With 2022 being the first year that E3 stepped aside, it left room for Summer Game Fest to break out, hosting its first in-person event in Los Angeles, Summer Game Fest: Play Days. This was the first time in years that journalists got the chance to get together, put names to faces, and get their hands on some real game previews.
Summer Game Fest brought plenty to the table with AAA titles like Street Fighter 6, Sonic Frontiers, and F1, but also delivered plenty of indie titles hosted by Day of the Devs, highlighting games big and small equally across the board. Some unexpected titles really stood out this year, whether it be because of unique visuals, heartwarming stories, or creative experiences.
That being said, here is what I deem the best of Summer Game Fest: Play Days 2022:
This was the shining star at the Day of the Devs booth for me. Birth is a simple point and click puzzle game, but the story is heartwarming, yet gross. Your character is lonely and decides to build a friend. In order to do this, you need to gather bones and organs to create a pal of your very own.
How does it all fit together with a side scrolling puzzle? I’m not sure, but whatever it does works. You are given access to a city street that can scroll left to right, and with the click of your mouse you can search buildings to find the missing pieces. Some puzzles within the buildings are easier to solve than others, and some puzzles need other content to be exposed before you can complete them.
Birth has a very unique art style that I grew to love very quickly and found myself back at the booth more than once to get my puzzle fix. I’m looking forward to the game’s release to find out what happens when you finally find all the pieces. If you enjoy puzzles, you won’t want to miss out on Birth.
A Little to the Left
This is another small puzzle game, and it really gave me Unpacking vibes. Though there is no story directly relayed to you, A Little to the Left leaves you with a sense of organization and togetherness that can be very fulfilling. Solving puzzles one after the other with increasing difficulty felt very satisfying and left me wanting more when my time at the Summer Game Fest booth was up.
The developers also took into account players that may not want to sit playing the game for hours by introducing a puzzle of the day that allows for fresh, quick content daily, a little something to complete over breakfast or before bed. The puzzle I saw involved organizing your spices, perhaps by gradient, amount or colour, depending on the day.
Puzzles in A Little to the Left ranged from straightening paintings, to setting the dinner table, to cleaning out drawers. Many puzzles have more than one solution, and the hint system is interactive and creative, having you erase your scribbles on a sheet of paper to uncover its secrets. A Little to the Left is a great game to keep your brain active while you sit back and relax.
Bear and Breakfast
Bear and Breakfast I actually had to go back and play twice before I had enough time to form an opinion about it. The visuals are very cute, and the game’s universe seems expansive so far. Essentially, you and your animal pals head out into the forest and stumble upon some questionable characters who talk you into building a bed and breakfast.
The beginning of the game introduces you to several supporting characters like your mom and animal buddies, and the dialogue really brings out each individual personality. I’m a sucker for a good sim, so scavenging and designing fall right in line with some of my favourite games. Clearly, I’m really looking forward to this title.
At the moment, there are a lot of fetch quests (go here, do this, come back), but I’m hoping that is just the beginning stages. I look forward to seeing the full story unfold when Bear and Breakfast releases.
Roots of Pacha
This is another take on a simulator, this time taking place in more prehistoric times. You aren’t just building your average farm to make grandpa proud. You are building civilization as we know it, from discovering seeds, to new cooking methods, to creating the beginnings of technology.
Roots of Pacha is not quite finished, but as is, features a large map with plenty to explore. Each area is different, like beaches, forests or your own town. The game will also feature co-op, so friends will be able to join in and help create the world of your dreams. Roots of Pacha is very Stardew Valley adjacent, but looks to bring a very new story, and plenty of content when it launches.
77 seconds. That’s all the time you have to finish your flies’ bucket list. Yep, you heard me right. You are playing the role of a fly in a house, and you have 77 seconds to complete a series of tasks, but first, you must figure out how.
Time Flies lets you fly from room to room exploring different heights and objects to uncover its secrets. Learn to play an instrument by flying across guitar strings, start a movement by knocking over a series of objects. The house is your oyster as you rush to map out the house and solve puzzles all with the end goal of completing the entire list before your 77-second lifespan runs out.
Street Fighter 6
This was by far the busiest booth at Summer Game Fest: Play Days this year. The game’s eight stations were always full, and players couldn’t get enough of the street fighting action. Though Street Fighter is a well known franchise, this iteration is bringing polished visuals to the table along with some simplified systems.
Players can dive into the action much faster in Street Fighter 6, with getting from the menu screen to a match within seconds. New street-art inspired levels give players a completely new experience, and brand-new characters will be playable at launch. Check out our Street Fighter 6 preview for a more detailed description.
F1 went hard at Summer Game Fest: Play Days with a full racing set-up, courtesy of Fanatec. Journalists climbed into the racing seat to experience the game directly from the driver’s seat, some even in VR.
F1 22 not only improves on the already stunning visuals the game is known for, but now there are full weather effects that will directly affect game play. This year the game also features a much more extensive career mode with new rule sets that are more in line with the F1 season. CGMagazine had a chance to chat with the team behind F1 22, so make sure to keep an eye out for the details.
Escape Academy is a game we have already covered here at CGMagazine, but during Summer Game Fest: Play Days, we got to check out some of its multiplayer action. To say this game would make a great date night is an understatement. I was paired with a complete stranger, and by the end, we were communicating and laughing at just how terrible I am at puzzles.
The game brings escape rooms to the screen flawlessly, allowing only your puzzle solving skills to hold you back as you race against the clock. The puzzles I experienced in Escape Academy ranged from word play, to scavenging and even some hidden clues with glow in the dark paint. I can see the game being satisfying on its own, but highly suggest playing it in a team. It was a blast!