The 10 best games we physically played at Summer Game Fest, Tribeca

Kiosks, controls, masks and games: Game preview events will hit a little differently in 2022, but we take what we can get.
Enlarge / Kiosks, controls, masks and games: Game preview events will hit a little differently in 2022, but we take what we can get.

Summer Game Fest: Play Days + Seth Cuddeback

LOS ANGELES — Last week’s summer game party has largely been a virtual affair, full of video game trailers that may or may not be launched in the next 18 months. Still, as the gaming industry approaches the norm for previewing conventions, we received invitations to two events in early June with playable upcoming games.

You may have already seen my biggest practical highlights from these events: Street Fighter 6which is amazing, and Sonic Frontiers, which is strange but promising. This article summarizes “the best of the rest”, based on practical tests at the Summer Game Fest Play Days event in Los Angeles and a series of remote Tribeca Games Festival demos. The events lacked some of the world’s biggest developers and publishers – no doubt because many of their games have been postponed to 2023. Despite the fact that this list was more skewed to the indie side, we stand behind these preview highlights thanks to how they felt to play.

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course gameplay trailer.

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

Platforms: PC, Xbox, PS4, Switch
Scheduled release: June 30th
Links: Steam | Nintendo eShop | Xbox | Official site

The brutality of bullet hell off Head will return later this month as a $ 7.99 DLC package. If the trial boss level I played is any indication, this DLC will hit a good spot for league fans instead of turning Head formula upside down.

A new playable character Ms. Chalice is available as a “charm” that one player can equip at any time, and she comes with some beginner-friendly benefits, including an extra health point, a double jump, a paring that doubles as a front line, and a somersault that adds some frames. of invincibility. Her new abilities were not necessarily crucial in the new boss match I played – but because she was terrible at. HeadI still struggled with the three phases of the battle, which included an abrupt transition to floating, rotating platforms (think Super Mario Worldhis second Reznor match).

She’s available in a new campaign that executive producer Marija Moldenhauer tells Ars compares to the game’s third island – which included seven bosses and two platform levels. Moldenhauer says that the DLC will have six bosses, which she insists are more involved and complicated than the standard game selection, but she would not otherwise clarify what else the DLC will contain.

Moldenhauer also says that DLC includes almost as many hand-drawn backgrounds and animated frames as the entire standard Head campaign. This could mean that the boss fights I have not yet played are even more intense, or that there is another massive platform challenge ahead. Either way, $ 7.99 seems like a must-buy DLC option for anyone who has already invested in Headhis carefully hand-drawn 2D action.

F1 2022 VR gameplay trailer

F1 2022

Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4
Scheduled release: June 28
Links: Epic | PSN | Xbox | Official site

EA and Codemasters hosted one F1 2022 gameplay demo to showcase the series’ latest feature: VR racing. On-site Codemasters producers confirmed that the studio’s combined brain trust had matured enough to add a VR mode to F1thanks to contributions from those who worked with VR modes in DiRT Rally and Driveclub VR. (Evolution Studios made the latter before Codemasters bought it in 2016).

The game maker’s kiosk combined Fanatec’s CSL DD F1 package with a Quest 2 VR headset. In good news, the result finds the right balance between fidelity and performance, along with VR comfort while navigating F1worthy immediately. The only comfort exception came from the moment when the game’s particle-filled clouds filled my game view, causing the headset’s frame rate to drop. This problem usually occurred after a cheap spinout when I ran all driving assist disabled; when I relied on the game’s optional F1-for-dummies, all-assist mode, F1 2022 felt like a wonderful carnival trip.

Codemasters did not have much else to show for F1 2022 on SGF, but the drive was fun enough to excite me to play VR mode on my PC when it launches on June 28th.

Animal well gameplay trailer

Animal well

Platforms: PS5, PC
Scheduled release: Early in 2023
Links: Steam | PSN | Official site

At some point, the supersaturation of indie “seek-adventure” games (better known as “Metroidvanias”) must go its way, right? What can anyone else do to top the critically acclaimed? Cave Knight, Axiom Vergeand Cave history?

Although I’m not immediately convinced Animal well will surpass the other greats of the genre, my hour-long demo has me very, very fascinated. First, it has new, beautiful ideas for rendering pixel art, thanks to its sole designer, programmer and artist who builds the game’s engine from scratch – and condenses the entire package so far to a limit of 10 MB. The game’s light and physics models are some of the most impressive I’ve ever seen in a 16-bit aesthetic, and may even surpass the pixelated madness of chemical reaction. Noita.

In addition, this adventure has clever ideas for how you can skip combat completely. Animal well asks players to focus on difficult maneuvers, puzzle solving and discovering hidden paths while revealing the mysteries that hide its lack of dialogue. Instead of using weapons, your hero needs to get the most out of items like fireworks – which cast light effects on the 2D world while scaring potential enemies – and a handy gripping whip that can be thrown into cracks to grab otherwise immobile elements of the world .

Snappy controls and supernatural pixel-art design have made my demo experience Animal well memorable so far, and I look forward to the eventual release (currently linked to a vague “early 2023” window).