When you think of game publishers, you typically assume that each publisher specializes in a certain genre of games. With EA most gamers think of either sports games or fantasy games. With DreadXP, you typically associate them with horror gamers.
Now, this isn’t to say that it is uncommon, but publishers often have a genre associated with their name. There are exceptions where publishers choose a variety of genres of games but they typically own or have previously published games from those developers. At PAX East 2023, we met with Dear Villagers to preview their upcoming games Fort Solis, Nocturnal, and Passing By.
When you try to think of what these three games could be based on their names, you can think of a wide variety of games. Before researching them, I thought Nocturnal was going to be a horror game. I expected Fort Solis to be either a dungeon crawler or a tower defense game.
Then for Passing By, I presumed it would either be a racing game or a narrative story adventure. Oh man, was I wrong with all three of these titles. Two out of three of these assumptions were just wrong.
Now, let’s discuss what all three of these titles are and what their games are about:
For those who have never heard of Fort Solis, it is a single-player sci-fi adventure focusing more on psychological suspense and thrills. The demo was held in a semi-dark isolated room helping the player get more immersed in the game.
Players learn about Jack Leary an engineer on a mining base on Mars. As we explored the base, we realized that all sense of life had disappeared, yet strange things kept happening. We learned more about Jack’s family and his homesickness.
While playing, we noticed that the came did not feature any camera cuts or loading sequences. The suspense in the air was tangible and unnerving. When things moved suddenly or crashed around us, you would take notice and feel uneasy. Jack Leary’s voice actor helped set the uneasy feeling we held while exploring the abandoned facility.
Sadly, we did not have the opportunity to explore enough due to time constraints. According to the developers, the game will feature multiple endings based on the player’s decisions. Just from the bit we got to play, Fort Solis should keep players on edge while providing a fun psychologic thriller. Fort Solis is set to release later this year during Summer 2023.
After previewing Fort Solis, we moved on to Nocturnal. Despite Nocturnal having a horror-sounding name, the game lacked any real horror elements. Instead, the game featured a creepy darkness that limited the player’s vision and ability to damage enemies.
So if you are afraid of the dark or what could be in the dark, then Nocturnal would be a horror game similar to Eyes In The Dark: The Curious Case Of One Victoria Bloom. Outside of the darkness element of gameplay, no horror aspects were openly present unless you count a war.
Nocturnal is an action exploration platformer that uses the darkness mechanic as a way to spice up combat and exploration; this dark mist encompasses the island and forces the returning soldier to use his aptitude with fire to explore.
The main name of the game is exploration; as we played through the demo, we could explore different areas to find experience points and collectibles. Fans of Ori and the Will of the Wisp will enjoy Nocturnal since exploration and fire utilization have similar game mechanics.
Out of all three Dear Villagers titles, Nocturnal was the one we spent the most time with. The game’s exploration feature and fire utilization kept us interested. Rather than setting the sword ablaze and constantly being on, players have to manage their time with the flame.
Moving throughout the level, you want to prioritize setting torches on fire or clearing debris rather than going right after the enemy; this made it so you had to think about your next move rather than mindless hacking and slashing through the dungeons.
The game’s soundtrack also draws players in with the sound effects and music composition. The rain could make players feel sleepy if not careful.
Out of all three titles, we spent the least time with Passing By. Now, this is not because it is a bad game, but we were just burned out from the event and management sims. If you are curious about Passing By – A Tailwind Journey, it is easily comparable to Minecraft and No Man’s Sky.
The paper doll’s art style allows players to explore worlds and gather resources that can be used elsewhere. Explore different areas and solve puzzles to find valuable resources.
The game does have a cute art style that will be appealing to some but could very easily push others away. The terrains in the game will give players the ability to feel filled when exploring rather than feeling like things are repetitive.
At the moment, no date has been announced for Passing By‘s release but it is worth keeping an eye on if you are a fan of cozy adventure games.
Which of these three Dear Villagers’ titles stands out to you the most? Are you a fan of dungeon crawlers or suspenseful horror games? Will you be keeping an eye out for any of the other PAX East 2023 titles we have shared with you?