One week later: ten games from Not-E3 2024 that I can’t stop thinking about

From cozy cuteness to wonderfully weird.

13 mins read
A screenshot from South of Midnight. Hazel, a black woman with long dreads, sits on top of a giant catfish. A bunny is in the foreground.

Another Not-E3 has come and gone, and some of the games have since moved into my brain to live rent-free. And by some, I mean ten. The genres in this group of games range from narrative adventures to cozy puzzles to mech platformers, but I definitely seem drawn to the cute or the unconventional titles more than others. I’ve noticed that I also gravitate towards indie development studios, so that description covers nearly all of the games on this list. What can I say? I have awesome taste!

Header image from South of Midnight (Compulsion Games, Xbox Game Studios)

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Copycat (Spoonful of Wonder, Neverland Entertainment, Nuuvem Inc.)

Featured in Future of Play Direct (Season 5)

Copycat appears to be a happy game at first. Dawn the cat is being adopted, yay! She is bonding with its new owner, yay! She – wait, she’s been tricked outside by nefarious and jealous stray cat?! Dawn will wander around the neighbourhood, such a little girl in such a big world… all alone… if you’re not crying yet, there’s something wrong with you. Will she ever get her home back?

Copycat will be released for PC via Steam in September.

Été (Impossible)

Featured in Wholesome Direct 2024

Certain places seem downright magical at certain times of year, and Montreal during summertime falls into that category. The summer that I spent the most time there I was in love, which made it even better. That relationship ended soon after, and not nicely – but the city itself in peak sunshine remains an untouched fond memory. Été brings a painter to live in Montreal for the first time during summertime. As you walk around, everything you discover is added to an album that can be used to make art of your own. Complete commissions or set up your own exhibit at your own studio. Relax with no time limits, no pressure, and no wrong way to paint or play.

Été will be released for PC via Steam on July 23.

Mixtape (Beethoven & Dinosaur, Annapurna Interactive)

Featured in Xbox Games Showcase 2024

Beethoven & Dinosaur developed The Artful Escape, which was artful indeed. I would describe it as a musical platformer. Its next title is Mixtape, again putting music at the forefront. (“Beethoven” is literally in the studio’s name, no surprise here). One line in the trailer states, “my mixtapes bend others to my will.” Set on the last night of high school, three friends head to a party while a curated playlist draws them into reenactments of their most pivotal moments. Gameplay is a mixtape as well: skateboard, fly to take photos, hit baseballs, and set off fireworks. Think of Mixtape as a greatest hits album of teenage friendship. And, depending on your age, its soundtrack may be just that to you: it includes Devo, Rozy Music, Lush, The Smashing Pumpkins, Iggy Pop, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, and more.

Mixtape will be released for PC via Steam/Windows, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series in 2025.

Project C (Half Mermaid Productions, Blumhouse Games)

Featured at Summer Game Fest 2024

During the main Summer Game Fest show, Jason Blum came out on stage to reveal six games being published by newly-founded studio Blumhouse Games. Let’s be real, this is just a clever way to nab up horror properties to make into movies under the Blunhouse banner. But that doesn’t mean the games will be bad. At all. One of the six games doesn’t even have a proper name yet, but it’s where 100% of my interest lies: Half Mermaid Production’s Project C. Half Mermaid was founded by iconic game developer Sam Barlow and has launched two phenomenal games to date, Telling Lies and Immortality.

Early this year, Half Mermaid teased two new projects, code-named Project C and Project D. Project D returns to Barlow’s third-person horror roots, but Project C is described as a next-level FMV game. Blumhouse Games coming onto the project is exciting because it will get more eyes onto it. (I feel like Immortality, while largely praised, still somehow went mostly unnoticed. If you’re reading this and haven’t played it, you absolutely must.) And a new big name attached to Project C was revealed last week: Canadian filmmaker Brandon Cronenberg (Infinity Pool, Possessor). The game is said to be twisted and heartbreaking. Do I know much more than I did before the Blumhouse announcement? Nope. Do I care? Not even in the slightest. My excitement (and expectations) just continue to grow.

Squeakross: Home Squeak Home (Alblune)

Featured in Wholesome Direct 2024

Rats are great, home decoration is great, nonograms are great… so it’s only logical to conclude the Squeakross: Home Squeak Home will be great, no? You’re bringing an adorable new rodent friend to its brand new home, but oh no: it’s completely empty! Using the Home Squeak Home Catalog, solve nonogram (also often called picross) puzzles to transform them into furniture or clothing accessories. There are options to allow hints, solve random cells, and turn on a Logic-Assist system. You can use all, some, or none of these aids – leaving the game’s difficulty entirely up to you!

Squeakross: Home Squeak Home will be released for PC via Steam in 2025. (Seems perfect for Nintendo Switch… just saying…)

South of Midnight (Compulsion Games, Xbox Game Studios)

Featured in Xbox Games Showcase 2024

We Happy Few is one of the strangest titles I’ve ever played, which just made me fall in love with Montreal-based developer Compulsion Games. Since then, the studio has become part of Xbox Game Studios – a shame if you ask me, but nobody has. South of Midnight seems just as sanely insane (insanely sane?) as We Happy Few. Hazel has lost her mother but gained the superpower of Weaving, allowing her to rework the universe’s tapestry of energy. Folktale creatures have come to life, and her area of the Deep South is being corrupted. With a giant catfish named Catfish by her side, Hazel will travel through the bayou trying to save her home from what seems like certain destruction.

South of Midnight will be released for PC via Steam/Microsoft and Xbox Series in 2025.

Urban Myth Dissolution Center (Hakaba-Bunko, Shueisha Games)

Featured in Guerrilla Collective Showcase 2024

This second trailer for Urban Myth Dissolution Center shows off some characters and scenes that haven’t been released before. The Urban Myth Dissolution Center is a one-stop shop for researching and (dis)solving what can best be described as weird stuff. Cursed relics, dimensional anomalies, that type of thing. Play as Azami Fukurai, who is working directly under the Center Director. Each episode is themed on popular Internet urban myths. Collect evidence and social network posts to uncover the truth behind the myths and why clients came to encounter the oddity. Each case (dis)solved may have unexpected consequences.

Urban Myth Dissolution Center will be released for PC via Steam in 2024.

Untitled (Visai, Outersloth)

Funded by Outersloth (announced during Summer Game Fest 2024)

The studio behind Venba will be making its second game with the help of newly-announced Outersloth (a funding program from Among Us developer Innersloth). The title (like the name) hasn’t been announced. There hasn’t been a trailer. But based on Twitter posts from Innersloth and developer Visai, it is confirmed that the game is a brand new world rooted in ancient Sangam era Tamil culture.

No platforms or release window/date have been announced at this time.

An image posted to Visai's Twitter account announcing that game 2 is in development.

Videoverse (Kinmoku)

Featured in Access-Ability Summer Showcase 2024

It makes me sound so old, but the heyday of the internet really was the late ’90s and early ’00s. Videoverse just screams of the early internet forums / MSN Messenger era. It is described as a decision-based narrative adventure with themes around character development, friendship, and love. Emmett is a young artist at a time where the Kinkmoku Shark game system and its related social network, Videoverse, are all the rage. Emmett will make friends, share fan art, and browse gaming-related communities. The decisions you make will impact how Emmett grows as the game progresses.

Videoverse is available now for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam/Epic/Humble.

While Waiting (Optillusion Games)

Featured in Day of the Devs (Summer Game Fest Edition) 2024

It’s ironic that someone who is at the ‘worst’ end of the impatience scale is interested in a game all about waiting, isn’t it? Life sometimes seem to be constructed around waiting for more of it to happen. Wait for the bus. Wait for a stoplight to change. Wait for a line of customers to pay for their goods. While Waiting makes waiting an art form, using meaningless challenges to pass the time. The game promises a comedic appearance with a serious core, and I can’t wait to learn more.

While Waiting will be released for PC via Steam.

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Lindsay picked up an NES controller for the first time at the age of 6 and instantly fell in love. She began reviewing GBA games 20 years ago and quickly branched out from her Nintendo comfort zone. She has has developed a great love of life sims and FMV titles. For her, accessibility is one of the most important parts of any game (but she also really appreciates good UI).

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