You want games? Good news. Today, we got new looks at an absolute deluge of games via the MIX Next event, combined with a Publisher Spotlight event and Black Voices in Gaming. Between the three, we saw somewhere close to 100 games – if you haven’t seen the entire presentation, give it a look, as there’s likely something in there to appeal to every taste, genre, and fanbase.
For our part, there were ten games that really stood out between the three presentations, and we opted to highlight them below. If you’re just looking for a quick, broad look at some of the truly standout stuff from the last few hours, look no further. Here are our ten favorite games from MIX Next 2022:
Paper Cut Mansion
One of the most instantaneously striking games from this entire showcase was Paper Cut Mansion, a haunted house roguelite. You play as a detective named Toby exploring the house to gather evidence to solve a mystery, fighting off enemies in top-down combat with permadeath and solving logic puzzles as you go. Paper Cut Mansion looks to be visually stunning, with the entire world – you, your enemies, the house, all the furniture, everything – made of paper, looking like highly detailed paper dolls and models. I want to play this just for the aesthetic vibes alone, and considering it’s out today on Xbox and PC via Steam, Epic, and GOG, this might be the perfect haunted Halloween adventure.
One of my favorite genres of post-apocalyptic game is “the world was destroyed and all that’s left are sky islands,” but I didn’t realize until I saw Wavetale how few versions of that actually involve a giant ocean instead of the sky. Wind Waker? Sea of Solitude maybe? That might be it.
Anyway, the trailer’s slowly rolling motions of skating across ocean waves to soothing music immediately drew me into this 3D adventure and platformer (its other trailers are no slouches either). I want to become that beautiful waverunner, Sigrid, who armed with a net must defeat “an old nemesis” to save the citizens of her archipelago.
Ocean skating aside, I’m also really into the surge of games in this showcase more generally that are reexploring what 3D platforming might look like now that we have better technology and everything doesn’t have to look like Banjo-Kazooie. Wavetale is coming out on December 12 on Switch, PS5, PS4, Xbox, and PC via Steam. There’s a demo available on Steam now too, if you like.
No longer content to ask if we can pet the dog, Farewell North is instead asking the question, “Can you play as the dog?” Obviously, you can and do. Specifically, you’re a collie traveling with its human through a series of Scotland-inspired islands that have been deprived of their color, which you’ll restore as you go. It’s full of perspective puzzles and hidden objects, with puzzles you’ll have to solve using your unique canine abilities while your human interacts with the world using their own, very human tools.
Peaceful as it looks, Farewell North is a story about grief and how people deal with loss. You’ll be restoring the human’s memories and returning color to a black and white world, but you’re also seeing it all through the eyes of a dog as it helps the person it loves learn to say goodbye. I’m here for the cute dog, but I anticipate staying for the emotional catharsis. Farewell North doesn’t have a release date currently, but there’s a demo on Steam right now.
Shumi Come Home
When I mentioned Wavetale above, I talked about how excited I was to see more games hearkening back to the good old classic 3D platforming era without necessarily leaning into their visual and level structure. Shumi Come Home, on the other hand, absolutely does that. It’s a cute, nature-filled platformer about a little dude (Shumi, a sentient mushroom) trying to find its way home through a world that’s far too big for it. It’s immediately charming, with a very straightforward retroness to it that makes me immediately nostalgic for Donkey Kong’s Fungi Forest — but how I remember it looking, not how it actually looked. Charming, whimsical, perfect for autumn (even though it’s not out until the spring).
Specifically, Shumi Come Home is planned for release in spring 2023 on PC and Switch.
I’ve actually played a few minutes of Schim already, in a demo at Play Days earlier this year. But every time I see it, I am drawn in again by the wonderful puzzling concept of playing a funny little shadow frog that can only move within the shadows of objects, jumping from one to the next as he tries to track down the person he is the shadow of. It immediately lends itself to a distinctive visual style, and forces an uncommon perspective on otherwise mundane settings like a street corner, or a park.
The latest Schim trailer announces that it’s “feature complete,” with the team now focused on designing more levels. One feature this presentation showed off was the ability to change a level’s color palette, acting as an accessibility feature for colorblind players as well as a fun way to customize levels as you play. You can take a look at the tool now at a website, too: schim.art
Schim is coming to PlayStation and PC via itch.io and Steam, and you can request access to a playtest via Steam right now.
Sure, I’m a sucker for cute, cozy games, but nothing grabbed me as strongly in the MIX showcase as Moonstone Island. It’s a darling little life sim following an alchemist who, per their village tradition, must spend a year away from home to train their alchemy. While on Moonstone Island, they’ll tame nature spirits, make friends, explore, and build a home as they restore the island. And es, there’s romance and farming too!
But apart from just the cute critters, Moonstone Island is also a deckbuilding RPG of sorts with turn-based battles pitting your befriended spirits against enemies. The battle shown in the trailer was both adorable and had a somewhat Earthbound-y feel to it, given that the player was fighting using spirits of a lamp and a coffee cup on their team.
A lot was packed into the short trailer, and I’m curious to see how all Moonstone Island’s systems end up interlocking and working together to make a full adventure. It’s planned for release next year on Switch and PC.
My Work Is Not Yet Done
Trailer CW: Suicide, disturbing imagery
Hey, uh, what the heck??? What did I just watch?
My Work Is Not Yet Done was, of all the trailers in this showcase, the one that told me the least about what was actually going on in the game it represented. It also was the one that most made me want to learn more. Per its Steam page, I’ve figured out that it’s a narrative-driven investigative horror game following a person named Avery. As the last member of an expedition to a remote wilderness, she tries to track down the source of a weird transmission as the landscape and reality shift around her. I’m not sure if there’s any relation to the Thomas Ligotti short story collection of the same name about corporate workplaces, but given they’re both horror-related, it’s probable there’s some throughline.
Again per its Steam page, My Work Is Not Yet Done is about “exploring the imbrication and dissolution of human identities/meanings within uncanny wilderness.” I don’t fully know what that means! That entire trailer was deeply upsetting! I also want to play this game! It’s coming to PC via Steam at an unannounced later date.
Now for something completely different. Spiderheck is a party game, a physics-based brawler where everyone is a spider with a lazer sword. That sentence alone sounds, to me, extremely cool, and the gameplay seems to bear that out. It’s a bit reminscent of Heave-Ho in terms of the ways the spiders seem to move and swing about their environment, but instead of leapin over your friends to get to the finish line, you’re pummeling them with lazer weapons, both melee and guns. It’s the kind of silly party game that seems prone to devolve into a lot of drunken, good-natured yelling with the right crowd, good for local couch play or online hangouts over Discord. It’s out now on Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, and PC via Epic Games Store and Steam.
Sucker for Love: First Date
This hilarious dating sim had me with the spot-on classic anime opening trailer, complete with “(Excited eldritch noises)”. But the gameplay afterward looks like a blast — it’s a visual novel, sure, but aside from chatting up your Lovecraftian hunnies, you’re also performing dark rituals to summon them in the first place and keep them happy: closing the curtains, lighting the candles, saying the right words to bring them forth from the dark and make their ancient and precocious whims come true.
At the moment, there are three tentacled evil ladies to spend time with across three chapters, as the game’s been out since January, but there’s a sequel on the way called Date to Die For coming up soon, possibly even this year.
One Beat Min
Every time I think I’ve seen it all with rhythm games, something comes along and blows me away again. This time, it was One Beat Min, a rhythm game about beatboxing where players battle one another by challenging them to copy their beats back. The result is a fast-paced back and forth of four-button combos (at least in the trailer we just saw) where one player challenges, the other copies, then challenges back, and so forth. It combines typical rhythm game components like button matching and, you know, rhythm, with creativity in making something your opponent won’t copy, and reading that same opponent and reacting quickly to them. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of details out about One Beat Min just yet, so we don’t know what platforms to expect it on or when it might be out. Hopefully we get to see more soon.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.
Source: IGN Video Games All