👑 Pickup! Tokyo Sandbox

2023年 4月 19日
Indie Tsushin 2023 April issueThis article was featured in our 2023 April issue. Check out more articles and interviews in the full issue.
Tokyo Sandbox

Last weekend, we went to the annual Tokyo Sandbox indie game event! It originally started in 2015 as Tokyo Indie Fest, and has steadily grown to be a huge event in Akihabara, featuring of course the indie games, but also live performances, contests, and more! If you are ever in Tokyo in the springtime, be sure to stop by Sandbox for a great day of games!

Here are fifteen of the titles that we checked out on the show floor! I wish we'd had time to look at even more, but with over eighty in total, there was just not nearly enough time. There was also some overlap with January's Tokyo Game Dungeon 2 and March's Tokyo Indie Games Summit, so be sure to check those out too if you haven't yet!

🚁 Athena Crisis by Christoph Nakazawa

What is it? A multiplayer turn-based strategy game in the vein of Advance Wars! Great pixel art and tons of units with different abilities to play around with. Play against up to six other players in asynchronous online battles, explore the story in the single-player campaign, and play around in the map and campaign editor.

Where can I play it? Athena Crisis is coming to iOS, Windows, macOS and Android later this year. Sign up for Early Access on the game's homepage and follow developer Christoph Nakazawa on Twitter for more information.

⚙️ BAAS (Battle Against the Acolytes of Science) by GuriiEcoGames

What is it? A side-scrolling action game that switches to vertical-scrolling shmup boss fights. I'm going to be honest... this one has completely stolen my heart. First of all, look at that title. You are battling against Chemistians (YES!!) in this steampunk-flavored story set in an alternate universe at the dawn of the Meiji Era. It's just, SO MUCH, and overflowing with charm.

Where can I play it? BAAS is currently in development. You can play the demo in your browser, and follow GuriiEcoGames on Twitter for more information.

🐦 ぶっとバード (Butto Bird) by LOCOBIT Inc.

What is it? A party game where you are a bird with a machine gun strapped to your back (?!) taking down up to three other players in chaotic aerial battles. Whittle down your opponents' health and when they are dazed, knock them out of the sky with a full-body tackle! Tons of fun and has a great sense of humor.

Where can I play it? ぶっとバード is coming soon to Steam and Nintendo Switch. Follow them on Twitter and visit the Locobit homepage for more information.

🏎️ Carsh by 大谷耕

What is it? A simple and silly game where you control a car with one analog stick and connect orbs a la Tsum Tsum with the other. If that sounds like total chaos to you, you are correct! Race against three other friends, drive around surreal obstacle courses, and pop those bubbles!

Where can I play it? Carsh is coming soon to PC. Visit the game's website and follow developer Ko Otani on Twitter for more information.

💡 Dim Tower by Caffeine Zombie

What is it? An action game where you work together with your shadow to solve puzzles and sort through the wreckage of the Dim Tower. Switching between your physical body and your shadow introduces some interesting puzzle mechanics, and the graphics are quite stylish with moody lighting.

Where can I play it? Dim Tower is coming soon to Steam. Follow Caffeine Zombie on Twitter for more information.

🌟 Elpis by kansekai lab

What is it? A gorgeous low-fi game where you play as a robot who wakes up in a dark void. Pick up stars scattered around the world and use them to light up mysterious pillars. Feels a lot like playing an interactive picture book, just very pleasant and says a lot through its atmospheric storytelling.

Where can I play it? Elpis is currently in development. Follow kansekai lab on Twitter for more information.

💌 From_. by 9thPlanet

What is it? A moody and atmospheric adventure game with a stark two-color palette and pixel art. In a world covered in water, you ferry letters back and forth between characters, listen to their stories, and learn more about the connections between them. Really emotional and meditative experience.

Where can I play it? You can get From_. on iOS and Android now, and on Steam in 2024. Visit 9thPlanet's homepage for more information.

❄️ ghostpia by Chosuido

What is it? A beautiful visual novel that looks more like a beloved grainy anime from the '90s. Sayako wakes in a snow-covered town filled with immortals who call themselves ghosts. The writing is surreal and dreamlike, with great music and a real cinematic flair. This expanded remake has updated graphics and more stories.

Where can I play it? You can play the original ghostpia on iOS and browser for free. The expanded version is coming to Nintendo Switch and Steam later this year. Visit the game's website and Chosuido homepage for more information.

🚢 Gift by Toydium and Million Edge

What is it? A puzzle-platformer that takes place on a luxury cruise ship that was hit by disaster and is rapidly sinking. The art style and especially character designs are quite charming, and it is very interesting how the game uses physics to simulate the swaying of the ship to affect the puzzles.

Where can I play it? Gift is coming soon to Steam. Visit the homepages of Million Edge and Toydium for more information.

📓 I am Yours by Eigotaku

What is it? Interactive fiction that exists as both a physical book and a PICO-8 game. Turn objects over in your hands and hold conversations with them, reflecting on the life you've led and the choices you've made, then put them away one by one. Being in conversation with the physical book in your hands and having a parallel experience with the objects in the digital game was very cool. A very meditative and quiet experience.

Where can I play it? You can find the Tokyo Sandbox demo of I am Yours on Eigotaku's itch page, as well as the open beta and accompanying book.

👻 Madorica Real Estate 2 -The mystery of the new property- by GIFT TEN INDUSTRY K.K.

What is it? A hybrid digital-analog escape room game! You are a real estate agent who needs to exorcise ghosts before you can sell your haunted properties. Print the floor maps and solve puzzles to help spirits move on. We loved this so much we got the physical pack of puzzles, but you can also download and print them from the website!

Where can I play it? You can get Madorica Real Estate 2 on Steam and Nintendo Switch now, and visit the game's website to download the printable PDFs.

🐀 Rat Cage by GosunSoft

What is it? A horror puzzle-platformer where you play as a rat who wandered into a dangerous and mysterious facility. Uses some interesting tricks with the camera perspective, and has great 3D modeling with dramatic lighting effects to make everything sinister and scary.

Where can I play it? Rat Cage is out now on Steam.

😱 Scared Little Ghost by Ben Sherratt

What is it? An adorable stealth game where you play a scaredy-cat ghost sneaking past teenagers looking to go viral with your ghostly photo. Amazing graphics and lighting effects, controls great, and has open-ended level design allowing for creative solutions. It's frankly mindblowing what Ben Sherratt managed to fit in a PICO-8 cart.

Where can I play it? Scared Little Ghost is coming out later this year. Sign up for newsletter updates on the game's website for more information.

😺 Suzu and Mari's Adventure 2 ~lost colors and golden bells~ by しあわせの国

What is it? A puzzle-platformer where you are play a kitty ghost who can possess objects and creatures to help you get through the levels. Very simple and sweet art mixed with some interesting puzzle mechanics as you progress.

Where can I play it? Suzu and Mari's Adventure 2 is out now on Steam and Booth.

⚡ Thunder of the DemonKing by teamHoliday

Thunder of the DemonKing

What is it? A super cute horde defense game. You play the titular Demon King under siege, and face down endless waves of knights and soldiers. Use your lightning bolts to blow them away before they can take you down!

Where can I play it? Thunder of the DemonKing is currently under development, but the original Unity1Week version Demon's Holiday is still available to play in your browser. Follow developer teamHoliday on Twitter for more information.