With its dark fantasy take on folklore from across Southeast Asia, Cabaret is a visual novel with a rich spread of mini-games and other confections, all presented in an incredibly eye-catching hand-drawn art style and vibrant soundtrack. While developer Persona Theory (Fires at Midnight) is based in Malaysia, they work with developers and musicians from across the region to bring the captivating mythos of cabaret to life.
The story follows Jebat, a recently deceased ex-human who must adjust to his new horned serpent form in an afterlife full of monsters while keeping his cool while dealing with a Harimau Jadian Wetiger, a Pontianak Vampire and other mythical creatures rubbing shoulders from Malaysia. Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and more.
The game unfolds through a mix of visual novel text boxes against large full-screen painted backgrounds, comic book panels, dialogue trees with abstract images instead of text, and mini-games that require you to lead a tea ceremony, flick Guli Marbles, or direct a musical theater performance. There’s even an interactive Malay vocabulary glossary. Founded in legends and yet not tied to reality, cabaret develops into a really special experience. Available March 2023 on Xbox, Steam and the Epic Games Store.
This fun yet thoughtful puzzle platformer with Metroidvania elements is bold enough to ask the question: what if you didn’t have to kill every enemy creature you encountered? Yes, that’s possible in Faerie Afterlight from Indonesian Clay Game Studio, but you also have the option to keep them alive and have them possessed by your companion fairy, Wispy, so you can use their abilities. For example, some enemies are impervious to spikes, so riding on their backs will help you move safely around spike pits, while other flying creatures can help you reach high platforms or cross large chasms.
Wispy’s abilities evolve as the demo progresses, allowing you to open various mysterious doors, shortcuts, and respawn points, or control and rearrange platforms to help you progress through the increasingly non-linear stages.
All of this is rendered in a beautiful art style, a surrealistic and warm visual interpretation of the Ori series accompanied by a dreamy soundtrack. The game is slated for release on PC sometime later this year or early 2023, and a demo is available now on Steam.
Katana Rama is a slick third-person action game from Malaysian developer Ghost Machine that focuses on making players feel like a badass in which you play as a hacker program fighting your way out of a digital security system. Experience ninja action and wall-running parkour as you focus your katana on one-hit-kill enemies to earn power level points, which then allow you to break the shields of stronger enemies or unlock the next kill room.
Katana Rama uses a slick, fast, and surprisingly intuitive dash system with excellent visual feedback that uses bright color coding and numbers to ensure you always know how many power level points you have and how many are left to complete to advance in battle.
With just three bosses, it’s a short game, but one that’s replayable: while each enemy-filled room is hand-designed, they’re procedurally strung together so each run is different from the last, and rounded off with a creative and challenging ending boss fight. Katana Rama demo is now available on Steam Next Fest and the game is scheduled for release in February 2023.
Petting animals has been shown to be good for mental health, but in Never Ending Beyond it’s a survival technique. In this roguelite from Malaysia’s One More Dream Studios (Ageless), players take control of an android named CareTakerUnit, who has a unique ability to pet animals to unlock new abilities. You must explore handcrafted but procedurally linked islands of a ruined planet called Beyond to find and rescue animals – while expanding your arsenal of offensive and passive abilities.
Any animal you find on your travels will follow you until you find a warp from which you can send them back to your base, where you too return each time you die, allowing you to use your pets and other resources can run to tinker for the next animal. And of course, each run will be different based on how you mix and match your weapons and skills.
The Steam page for Never Ending Beyond was launched during Level Up KL, so why not tickle your tummy.
At Your Service is a housekeeping action game for up to four players from Thailand’s FairPlay Studios that will be instantly familiar to fans of Overcooked or Moving Out. Players are tasked with cleaning up a messy home, starting with simple tasks like emptying the garbage and sweeping the floor. The action gets more chaotic as the tasks become more complex, such as B. washing clothes, hanging them to dry and then stowing them away in closets – but what really thwarts the game is the involvement of homeowners who will follow you around to make sure you work hard and always get angrier when you miss a spot.
The game will be released next year on all platforms with three different world themes, each with their own gameplay gimmicks: 1980s suburban homes, a futuristic sci-fi setting and a magical realm of castles and wizards. It will start with Couch Co-op, in the future it will be added online. Fun and frantic, At Your Service is becoming a welcome addition to the family party play area.
One of the wilder games at Level Up KL was Troublemaker, whose anarchic demo went viral after a Let’s Play garnered over 5 million views. Heavily influenced by the Like a Dragon/Yakuza series, the young developers on the Indonesian Gamecom team throw a mishmash of violent combat encounters and bizarre mini-games into a schoolyard setting, while new exchange student Budi takes on the student council goons to save the day climb the high school social ladder.
The demo for this “action-adventure beat-’em-up” is full of local slang and gutter humor, plus plenty of violence – its surprisingly deep combat system allows the player to unlock new abilities and sick moves, such as: B. to deliver heavier combos punches, swing a sickle or toss a sandal in the opponent’s face.
The mini-games are hit and miss, but they certainly have an odd charm, as they take on everyday life in a seedy school – hilariously slow “speed” in the wheelchair some classmates have lying around, hop into a first-person survival horror -Play a , teach a “dumb bird” to fly and even pass a tough multiple-choice high school test. Troublemaker is slated for release on Steam and the Epic Games Store in 2023, and a demo is available on Steam until October 23rd.
Set in futuristic versions of Bay City and Surabaya in Indonesia, Rendezvous by Pendopo Multi Creation is a cyberpunk noir adventure game with a local flair. Its glorious 2.5D pixel art design and fluid character animations carry more than a hint of classic 1990s flashback, but its cityscapes are easier to explore and filled with intrigue and paranoia that you would expect from a cyberpunk noir game would hope for.
In a world where the ruling mega-corporations are wrecking life for everyone, the protagonist and reformed criminal Setyo descends into the sinister underworld in pursuit of his sister, who he learns is working with an infamous cyberrunner gang withdrawn. The adventure lets you take on Setyo’s mundane night job as a security guard, chatting with NPCs, hacking robots, collecting clues, and solving puzzles as the drama escalates into full-blown action.
Rendezvous is slated for release sometime in the next year or so, and a playable prologue titled Rendezvous: Shadows of the Past is available now on Steam.
Here is a bonus pack of hot games from Level Up KL! The demo for Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly is now available on Steam and promises to be another deeply touching dose of late-night Java therapy. Gloom and Doom is a gag-packed 1990s slacker comedy disguised as a horror game, with a supernatural twist. Rhythm Doctor’s simple one-button mechanics belies a fiendishly hardcore music game based on complex rhythm theory and tricky timing. Let’s Build a Zoo is a good-natured management sim with added DNA splicing that lets you create up to 300,000 different animals to delight your visitors. And Cuisiner is a roguelite dungeon crawler RPG that’s packed to the brim with goodies.