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.
To sum it up, WanderjahR is a really hard game with nearly no story and a main focus on the new gameplay approach. If you can deal witch this and won’t back off when the enemies feel overpowered and unbearable – or you are used to this from soulslike or roguelike games–, then you should give it a try. Otherwise you should just … “walk away”.
With the rise of indie games in the last years came a wave of new storytelling perspectives to the gaming world. Instead of telling fantastic stories about heroes and villains, game developers started to cope with their personal often traumatic experiences through the medium of video games. Some of the better-known examples here were That Dragon, Cancer or Nina Freeman’s debut masterpiece Cibele. Both of them take the players very closely into the personal memories and emotions of the game developers themselves and deliver intense experiences. Now, solo developer Amanda Lim (known as Sanud Games) from Singapore shares her own story in her debut work For Emery, a story about loss and grief.
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.
Lobster Empire is already the third game released by Indonesian studio Maulidan Games within one year. Claiming to become the fastest video game developer, the team based in Surabaya aims at releasing more games in a shorter period than conventional studios of the same level. After a detour into the RPG-Genre, they return to the studio’s origins with Lobster Empire: tycoon games.
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.
Stifled is a great and interesting experience, because it is different than other. But on the other hand, the story leaves much room for speculation – maybe too much. If you’re sensitive to this topic and you don’t want to risk being disappointed now, I would recommend to grab it for a discount later. Besides that, it is, as I said, a great little horror walking simulator with a surprisingly innovative gameplay mechanic.
Cat Quest could easily be mistaken as a standard casual game at first. Its game mechanics are simple, and the story isn’t very deep. Yet, it achieves to bridge the gap between casual and hardcore RPGs in a very satisfying way through challenging fights, a motivating leveling system and charming characters. Drawing inspiration from older Zelda titles and the aforementioned Skyrim, it delivers an entertaining little adventure that will keep you busy for a few hours and make you laugh a lot along the way.
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.
All in all, “Jump, Step, Step” is a charming little game, which offers challenges for both puzzle lovers and more casual players. And of course, there’s Bob the bot. Bob is great.
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.