Having just purchased numerous Japanese indie titles, UNTIES brought several game demos to PAX this year. Covering a range of genres, their setup included everything from a Layton-esque mystery game to dungeon crawlers and beyond.
I had the opportunity to check out three of the demos: Genso Wanderer, The Good Life, and The Midnight Sanctuary. While I didn’t get a chance to play it, Battloon (a multiplayer game coming to Switch, PC, and Mac in 2019) seemed to be a pretty popular pick, with two of the booth staff even agreeing that it was their favourite.
Essentially an animated visual novel, The Midnight Sanctuary immerses the player in a surreal world, with blended artwork that makes everything seem supernatural. The town is built upon deep religious beliefs, with mysteries and strange traditions to uncover. I wish I’d gotten a chance to see a little more through the demo – I was really interested in where the story was taking me. The atmosphere was fascinating and a little disorienting at the same time. Of course – as with all VNs – be ready to do a lot of dialogue reading.
The Good Life is a PC game set in a small English town, with plenty of secrets. The player controls a professional photographer, who accepts odd jobs here and there to make money – from catching lying husbands to taking truck photos, the residents of this charming little village have plenty of requests. When a body is found, things get more intense. To add to the mystery, the villagers occasionally become cats and dogs.
I really enjoyed the explorative nature of The Good Life, which rewards the player for checking out the town, peeking in windows, and talking to NPCs. I don’t want to give the wrong impression when I say it reminded me of Professor Layton – it’s certainly a different game in many ways – but the music, setting, and atmosphere reminded me of the things I loved about that series. The controls could be a little unintuitive at times, but I expect there will be a bit more of a tutorial on the finished copy.
If you like a good mystery and enjoy uncovering the quirks and secrets of small town life, this might be a good pick for you!
My favourite of the demos I tried was Genso Wanderer – a turn-based dungeon crawler filled with cute Touhou characters. Players of games such as Izuna will recognize the play-style and high stakes battles of this roguelike RPG.
With fantastic music and gorgeous artwork, it was difficult to not get pulled into this one. I was really happy with the tutorial – something that often is missing on exhibition floor demos – that made the game easy to pick up and play through. As expected, the game gets much more intricate and complicated as you move through each floor.
I’m really excited to see what kind of story and adventures await in this one.
If you’re at PAX, there are still a couple days left! No matter your preferred genre, UNTIES probably has something that would appeal to you. With a comfy setup and lots of games to try it’s certainly worth stopping and checking out some of these intriguing indies.