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  • Writer's pictureNate and Julie

Summer Game Fest 2024: 6 standout games from Day 1's Guerrilla Collective

Updated: Jun 7

The kickoff for Summer Game Fest has officially come and gone, and with the baggage of E3 left to the wayside, we're ready to embrace a week of exciting gaming showcases the only way we know how: with genuine enthusiasm and the help of the week's perennial opening act, the Media Indie Exchange's Guerrilla Collective.


Every year, this showcase is a pure shotgun blast of indie excellence. Year in and year out, you can expect anywhere between 60-80 wildly varied indie games, showcased in genre groups and hosted by The MIX's Justin Woodward and friends. It's such a fantastic way to kick off the week and it helps to showcase what it's all about: The power of creativity in our industry and the muscle of the independent scene.


We went ahead and handpicked six games from the show that captured our attention the most to share with you.


We just love this time of the year, don't you?


A collage of key arts for the games included in the article: Sonzai, Neon Blood, Beloved Rapture, Trailblazers Into the March, Five Nights at Freddy's Into the Pit, and Fallen Aces.

INDEX




Developer: 2 Odd Diodes

Genre: Character action story-rich social link RPG

Platforms: PC, PS4/5, Xbox Series S/X, Switch


Why be social in real life when you can do it in video games? That's what I always say! (What's that? That's not healthy? Get outta here and let me make my friends at the virtual boba shop, you aren't my mom.)


Sonzai is the debut game from 2 Odd Diodes, a two-person team based out of Kolkata, India. Their approach to the social link driven game, which is forever tied to the Persona series, is a bit more action-packed than you might be used to. Driven by a character action focus that has you combo-ing evil spirits at night and hitting up the local boba shop to make friends by day, Sonzai gives that divide between gameplay styles an even more drastic barrier and looks to make for an even more compelling gameplay loop.


We're curious to see just how in-depth the action can be during the day — the trailer above shows minigames like fishing and helping kids at the local orphanage with their homework — because the key to a striking the perfect balance between these two phases is to treat the social aspect with as much care as a complex combat system.


An in-game screenshot for Sonzai. A warrior crouches with a fist reaching out ahead of them. A fireball builds in their hand and shoots out at a malicious spirit ahead of them. Three spirits descend to attack the warrior on the rooftop of some building, with a forest in the background.

Sonzai has no announced release date at this time, but join us in wishlisting to keep an eye on its eventual launch on most every platform sometime soon.




Developer: ChaoticBrain Studios

Genre: Cyberpunk detective noir adventure game

Platforms: PC, PS4/5, Xbox Series S/X, Switch


You've got a detective fixated on a femme fatale who he's certain will be the answer to all his questions. You've got dimly lit streets with corpses laying still at the end of them. And you've got implants that give you all the info you need on said corpse to solve crimes. All the trademark pieces of a classic noir story. Ah, well... a classic cyberpunk noir story.


You can take the stunning mix of pixel art and 3D environments. You can have your fancy animated cutscenes. What struck us about Neon Blood was its world. We've seen cyberpunk detective stories before, but something about ChaoticBrain's approach is calling to us. Whether it's the familiar grit of its city streets or the overt glamour of its villainess, we're intrigued.


And then you peek into their dev logs and see the pages and pages of detailed lore for its world and characters, and finally you understand what it is that's calling to you. Genuine passion. ChaoticBrain is pouring everything they have into it and it shows.


An in-game screenshot of Neon Blood. A man with a neon-lined trenchcoat stands in the middle of a street littered with trash. It's dusk and various city folk are in the street, dragging debris, and mean mugging the local cops. It's a surprisingly modern scene despite the clear sci-fi focus.

Neon Blood is set to release in Q4 2024 and we encourage you wishlist it to see how that passion manifests later this year.




Developer: Rapturous Studio

Genre: Classic SNES-era RPG with LGBT+ themes

Platform: PC


If you were a fan of late-life SNES RPGs or early-era PSX RPGs, you've been thriving over the last few years. Games like Chained Echoes and Sea of Stars have shown us that there is still some brilliance to be found in that era of gaming, and Beloved Rapture in its own way feels like it ticks all the boxes of the era.


Whenever an indie tries replicating the SNES-era RPGs, it tends to be either Earthbound or Chrono Trigger that it tries to crib from. Beloved Rapture instead feels like that obscure RPG that you demand more people play because its ideas were just that interesting.


Their Guerrilla Collective trailer focuses in on the kinds of activities that await you in the meat of the game: minigames, gambling, puzzles, major cities to explore. Side activities are some of my favorite in this era specifically, and everything Beloved Rapture showed in that regard caught our attention.


It also promises to be an RPG without grinding, to focus on telling a well-paced cinematic story, and to explore deeper themes and LGBT+ stories. It's VGG bait and we're enthusiastically biting.


An in-game screenshot of Beloved Rapture. Two fighters stand in a hilly landscape, weapons drawn as they wait for the attacks of a dragon-like creature.

If this all sounds up your alley, consider wishlisting the game and playing the demo, out now, before it launches later this year.




Developer: Strangers

Genre: Colony sim meets tactical spaceship roguelite

Platform: PC


If I had a nickel for every time I got pulled in to a colony sim that takes place on the back of a giant moving machine in the last few years, I'd have two nickels. Which isn't a lot but still wild it happened twice.


Trailblazers: Into the March feels like a hodgepodge of a few incredible games: FTL, The Wandering Village, Rimworld. But this unique blend feels ready to transcend any one of those games. Whether it's the stunningly detailed sci-fi art style or the balance between the comforting colony management and the chaotic 1v1 ship combat, Trailblazers feels primed to be the next cult classic.


We can't wait to see how in-depth the colony management is and how that feeds into the tactical ship combat, whether this goes as deep as the station-to-station management of something like FTL and if the colony management's play actually has a strong effect on the crew's efficiency. For example, if your gunner breaks up with the pilot, will they both suffer at their jobs? If your shields expert is beefing with your medbay person, does that play out?


The promise of the evolving relationships and stories of your ship's crew is a big thing for us. After the devastating closure of the team behind Jumplight Odyssey, a game that aimed to provide a similar focus on the day-to-day drama of the crew's lives, we're ready to latch onto Trailblazer's promising future and ride it into the unknown.


An in-game screenshot for Trailblazers: Into the March. It depicts a cross section of the giant walking ship's insides, showing the ship's crew's living quarters and combat stations. On the top of the screen, portraits for the ship's crew can be seen.

Sign up for the next expedition into The March by wishlisting the game right now and joining up when it launches sometime soon.




Developer: Mega Cat Studios

Genre: Timey-wimey pixel art horror adventure

Platforms: PC, PS4/5, Xbox Series S/X, Switch


I never in my life thought I'd be writing about Five Nights at Freddy's on VGG, but here we are. You can blame Markiplier, because while I've never personally touched a single FNAF game, I've experienced the entire series through watching his videos.


It's not a unique story. Tons of people have similar experiences with this series in particular. But the way I felt genuine joy and ended up just as excited as any other hyperfixated FNAF fan when watching this trailer is something that should be studied.


Into the Pit is an adaptation of a FNAF book that fills in the gaps of the game series. It tells the story of a young kid named Oswald who, by jumping into a ball pit at a strange pizza place, finds himself transported to Freddy's Pizzeria in the '80s. Between both timelines, Oswald finds himself tormented by animatronics and spirits alike, and he's got to put on animatronic heads, hide under tables, and do whatever he can to survive five nights.


The simple shift in style, in gameplay, and in storytelling has me more interested than ever before, and I could easily see myself finally buying into the series with Into the Pit.


An in-game screenshot for Five Nights at Freddy's: Into the Pit. A young child walks into a maintenance room, with tools and bits of animatronics seen hung up on shelves in the room. At the end of his vision, a broken down animatronic with its mouth agape stands waiting. The child's eyes are wide with fear.

If you dive into the wishlist ball pit, I promise you'll pop out the other side when this game's finally released!



Developers: Trey Powell and Jason Bond

Genre: First person goon simulator (noir immersive sim)

Platforms: PC


There’s nothing like getting into a rhythm in a fighting game, letting your fingers and mind carry you into a groove and nailing your combos, your blocks, and your headshots. But sometimes, that rhythm you get into is a little jazzy. It’s a little improv, a little “yes, and?” It keeps you on your toes — you’re having fun with it, or maybe it’s having fun with you. That’s the type of gameplay we’re seeing out of Fallen Aces. And YOWZA, we are itching to get hands on it.


An FPS crime noir where one man takes down goons and villains in Switchblade City, it's inspired by classic '90s shooters, but its unique mechanics give it its own life. The game is basically one big treasure trove for weapons, and it might as well have a flashing neon sign telling you to "get creative." From what we’ve seen so far, few things are off limits: You’re able to kick, karate chop, shoot, bonk with sticks and pipes and frying pans, hurl people at your enemies, punch sharks in the face, and a lot more weird and wacky stuff. But of course, in a pinch, your own two fists’ll do the job just fine. 


We love its film noir meets comic book aesthetic and how its big personality somehow keeps things lighthearted even when you’re blasting someone to bits or swimming with the fishes yourself.


It's also great to see how both the developers and publisher are so invested, with the publisher really supporting the game at events and going all out for it — it's easy to see why they've placed their belief in this game.


A screenshot from Fallen Aces. The player character's leg is kicked out toward some 1930s-era gangsters wearing simple brown clothes in what looks like a nightclub. The gangsters are approaching with bad intentions.

Join us in wishlisting the game (or else youse got anotha thing comin’ to ya) and tune in with us as we co-stream the PC Gaming Show on Sunday, June 9, starting at 1 p.m. PT, where Fallen Aces’ Episode 1 release date will be announced.


 

Want to see more? Check out our list of everything announced at the Guerrilla Collective 2024 and stay tuned for our mini-previews, where we provide impressions of game demos. That's a wrap on Summer Game Fest Day 1! Which of the 73 games shown today caught your attention or went straight onto the wishlist? Did we miss any of your favorites?

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