The 10 best games from the Day of the Devs showcase

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The Day of the Devs showcase hosted by iam8bit is, to me, far more exciting than the main Summer Game Fest presentation. While it is fun to get hyped for the big releases, Day of the Devs represents something more concrete. The games featured get their own mini-spotlights with developer commentary and gameplay videos. It gives viewers a clearer picture of what these games are about, especially compared to the seconds-long (and apparently exorbitantly expensive) sizzle reels or teaser trailers shown during the Keigh-3 keynote. My only problem, though, is that there are a lot of games to get excited about, making it hard to narrow it down to the 10 best.

Cairn

Rock climbing isn’t my thing. In fact, it looks terrifying, and that terror is what makes Cairn look so interesting. In Cairn, you must reach the summit of Mount Kami one piton at a time. You can climb anywhere, but just like in real mountain climbing, you’ll often face sheer walls and unpassable overhangs that force you to find another way up. One of the things I was immediately drawn to was the way the character’s legs shake as they climb, giving the game an air of urgency and danger that I want to experience for myself.

Karma: The Dark World is a disturbing-looking game from Pollard Studio. It’s a psychological horror game in which you must investigate the mysteries of the dystopian real world and uncover truths in the gross, wet, and slimy world of people’s minds. It looks freaky in that Silent Hill kind of way, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say the horror hottie looking in the mirror is one of the things that really piqued my interest.

Getting introduced to quirky lil’ games is one of my favorite things about Day of the Devs. Last time, it was Time Flies; this time, it’s UFO50. I love the premise of this game — you play through an assortment of 50 games to see the evolution of a fictional video game developer throughout the 1980s. Each game is complete and unique, and you’ll be able to see graphical and technical improvements in the games as the decade wears on.

With cats overtaking the cute animal video game meta, I’m glad for games like Koira that reassert the supremacy of man’s best friend. I also love how Koira uses music and sound to communicate instead of dialogue or text.

Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure

Can’t have a best-of list without at least one puzzle game. In Arranger, you… well, rearrange tiles to get around the world with every row and column moving when you do. Shuffle your environment around to bring a key to a locked door or get around a barrier by using the end of a row to warp around to the beginning. The game reminds me of Carto, another puzzle game that I loved, which is apt considering one of the developers on that game is working on Arranger.

Image: Crescent Moon Games; Those Dang Games

Screenbound is one of those games where you look at a short clip and immediately get it. It’s a platforming game in which you use a 2D gaming handheld to navigate a 3D space. Defeat enemies in the 3D world that you can only see on the 2D handheld and use objects from the 3D world to solve 2D platforming puzzles.

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In Zoochosis, you’re a rookie zookeeper tasked with taking care of all of the animals. Even the mutated ones — especially the mutated ones.

Can’t ignore a pitch that goes, “the most stupid game you’ll see all day.” Building Relationships is a housing dating sim… I think. I love the inherent goofiness of this game, from the silly way Tanat Boozayaangool explains the pun to the way the house protagonist gets around by rolling like a katamari.

A Little to the Left: Seeing Stars

One of my favorite games from a previous Day of the Devs showcase is getting yet another DLC update, and I’m going to be there no matter what. A Little to the Left lets you bring order to your cluttered life with a collection of puzzles designed to soothe your inner neat freak. Fix something like a messy stack of books the simple way by putting them back on the shelves or go for one of the less obvious solutions by arranging them via color or alphabetically.

While Waiting is another one of those games where I’m immediately charmed by the premise. It’s a game about all the shenanigans you can get up to while waiting for other things to happen. If you’re clever enough with how you use your time, maybe you can eliminate waiting entirely.

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