New Games from Singapore in 2021
Phew. 2020 is almost over, and like many of us, we are relieved that this epidemic year is coming to an end (even though the epidemy is far from over). But not everything went so severely this year, so we were presented with lots of great games from Southeast Asia. However, we weren’t quite as impressed by the output and quality coming from Singapore. Although there were a few indie hits (including Gordian Quest, There Is No Tomorrow, or GORSD) and the triple-A productions Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Immortals Fenyx Rising, which were created in cooperation with Ubisoft Singapore, a real highlight was missing. The City of Lions shouldn’t be written off that quickly, though, as there are several exciting titles currently in development, most of which might be released as early as 2021. Here are our most-wanted games coming from Singapore next year and beyond!
Chinatown Detective Agency
It all starts with Chinatown Detective Agency, a detective adventure set in a cyberpunk universe. This game has pure Singapore DNA in it, as the city is also the game’s primary location. In beautiful 2D pixel optics, we solve classic point and click style cases, whereby we have to fall back on our personal knowledge or real-world research, just like in the game’s role model Carmen Sandiego. You can already play the prologue on Steam and get more insights in our preview if you want. Chinatown Detective Agency is slated for a PC release in early 2021.
Hoa just sounds like an expression made in awe, but the word “Hoa” is Vietnamese and means “flower.” And actually, this game could just as well have been on our list of the best upcoming games from Vietnam because the developers originate from there. Since the company Skrollcat Studio is registered in Singapore, we are now talking about it here. Be that as it may, whoever has followed the indie announcements from Wholesome Games and Nintendo closely in recent months has already caught a glimpse of the charming platformer game in the unmistakable Ghibli style. This phrase may be used too often, but Hoa looks truly beautiful with its smooth drawing style and fluid animations. If the gameplay is still convincing, then an indie hit of international proportions awaits us here. Hoa will be released on Nintendo Switch and Steam in April 2021.
Skull & Bones
Let’s go from indie to mainstream with Ubisoft’s pirate open world Skull & Bones. What was once the flagship project of the Singaporean subsidiary studio has now degenerated into a real problem child. After several postponements, a reboot, and the dismissal of the managing director after allegations of sexual harassment, Skull & Bones is in a really bad shape. Nevertheless, Ubisoft Singapore is sticking to the project, and a new release date for 2021 appears possible – all hoping the pirate’s curse does not strike again. However, it is safe to assume that Skull & Bones will then appear not only on PC but also for the next-gen consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
In collaboration with Chinese studio Lilith Games, Singaporean publisher Miracle Games is working on a battle royale shooter that aims to combine the best elements of the genre with the characters and unique abilities of hero shooters à la Overwatch. An ambitious undertaking, especially if you want to challenge the top dog Fortnite as well. Invested readers can find more information about Farlight 84 in our detailed preview. The game is scheduled to start in the Early Access program in 2021, probably on both PC and mobile devices.
After School Afterlife
Anyone who has read our review of Hazel and the Plant Witch is already familiar with the multinational indie studio The Minibunnies. Everyone else will keep their eyes open for their upcoming title After School Afterlife at the latest. Because here awaits us a musical Metroidvania that is set in a haunted Peranakan house. The premise and art style are so charming that we already have great hopes for this game. Hopefully, we will learn more about it in the coming months!
Most successful projects are based on teamwork, and a theatre play is no exception. The newly founded development team suchagamestudio takes up this idea and recreates it with Stagehands!, a co-op game that combines a backstage crew’s team spirit with other genre representatives’ chaotic gameplay like in Overcooked. The cute comic style and the light-hearted atmosphere let us hope for a cooperative and, above all, fun party game. Stagehands! is expected on Steam and Nintendo Switch in the middle of next year. You can find more information and a trailer in our preview from September.
Despite an earlier announcement, Sushi Wildlands did not make it to a release in 2020. In the open-world game by Mezmedia Studios, we take on managing our farm, as we often do in the genre. Funnily, we don’t keep ordinary cows or chickens, but sushi monsters, so-called Sushimons. The wacky combination of farming game and FPS is reminiscent of Slime Rancher in terms of style and must first prove that it has enough independent ideas on its own. Nevertheless, we like the quirky concept and are eagerly awaiting the release on Steam. First of all, however, an already announced Kickstarter campaign awaits us to bring Sushi Wildlands beyond the finish line financially.
The undisputed leader in the hack ‘n slash action-RPG genre is certainly Diablo. Unlike its great role model, Ghostlore is not based on Christian-Western mythology but the myths of Southeast Asia. So in the colorful 2D action game, we don’t fight against the devil and his demons, but against their Southeast Asian counterparts, the Mogui, mythological ghost beings such as the spirit Pontianak. Ghostlore is a one-person project by Andrew Teo, and a fixed release date is therefore difficult to determine by definition. If you want, you can play the fascinating game already with a short demo on itch.io.
Noosphere and Seduction 诱惑
For most solo developers, one might think that a single game project is enough. Not so for KOEX studio, the creator of the aforementioned There Is No Tomorrow. With Noosphere and Seduction 诱惑, the ambitious game developer has two horror games on the menu. While Noosphere is a 3D game from the first-person perspective based around a disturbing search for identity, the developer is going down unfamiliar paths with Seduction 诱惑, as the game will be a two-dimensional puzzle adventure. Here we will play a monk trying to solve the mysteries behind disturbing occurrences in a temple. If KOEX doesn’t exhaust themselves, we could expect two spooky suspense thrillers here. Both games are scheduled to appear on Steam in 2021.
Crossfire is another game candidate that we expected this year; now the unusual title will probably not appear until 2021. But we are happy to play a stylish arcade shooter, which for once is not about shooting, but rather about skillful dodging so that the opponents eliminate each other. A new game principle that you can already try out in a demo on Steam.
Starlight: Eye of The Storm
A long-lost game studio will make a comeback in 2021. Veteran developers Strides Interactive returns to the gaming stage after 6 (!) years with Starlight: Eye of The Storm. Strides Interactive’s last title Foresight was a solid space strategy game, which was denied success due to too high ambitions and technical problems. Now the developer dares to venture into the endless space again, but this time with a classic shoot’em up all around spaceships, laser weapons, and flashy effects. The early access phase is expected to start in February 2021. A demo of Starlight: Eye of The Storm can already be downloaded from the developer’s website.
Unknown Sequence and Asher’s Descent
The next developer is also working on two games at the same time. Is that a new trend in the indie dev world? Unknown Sequence is a much more advanced project and looks just great. The procedurally generated survival game relies on a nicely drawn 2D look with typical survival elements such as crafting and exploration. The highlight: With each round and after facing death, we pass on specific skills to our next character. We don’t know much about Sigma Fox Studio‘s other game, Asher’s Descent yet. But the existing video material suggests that we have to rappel down from dizzying cliffs as quickly as possible. Both are exciting projects that are especially impressive due to their visual style, but neither have a release date yet.
The pandemic-induced lockdown has triggered the need for virtual worlds in many people around the globe. So it’s no wonder that a virtual Singapore is emerging! With Vanda Bay, a social multiplayer game is being built around the city’s iconic Marina Bay. Somehow the whole thing reminds us with its realistic approach of the alternative reality forefather Second Life, just set in Singapore and with a modern graphic framework. According to a report by Youthtopia, Vanda Bay will be released in March 2021.
Decks & Dungeons, PixoCities, Telomere, and Prison Planet
The experienced pixel specialists at Springloaded currently have four games in the making, quite a lot for an indie studio! We do not know which of these will see the light of day in 2021 because all of them have only been labeled “coming soon.” So here’s just a quick run-through: The name of Decks & Dungeons says it all because it’s about turn-based battles with cards, RPG elements, and, well, dungeons. PixoCities is a mixture of hidden object games and city builders that relies on the unmistakable look of Berlin-based artist eBoy. On the other hand, a narrative adventure awaits us with Telomere, while Prison Planet will be a prison simulator for cute pixel aliens. All these games can already be added to the wishlist on Steam, while PixoCities and Prison Planet are also announced to be released on Nintendo Switch and mobile platforms.
Holy Potatoes! I’m a Hero !?
One would think that the developers of the Holy Potatoes series are slowly running out of ideas. But even after a weapons shop, a space opera, a spy thriller, and a cooking simulation in hell, Daylight Studios never tire of sending their potato heroes on another adventure. Holy Potatoes! I’m a Hero !? will be a full-blown RPG, just with lots of precisely the humor that is typical for the series and takes a bit of getting used to. Their success proves them right, and so we expect another potatoes game for PC on Steam in 2021.
Gloom and Doom
Shortly before completing this article, we received the news that Gloom and Doom will be released in January 2021. Just in time to get a spot on this list. Neo Tegoel Games‘ game is a horror visual novel based on slacker films of the 90s, bringing a quirky sense of humor and its visual style reminiscent of old comic books. If you like that, you can make a note of Gloom and Doom on Steam. The console versions should follow in the course of the year.
After a relatively meager 2020, it is a blessing for the Singaporean developer scene to have so many cool game projects in the pipeline. In any case, we’re looking forward to diverse genres, great new ideas, proven concepts, and above all, those surprise titles that we didn’t even have on our list.
Which Singaporean game are you looking forward to next year? Are there any other games seeing a release soon? Share your favorites or leave a comment!
To get another glimpse of what we await for 2021 from Southeast Asia, look at our lists for Cambodia / Myanmar / Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia.