WASD – What A Satisfying Day And Other Made Up Acronyms

Did you miss the WASD Live 2024 event? Maybe you were there and forgot what you saw. Here's my round-up of some the best titles you should check out.

I just got back from WASD Live 2024 and loved it. Writing from my gaming hut in solitude is a joy, but meeting like-minded folk and seeing what they have to offer the world of gaming was thoroughly enjoyable and well worth it.

Usually, I’ll make a round-up during each Steam Next Fest, so I decided to go with that format with some of the games on offer. Here’s a selection based on my tastes and whatnot. 

The first port of call was Rhythm Towers by Innoloop. I think it’s fair to say I’m a fanboy of this rhythm game meets tower defence. There aren’t enough superlatives to fit into this article, so I’ll encourage you to wishlist it and keep tabs on its development!

Neonhive was present with a wealth of excellent titles—two of which I was completely clueless about. Harvest Hunt won’t be mentioned here, though you can expect a review upon release. Until then, my lips are sealed. The first game that stumped me was Slopecrashers. It was inferred that it was better than Mario Kart, so that’s already a start. Is it better? It’s a little early to say, but byteparrot’s game is a lot of fun. 

Slopecrashers
Source: Steam

First impressions were almost immediate: SSX Tricky. Few titles have nailed the game’s tempo and remained fun, yet Slopecrashers did. I’m gutted that I was horrendous at the game and came last on my first attempt. There’s a demo currently on Steam, so I just downloaded it, and a write-up will follow.

Fruitbus also caught me off guard. I blame it on my preparation for WASD, but rather my lack of preparation. A wholesome cooking game from Krillbite Studio (Mosaic), you get to fix up an old camper van, then take your meals on wheels to serve the charming public. Watch this space – there’ll be more info on this one as and when details are released.

Die By The Blade demo - Bloody hell
Bloody hell. Source: Steam

Die By The Blade is one of my most anticipated games this year, and seeing as it’s coming out on the 16th of May, I could have done a cartwheel at the event. Well, I knew that already, and I can’t do cartwheels, though I did speak to the CEO of Grindstone. When soap-dodging hairy content creators shout across the floor, “I know this – this is Bushido Blade. I didn’t like it, ” I see the challenges they face when finding who to market this to.

There’s nothing like Die By The Blade – other than Bushido Blade – however, I’m biased and know we need this game. Don’t button mash and roll at your opponent from the get-go: feel the wind, stare your opponent down, and then punish them for their haste in one move. This game is brill, and you need to add this to your list – as with the team’s other titles: PreserveThe House of Tesla, and one that I hope to play, Hordes of Hel.

ESDigital Games has been busy, and I hear more about them than I do about what was said in the bingo hall at my mum’s community centre. It makes sense that they’re sending out all these press updates: AWAKEN – Astral BladeBattlejuice Alchemist, and Sky of Tides… a great variety of games, and they really do pop. The latter will also be getting some exclusive content to accompany the narrative, so look out for some info on this.

BattleJuice Alchemist Early Access
Source: PR

WASD isn’t all about the big names and showboating, despite Devolver Digital being that cool uncle, what with photo shoots, merch and Anger Foot and Cult of Lamb mascots wandering around. There are tons of indies just starting out, such as Noisy Neighbor and Birdy’s Island. Speaking with the developer, I asked whether they’ve done any press as there’s something familiar about the game. WASD was the first unveiling, and after a moment, I surmised that I just needed to play a bird that poos on people.

It’s not just that, but this open-world game enters the wholesome mix, giving nods to Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Studio Ghibli. It was an adorable-looking game, and watching my little girl play it was uplifting, too.

InkForge Studios was also at the event with I’ll Be Brave, Tomorrow. Now, I didn’t get to play this, but I was advised there was a demo (also downloaded, so expect a preview), and it has to be said, it’s another wholesome game with feel-good moments and plenty of variety. As I have the demo calling out to me, I’ll write more about this when I’m done.

I finally got to play Alien Hominid Invasion and felt like I had a lobotomy. Besides getting mildly frustrated with my daughter taking an age to choose her settings, we were up close to the TV with a booming soundbar and absolute carnage on screen. What were we supposed to do? What character am I? Why is my daughter piggybacking on me while I do all the hard work? Confused I may have been, I loved it! The Behemoth kindly provided me with a review code, so look out for a review.

Conscript Preview
Source: Steam

It’s great to watch a game progress – not necessarily from concept to production, but how dedicated developers get their projects out into the wild. Catchweight Studio’s CONSCRIPT is one of the games I’m excited about most, and it’s been around four or five years since I heard about it. This WWI survival horror game is terrifying – not just because of trench warfare, but the other… stuff… that happens. I was chuffed to meet the solo dev behind it, Jordan, and even more pleased that the publisher is Team17. Anyone who’s read at least a few of my articles will know I’ve loved them for 30 years, and it was brilliant to finally meet them. Do add this to your wishlist as well!

Tiny Terry’s Turbo Trip was one of my favourite demos of late, and I seriously can’t wait to play this when it comes out. It was occupied the whole time we were there, but we could try our Super Rare Games’ Grapple Dogs. Man, this is so satisfying. While chinwagging with the publishers, I watched my daughter smash through it and could see this was one I could get stuck into. I had a quick go, and the mechanics were fantastic. I’m hoping to cover this, so more info soon.

WASD Live 2024 - Rhythm
Who says I ain’t got rhythm? Source: Me

Sleepytime Village is a point and click adventure from Lightfoot Bros. Games that looked great. I had intended to play it but was more of a voyeur on this occasion. Fortunately, there’s a playable demo on Steam, so I also downloaded this and will be writing a preview in due course!

Dead Meat sounds absolutely fantastic. This noir detective title involves a lot of witchcraft, but it’s good witchcraft—if it exists. I chatted with Tom from Meaning Machine, and I’m super excited to see where they’ll take us in this unique narrative-driven deduction title.

Crow Country is the upcoming survival horror from SFB Games – the team behind SnipperclipsTangle Tower and The Mermaid Mask. Speaking with Adam was inspiring – how he was playing a fair amount of indie horrors during lockdown and wanted to make something different. This is not a gimmicky PS One-inspired title – it’s so much more than that. I mean, the real-time lighting makes the PS One environment seem like it was devised using a biscuit tin and bag of frozen peas. Look out for a review in the next couple of weeks – I am super stoked about this.

WASD Live 2024 - Playdate
We went to Mars to get this. Source: Me

There were plenty of other games I was keen to play, but they typically had quite a few playing, and the devs/publishers were also preoccupied. One such game was Bootleg Steamer, which I think I will just go ahead and buy and play later as it looks fantastic. Paper Trail looked good – it reminds me of A Fold Apart, as did OutRage: Fight Fest. There was scope to play it, but in front of a crowd…? I’ll try the demo. I even got to see a Playdate for the first time with the London Games Festival Official Selection and finally saw Mars To Midnight, though I can’t justify the cost of the device still…

WASD Live 2024 - Bootleg image
A prohibited image. Source: Me

I’m sure I’ve missed something, but I will no doubt cover it at some point. If you’re on the fence about going to something like WASD in 2025, don’t hesitate to go for it. I aim to go next year, too.