Indie Game Festivals – 2021 Releases

I recently made a post about a bunch of the Indie Games that have released this year, of who’s demos I had played over the years. Since I didn’t cover all the Indie Game Festivals as comprehensively as I would have liked at the time, I decided to do the same thing again except this time, for games that got their releases last year. This still feels relevant as thankfully, the games havent gone anywhere. In fact, now may be better than ever what with updates and such.

4th February 2021 – NUTS – Joon, Pol, Muutsch, Char & Torfi

NUTS is a single-player walking simulator surveillance mystery. Record the squirrels, report your findings, and piece together what’s really going on in Melmoth Forest.

This games striking art style grabbed my attention almost as much as the premise. We play as a sort of wildlife watcher. Our job is to place cameras and watch them each night, in order to track the movements of Squirrels. I really enjoyed both the puzzle of the tracking and the potential of the story that is being told through it.

You can get the game for yourself here on Steam

18th February 2021 – Lemon Cake – Cozy Bee Games

Restore an abandoned bakery and prepare pastries from farm to table! Grow fresh ingredients in the greenhouse, cook pastries & sweets in the kitchen and serve your baked goods to hungry customers in your own shop!

Lemon Cake is an especially cute bakery management game. The adorable art and the cozy vibes made this a pleasant experience all around. Eloise from Cozy Bee Games is also very open with her development, sharing her designs and progress on Twitter and Twitch!

Here is a link to the Steam Page

26th February 2021 – Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery – Kiary Games

Everybody are missing in a town. Find the answers of town mystery in a point and click adventure game with escape the room mechanics

I love escape room games. Tiny Room Stories: Town Mysteries features escape rooms – or escape buildings/areas – each in their own little dioramas, connected by an ongoing story. The difficulty was perfect for me to make it an enjoyable experience that I want more of.

Check it out on Steam here.

22nd July 2021 – Song of Farca – Wooden Monkeys

Hack into crime scenes, look for evidence, analyze data, interrogate criminals, track suspects and deal with the consequences of your decisions. This is a dark and brutal detective story with a Black Mirror-esque atmosphere of digital dominance and the narrative structure of a US crime procedural.

The Song of Farca Prologue is still available to play for free at the time of writing. This game is set in an apartment, but it is easy to forget as you are interacting with the story through different panels, experiencing the world beyond. It is fun making use of the tools given to you and working your way through mysteries in a way that only a private detective could.

Try the prologue or buy the game here.

17th September 2021 – TOEM – Something We Made

Set off on a delightful expedition and use your photographic eye to uncover the mysteries of the magical TOEM in this hand-drawn adventure game. Chat with quirky characters, solve their problems by snapping neat photos, and make your way through a relaxing landscape!

TOEM is a black and white adventure game where our goal is exploration and taking photographs. I had a lot of fun scouring every area for things to snap to fill up my compendium. Best of all, the game has just had a big update, including new areas and more. So even if you have already played there is every reason to go back and take another look.

Get it here on Steam.

14th October 2021 – Growing Up – Vile Monarch

This is the story of your life. Experience the entire journey from toddler to adulthood. Go to schools, learn new things, meet new friends, and have wild adventures! Every choice you make will influence your future career, and decide who your romantic partner will be. Who will you become?

When I first started this demo I had no idea what to expect. I had never played a game that looked or played like it. I ended up really enjoying it and being sad when I reached the end. In this game you will play through your characters life, shaping their personality and experiences through the choices that you make. Balance their needs and life decisions and see how you turn out.

Check it out here.

18th October 2021 – Sacred Fire: A Role Playing Game – Poetic

Sacred Fire is a psychological role-playing game. You’re a refugee hunted by Rome, your actions compromised by fear and rage. Build up your willpower to control story choices and master battle tactics. Outsmart opponents and gain allies. Wage war or strive for peace. End up a hero or an outcast.

I loved this demo. I have never played anything like it and I got really into it. The art style is somehow simple and complex at the same time. It is a game full of choices and you are in a lot of control of how to deal with situations. Or at least, you are in control of how you intend to deal with them, as long as the dice roll goes your way.

The game is currently in Early Access with a free demo here.

19th October 2021 – Escape Simulator – Pine Studio

First-person puzzler you can play solo or in an online co-op (best with 2-3 players, but playable with more). Explore a set of highly interactive escape rooms. Move furniture, pick up and examine everything, smash pots and break locks! Supports community rooms through the level editor.

Escape Simulator is an escape room experience specifically designed for multiple players. The rooms themselves are fun and well themed, and another selling point is that you can create your own rooms, as well as play rooms others have created.

Here is the Steam page if you would like to check it out.

21st October 2021 – Growbot – Wabisabi Play

An adventure about a robot saving her home from a dark crystalline force. Set upon a biopunk space station bursting with fantastic plants and aliens.

Growbot is an adorable point and click adventure. While art style can play a huge part on whether I enjoy a game, that isnt the only reason I liked it. Upon solving the puzzles and reading every bit of lore I could find, I was fascinated by this world that I was learning about. From what I can tell, this game is fairly short. I would love to stream it sometime.

Take a closer look here.

16th November 2021 – Moncage – Optillusion

Moncage is a unique puzzle adventure game where you explore a fascinating world trapped inside a mysterious cube. With each face displaying a unique scene, you’ll have to leverage the illusions and discover the hidden links to solve the puzzle.

There were so many unique games released in 2021 and Moncage is no exception. This is a puzzle game in which you need to manipulate objects within an environment, in order to alter the perspective. It is very satisfying when you solve a puzzle and everything lines up the way it should. It is also telling a story throughout. I would say it is comparable to a 3D Gorogoa, all be it in a totally different style. 

You can buy it on Steam here.

There were of course many more Indies released in 2021, but I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the demo of every game above. It is so great to watch a game go from releasing a demo to releasing the full game, rooting for them and seeing how they do. Now, I will get back to playing more demos, scouting for more of these delights!

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Indie Game Festivals – 2022 Releases

Over the last couple of years since the very first Steam Game Festival, I have spent a lot of time playing the demos of Indie Games. The idea of these festivals was fantastic to me. Games get the chance to showcase what they are, and I get the chance to try games that I may not try otherwise. Since then, I have covered festivals on my blog, on my YT channel and in my discord. It is something that I enjoy very much and would like to continue for years into the future. Seeking out the Indie gems is like panning for gold and when you find it, it makes you want to shout from the rooftops.

I got the idea to look back over the demos I have played back in July when 4 of those games released in one month! It is so nice to see games that I first tried back in 2020 finally get their release. So here are the demos that I enjoyed that have released this year, and some more to watch out for in the coming months. I haven’t played them all but I am itching to!

March 19th – Eternal Threads – Cosmonaut Studios

Eternal Threads is a single-player, first-person story-driven puzzle game of time manipulation, choice and consequence.

I prioritised playing this demo, not only because it looked up my alley but it is set in the North of England. I was not disappointed. Taking place within a house, this narrative based walking sim absorbed me, flashing between the past and the present, piecing together what happened. This is a game that I would love to stream sometime.

You can check out Eternal Threads on Steam here.

April 14th – Cat Café Manager – Roost Games

Travel to the sleepy village of Caterwaul Way and rebuild your grandmother’s cat cafe. Renovate your restaurant, befriend the local cats and townsfolk, forge lasting friendships, unravel catty mysteries, and build a home for dozens of unique felines!

Cat Café Manager is a very chill, cute, management game. The problem with management games is that you don’t know whether there will be a difficulty spike, or equally, whether it will stay engaging for long. As far as I can tell, this is a nice, easy going game that would be a good entry to the genre for anyone intimidated by management sims or looking for something that isnt too taxing on the brain.

Buy or Wishlist it here.

May 20th – Apico – Tngineers

APICO is a laid-back beekeeping sim game about breeding, collecting, & conserving bees! Set in a series of lush environments, APICO uniquely combines resource gathering, biology, and beekeeping minigames, taking ideas from a mix of real-life and fantasy apiculture & floriculture.

This is another management game, but instead of serving food you are breeding bees! The simplistic art style is easy on the eyes, giving way to the addiction of repopulating the island. I really enjoyed trying to breed them all, and the demo is still available so you can try bee-fore you buy.

Find it on steam here.

July 14th – Escape Academy – Coin Crew Games

Welcome to Escape Academy. Train to become the ultimate Escapist. Solve Puzzles. Hack Servers. Meet the Faculty. Brew the perfect cup of tea. Escape Rooms in single player or co-op with a friend – local or online!

Escape Academy is a delightful escape room puzzle game. If you enjoy escape rooms then you are sure to like it. With a fun story between and silky smooth gameplay, I can’t recommend this one enough. This is the only game on the list that I have played in full, and you can too right now if you have Game Pass!

Here is a link to the steam page.

July 15th – The Final Earth 2 – Florian van Strien

The Final Earth 2 is a vertical sci-fi city builder. Earth is unlivable, so you decide to create a space colony. Gather resources, then build and research your way to a better future! Grow your city from an exploration ship to a huge metropolis, full of advanced technology. What will you build?

This is a great city builder. Easy to pick up, but so difficult to put down. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. The graphics are simple but clean and clear, making a visually unique game that you can get creative with. Definitely a recommend from me.

Check it out on Steam here.

July 20th – Hazel Sky – Coffee Addict Studio

Hazel Sky is a heartfelt adventure about a young engineer facing his destiny and his desires. Fix ramshackle flying machines and jump, climb, swing, and slide through a beautiful, mysterious world.

Hazel Sky is one of the earliest demos that I played and I was very happy to see it recently get a release. I can’t speak for the rest of the game, but the demo made me laugh out loud, and contained intrigue that made me want to see the rest of this world.

You can take a look for yourself here.

July 28th – Bear and Breakfast – Gummy Cat

Bear and Breakfast is a laid-back management adventure game where you build and run a bed and breakfast…but you’re a bear.

I am seeing a trend here. And the trend is lovely, laid back management sims. In this one, you play as a bear running a bed and breakfast. I really do have a spectrum of management covered! You can explore while gathering resources to make your business the best that it can be and meet the people(?) around you, all with minimal stress!

For more info check out the Steam page here.

July 28th – Lord Winklebottom Investigates – Cave Monsters

It’s the 1920s and the world’s foremost detective is about to embark on his most challenging case yet. Thankfully, in this world that’s not quite like our own, there’s nobody better to crack the case than the great detective and gentleman giraffe, Lord Winklebottom.

I really want to play this game! Lord Winklebottom is a classic, point and click murder mystery adventure game. I love the style, it feels so nostalgic and has charm. The people are animals (obviously), fully voiced, and British. As someone who loves playing detective.. Yes please to all of the above!

Buy the game for yourself here.

September 13th – Deadwater Saloon – Creative Storm Entertainment / Tanglefoot Games

Dive into the wild west as a saloon owner in a volatile frontier town. Customize your character and face the consequences of your choices as you forge friendships and enemies of townsfolk, travellers, outlaws and lawmen. Build the most famous saloon in the territory, or be overwhelmed and destroyed.

I was so mixed about this one. On one hand, I had problems with it. But on the other, I couldn’t stop playing. Two hours in and I finally forced myself to stop. At the time of writing the game has just released, so I will be interested to see if the problems have been fixed!

Check it out on steam here.

All of the above have released so far this year. But wait.. There’s more! September and beyond are full of releases.

September 22nd – Beacon Pines – Hiding Spot

Beacon Pines is a cute and creepy adventure game. Sneak out late, make new friends, uncover hidden truths, and collect words that will change the course of fate!

I really enjoyed this one. The mixture of its really unique art style, and the contrast of cute but eerie makes me want to continue. The closest tone I can think of is if Night in the Woods, except younger characters. The gameplay however is a story book narrative puzzle. You collect terms that you can add to the story in certain places to alter the sentences and as a result, branch the paths. I have seen similar mechanics in Fate of Kai, and Indie Showcase demo Storyteller, and I have loved them every time. If this couldn’t be better, it is, because it will be available day one on Game Pass! I’m really looking forward to see how this one does.

Wishlist on Steam here to be notified when the game releases!

September 26th – Monorail Stories – Stelex Software

Monorail Stories is an adventure game focusing on extraordinary things happening to ordinary people. Board the monorail and experience a special story about humanity, friendships, and intertwined destinies manifesting during the everyday commute.

This is another demo that I played a long time ago. It was short but sweet, telling a story and building a world through rides on a monorail. You only need to look at the screenshots to see how much care has gone into the art. I wish them all the luck for a successful launch!

Wishlist on Steam here.

September 27th – Dome Keeper – Bippinbits

Mine for resources, choose from powerful upgrade paths and fend off waves of alien attackers in this innovative roguelike mining action game. There’s just enough time to mine a little deeper, find a little more and get back to defend before the next wave attacks your dome.

I played the Dome Keeper demo earlier this year as recommended by a few friends. They were right, it was a blast! In this roguelike your time is split between mining for resources and defending your base, using upgrades gained from said resources. It is fast paced, easy to learn but I imagine not so easy to master, and has that ‘one more try’ appeal. I hope this one blows up!

Wishlist here on Steam now.

September 28th – The Excavation of Hobs Barrow – Cloak and Dagger Games

The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow is a folk horror narrative-driven adventure. Explore the isolated moors of rural Victorian England as you uncover the mysteries of Hob’s Barrow. The answers lie in the soil…

I am generally not a fan of horror so I avoid it, but for whatever reason this is one of the demos that I played. And honestly? I was so glad I did. I played this one on my own without recording and I remember having a great affection for it. But – my memory being my memory – I can’t remember exactly what happened or how it played. What I do know, is that it immediately went on my Wishlist, and I would love to stream it sometime after it releases. The art is gorgeous and I want to be back in that atmosphere.

Previously known as Incantamentum, you can wishlist on steam here.

2022 – Nobodies: After Death – Blyts

Nobodies: After Death is a puzzling point-and-click adventure in cleaning up dirty work. After your agency takes out a target, you make the evidence disappear without a trace. Find a way to get in, get out, and leave no bodies behind.

I loved the demo for this one and it is still available now! The best comparison I can make is that this is like a point and click, escape room style game. You are cleaning up after murders and trying not to get caught by solving the puzzle of the area you are in. The art is gorgeous which sounds like a contrast to the concept of the game, but it makes it even more fun to see where you might end up next. I hope this one finds its audience because the demo is a strong recommend from me!

Follow along on Steam here.

2022 – Organs Please – TECHHOME

A dark and satirical management sim, where you take control of a recycling factory with a twist: it recycles humans. Your job is to decide who gets to escape our dying planet in a cozy spaceship and who sacrifices their blood, sweat and tears for humanity. Literally.

Finally, Organs Please doesn’t have a release date except 2022. Despite the dark humour in the dire world that we are living in, it is easy to forget the horrors of what you are actually doing as you enter a flow state of maximum efficiency. The mechanics are introduced at a satisfying pace, building you up from rookie to mega multitasker in no time. I really enjoyed the gameplay of this one and would definitely like to play more upon release.

Here is a link to the Steam page.

And that is it. Apparently this has been a quiet year for games. While that may be true in the AAA spaces, new indie games are coming out every day. It can be hard to know how to filter through the volume of games, so hopefully someone will not only find this list useful, but also give these ones a chance! Some of these games were created solo and they are absolutely excellent. Let me know if you give any of them a go!

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