As usual, the mobile gaming part of the Tokyo Game Show was scattered all over the massive Makuhari Messe exhibition center. The big companies of course had their own booths, where they were showing off some of their mobile offerings alongside their titles for other platforms. Smaller mobile developers were everywhere, however. Some were grouped and set up near the busier areas of the floor thanks to local publishers, while the bulk were once again found in the Indie Corner in Hall 9. In addition to the returning Merchandise Corner and Virtual Reality Corner, Hall 9 was also host to a new face at the Tokyo Game Show: eSports. This helped attract even more traffic to the Indie Corner. I’ve already covered some of the games found there, but I want to mention a few others that I saw that are worth a mention.
I feel like I see this game at every Tokyo Game Show, but Betram Fiddle was once again on display this year. Naturally, they were showing off the somewhat recently-released Episode 2. Not exactly new to me or likely to many of you, but it’s always good to see a familiar face in an unexpected place. Bertram Fiddle is a really great game, and I hope its frequent appearances at the Tokyo Game Show mean that it’s finding a nice audience around the world.
One game I really had some fun with turned out to also be already released, albeit just the day before. Muchaburi Hime wa Hatarakanai (loose translation: Ordered by an Unreasonable Princess) has you running around in an overhead stage trying to gather up people by touching them. There are hazards at play, however, and any hits you take will peel off some of your followers. When you reach the end of the stage, you’ll be given a grade based on your performance. Depending on what grade you get, the Princess’s dialogue will change in the cut-scene that follows. It’s not exactly a high-level production or anything, but it’s unusual, cute, and a little funny. Hopefully it gets an English translation at some point.
Wonderland Kazakiri, the developer behind BlockQuest and Dungeon of Gravestone, was showing off their latest mobile effort: Block Quest Maker. It’s kind of a follow-up to the earlier BlockQuest game, this time with an emphasis on creating and sharing your own levels. I didn’t get a chance to play around with this one much, but it certainly looked like a fun enough thing to mess with. Not far from Wonderland’s stand was a promising-looking TRPG called Zold:out. It looks great, but I’ve come to expect that most of the interesting indie TRPGs I see at the Tokyo Game Show either never come out or only release in Japan, so it’s hard to get too hyped. This one is due in early 2018.
Away from the Indie Corner was, well, another little corner filled with indies. These ones were mostly familiar faces, however. Firi Games was there showing off Phoenix 2, The Gentlebros were there with Cat Quest, and Paladin had their brand-new Stormbound on display. These are all really good games that will hopefully find strong audiences in the Japanese market. There were certainly plenty of people crowding around trying to play these games, if nothing else.
The interesting thing about this year’s Tokyo Game Show was just how much the Nintendo Switch seemed to have taken over the Indie Corner. Compared to last year, there were very few VR games on display from indie developers, but Switch games represented more than half of what was on offer in that corner of the show. It’s clearly the hot new thing, and I hope the sheer number of titles on the way will find support from Switch owners around the world. As I was only at the show to cover mobile games, I was quite envious of how cool some of those Switch games looked.
Still, even with the indie buzz moving to other platforms, mobile gaming maintains an important and healthy presence among indie developers at Tokyo Game Show. There seems to be no shortage of plucky developers that are still willing to try their hand at the ol’ meat grinder that is the App Store, and while that may or may not work out for them, it’s at least a win for the players.