First Look: LudoNarraCon

LudoNarraCon is a global, digital convention celebrating narrative video games, the talented people who make them, and the fans who love them, hosted on Steam. I had the honor of getting early access to the event and all of the featured games, and I am sharing what I think you should check out for yourself!

I was provided a press pass for the event, which included free demos and full games provided by the developers as well as early access.

LudoNarraCon is a digital convention celebrating narrative video games, hosted on Steam. An initiative of indie label Fellow Traveller, it aims to create a platform to showcase and celebrate interesting and innovative narrative games, replicating as many of the aspects and benefits of the physical convention experience as possible within a digital format.

The event is completely free and runs April 23-26, so you can explore all of the things I’ll be talking about on your own starting today! There are over 40 exhibitors and each game’s store page will be like a virtual game booth, where the developers will host different livestreams and demos will be available to play during the event. And there are also speakers, including developers of games like Hades, Control, Outer World, and Coffee Talk.

Something really cool that Fellow Traveler put together for the event is the LudoNarraCon Supporter Pack, a Steam bundle of games which includes the exclusive for LudoNarraCon 2021 game Cyrano, developed by Popcannibal. The revenue generated by the Supporter Pack will be used to continue to grow LudoNarraCon and also fund new initiatives that support indie narrative games, so it is a worthy purchase if you love indie narrative gaming! It is only available for a limited time, so don’t miss out on getting this bundle.

Now let’s get into the games! I have two groupings of games I’ll be talking about: ones I am excited for and ones I have already played! I’ll start with the latter.

Games I Have Already Played

Spiritfarer

Spiritfarer® is a cozy management game about dying. As ferrymaster to the deceased, build a boat to explore the world, care for your spirit friends, and guide them across mystical seas to finally release them into the afterlife. What will you leave behind? I’ve written a full review of Spiritfarer so you can see my thoughts there.

Later Daters

Welcome to Ye OLDE! Your new retirement paradise. Date as an octogenarian and find somebody to love, or just get your kicks in while the getting is good. Remember, if the chairs are rockin’, don’t come a-knockin. I wrote a first look for this game’s first part that you can read.

Paradise Killer

Paradise Island, a world outside reality. There’s been a murder that only “investigation freak” Lady Love Dies can solve. Gather evidence and interrogate suspects in this open world adventure. You can accuse anyone, but you’ll have to prove your case in trial to convict. It’s up to you to decide who’s guilty. I wrote a first look of this game you can check out for my thoughts.

Games I’m Excited For

Wayward Strand

Wayward Strand is a heartfelt interactive story, told in a unique and curious way. Play as Casey Beaumaris – intrepid teenage journalist – as she visits an airborne hospital for the first time. Uncover the airship’s mysteries, and explore the lives of its inhabitants. This game has a predominantly female team behind it and I instantly put it on my list for that.

Forgotten Fields

Go on a nostalgic road trip in Forgotten Fields – a game about a struggling author who travels back to his childhood home one last time before it’s sold off. Visit old friends, relive memories, and experience bursts of inspiration in this warm game about the passage of time. This game overall sounds quaint and pleasant which I find very appealing.

Beacon Pines

Beacon Pines is a cute and creepy adventure game within a magical storybook. You play as both the reader of the book and its main character, Luka. Explore the town to find word charms. Use your charms to change the course of fate! Every bit of this game sounds appealing from the cute and creepy atmosphere to the multiple viewpoints.

A Space For The Unbound

A slice-of-life adventure game with beautiful pixelart set in the late 90s rural Indonesia that tells a story about overcoming anxiety, depression, and the relationship between a boy and a girl with supernatural powers. The mental health story set in Indonesia is what makes me interested in this game specifically.

Ambition: A Minuet In Power

18th century Paris – a city of love, lies and revolution. You are a woman of fashion trying to survive the political turmoil. Date a cast of unforgettable characters. Amass the wealth and respect you deserve. Engage in gossip that can alter the course of history, or lead you to the guillotine. I am a fan of visual novels and dating sims, so this one sounds like a lot of ridiculous fun.

Chicory: A Colorful Tale

You’re a dog wielding a magic brush! Use painting powers to explore, solve puzzles and make friends in this top-down adventure game. From creators on Wandersong and Celeste. I remember seeing this on a Nintendo Indie Direct and thought it looked interesting. And being from the creators of two incredibly games, it made it’s way to my list.

Cozy Grove

Welcome to Cozy Grove, a game about camping on a haunted, ever-changing island. As a Spirit Scout, you’ll wander the island’s forest each day, finding new hidden secrets and helping soothe the local ghosts. With a little time and a lot of crafting, you’ll bring color and joy back to Cozy Grove! This game seems like the perfect mix of spooky and wholesome and that makes me want to play.

Genesis Noir

A noir adventure spanning time and space. When a love triangle between cosmic beings becomes a bitter confrontation, you’ll witness a gunshot fired by a jealous god—otherwise known as The Big Bang. Jump into the expanding universe and search for a way to destroy creation and save your love. I have had an eye on this game for a while actually so seeing it part of this event just solidified I need to finally check it out.

No Longer Home

No Longer Home is a game about letting go of the life you’ve built due to circumstances beyond your control. Immerse yourself in the lives of Bo and Ao and learn about their dreams, frustrations and fears. Welcome the magic of the everyday and somewhat extraordinary. The concept of letting go of the life you’ve built due to circumstances beyond your control is what makes me interested in the game. Because we will all likely face situations like that, so I’m curious as to how that is portrayed in the game.

Teacup

Teacup is a wholesome narrative adventure game with a focus on exploration and non-linear progression. Help a small and shy frog on her journey to find the ingredients she needs for her tea party! This game screams completely wholesome and that is why I added it to my list. We could all use more wholesomeness in our lives.

Umurangi Generation

Umurangi Generation is a first person photography game in the shitty future. Set in Tauranga Aotearoa off the back of an impending crisis you are a courier for the Tauranga Express. Throughout the game you will unlock a variety of lenses and equipment. Photography is what sucked me into checking this game out, since I am both a fan of the medium and a photographer myself.

Unpacking

Unpacking is a zen puzzle game about the familiar experience of pulling possessions out of boxes and fitting them into a new home. Part “item Tetris”, part home decoration, you are invited to create a satisfying living space while learning clues about the life you’re unpacking. I enjoy relaxing puzzle games, and the item Tetris concept really makes this game feel unique and special.

What Comes After

What Comes After is a side-scrolling adventure and a short heartwarming story about learning how to love yourself. Help Vivi in her journey on the train to the afterlife and back. The combination of a self-love story and exploration of afterlife is what caught my attention the most and why I’ve added it to my list.

And there are so many more games to check out! It will take me all weekend to get through just my list honestly.

Overall, LudoNarraCon has so many wonderful things happening this weekend and some great games being featured. If you enjoy narrative games, you have to check out LudoNarraCon!

Any of the games I shared catch your eye? Tell me which ones in a comment!


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