August 28, 2021

Andreas Betsche

Gamescom 2021 – Best Games from Southeast Asia

August 28, 2021 | Andreas Betsche

It has become a tradition for Virtual SEA and Southeast Asian game developers to be present at Germany’s largest game exhibition, Gamescom. This year, we won’t miss the event either. Once more, we have ventured through the digital hallways of Gamescom Now, devcom, and the Indie Arena Booth to discover what Southeast Asian game developers have to offer and which new games will come out soon for you to play. And – spoiler alert – we have found more than 30 exciting new games from Southeast Asia.

Freshly announced games

In this section, you will find all the new stuff with tons of games that were announced first at Gamescom 2021. Surprisingly, they are all from Indonesia. Let’s get started with the most exciting announcements!

Nusantara Fighter (Indonesia)

Let’s start with a real treat. In their presentation, Indonesian studio Miracle Gates Entertainment talked to us about Nusantara Fighter, a new fighting game from the makers of the horror visual novel Grey Lucidity. The game is still in an early stage of development but takes its inspiration from classic fighting like Tekken or Street Fighter and spices it up with actual Indonesian lore. Instead of the usual anime warriors, we will play Indonesian heroes and mythological creatures like Raden Suano or Kuyang. Players will choose from 34 different characters with unique abilities, each of them representing one of Indonesia’s provinces. Miracles Gates is currently looking for funding and a publisher. Here are a few mockup images to give us a first impression of what the final game might look like:

Fallen Elysium, Dusk at War, and Fading Star (Indonesia)

We continue with Miracle Gates Entertainment and three visual novels coming to PC soon. First up is Fallen Elysium, a speculative sci-fi thriller about environmental issues that takes us on a trip to the UK, Morocco, and, of course, Indonesia. Second is Dusk at War, a serious but fictional story about the perils of war. Lastly, Fading Star is a mix of a dating sim and VN about standing up to your family’s expectations and finding true love. All three games will come out on PC. Miracle Gates confirmed that the development of Fallen Elysium and Dusk at War is completed, both only waiting for final proofreading and localization. The release of Fading Star will take a while longer.

Project Unseek (Indonesia)

Next up is Project Unseek, a new game by Bandung-based studio Arsanesia. Unlike their other games, Project Unseek is no longer a family-friendly experience but a horror-themed hide-and-seek multiplayer game for 6 to 10 players. Hiders must use their unique abilities and avoid the Seeker. As the game is set at night, players can only see what their characters can see with their limited sight. An interesting concept for this top-down asymmetrical multiplayer experience!

Project Unseek is targeted to be released on PC, consoles and mobile platforms. In the meantime, check out their website and this gameplay trailer:

Night of Sorrow (Indonesia)

We also got some news from Satriver Studio, the makers of the fun mobile game Crazy Delivery Rumble. Studio boss Dede informed us that they are currently working on a hyper-casual top-down shooter named Night of Sorrow. The game will be inspired by the classic Indonesian horror movie Malam Satu Suro. However, we haven’t seen much of the game yet, except for the main character’s design concept. Speaking of concepts, Satriver is currently working on another game with the working title “Project Strong-arm”. We had the chance to get an early glimpse at some screenshots, hinting that this beat ’em up game will be set in Indonesia.

Project KISS: Road to Debut (Indonesia)

Vania Marita from Yogyakarta-based Wisageni Studio introduced us to their latest game called Project KISS: Road to Debut. In the tradition of Princess Maker, Project KISS is an idol manager game with a focus on narrative and casual gameplay. The game will include a scheduling system for our proteges’ daily routines, a smartphone system with fake apps, and a variety of 15-20 unlockable endings.

Wisageni is planning a prologue demo early next year while releasing the game by the end of 2022 on Steam, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. They also want to bring the game to PlayStation 5 by 2023.

Here Comes The Hero (Indonesia)

We got caught by surprise when we heard about this title! GameChanger Studio, known for their rather dark management sims My Lovely Daughter/Wife, announced that they are now working on Here Comes The Hero. This futuristic 1-on-1 fighting game spices up the genre by including roguelike gameplay mechanics where players fight through randomly generated paths filled with villains and events until they defeat the final boss. Imagine a mixture of Street Fighter and Slay The Spire.

Here Comes The Hero, targeted for release in 2023 on PC and consoles, will feature simplified controls for more focus on action and strategy, customizable and upgradeable attacks and skills, small story snippets that will unravel in every battle, as well as an art style reminiscent of “Saturday Morning Cartoons”. If you don’t know what we mean by this, check out these early screenshots:

Hello Goodboy (Indonesia)

The following announcement is a super cute game by Rolling Glory Jam called Hello Goodboy. The name gives it away: this is a short narrative game about a kid and his dog, Coco. Hello Goodboy is a side-scrolling 2D game with puzzles and activities surrounding a tale about finding the purpose and enjoying the moment. Players can expect a branching narrative and a cute dog companion to interact with. The game is scheduled to come out in late 2022 on PC and Nintendo Switch. Well, only if Coco is a goooood boooiii, of course…

Matchmaker: Love & Roguelike (Indonesia)

While some might argue that a dog is a human’s perfect match, this next game might take this question into a more romantic context. Matchmaker: Love & Roguelike tries the nearly impossible and wants to combine romanticism with the relentless pain of roguelike games. Maybe there’s something to it, and we are thrilled to learn more about the debut of the recently founded MelonCat studio.

Matchmaker: Love & Roguelike aims for a Steam release in April 2022, with a possible port for Nintendo Switch later. Here are some exclusive screenshots, but MelonCat emphasized that the game is still in development, and it may not be the final look as they are currently experimenting with a new art style:

Kirana: Raga Sukma (Indonesia)

Do you care for Indonesian mythology? Then you should check out Kirana: Raga Sukma. In this third-person adventure, we take the role of Kirana, a girl whose brother was kidnapped by an unknown enemy. Kirana’s goal is to save her brother and to search for the truth behind the kidnapping, but she is also trying to resolve her mental problems. On her quest, Kirana hides from monsters by using the force of “raga-sukma”, astral projection. Players can expect a branching narrative based on Indonesian folklore. Kawarna Studios plans to release Kirana: Raga Sukma on PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

Swing Saga (Indonesia)

Swing Saga by Megaxus is an endless casual game with the goal of swinging a character from one to another platform and earning points by landing on the very right spot. The game is coming to PlayStation 4 & 5 and Nintendo Switch by the end of the year.

Monster Breakout! Brickbreaker Pixel RPG (Indonesia)

Coming up is a package of new mobile games, and we start introducing it by presenting Monster Breakout by Seraph Games. Monster Breakout is a remake of Bricks Pixel, a breakout game for mobile devices that came out earlier this year.

Seraph teamed with publisher Niji Games Studio and art designer Frosty Rabbid to improve their game with better visuals and animations, a stronger narrative, and an RPG-style progression system. We might see Monster Breakout coming out soon, as the game is currently in a closed testing phase. In the meantime, here’s a trailer that brings you into the right retro mood to play this game:

Cooking Chef Story: Food Park (Indonesia)

We hope you’re not hungry already because Niji Games Studios has two yummy culinary mobile games in the making. Cooking Chef Story: Food Park is a time-management cooking game where we prepare and serve various famous dishes and snacks from Indonesia and worldwide. The game, developed by Dreams Studio, is currently in alpha status and will be released on mobile platforms in 2022.

Calico Cafe (Indonesia)

If you like it more relaxed, this game might be something for you. Calico Cafe is a chill idle slash simulation game for mobile with a potential PC port. In Calico Cafe, you’re opening your first café, and with a relaxing atmosphere, players can play at their own pace. The game’s estimated release is in 2022, but we don’t expect it to come out soon, as we’re still talking about a prototype here.

Ngopi, Yuk! (Indonesia)

We go from café to coffee, or “ngopi”, as cool young Indonesians would say. Ngopi, Yuk!, slang for “let’s drink coffee”, is a coffee shop simulator game adapted from an Indonesian webtoon of the same name. Players take the role of a barista owning a traditional coffee shop set in Pontianak, West Borneo. By making coffee and listening to the daily problems of Indonesian customers, players will earn coins to build their coffee shop and collect menus, customer characters, and baristas through a gacha system. Developer Uniqx Games Studio promises a relaxing experience without strict targets or time restrictions, combining all this with Indonesian traditional music. To us, this sounds like an even more Indonesian version of Coffee Talk, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. Ngopi, Yuk! will be released on Android and iOS platforms at the beginning of 2022.

Updates for previously announced games

Let’s continue our Gamescom round-up with some updates and new bits of info for games that have been announced earlier this year or even at Gamescom 2020. Expect a lot of trailer material; this was, after all, still an online streaming event!

Rendezvous (Indonesia)

This game ticks all the popular boxes: cyberpunk setting, check. 2.5D pixel art, check. Genre mix, check. On top of that, Rendezvous, half point&click adventure, half stealth action, is set in a futuristic version of the Indonesian city Surabaya, following the story of Setyo, an ex-agent who needs to save his sister from a dangerous group of cyberrunners. Developer Pendopo Studios has announced that they have updated the game build with VN-style character portraits for the dialogue and showed a new screenshot highlighting a train station in Neo-Surabaya.

If that isn’t enough for you to go on a date with this game, an updated prologue demo of Rendezvous is now available on Steam.

GigaBash (Malaysia)

With GigaBash, here’s the event’s first game that was already present at last year’s Gamescom. As we can tell, the kaiju multiplayer is doing very well, and a new trailer presented at IGN’s Gamescom studio showed more of the chaotic gameplay, also giving away a few snippets of the game’s story mode. Fans of indie games were also able to visit GigaBash at their virtual booth at the Indie Arena Booth 2021. Even though we haven’t been able to get our hands on the game itself yet, we are confident that Passion Republic Games can hold the estimated release window of early 2022. GigaBash will then come out on PC and PlayStation 4.

Re: Legend (Malaysia)

Publisher 505 Games and Malaysian studio Magnus Games took the chance to remind us that their Kickstarter surprise hit Re:Legend is planned to leave Early Access this year. A trailer also shows some gameplay impressions of the 4-player multiplayer mode, which will be added to the game soon. Finally, players will now be able to craft, build and fight together. Re:Legend is a mix of farming game and monster-raising sim already available for PC on Steam.

Chinatown Detective Agency (Singapore)

Singaporean Chinatown Detective Agency was probably the most prominently placed game on this list, even if it was just for a few seconds. During the Xbox live streaming event, the new publisher, Humble Games, announced that the game will be part of the popular Xbox Game Pass. Not only will the game be free for subscribers on PC, but the announcement also made clear that Chinatown Detective Agency will be available on Xbox consoles upon release.

Additionally, Humble Games will serve as a publisher for the game on Nintendo Switch. If you haven’t heard of this pixel-art detective game set against the backdrop of a futuristic Singapore yet, you should check out the free prologue on Steam.

Grammarian Ltd (Indonesia)

We had the chance to chat with Algo Rocks’ Adib Toriq about their upcoming game, Grammarian Ltd. It comes with a very unusual premise: in a utopian (or dystopian?) world, the president has issued a decree that every piece of text needs to have perfect grammar. By chance, we become a so-called grammar validator, and from now on, we learn about grammar and check documents for errors.

Grammarian Ltd is part game, part educational software, and after playing the private demo, we concluded that it is much more fun than it sounds! Players can imagine a light-hearted simulation with a similar gameplay loop as in Papers, Please!, including daily routines and upgrading your apartment! Grammarian Ltd is aimed at English learners around the globe who want to improve their language skills in a fun way, coming to PC and mobile devices in February 2022.

Knight Vs Giant (Indonesia)

For the first time, developer Gambir Studio showed some gameplay of their upcoming game Knight Vs Giant. Currently being in alpha state, the gameplay positively reminded us of the Cat Quest series but with a slightly more complex touch and, of course, roguelike elements. Our goal is to defeat mighty giants while most content, like levels, skills and NPCs, is randomly generated. You can wishlist Knight Vs Giant on Steam and play a demo on just now!

The Sun Shines Over Us (Menggapai Matahari) (Indonesia)

The Sun Shines Over Us was announced a while ago, but publisher Niji Games Studio finally shared a few more details of what we can expect.

This Indonesian game is a visual novel that explores complex topics such as bullying, teenage friendships and mental health. Currently, the game is in beta state and will be released for PC and mobile by the end of 2021.

Fractured Core (Indonesia)

We were happy to receive signs of life from Fractured Core, Engram Interactive’s debut title. As this classic JRPG is set in a futuristic cyberpunk Germany, Gamescom was the perfect place and time to show the game.

Fractured Core aims at players who love to play traditional RPGs with turn-based combats, deep narratives and lore, and character customization. If this is your thing, you can wishlist the game on Steam.

Tanasurga (Indonesia)

For the next game, we remain in the future. Tanasurga is about leading a team of mech pilots, carrying out assignments to gain wealth and helping to liberate or conquer a country in an alternative World War 2 setting in Southeast Asia. The game focuses on turn-based combat and narrative, including three different pilots and their backstories and multiple story endings.

Tanasurga is currently in alpha state, but you can already play a demo on Buckle up, mech pilots!

Anuchard (Indonesia)

Anuchard, by Indonesian developer stellarNull, was one of the few games on this list showcased directly to Gamescom’s public visitors. It is a lovely fantasy action RPG inspired by genre classics such as the hidden gem Terranigma, including dungeon-crawling, puzzles and real-time combat. As the prodigious Bellwielder, our task is to restore the world’s civilization by returning the lost souls of its inhabitants. Anuchard is set to come out on PC (Steam) and Xbox early next year.

Project Angels (Indonesia)

Project Angels is the last one from Niji Games Studio on this list, promise! This publisher has enormous plans for sure. Coming for PC by the end of the year, Project Angels is an anime-style visual novel in which we become commanders of an elite superhuman soldier, make sure to run a successful mercenary company and try to build relationships with our soldiers.

Stella Gale: The Trials of Faith (Indonesia)

StellaGale: The Trials Of Faith is a story-based action RPG game with beautiful hand-drawn 2D illustrations and animations. Developer Extra Life Entertainment wants to emphasize storytelling and combat, including three different weapons and the ability to defeat your enemies with their skills. This all sounds great already, but it’s definitely the visual style that makes Stella Gale shine!

Misguided: Never Back Home (Indonesia)

Is DreadOut coming to mobile? Honestly, those were our thoughts when we saw Misguided: Never Back Home for the first time. Like its role model, Misguided is a horror game inspired by Indonesian mythology. We control a schoolgirl from a third-person perspective to fight against creepy ghosts and monsters. As lovely as we find the idea of playing a DreadOut on the mobile phone, developer Jevo Games first needs to prove that they can achieve this quality, too. If you’re the curious type, you can pre-register Misguided: Never Back Home on Google’s Play Store.

Who Is He: Let Me Out (Indonesia)

When it comes to horror games, Who Is He: Let Me Out chose a more creative approach: As the 10-year-old Alvin, we are trapped in our home village. With the only help from our deceased sister and our spider pet, we must delve deeper into the village’s mystery and outsmart all the beasts surrounding the area to get out alive. Who Is He wants to establish a thrilling horror atmosphere and puzzle-heavy gameplay, including controlling the spider companion. The game will come out on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox consoles.

Billy Makin Kid (Indonesia)

Here’s a quick one: SLAB Games is still working on bringing their flash game Billy Makin Kid to PC, mobile devices and HTML5 and apparently, they have a few other unannounced titles in the pre-production pipeline.

A Space For The Unbound (Indonesia)

Are you surprised to see one of Southeast Asia’s most anticipated games so far down this list? So are we, but there was simply nothing new to report about Mojiken’s slice-of-life adventure set in 90s Indonesia. The game was presented at Toge’s Indie Arena Booth, and that’s it.

Still, we expect to get fresh updates on A Space for the Unbound and other titles at The Indie Houses Direct, Toge Productions in-house event stream on August 31, later this month.

Zombie Soup (Malaysia)

Malaysian-made Zombie Soup is another game showcased at the devcom event; however, no new announcement was made. We’re simply happy to see the quirky twin-stick shooter alive and healthy hoping to hear more news about it close to the release in 2022.

Escape from Naraka (Indonesia)

The final title in this list is a game that’s already out there. However, the Gamescom audience was served with an exclusive gameplay trailer, showcasing once more why Escape from Naraka is one of the best games from Southeast Asia this year. If you haven’t been convinced yet, we highly recommend checking out our review of this Bali-themed first-person temple runner.

Conclusion: Indonesia dominates a solid online exhibition without other major highlights

It’s a wrap; that’s all the games we saw at Gamescom 2021! While we can’t deny how much we miss offline events by now, it was still great to see so many new games from Southeast Asia there.

The Indonesian game development scene managed to put a significant spotlight on their titles with a country pavilion at the devcom developer’s conference. We found some premium indie titles from Southeast Asia among the best games at Indie Arena Booth, too. It was just that the event’s main show floor, Gamescom Now, was lacking a bit, especially when it came to new announcements. This is where you realize that online shows might not be the best format for mainstream public gamers. On a side note: While Ubisoft was present at the event, there was no trace of Ubisoft Singapore’s AAA title, Skull & Bones. This should become a meme by now.

Luckily, this wasn’t all from Gamescom this year, with gamescom asia finally opening its gates to Southeast Asian gamers and developers in October 2021!

Andreas Betsche

Andreas Betsche founded Virtual SEA in early 2016 after researching Cambodian mobile games for his Master’s thesis. He has a background in Southeast Asia studies and has worked and lived in Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Since he has been actively playing games since the early 90s, combing both worlds in Virtual SEA brought together both of his passions.

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