Lately, my TikTok algorithm has served me a series of videos featuring awesome games from indie developers I otherwise wouldn’t have heard of. These titles aren’t even finished yet: Some have release dates, others have demos, while still others live only in the developer’s databases. Wherever these devs are in the production process, it’s fun to follow along as they share their progress and give insights into how the digital sausage is made. Here are eight of my favourite in-progress indie games I’m following on TikTok, and I think you should follow them, too.
Of course, TikTok is a big place, and there are no doubt many more games in development that are deserving of your attention. Please feel free to shout about them in the comments. If you are interested in a game and it has a Steam page, I also encourage you to add it to your Wishlist. (It’s free, and it helps indie devs, since you’re showing Steam people are excited about the title.)
Sword of Symphony
Sword of Symphony was the first indie game to grace my FYP and really catch my attention. Developed solely by Stephen Ddungu, Sword of Symphony promises to be a “story-driven musical action RPG,” connected to Ddungu’s other project, Purpose. While the game is still early in development, Ddungu has shared his vision for the storyline on the game’s Patreon page, seeing music wielders called “Composers” fight against “The Taçet” to protect their creativity and the kingdom of “Sonata.”
But it’s the gameplay Ddungu has previewed so far that I find most impressive. Music is integral to the core gameplay. You fight with music, which adds to the underlying background score of the game. The same goes for enemies, whose moves and combos you can learn yourself, as if you were studying their musical notation. What results is a stunning and unique game design approach I haven’t seen before, and I’m excited to watch where Sword of Symphony goes from here.
Untitled Building Game
This game is yet to be titled, but you don’t need a name to get hyped. Its developers, Ana and Tom, describe it as a “tiny chill building game.” An apt description, since the game won’t have any management, resources, or combat. It’s all about, as they say, making something pretty.
That chill attitude spills nicely into the game design. As you build, your current structure changes dynamically: Move a path through a castle wall, and that wall turns into an arch to accommodate. If the wall is short, it turns into a fence. You can see these awesome mechanics at work in the TikTok above.
Whatever this game ends up being called, it looks like a great way to zone out and build something cool. I’m sold.
Noun Town is giving Duolingo a run for its money. You start on an island devoid of colour or inhabitants. By learning new words in your chosen language, however, you bring colour and life back to the world. It’s a great concept, and it seems like an effective way to learn a new language at that. Plus, it’s a VR game, which I always love to see.
At this point in development, Noun Town supports Japanese, Chinese, French, German, Spanish, and Italian. Once the game launches, developer xealiaXR will get to work on adding Arabic, Danish, additional forms of Spanish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Irish, Finnish, Swedish, Korean, Russian, Hindi, Indonesian, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Amharic. They also hope to support English as well, so someone who speaks French or Japanese could use the game to learn English instead.
Noun Town will be available on Quest and Steam VR in December 2022. You can try out the demo now on Steam.
Speaking of bringing colour to the world, next up is Farewell North, developed by Kyle Banks. The game casts you as a border collie travelling the Scottish Highlands with your owner to return colour to land, sea, and everything in between. As per the preview, you’ll come up against friends, like whales and butterflies, as well as foes, like a giant, creepy, detached hand that chases you in a cave.
I stumbled upon the game from this video, which shows just how far Banks has come in developing the game over more than two years. Farewell North has a targeted release of Q3 2023, and you can try out the demo on Steam now.
Resonant, developed by Callum Denmead, is a self-described “atmospheric walking simulator,” which, coupled with the watercolor art style, seems perfect for anyone looking for a cosy, chill experience. Resonant’s most popular video features the developer simply building a waterfall for the game, after all.
Throughout the world, you’ll encounter music sliders that emits sounds the world reacts to. Denmead says its up to you to follow the rhythm to explore “safely,” which might imply things aren’t as chill as they seem from the previews. I suppose we’ll need to wait for the game’s 2023 release to find out.
You can check out Resonant’s Steam page here.
Shumi Come Home
Shumi Come Home is damn cute. It tells the story of Shumi, a mushroom who finds itself in the middle of a strange forest. Your job is to explore the new lands at your own pace, chatting up villagers, studying mushrooms, climbing hills and gliding over all. Imagine Breath of the Wild, but you’re a mushroom, and there’s no combat. I’m in love.
Shumi Come Home has an extensive development diary on its TikTok page. If you’re interested, there’s plenty of content to scroll through. The game is developed by SomeHumbleOnion, and you can find its Steam page here.
Continuing the mushroom theme is Mail Time, developed by Kela van der Deijl. Like Shumi Come Home, you play as a forest-dweller equipped with a glider, with a mushroom hat to boot. However, the main objective is much different: Your task is to deliver mail all over the forest to its many inhabitants. Again, how cute.
Bounce across mushrooms and lily pads to complete your tasks and customise your character’s hat and glider to your heart’s content. You can find the game’s Steam page here, where it lists the game as “coming soon.”
Mortal Rite is one of the more AAA-looking indie games I’ve seen on TikTok, and has amassed a huge following there. Developed by a team of
five, making up Round Toast Studios, it combines aspects of soulslike, roguelike, and dungeon crawler games into an ambitious experience. From the previews, everything about this game will be impressive, from the graphics, to the gameplay, to the scope. At times, it’s tough to believe such a small operation is putting all this together.
One unique gameplay mechanic worth mentioning is the Shold character’s wall building: When in combat, you can throw up a wall in front of you to protect yourself. It looks really cool in action, and has been a bit of a selling point for the title throughout production.
This is another page with a lot of content. Developers have been posting since November 2020, so you have plenty to catch up on. Mortal Rite is slated for a winter 2022 release, and you can check out Mortal Rite’s Steam page for more info.
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