It’s fitting that Phil Fish pops up at an indie games event and his appearance isn’t the focus.

Day of the Devs at Public Works in San Francisco gathered together some of the biggest names in indie games to showcase their latest works. Among the devs to make an appearance: Double Fine, Gaijin Games, HoneySlug, SpyParty, Capybara Games, Supergiant and Tribute Games.

Fish also made his first public appearance since his rather acrimonious departure from indie games. The developer of Fez and one of the developers featured in Indie Games: The Movie presided over the dance floor as DJ. Even if it’s getting a bunch of gamers to show their dance moves rather than pick up a controller, it was nice to see him return to the gaming scene in some capacity.

I went through all the effort of standing in line, my Jack and Coke in hand waiting to play as many of the lovely games at the event. Feel free to pour yourself a little somethin’ somethin’ as you read through the highlights.

Give me some more Super Time Force: It was clear that a lot of people came here because of Double Fine with playable demos of Broken Age and DF-9, but I had the most fun playing Super Time Force by Capybara Games.

Super Time Force feels like the spiritual successor to one of my favorite games on the Sega Genesis GunStar Heroes. This pixel-art game features the same frenetic gameplay — and time travel.

Expect to die many times in this game. In fact, it’s pretty much a necessity to sacrifice your guys to be successful. The goal is to finish each level within a prescribed time limit using a collection of heroes worthy of starring in your favorite action movie. Jason Rambois and his heavy machine gun, Lady Sniper, Shieldy Blockerson, Jef Lepard and Zackasaurus to name a few.

It’s one-hit kill, but each death allows you the opportunity to rewind time and start over at any point within the level. The catch is that you play alongside a version of yourself that died. Since the game affords you 30 rewinds to start, there are some sections featured five or six versions of myself on screen at the same time.

Boss fights often become a war of attrition where I whittled him down far as I could with one guy before dieing, switched characters then tried to get his life bar down lower with another. I fought one boss, who was literally made of poop, that took about 10 versions of myself to finish.

Super Time Force is good fun and slated for release late this year on Xbox Live Arcade.

Transistor Screen

Transistor looks really pretty: It’s still not clear why I’m doing things in this game, but this game looks beautiful. Transistor is the spiritual successor to Supergiant Games’ other surprise smash hit Bastion as far as art style. Transistor’s futuristic metropolis looks like it was hand painted as well, But where Bastion was often colorful and bright, this game captures the grittiness of a big city with a much darker color palette.

The main character is a woman with red hair that finds a giant sword that looks an awful lot like the one Cloud wields in Final Fantasy VII. She’s an entertainer of some sort that lost her voice and so the sword serves as a voice over explaining how to cut down hordes of robots that are after you.

The combat is slower paced this time around. She does roam around the level and attack in real time, but it’s possible to hit a button to freeze time, mark multiple enemies then unleash all of it in an instant.

No exact release date for Transistor yet, but it is slated for an early 2014 release on PlayStation 4, Steam and the Supergiant website.

Broken Age

Broken Age is exactly as advertised: A caveat to all my comments about Broken Age, I played this demo with a handicap. A testament to this game’s popularity is the fact that it had the largest number of machines running it and the lines were all very long. The only reason I got to play was because the game crashed for the person in front of me and the sound never returned when it came back up.

The event also ended before finishing the demo and I didn’t want to mess with the bouncer that tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to leave. What I did get to play was thoroughly entertaining.

It’s pretty simple to explain what Double Fine’s game Broken Age is. This is a point-and-click adventure game where you interact with other characters, pick up items and progress through the story.

That rather bland explanation really doesn’t hit on the appeal of Broken Age, which lay in the world and the characters that inhabit it. This is a coming-of-age story centered around a young boy and girl. The version I played centered around the girl who managed to avoid being the village sacrifice to a monster and found herself whisked away into the clouds by a rather large bird.

The art style reminds me of a Tim Burton storybook with a cast of characters that are sweet enough to cover up the snarkiness in the dialogue. I was quite tempted to tell the woman tasked with making shoes that allowed you to walk on clouds that her husband and son were nuts. The pair suggested in an earlier conversation that I might have been better off being eaten by a monster. One thing that did bother me with the dialogue options is that my choices didn’t seem to have much impact on what was happening.

Double Fine is taking preorders for Broken Age on their website. $15 allows for Beta Access and a DRM-free version of the game. $30 will get you backer access to the private website that features a discussion forum and an ongoing documentary series on development.

Took care of all the big games. Here are some quick hitters on a few others that I saw:

  • Mercenary Kings is for those that loved the Metal Slug games of old. The game looks similar, but plays much deeper. This title by Tribute Games is four-player coop with fully customizable weapons and loadouts for every character. It’s mission based and the objectives are team-oriented. The game is an early access game on Steam and is slated for release in December.
  • I’ve heard so much about Hohokum from my fellow Indie Haven colleagues and after playing it, its pretty clear why. It’s hard not to smile because everything in this game appears so friendly. I have no idea what this thing is that goes zipping around the level, but the levels and how the environment reacts to it is simply pleasing.
  • I didn’t get to play Spy Party, but the people that did looked like they were having a damn good time. This espionage game takes place at a cocktail party that pits sniper against spy. The goal is pretty simple. The spy has to complete his objective without getting shot by the sniper who is looking out for him. It’s a game about blending in and keen observation. Spy Party still looks really rough visually, but it in no way detracts from the gameplay.