Anyone who has been to Asia should be familiar with the nightmarket concept. The lively hustle and bustle, colorful lights, and all kinds of treasures are open to visitors late at night when the temperatures are pleasant again, and the wallet sits loose. A suitable motif for a new Steam sale, where the focus is on games from Southeast Asia and Taiwan. The Nightmarket Festival 2022 takes place from August 5 at 2 AM SGT to August 9 at 2 AM SGT on the digital distribution platform Steam and attracts rich offers, entertaining live shows, but also a promising outlook on upcoming titles from SEA and Taiwan.
We’ve rummaged through the market stalls for you and picked out the best gaming treasures you can snag!
Highlights from SEA
Of course, we’ll start with some games from Southeast Asia that have already been released and are vying for your favor with considerable discounts. The perfect opportunity to boost your regional game portfolio (or grow your Pile of Shame even more).
Let’s start with a game or rather a tool that couldn’t be any newer, releasing in time for the start of the sale. Kriegsfront Battlescaper is a spin-off for Toge Productions’ upcoming mech tactics game Kriegsfront Tactics. In this free editor, we create beautiful 3D dioramas set in Southeast Asian landscapes that let our combat robots shine in perfect posing and light.
THE must-play game from Indonesia – undoubtedly – is Coffee Talk. The indie hit has caused a storm of enthusiasm internationally and put Indonesia on the videogames map all by itself. If you haven’t played the coffee bar simulation with substantial visual novel elements yet, you should strike now.
Diablo in Southeast Asia, that’s how easy it is to describe Ghostlore. Fight, loot, level up – the gameplay loop is familiar. What makes Ghostlore unique is the fantasy setting based on Southeast Asian myths and the appealing pixel look. Anyone disappointed by Blizzard and the latest installment of the genre grandpa Diablo should find a promising alternative here.
No other game on this list resembles Fires at Midnight. Like a fever dream, this adventure from Malaysia tells a gripping story that breaks the boundaries of usual perception. A narrative masterpiece that doesn’t shy away from complex topics and skillfully combines the gameplay with the sophisticated narrative.
One cannot say Indonesian games without mentioning Mojiken. The indie studio from Surabaya has stood for high-quality and particularly artistically appealing indie titles for several years. When the Past Was Around is no exception, telling an emotional tale of love and loss, framed in beautifully drawn scenes and panoramas. If you want even more Mojiken, you’ll find another fantastic but much lighter-hearted title from the studio on sale in She and the Light Bearer.
Looking for more thrills? Make sure to check out the SIMULACRA series. The found-footage horror game skillfully simulates the interface of a lost smartphone, from which we gradually snatch the dark secrets of the previous owner. Amazingly scary, quite tricky, and unsurprisingly, one of Southeast Asia’s most successful indie game series.
Luckily you don’t have to untie a Gordian knot to have fun with this game. The mixture of round tactics and deck builder is always demanding, though. In our review, we especially praised how the individual mechanics interact with each other. Just recently released from Early Access, the final version of Gordian Quest awaits you now.
In Rising Hell, as the name suggests, we must – literally – rise from Hell. In the successful hack & slash with roguelike elements, we fight our way through the underworld and kill so many monsters that Hell will soon be empty. Unless you’re up for another run. And another. And another…
There’s more underworldly stuff in Gloom and Doom, but this time much more story-focussed way, namely in the visual novel style. The one-person title from Singapore is particularly refreshing for its slightly silly humor and 90s references. If you’re up for it, Gloom and Doom can be recommended without reservation.
Environmental destruction. Pollution of the seas. Demise. As a mysterious diver, we explore an underwater world that tells of what will happen if we don’t initiate ecological change. Dark and dystopian, almost like Limbo or Inside, Samudra is probably the most thought-provoking platformer out there.
One of the oldest games in the series and one of the best too is Masquerada: Songs and Shadows. The classic RPG comes up with an epic story led by wonderfully eccentric characters. Only the combat system falls a bit short, but it’s probably one of the best role-playing games from Southeast Asia anyway.
The Signal State is a game for nerds and anyone who wants to become one. In a post-apocalyptic world, we repair machines by manipulating and assembling complex switching boards and frequency circuits. It looks as complicated as it is. But once you have solved one of the puzzles, you’ll want to shout “Eureka!” very loudly!
Paper Ghost Stories: 7PM could win the award for one of the most cumbersome game names. Or just be praised for its striking cardboard diorama look and the trenchant horror story. We prefer to do the latter and enjoy exploring the game’s detailed Malaysian neighborhood. If we’re brave enough to face the scare…
It’s back to school with Academia: School Simulator. At least as headmasters, we must return to school and take care of all aspects of everyday school life. What looks visually rather less appealing turns out to be a complex economic simulation with some chaos factor. Exam passed!
Upcoming Games from SEA
A visit to a night market is, above all, a promise to have the prospect of an unforgettable experience. The equivalent is probably all games that have not yet been released but that you would like to put on your “Wishlist” right now. You should take a particularly close look at the following gems.
Rarely has a title been as apt as this one: In Complex SKY, we build flying cities made of different box-like building complexes. The whole thing becomes ultra-complex through several layers – such as an upside-down perspective. Be ready to adjust your point of view for this city builder from Thailand!!
Indonesia’s answer to Stardew Valley, Potion Permit, is expected to come in September. Only that this is not about farming, but about medicine, as we are looking for the healing cure that is supposed to protect our village from a deadly plague. And we have a doggo companion!
Somewhere between mystical teatime and mythological theater performance lies the core of Kabaret, the latest entry from Persona Theory Games. Deeply rooted in Southeast Asian tradition and legends, the game wants to tell its own unique culturally-inspired story.
Even more myths and legends: Biwar Legend Of Dragon Slayer takes us to an island in Indonesia, where we slip into the skin of a young warrior. Biwar looks visually impressive and promises action-packed battles and tricky puzzle sections.
Rendezvous, a reasonably classic pixel-style point & click adventure, takes us to the Indonesia of the future. We explore the cyberpunk version of Surabaya and uncover a greater mystery. We are happy to go on a date with this game, even if the exact time has not yet been determined.
Earlier in this article, we already praised the predecessor in detail. Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly continues the successful formula with even more quirky characters, more chillout, and new hot drinks, such as the eponymous tea variations.
The 90s in Indonesia serve as a backdrop for the slightly supernatural story of a young couple in love. A Space for the Unbound wants to tell a personal experience that does not shy away from topics such as anxiety and depression. The beautiful pixel look of the game is already an eye-catcher!
Combat robots, Southeast Asian landscapes, and a style reminiscent of PS1-era classics. What more could a tactics fan ask for? Either way, we can’t wait to send our weapon-wielding ‘Mechs into battle. Incoming, Kriegsfront Tactics!
Faerie Afterlight may look sweet, but behind the motley facade hides an extremely demanding platformer. The stylish presentation already makes you want more, and the game was also able to convince in our early gameplay sessions thanks to its precise gameplay.
The sequel to Paper Ghost Stories: 7PM continues the series’ complicated naming concept while also building on its strengths. Paper Ghost Stories: Third Eye Open promises more horror, lots of authentic depictions of Malaysian culture, and continues to rely on its unique look.
After the predecessors’ success, it’s no wonder that with SIMULACRA 3 comes another installment in the series. The studio’s excellent reputation gives us hope for another exciting horror title in smartphone format!
The Philippines-made Himig is probably the insider tip on this list. It lets us explore a small town from the innocent perspectives of two children. Calmness, nostalgia, and a certain childlike joy in exploring are already spreading in the first images of the game.
If you still can’t get enough of turn-based battles and roguelike elements, check out Sigil of the Magi. In terms of style and gameplay, the game lies somewhere between the genre classics Into The Breach and Fast Than Light (FTL). Definitely not the worst references!
At last, be prepared to win the fight! In Troublemaker, we join a high school gang and brawl throughout our academic career. Sounds brutal, and the first gameplay scenes also convey that a straightforward brawler awaits us here.
More Games from SEA
Around 60 titles from Southeast Asia are showcased at The Nightmarket Festival 2022. Too many to present them all in detail. But we don’t want to withhold them from you either, so here’s a quick run-through sorted by country:
My Lovely Wife
Lastone: Behind the Choice
A Raven Monologue
Banyu Lintar Angin
Infectonator 3: Apocalypse
Rage in Peace
Ultra Space Battle Brawl
Necronator: Dead Wrong
Zombo Buster Advance
My Lovely Daughter
Project Anomaly: Urban Supernatural Investigator
Fallen Tear: The Ascension
Plushie from the Sky
Dice Tribes: Ambitions
Beautiful Mystic Survivors
War In Heaven
The Falconers: Moonlight
Notable Games from Taiwan
Finally, we would like to mention that most of the games on sale are from Taiwan. No wonder since the event was organized by the Taipei Game Developers Forum (TGDF). Since the country is known for its booming gaming scene, we want to encourage you to check out their games too. Definite highlights include the multi-award-winning narrative adventure OPUS: Echo of Starsong – Full Bloom Edition, the art drama Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery, the historical platformer The Legend of Tianding, and finally Nine Sols, the new game from Red Candle Games, the makers of Detention and the infamous Devotion.
A successful event for SEAsia!
The organizers of the Taipei Game Developers Forum formulated the goals for The Nightmarket Festival 2022 as “focusing on promoting games from the SEA region, breaking cultural barriers, and raising awareness for the region’s gaming scene.” They skillfully brought Taiwan and Southeast Asia under a common gaming Roof. We hope this event will be a success and will be repeated next year with even more great games from Southeast Asia.