: Pathfinder, the new game of Indonesian developer Masshive Media. It is in most of its aspects a trip down memory lane, reminding of classic Japanese role-playing games. The developers tried to transfer the classic feel of those story-driven games with turn-based combat into a modern costume. That seems to be a trend now, as we have seen other attempts by Southeast Asian studios such as WanderJahR or Legrand Legacy.
Languages and creoles die when they fall out of use and relevance from current contexts. Moved by Kodrah Kristang’s mission to revitalise Kristang, I also wanted to use this local creole in my new game that is based on Southeast Asian culture and folklore. But this comes with challenges due to Kristang’s limited and/or dated vocabulary.
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.
Assassin’s Creed Origins – Helped by Southeast Asian Game Developers, Ubisoft delivers a new Open World Highlight
Ubisoft has completely changed the mechanism of Assassin’s Creed Origins and is much different from the previous series. I really liked the changes, but not all of them. The process of leveling and also the short storyline made my game experience less enjoyable in some moments. But in terms of exploration, I must admit that Assassins Creed Origins provided me with a more immersive experience. Ubisoft really made real the dreams of open-world gaming enthusiasts in this latest entry.
Tower Fortress: This 2D roguelike from the Philippines will make you scream and laugh – In a good way!
Tower Fortress by Filipino game developer Keybol is a hidden gem. With its generic name and the cartoonish 2D pixel look it could be easily seen as one of those quick and dirty indie publications that have flooded the market in recent years. But don’t be mistaken, Tower Fortress is a very addictive platformer that draws inspiration from the roguelike genre and classics such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Metroid.
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.
In ‘Home Sweet Home’, we have to think of ways to survive, by being stealthy, hiding from evil spirits and also solving some puzzles. The storyline is unique, and I think it’s one of the freshest story-lines I’ve ever played in Asian horror games.
Legion Tale is a turn-based RPG with tactical encounters and quick-time-events (QTEs). It tells a common fantasy story about a kingdom divided by war, an outside aggressor that is both evil and ugly and of course a hero who will save the world.
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.
This school evokes memories of imprisonment – and that’s not a bad thing: Academia: School Simulator (Early Access)
Some artists develop a unique style that makes all their work recognizable at first glance. While very common in other art forms, this isn’t particularly the case for video games so far. One of the few exceptions is Ryan Sumo, game artist and co-founder at Filipino indie studio Squeaky Wheel. His previous works include politics simulator Political Animals and BAFTA-winning management game Prison Architect; his style being the defining element in those games. Now, Squeaky Wheel’s newest game is Academia: School Simulator and you can clearly tell it’s another Ryan Sumo work.
Mayari accomplishes on mobile what others are unable to do on more advanced platforms: traveling to a mystical world by means of imagination. It lets the player delve into the mythological world of the Philippines by using simple mechanics, beautifully handcrafted panoramas and a tantalizing soundtrack. Mayari is far more than just a game, it’s a unique visualization of ancient myths translated into modern media. It stands exemplary for a culturally inspired game.