Throughout the pandemic, we’re seeing more people turn into gamers be it through board games, mobile games, or even video games, which is no surprise.
Some of the more popular games that I’m always seeing from friends’ postings are Overcooked, Valorant, Genshin Impact, etc. And of course, the infamous Among Us that was viral last year.
But all these weren’t locally-made, even though we’ve noticed more local ones popping up during the pandemic. So in this article, we’d like to highlight some Malaysian games launched during the pandemic that may have been overlooked in the shadow of more popular, global ones.
Horror enthusiasts would probably enjoy this one. The game is the first of an anthology and it features 3 kids living in a low-cost Malaysian apartment block, with the animation illustrated in an interesting paper cutout style.
The game takes place during the Hungry Ghost month, and it’s a decision-based game with conversations and a storyline centred around getting a mysterious, new neighbour kid to play with you. As you play, you’re bound to find scenes and interactions which feel extremely familiar, and without a doubt, the developers have definitely captured the authenticity of the lifestyles shown.
7PM also won the Grand Jury Award at Level Up KL SEA Games Awards last year.
Developer: Cellar Vault
Release Date: September 2, 2020
How can you play: PC
7PM is available for purchase here on Steam.
We know we’re starting off with lots of horror, but trust us when we say it’s not the only genre on this list. Known for their horror game concept of uncovering phones belonging to missing persons, Kaigan Games has released yet another game where you’ll have to uncover hidden clues and solve cryptic puzzles on a lost phone that’s about to self-destruct.
You’ll be working with an ex-scientist to search through messages, emails, videos, photographs, etc. to solve the puzzles. This game certainly seems more catered towards the huge, global fandom of the Doctor Who series, and it actually takes place simultaneously with the ongoing BBC series.
Kaigan Games is known for previous releases like Sara Is Missing and Simulacra, which was previously nominated for Best User Experience in the Webby Awards in 2019 as well as the 14th International Mobile Gaming Awards.
Developer: Kaigan Games
Release Date: January 31, 2020
How you can play: Mobile, PC, PS4, Xbox, or Switch
Simulacra 2 is available for purchase here.
Musicians, you’re in for a ride with this game. No Straight Roads is an action-adventure whereby the main characters, Mayday and Zuke, have to take over a corrupt EDM empire, Vinyl City, with rock music.
Price: RM77.99 for PC, and US$39.99 for PS4, Xbox, and Switch (RM165.56)
Release Date: August 25, 2020
How you can play: PC, PS4, Xbox, and Switch
This game’s for co-op enthusiasts. The pandemic’s baking mania wasn’t confined to just IRL, but it’s simulated in this game too, albeit in a less straightforward way. Instead of baking bread normally, you’d have to pick up walking dough characters, toss them into one another until they become a big piece of dough, and launch them into an oven.
Oh, and did we mention, there are slimy enemies who will try to corrupt your dough and hurt you? So you’ll be faced with multiple obstacles as you try to bake too.
Bake ‘n Switch can be played with cooperation by up to 4 people, but you can also play PvP to emerge as the top baker. Otherwise, you can always opt for the standard single-player mode.
Developer: Streamline Games
Release Date: August 21, 2020
How you can play: PC and Switch
Bake ‘n Switch is available for purchase here.
5. Postknight 2
It seems like this pandemic is breeding more sequels for beloved local games, and Postknight is no exception. For those who aren’t familiar, Postknight is an RPG fantasy game where you deliver packages like letters or even smelly socks but will be faced with challenges like wolves charging at you.
The current world, Prism, is set 7 years later after the events from the first Postknight, so you don’t really need to play the former before you play the sequel. As the game is still in its development, you may experience some bugs while playing, such as UI sizing issues, loading screens getting stuck, etc.
Release Date: March 23, 2021 (early access)
How you can play: Mobile
Postknight 2 can be downloaded here.
A company launched in 2018, Forust Studio will be releasing their first-ever in-house game known as The Company Man. It’s a 2D action-adventure game where you hit your annoying coworkers with a keyboard and defeat your evil bosses with emails to pave your way as CEO.
The team took inspiration from the popular American sitcom “The Office”, and from their own experiences of working in the corporate world (farting coworkers are just one example). And almost like in the real world, coffee in the game has healing properties.
Developer: Forust Studio
Release Date: May 28, 2021
How you can play: PC
The Company Man is available here on Steam.
Fires At Midnight is about uncovering the story of a relationship (possibly a toxic one) between a photographer and his live-in girlfriend set in 1999. How you’ll do this is by solving puzzles, playing games, looking through their stuff like photos and their phones, and more.
One thing to note though is that this game includes mature content which may be triggering for some, such as sexual imagery, alcohol, drug use, sexual assault triggers, and even suicide. For many reviewers, the storytelling capabilities of this game were what truly made it memorable.
Developer: Persona Theory Games
Release Date: July 9, 2020
How you can play: PC
Fires At Midnight is available to purchase here.
The game follows Kiara, the main character who’s able to manipulate flora and fauna to help her through her journey. For instance, you can quicken the aging process of a plant or animal to help you get through a tall obstacle or wreck a wall. The setup of the game may remind you a lot of classic old Bounce, including its pixelated design.
However unlike Bounce, Ageless is about Kiara who’s on a journey of self-discovery and finding her place in that world amidst her struggles with anxiety and depression.
Developer: One More Dream Studio
Release Date: July 28, 2020
How you can play: PC and Switch
Ageless is available for purchase here.
What to look forward to:
Though yet to be officially released, GigaBash has already won themselves a handful of awards and nominations from SEA Game Awards and more.
GigaBash features an arena brawler of giant monsters and heroes fighting in cities and other parts of the world. You can opt to compete with 3 other friends in a game or fight other opponents online.
Passion Republic has also previously worked with other big name studios for the games Mortal Kombat X, Uncharted 4, Dark Souls 3, Gears of War and Batman: Arkham Knight.
Developer: Passion Republic Games
Release Date: Hasn’t released yet, but is expected to come out sometime in 2021
How you can play: PC and PS4
Another game set in the past, Zombie Soup is a top-down shooter game that takes place in the 80s, following the main character, Ricky, a young college freshman.
In the game, you’ll be walking into different places and rooms of a small town filled with townspeople that turned into zombies. And as they come for you, you’ll have to shoot them all, including the bosses. The game also includes a story mode where you’ll get to find out who’s behind the zombie outbreak.
Developer: AeonSparx Interactive
Release Date: Expected to launch sometime in 2021
How you can play: PC
Zombie Soup is available to be added to your wishlist here on Steam.
From this list, it’s clear that there is diversity in the type of games local developers are putting out in terms of concept, design, gameplay, etc., and it’s also heartwarming to learn that our local games have enough demand for some to come up with sequels.
If you’ve been getting bored of playing the same popular games for the past year, it’s worth giving the ones on this list a try. There’s no better time to support local, after all, and you can get enjoyment out of it to boot.
- You can read more game-related articles we’ve written here.
- You can read more listicles we’ve written here.
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Featured Image Credit: No Straight Roads / The Company Man / Bake ‘n Switch