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The Best Indie Games at Summer Game Fest

Summer Game Fest came at gamers hard with trailer after trailer of exciting content, including some of the best indie games I’ve seen in 2022.

This year, instead of an event like E3, Geoff Keighly opted to host Summer Game Fest: Play Days. I was lucky enough to be one of few journalists to attend the event and go hands-on with some of the newest games out there.

Companies like Bandai Namco, Capcom, SEGA, Tencent, and more were on-site with gameplay from some huge titles to come including Street Fighter 6, Sonic Frontiers, and LEGO Brawls.

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For me, however, the star of the event was not one, but two booths dedicated to Day of the Devs. Their own event took place on June 9th, following the Summer Game Fest stream. 

Day of the Devs Summer Game Fest  - best indie games at Summer Game Fest
Image Credit: Double Fine Games

This stream hosted a slew of beautiful indie games across so many genres. The genre-bending Desta: The Memories Between, by ustwo games, the metroidvania-inspired puzzler, ANIMAL WELL, by Shared Memory, and the FPS featuring a horrifying train, Choo-Choo Charles, by Two Star Games were all on display during the stream, but only a few could make it to Summer Game Fest: Play Days. 

Here are the best indie games at Summer Game Fest:

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Time Flies

Developed by: Michael Frei & Raphaël Munoz from KIDS

This game is simple in concept but can instantly suck you in. You play as a fly with a 77-second lifespan. If you run out the clock, that’s it, you’re dead.

The goal is to search the house for items and activities that will help you complete your bucket list—flies have dreams too. 

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You have free rein in the house and can fly up and down or left and right, moving from room to room. Part way through one of the other journalists found a room no one else had found, so the game isn’t over in a mere 77 seconds, that’s for sure.

The bucket list is a bit of a puzzle in itself, with lasts like “learn to play an instrument”, but you’re a fly. Once you learn all the tasks needed, you’ll then have to map out the fastest way to get everything done before you die. 

Time Flies is planned to release on PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and PC sometime in 2023.

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In the meantime, you can find it on Steam.

A Little to the Left

Developed by: Max Inferno

This game was a really charming puzzle game that really makes you feel like you have your life together — in game, that is. The name of the game is tidying and organization. There is no real story relayed to players, but A Little to the Left gave me serious Unpacking vibes. 

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Your first level is simple, just straighten a crooked picture. From there you organize sticky notes, clean up drawers, sort bag clips, and more. I realize how it sounds, but once you get started there is a sense of completion with each level you finish that is very rewarding.

Each round things get a little bit harder, and you’re even introduced to the ultimate tidiness foe, the cat. If you aren’t moving fast enough, the pesky beast will mess everything up, and it’s infuriating, I assure you.

An added bonus for players who don’t have time to binge their games, A Little to the Left features a daily puzzle. Think Wordle, but with spice jars!

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The example I saw had players complete a one-and-done puzzle organizing jars, though the solutions vary. This put the game over the top for me as one of the best indie games at Summer Game Fest!

A Little to the Left will be available on Nintendo Switch and Steam.

Birth

Developed by: Madison Karth

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This was by far the best indie game from Summer Game Fest in my humble opinion. The premise of the game sounded, well, creepy. Your character is lonely and wants to build a companion.

Naturally, you need to collect bones and organs to create your new skeleton friend. Oh, and you find them scavenging the city because they’re just lying around.

Birth is a side-scrolling puzzle, where you simply point and click to explore the city to find all its secrets. Solving puzzles will help you unlock different ways to find the parts you need.

Some areas will need items from another, and some puzzles need to be solved before others, so there is plenty to do and a lot of back and forth between each building.

One of the things that makes this the best indie game to me, was the passion and enthusiasm behind the game’s developer, Madison Karth. I was able to sit with her while I played through Birth, and the excitement she had when I found a secret or solved a new puzzle was contagious.

I am really looking forward to the full release of the game.

Birth will be available in fall 2022 on Steam.

Bear and Breakfast

Developed by: Gummy Cat

Bear and Breakfast is one of the few indie games at Summer Game Fest with a story that is directly shared with you, rather than assumed. It is also one of few with a complete script and NPCs.

This game surrounds an adorable bear and his friends as they set out into the forest and end up being convinced to start a bed and breakfast!

With only a few minutes to play the game, I got a good sense of the different characters, most of which are quirky and adorable. You will be able to build and decorate your very own bed and breakfast, clean up after the humans that rent it, and scavenge your heart out. 

Throughout the short playtime, I was able to design a small room, and front desk, and rent out to my first humans.

You will also be able to create more than one business during the story.

Something that was emphasized was just how much scavenging will be available during the game, and how much territory there will be to cover. I’m really looking forward to seeing more areas in Bear and Breakfast!

Bear and Breakfast will be available on Nintendo Switch and PC sometime in 2022. You can also find it on Steam with a July 28th planned release date.

Roots of Pacha

Developed by: Soda Den

Everyone who knows me knows that I love a good sim game. Roots of Pacha was not only one of the best indie games at Summer Game Fest, but I think it is going to be an excellent farming simulator too! For once, you aren’t looking after grandpa’s farm though!

Roots of Pacha is an indie simulator that takes place in the Stone Age. Everything you learn, from farming to building to fishing, helps shape humanity in some way, and some directly affect gameplay.

For instance, you learn to build a sundial in-game, and now instead of your HUD showing you the sunrise and sunset, you’ll actually be able to tell what time it is. 

The game will feature co-op, so you and your friends will be able to shape the future together. You’ll be able to farm, fish, build and create relationships like in most simulators, but this time you’ll be finding things that no one else in history has seen, and you will learn just what to do with each new discovery.

Roots of Pacha is hoping to release on major consoles, but for now, has a solid plan for PC. The developers are aiming for the end of 2022.

There is currently a Steam demo available for immediate play.

SCHiM

Developed by: Ewoud van der Werf

SCHiM gives a name to the creatures that live in the shadows.  In this game, you play as the SCHiM of a human who has been separated from their shadow, and you have to find your way back to them. Hopping from shadow to shadow, you will help other creatures find their shadows as well, en route to finding your own.

I really enjoyed the art style in the game, which is why I consider it one of the best indie games at Summer Game Fest. Jumping shadow to shadow sounds simple enough, but there was more than once that I got stuck and couldn’t figure out where to jump next. The path to your safe place isn’t always clear, and I loved that this game posed a bit of a challenge.

And who knew the creatures in the shadows were so cute? SCHiM does not have a release date currently, but it will be available on Steam when the time comes.

You can check out SCHiM on Steam.

Those were the best Indie games at Summer Game Fest. Which games are you most looking forward to playing? Let us know in the comments section.

Dayna Eileen

Written by Dayna Eileen

Dayna is an all-Canadian long-time gamer and geek. She absolutely loves introducing the people she knows to her love for gaming and nerd culture. You can often find her writing about tech, gaming and media across the web.

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