Written by Renkon
This article was featured in our 2023 August issue. Check out more articles and interviews in the full issue.
July 30th was the third Tokyo Game Dungeon in Hamamatsucho, Tokyo! Like previous Dungeons, applications were open to any creator on a first-come, first-served basis, so there was quite a bit of variety that you don't really get to see at other events. TGD3 had more booths and more attendees than any previous Dungeons, and it was so heart-warming to see so many people celebrating Japanese indie and doujin games!
We had a hard time choosing only twenty games for this article. There were honestly too many games for us to see, and because there were so many people this time around, it was hard for us to play them in-person while also running our booth. Luckily, many of these games are either available to play now, or have public demos. We streamed a few of them earlier this week, and plan to play even more demos and games over the next few days. If we missed any games this time around, we'll also be stopping by the inaugural Yokohama Game Dungeon spin-off later this month!
And without any further ado, here are twenty games that we thought looked pretty cool from Tokyo Game Dungeon 3!
What is it? A romantic-comedy visual novel about the lives and relationships of a bunch of 陰キャ (asocial/awkward) nerds! Can you become the otaku princess of this club and go on some fun dates? Super charming characters and setting with a lot of heart put into the designs!
🔊 BLIND by yudaigames
What is it? A horror adventure game set in a pitch-dark hospital where the only thing you can "see" are manga-style sound effects popping up around the screen. Something terrible has happened, and you have no idea what's going on. It looks very stylish and creepy, and a cool way of storytelling!
Where can I play it? BLIND is currently in development. Please check the game's website for more information.
What is it? A super cute horror adventure game where you play a newly-dead zombie searching for their brains! On the way, you meet colorful characters like Jack the brains-eating pumpkin, solve puzzles for yokai and other monsters, and travel through cool areas like Nezumi Yokocho! The art is stunning and the setting is just adorable. Can you find all the extra endings?
Where can I play it? Brain Journey is still in development, but you can play the demo in your browser.
🔩 CALAMITY CREATURES by 影老院
What is it? A 2D action puzzle game where you carefully rappel up titanic machines, pick off bolts and shoot at power sources, then reach the core to take them down once and for all. The sheer size and scale of these behemoths is incredible, and the puzzle-platforming designs are interesting and fun.
Where can I play it? CALAMITY CREATURES is currently in Early Access and free to download on Steam!
⚔️ DeDe by WEAKEND
What is it? A classic garakei (flip-phone) RPG that has been remade for smartphones! Play it in portrait mode for the traditional garakei experience, or turn your phone to the side to play the new voxel version made for smartphones. If you missed out on the era of garakei games, this looks to capture some of that experience on modern hardware!
Where can I play it? DeDe is free to play on Android and iOS.
What is it? A cute horror adventure game where you are trapped in a mysterious school filled with living dolls. It's in the same setting as their previous game, トイボックスの夢の中で (Inside the Toybox Dream) and share the same dazzling sprite art and strange world.
Where can I play it? Dollhouse School is still in development, but you can download the demo on booth.
What is it? A cute weapon shop management sim and dungeon-crawling hybrid! Fight monsters and get their treasure, use alchemy to transform them into weapons and other goods, and then sell your products to other adventurers! Cute game with a simple premise and fun combat.
Where can I play it? Emma's Armaments is out now on Steam!
What is it? A puzzle-platformer with a cool gravity-switching mechanic to send you flying all over the open levels! There is also a wide variety of abilities and characters to play with. The sprite art and music is retro and charming, and there are plenty of cute winks and nods to classic platformers.
What is it? A digital version of 紙相撲 (kamizumo, paper sumo) that schoolkids play. In this game, instead of banging on the table to move your characters around, you simply are the paper sumo gals duking it out! The art and premise is super charming, and I can never resist a good sumo game!
Where can I play it? Gal Sumo is still in development and is planned to release on Steam, iOS, and Android. Check the game's website for further updates.
What is it? An omnidirectional twin-stick shooting game with retro graphics and music! Clear out the enemy's bases and units with your chopper, then take down huge bosses. It is so satisfying to clean the screen of enemies, and the controls feel great.
🚂 北海道4,500km (Hokkaido 4,500km) by てんぽく
What is it? A train lover's vacation simulator of traveling around Hokkaido in 1967! Enjoy the sights of the period, plan your routes using train and bus schedules, collect stamps and other goodies, and do everything you can for the best trip of your life! The game also comes with a supplementary book that includes the Hokkaido train schedules from 1967, so it's like having a piece of history!
🏭 漢字インダストリー (Kanji Industry) by TsuneStudio
What is it? A factory-management sim where you "construct" different kanji characters to fill orders, ship them out to customers, and make money! Who is buying kanji characters? Who knows! It's a really cool premise that helps out people like me who can never remember how to write kanji!
Where can I play it? Kanji Industry is slated to release sometime this year on Steam. You can download and play the demo now!
What is it? A surreal adventure game with striking visuals and an unsettling story. The character designs and scenery immediately stand out with its collage-like art set against a black void. I cannot wait to see more about this game in the near future!
Where can I play it? Know is set to release on Steam sometime in 2023-2024. Check the game's website for further updates.
What is it? A Metroidvania set in a world of fungus and mushrooms! This was originally an entry in the itch Metroidvania Month 19 game jam. The pixel art looks very cool, especially the big moldy bosses and huge mushroom platforms.
What is it? An old-school command-input adventure game for the Sharp MZ-700! You are a robot who is trying to escape from the maze-like laboratory. Talk with people to learn new words and commands, then use them to find a way out! Super charming and obviously made with a lot of love for retro games!
👾 さよならナイト・キャップ (Sayonara Nightcap) by PIGORIS
What is it? A visual novel where you wake up with no memory inside of a strange arcade. A mysterious girl helps you to explore and escape this world that is closed-off from reality. The lo-fi music and neon-lit world makes me want to explore this game even more.
Where can I play it? Sayonara Nightcap is in development. Check the Steam page for further updates.
What is it? A digital version of the board game Reversi, except instead of placing down round tiles on a grid, you instead place different-sized squares freely around the board to capture your opponent's pieces! The UI is stylish and the concept is amazing fun.
Where can I play it? You can play the Square Reversi demo in your browser at Unity Room!
🌠 星つなぎのフォトン (Star-Crossed Photon) by hanedaSK.Games
What is it? A chill shooting game where you protect your planet from meteors, then use the materials from those meteors to revive and care for your planet. It looks very simple and sweet with some real cozy Animal Crossing vibes.
Where can I play it? Star-Crossed Photon is not out yet, but is planned to release later this year on Android and iOS. Check the game's website for further updates.
What is it? An intense 2D run-and-gun action game set in a surreal mechanical world. The world and enemy designs are pretty out there, and the combat is fast and comfortable. Horousa's artwork is always distinctive and strange, and it looks great here.
Where can I play it? wanderdawn is currently in development. You can download the demo on booth!
🚀 ズーミーの下剋上 (Zoomy's Coup D'état) by えりてぃ
What is it? A puzzle game where you drill straight through planets to collect power-ups, launch yourself towards other planets and break through their barriers, and clear missions to advance to the next area. The limited color palette looks great, and the puzzles are fun to play around with and explore. Also shout-outs to the music for being extremely catchy!
Where can I play it? Zoomy's Coup D'état is currently in development. Check the Twitter of developer えりてぃ for further updates.