Devolver Digital is back with their wacky, bordering on insane, take on what an E3 presentation can be. Viewer be warned: there are plenty of swears in this showcase, so do bear that in mind if you’re at work or have younger children in the room with you. This year, the pre-recorded showcase gave us an inside take on the creative process of brainstorming an E3 presentation. There were plenty of in your face, high energy gags that were sometimes intentionally confusing. It would seem that the folks over at Devolver are mad keen an eating chilli dogs and flogging unusual merchandise (my favourite would have to be the “Non Fuckwithable Tape” or NFT for short). Central through the showcase was a an attack on subscription based models of accessing games (here’s looking at you GamePass), which culminated in the reveal of the fictional Devolver Max Pass Plus, a new “monetization as a service” based way of getting subscribers to continually shell out for content that they don’t want or need.
Game 1: Shadow Warrior 3
To showcase kicked off with a gameplay reveal of the high-octane, first person shooter that is Shadow Warrior 3. Set in a world described as “Neo-Feudal Japan” a freelance mercenary is on a quest to track down and defeat an ancient dragon along with hoards of enemies and demons. I was getting serious Doom vibes while watching this one and I love the idea of mixing futuristic fast-paced gunplay with the hack and slash melee combat of feudal Japan. Plenty of gore and visceral mutilation in this one.
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Coming to Xbox One, PS4 and PC in 2021
Game 2: Trek to Yomi
Next up, another game from Flying Wild Hog featuring Samurai overtones. Trek to Yomi is a cinematic tour-de-force which follows the journey of a young swordsman who vows to protect his town and the people within it from an undisclosed threat. The gameplay that was shown featured one-on-one swordplay, set against the stunning backdrop of feudal Japan, rendered in a classic film-noir art style. Plenty to get excited about here on the run up to its release, which is slated for sometime in 2022.
Developer: Leonard Menchiari and Flying Wild Hog
Coming to Xbox Series X|S, PS5 and PC in 2022
Game 3: Phantom Abyss
Phantom Abyss introduces itself as an “asynchronous multiplayer experience”. This first-person action adventure throws players into a series of procedurally-generated temples, filled to the brim with Indiana Jones inspired traps and ancient relics. Obstacles such as boulders, spike traps, and crushing walls must be avoided in a race to the finish, until either the hidden relic is claimed or the adventurers succumb to the sweet embrace of death. I’ll probably give this one a miss as the words “multiplayer” and “procedurally-generated” do nothing to heighten my enthusiasm, but I can certainly see this one appealing to some.
Developer: Team WIBY
Coming to Steam, Early Access 22nd June 2021
Game 4: Wizard with a Gun
Ever wondered what Orko from He-Man would look like as a wild-west gunslinger? Well the folks over at Galvanic Games sure have and they’ve build a co-operative survival adventure around the whole idea. Wizard with a Gun, is a cell shaded, isometric survival game that encourages players to journey into the unknown. Along the way. you will be required to collect resources and craft new equipment in order to give your wizard the best chance of survival against the perils of the magical wilderness in which you find yourself. RPG and strategy fans alike, may take a liking to this one.
Developer: Galvanic Games
Coming to Nintendo Switch and PC in 2022.
Game 5: Death’s Door
Coming exclusively to Xbox and PC, Death’s Door stands out from the crowd thanks to its foreboding M.C. Escher inspired landscapes. In the gameplay shown, the player makes use of melee weapons, bow and arrow, and arcane spells to traverse the hostile environment of a realm “untouched by death”. A number of weird and wonderful characters were highlighted in the gameplay reel as well as some particularly engaging boss battles that hooked my interest. Look out for this one when it lands in just over a month’s time.
Developer: Acid Nerve
Coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Steam on 20th July 2021
Game 6: Inscryption
Inscryption presents itself as a card-based odyssey that combines deckbuilding mechanics, escape-room puzzles and psychological horror into one terrifying package. I’ve never seen anything quite like this creepy, descent into the occult, but as a casual fan of card-based strategy games (all hail Gwent!), I will keep this one on my radar until it drops sometime later this year.
Developer: Daniel Mullins Games
Coming to PC in 2021
Game 7: Devolver Tumble Time
Bit of a weird one here. We start of by viewing a cartoon man, sat on the toilet, engrossed in playing a smartphone game. He quickly becomes annoyed at discovering the presence of ourselves and the voiceover artist. This then quickly transits to a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the supposed benefits of free-to-play, Candy Crush Saga inspired smartphone apps, which torment the user with pop-up adds and isolate them from their loved ones. It would seem that Devolver is looking to carve out a piece of that sweet, sweet, pay-to-win, matching tiles, action for themselves. Either that, or this was a very clever skit that went right over my head. It’s hard to tell with Devolver sometimes. Nothing much was shown off about this game during the showcase, but anyone who is interested (and I am not one of them) is encouraged to preregister for more information.
Coming to Google Play and Apple App Store sometime in 2021
Game 8: Demon Throttle
Last game on the docket was the retro, 80’s arcade inspired, Demon Throttle. Presented in a top-down, 8-bit, 4:3 format, Demon Throttle is a two player, local co-op game that for some peculiar reason (most likely to drive up desirability) is only getting a physical release on Switch. The nostalgia meter was maxing out for me on this one and I was transported back to many a happy afternoon playing similar titles with my dad on our beat-up old Amiga 500. The soundtrack alone is enough to make you believe that the 1980’s are back to stay. If you are interested, be sure to pick this one up quick, when it drops, sometime in 2022, before it is sold out forever.
Coming to Nintendo Switch (physical release only) in 2022
And that’s a wrap. Just the eight games shown off here, but overall I thought this was a well put together showcase that featured many a title I could quite happily pick up and play. Shadow Warrior 3 stood out from the crowd here, and with good reason, but I must say that Inscryption left me wanting to see more. Here’s hoping it makes the jump to Switch, sometime in the not too distant future.