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  • Marielle Bokor

8 Games You Should Wishlist from LudoNarraCon 2023

There’s the gaming world you know and the gaming world you don’t. Even if you don’t classify yourself as a “gamer,” simply put, you probably are. Whether it’s quick mobile games, the New York Times crossword, or a long dormant love of Tetris reawakened by Hollywood’s new interest in the game, play has touched your life. Play is essential for people of all ages - it’s good for your brain and expands your horizons.

Even if you do have a love for video games and spend a lot of time with them like we do, there’s so much more to discover. Video games aren’t just one thing, just like film isn’t all noir and music isn’t all jazz – they’re a myriad of different things – and there’s room for even more. That’s what we love about attending LudoNarraCon every year.

While this virtual convention is a celebration of narrative driven games, you’ll find that narrative games come in a lot of different varieties, from platformers and survival horror to shooters, puzzle games and even rhythm games. This year, devs from all over the world came together to showcase their amazing creations. There were 43 games on exhibit, some available for the first time, some previously unavailable digitally and some returning favorites, with 35+ demos to work our way through, and though we encourage you to explore them all, there’s a few we wanted to share as our top picks. Enjoy!


We’ll start things off spooky with Cryptmaster. This is a dungeon adventure unlike any other you’ve likely embarked on, whether it be tabletop rpging or with a mouse and keyboard. It mixes up elements of an old school text-based adventure with a typing game and a traditional adventure game and throws in some heavy Cryptkeeper/Goosebumps 90s irreverence to create a really unique, charming game that’s both interesting and silly. You’ve died, and are now subject to the Cryptmaster’s whims.

In this world though, words control everything, so you’ll need to choose them carefully. As you adventure from one room to another in typical dungeon style, you’ll need to type to the Cryptmaster (or speak to him using a mic, if you prefer) to tell him what to do. In Cryptmaster, you can type or speak any word you can think of, and as you do, you’ll unlock things like companions, chests, powers, and gear.

Combat is also done by typing, and any time you type something successful, you get closer to unlocking other mysteries by gaining letters from your victories. It’s a truly interesting technique and its implementation continues to evolve through the gameplay. Add to that an intriguing world and just enough lack of detail to how you ended up here and we think it’s worth diving into. It has a planned release for 2024 and we’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Death Trick Double Blind

Death Trick: Double Blind is a detective game with a few unexpected twists. When a circus’ star magician vanishes and the loss of this marquee act threatens to close the show altogether, an unlikely duo of magician and detective pair up to make sure the show does go on and the mystery is solved. We really loved the interplay of the magician and detective’s storylines, and the different ways that they interacted with the characters and environment they were placed in, and while not actually a point and click adventure, a few of the game’s mechanics reminded us of some of our favorites. You can question people, examine items, and contradict theories that you or others have about the disappearance, and some of those mechanics work together to almost make the game seem like point and click adventures of yore. In the short time we had with this game we were compelled to find out more, and we’ll definitely be there to finish detecting when this game finally releases.

Harmony: The Fall of Reverie

Harmony: The Fall of Reverie is an interesting tale that takes place in two different worlds with one connection- your character, Polly, who has returned from years abroad to help locate her missing mother. When she gets home, she discovers everything isn’t as it once was, with an evil corporation nipping at the heels of her hometown, and a previously undiscovered power of clairvoyance that connects her to a different realm called Reverie. She’ll need to harness her godlike powers in Reverie and make the right decisions back home to find her mother and save her home.

One of the draws of this game was its Inside-like look at emotions and the well thought out way you can choose to interact in a situation. Too often in narrative games you’ll know what you’re supposed to choose and what will or won’t work, but to Harmony’s credit, often both approaches can work. There’s certain things that are inevitable that you’re actually forced to experience, but different types of nodes in the overarching story path called the Augural will change things not just for the next chapter, but perhaps even the overall ending. We found ourselves easily connecting to the characters and empathizing with them while also intrigued by the looming threat of megacorp MK and the mystery surrounding Polly/Harmony’s mom’s disappearance. It’s a story with more than a little fantasy that rings true because the emotions are relatable and presented realistically, and it’s why we’re looking forward to its imminent release on June 8th.

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical

Have you ever wanted everything to be a musical? For song and dance to reign and everyone to dance in the streets to even the mundanities of life, a la the musical episode of Buffy, “Once More with Feeling?” Well, if you’re that person (and we are out there!) you will not want to miss Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical.

This is a game unlike any other we’ve seen so far, and that’s to its credit. In it, you’ll play as Grace, a member of a band who’s sort of lost her way and isn’t certain about her next steps. Before she can do much plaintive singing about it though, her life changes in drastic ways, and she discovers she has otherworldly powers- more specifically, the power of a Muse who was murdered.

Now not so aimless, Grace must find out what happened to her predecessor by interrogating gods hiding amongst mere mortals - all in song. While we’ve been let down hard by video game musicals in the past, the music was immediately compelling, and Stray Gods never pulled any punches as far as difficult choicemaking. You’ll have to make decisions on the spur of the moment that you’re unsure of and see where it takes you.

It’s immediately compelling with characters you can and do instantly fall in love with, and like any good musical has some real showstoppers even in the demo. Simply put, everything about Stray Gods made us giddy, from the musical interplay between characters to the storyline and quick choices that are in no way easy, and it’s already on our wishlist, with a planned release date of August 3, 2023.

The Invincible

The Invincible is one of those games where as soon as you step foot into its world, there’s an air of mystery and dread. You’ll be playing as Yasna, a scientist who went on an expedition to a strange planet and winds up alone, without her crew. You’ll be tasked with piecing together what happened while avoiding having it happen to you, using steampunk style tools and your detective skills.

While it’s still in development, it’s already beautiful to behold and invokes a serious sense of “scared and alone” in us, and we’re very excited to unwrap more of the mystery.

Without any cheap jump scares, we were still constantly looking over our shoulders and sure that something terrible was about to happen the whole time we played the demo - and that kind of tension and mystery is something that’s hard to ignore.

Luckily we won’t have to wait long to take the full expedition, since it’s planned for release sometime in 2023.

Wrestling with Emotions: New Kid on the Block

Wrestling with Emotions isn’t exactly new. We saw the original at one of the original Bit Bash summer festivals, and fell in love with it right away. Luckily for us this LudoNarraCon, there’s more to love, with New Kid on the Block, which is a mashup of old and new that hits a perfect note.

If you’ve never played this game before, you’re a luchador style wrestler who desperately wants to fall in love, or at least in like, and cuddle some cutie-pie wrestlers. As weird as that sounds, this game ends up being a dating sim of the wildest and weirdest type, where you both wrestle and, as the title explains, wrestle with your emotions.

Will you break the rules in hopes of catching a makeout sesh with the main men and women of wrestling? Will you become strong in the ring and great with your cuddles? It remains to be seen but the bottom line is you will have fun in this colorful, cuddle centric version of ‘94, you will embrace the sexy, and, in a surprising twist that really made us smile, you will find a real heart to the game that endears you beyond all the silliness and seduction. There’s no set release date yet but the demo will tide you over, so make sure to wishlist it and download that demo now.


1000xResist is another game with an immediately immersive environment. It’s post-apocalpse times, and you’re a clone who worships the last remaining human, an entity known as the Allmother. Humans were wiped out over 1000 years ago and you have to piece together the truth of what happened by phasing through time and memories.

1000xResist has an almost J-horror sort of vibe, and considering we’ve all been through an actual pandemic, this scenario was already unsettling. You’re activated at a school and have to piece things together as you go, by switching between the past and the present, to unravel what actually occurred. This game is eerie and mysterious, and with a planned release date in 2023, one you should have on your wishlist.

Dead Pets Unleashed

Last but not least is colorful, comical Dead Pets Unleashed. This game oozes with charm and evokes things like Hi-Fi Rush, an early favorite game this year, and Scott Pilgrim. It’s another band on the skids tale, where a struggling punk band is stuck in a stalemate after 10 years, where you play as Gordy, a demon who’s looking for their place in life.

When I say you play as Gordy, it means all of her life, from getting up and dressed in the morning (shower or not) to getting food (same old hotdogs), working a dead end job and performing with her band. At the heart of it, Dead Pets Unleashed is a rhythm game, where you’ll play along to the beat with an awesome punk soundtrack. But there’s more to it than that, from the “fashion souls” aspect of getting dressed to the mini games that have you making the perfect (or grossest) hot dog, waiting tables, and halfheartedly dating to satisfy your parents, while secretly self-sabotaging before and on dates.

It’s a lot of story, a lot of heart, and fantastic mechanics to match that make this game hard to put down once you’ve picked it up. I think if any element from the music to the art to the actual mechanics of even the smallest of mini-games were off it might make this title less compelling, but we had as much fun waiting tables Overcooked/VR the Diner Duo style as we did smashin’ our guitar to the beat on stage, and we’re interested to see just what happens to Gordy and the band when it all plays out.

This game, tragically, does not have a full release date yet, but we’ve already wishlisted it and will be first to let you know when we know it’s about to release- it’s one you won’t want to miss.

And that's all from this year's LudoNarraCon. Get out there and explore something new in games, and we'll see you next year.



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