Summer Game Fest is here, and with it has come a plethora of game announcements and showcases. Whether it’s called E3 or Summer Game Fest, for years, June has been an exciting time for gamers. The month serves as defacto gaming Christmas morning, where developers and publishers pull the curtain back on what they have been working on, and this year has been no different.
Most of the headlines have been dominated by megaliths like Starfield or The Last of Us Part I, but there are plenty of smaller titles that deserve their time in the spotlight as well.
With that in mind, here’s a list of all the games you may have missed during Summer Game Fest 2022’s opening weekend.
Part rhythm game, part Doom clone, Metal: Hellsinger looks to be a shooter unlike any other. This FPS takes fast-paced action and pairs it with some of the best heavy metal artists in the world.
Instead of simply running around slaying demons, Hellsinger forces the player to shoot, melee, and reload on the beat. This creates a zen-like experience where the rest of the world melts away around you. All that matters after that is the end of your shotgun and the shredding soundtrack.
It’s a creative blending of genres that really stands out. Even if you are not a fan of the double kick of bands like Lamb of God or Trivium, this game will have its hooks in you. Overall, it looks to be a head-banging bloody good time.
Release date: September 15, 2022
Skate Story‘s trailer during the Devolver Digital summer showcase hooked me. This is not your typical skating experience. Instead of riffing on the arcade experience of the Tony Hawk franchise, Skate Story offers something a little different.
Developed by one person, this game tasks players with skating through a version of the underworld that looks like some sort of bonkers drug trip. Gone is any semblance of the real world and in its place are geodesic prisms and flashing colors.
That is not to say your environments are not skatable. There are still plenty of ramps, rails, and gaps to conquer. But Skate Story is something a little more ethereal than the cargo short-wearing, Goldfinger-blaring skating fare of yore.
Release date: 2023
Terra Nil is the anti-SimCity. Whilst most management/simulation games push players into creating industry, using resources, and terraforming the earth, Terra Nil does the opposite. Shown off during the Wholesome Direct, this sim drops players into a derelict, resource-stripped world and forces them to make things green again.
Wind turbines, wells, and greenhouses serve as tools to restore this ecosystem back to its former glory. Developer Free Lives are aiming to create an experience where nature is the currency and success comes in the form of babbling streams and thriving wildlife.
Terra Nil is all about reclaiming a wasteland and making something out of nothing. And in a world where it can feel like the skies are greying more and more every day, experiences like this feel like a breath of fresh air.
Release date: TBA
Super Zoo Story
Super Zoo Story is what would happen if Zoo Tycoon and Stardew Valley had a beautiful pixelated baby. The zoo management RPG debuted a new story trailer at the IGN Summer of Gaming Expo, showing off bits of the game’s story as well as a couple of new features.
For many, this was the first time they had seen Super Zoo Story, and it stunned. While the game does look awfully like Stardew Valley, its adorable character sprites and animals will make this game unique from this farming stepbrother.
Plus, this brightly colored RPG doesn’t stop at rhinos and lions. The latest trailer also showed off some prehistoric additions you can bring into your zoo, allowing fans to live out their Jurassic Park fantasies whilst also playing zookeeper.
It has yet to be announced for Switch (only coming to PC at this point), but it would be the perfect game for Nintendo’s handheld hybrid.
Release date: 2023
One of the recurring themes of Summer Game Fest this year was platformers with stunning art styles. The Cub falls into that bucket. This 2D platformer is a spiritual successor to 1990’s SEGA games like Aladdin and The Lion King.
From the brief trailer that debuted at the Guerilla Collective 3, The Cub looks like a marvellous animated movie you can play. Its colorful environments are complimented by fluid parkour and complex puzzles.
It is hard to tell exactly what the story will be in this Demagog Studio-developed title. However, the studio has promised there will be plenty of twists and turns in this post-apocalyptic tale.
Release Date: TBA
As a longtime Pokemon fan, Cassette Beasts got me out of my chair. Also a part of the Guerilla Collective, this monster-collecting adventure looks to be that next step Pokémon fans have been asking for.
The game sports an eye-popping HD-2D art style. It seamlessly combines 3D environments with gorgeous 2D characters and monster sprites. And speaking of the monsters, Cassette Beasts gives players the power to combine any two of these creatures, creating something brand new.
It’s this fusion mechanic, open-world, and Saturday morning cartoon-like character designs that make Cassette Beasts one to watch. Sure, it’s not that name-brand Pokémon experience, but it looks to elevate that, making it a worthy competitor to Nintendo’s iconic IP.
Release date: TBA
For those looking to scratch that Nintendo 64 itch, look no further than Frogun. The 3D platformer sports retro-looking polygonal graphics, and an adorable wide-eyed art style.
The gameplay looks just like the collectathons of years passed with a twist. The game’s main character, Renata, comes sporting a grappling hook in the form of a handheld frog. By using the titular Frogun’s tongue, players can swing around and solve puzzles.
It looks like simple platforming fun, but it’s a kind of game that doesn’t get made much anymore. So, Frogun will be welcomed by many.
Release date: Summer 2022
The Last Faith
Speaking of games that just don’t make anymore, The Last Faith looks to recapture the magic of classic Castlevania titles, while iterating on Konami’s gothic formula. Shown off as a part of the Future Games Showcase, this bloody adventure is seemingly proof of concept for what a modern Castlevania game could look like.
Developer Kumi Souls Games describes the title as an “unholy alliance of Metroidvania and Soulslike.” That means this game is just as much Bloodborne as it is Symphony of the Night. Tight Souls-esque combat is paired with adventuring across a sprawling map, with new secrets around every corner.
The Last Faith proves that this formula is anything but stale. Beautiful pixel art and staggering handcrafted environments, make this a worthy SOTN successor.
Release date: 2022
The Plucky Squire
The Plucky Squire might be the most impressive game not called Starfield from Summer Game Fest. This gorgeous platformer really needs to be seen to be believed. Developed by ex-Game Freak employees, this title seamlessly mixes a beautiful 2D storybook world with hyper-realistic 3D platforming sections.
Some gameplay sections shown during the Devolver showcase look like a top-down Zelda title. Others flip the camera, turning things into a 3D action game akin to Ratchet and Clank.
Right now, it is unclear if The Lucky Squire will be anything more than amazing visuals. But when your game looks this good, you get the benefit of the doubt.
Release date: 2023
That’s a lot of games, and there are so many more that we did not talk about here. Whether it’s a massive AAA RPG or the smallest one-person-developed deckbuilding roguelike, Summer Game Fest/E3 (when it’s actually happening) is a magical time.