Usually, for this column, I’ll spend time combing through various hashtags on Twitter to see what’s going on. This week, I was delighted to follow a steady stream of released and up-and-coming games for #PitchYaGame, an awards show and hashtag for indie developers where people show off their games. In some cases, I was delighted to see WIPs covered in previous columns. But it also opened a world of under-the-radar work from developers who haven’t posted as regularly.
We have newly uncovered gems and more in Cool WIP, Polygon’s weekly roundup of eye-catching clips, and screenshots of works in progress. Each week, the Polygon staff scours the internet for the most interesting games still under construction, to give you a sampler of the coolest up-and-coming projects.
This week we have a stunning sci-fi game with incredible attack animations, a beautiful open-world game where you help a panda find peace, a horror game inspired by ’80s monster movies, an elegant rhythm game, and an RPG inspired by anime in the ’90s.
You won’t believe this was made by one person
Felix Schade is the developer and creator of Morbid Metal, which they describe as a sci-fi action roguelite where you shapeshift to rack up sick combos. A clip shared by Schade shows the game in action as a character zips from one enemy to the next, while unleashing a chain of shimmering attacks fit for the flashiest of JRPGs. Morbid Metal doesn’t have a release date yet but you can catch frequent updates on Schade’s Twitter account.
A very wobbly, but very determined warrior panda
According to the developer, Namra, Aka is a game about helping an ex-warrior panda find their inner peace. From what we can see in a clip shared on Twitter, the game boasts paint-style graphics as well as the ability to curl up and take a nap in spots — including on a giant capybara. The game has a release window of 2022 and you can catch updates on the developer’s Twitter account.
Watch out for this parasite
This top-down twin-stick shooter called Demon Spore looks like it’ll have you running for your life. A clip posted by developer Ed Kay shows the flesh-like monster as it oozes from the center of a lab and makes its way across the entire room. According to Kay, the game was inspired by ’80s monster movies. There’s no release window yet, but as usual, you can follow the developer for updates.
This rhythm game makes assembling furniture look fun
Please play this video with your sound on; the music that goes with the rhythm game is oh, so cute. The game, called Bits & Bops, is described as a collection of rhythm minigames. A clip of a minigame where you hammer in nails features a bright and cheery track, reminiscent of a song from a Nintendo game. As the screen scrolls along, you’ll keep to the beat and hammer in nails. Bits & Bops doesn’t have a release date, but you can keep up to date with the studio’s Twitter account.
Bits & Bops is a collection of original rhythm mini-games, featuring:
⚡ Snappy gameplay!
✨ Gorgeous 2D animation!
— Tempo Lab Games (@TempoLabGames) November 2, 2021
This game looks straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon segment
Wander Stars is an RPG inspired by ’90s anime. The hook is that you can tack various adjectives together to design your own attacks. A clip from developer Paper Castle Games shows a fighter doing an “amazing water punch” to attack an enemy. The release date for the game isn’t announced, but you’ll be able to follow the team on their Twitter account.