Relishing in the details of game development helps me build an appreciation for both the worlds of games and the people who make them. This includes environmental design I normally take for granted, like a game’s day-to-night cycle. While time of day can often influence how I play a game, I rarely stop and pause to appreciate that my game world is constantly changing. So, when developer Sørb posted a video showing off the landscape as it changes from a bright blue to golden hour, it didn’t just show me how beautiful that game is, but how lucky we are that any game has any sunset at all.
We have beautiful views and more in Cool WIP, Polygon’s weekly roundup of eye-catching clips and screenshots of works in progress. Each week, the Polygon staff scours the internet for the most interesting games still under construction, to give you a sampler of the coolest up-and-coming projects.
This week we have a lightning-fast runner with tiny legs, a hamster platformer, a wooden boat that runs like a jet ski, and a slick 3D platformer where you spring around like a frog.
A beautiful sunset
This game is made by a developer who makes games under the internet pseudonym, Sørb. The unnamed game looks inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, since it boasts scenic points and climbing. In this clip, we can see the golden hour come and go, showing an entire day-to-night cycle in 30 seconds. If this looks cool to you, you can check out the latest updates on Sørb’s Twitter account.
Sonic has nothing on this sprinter
I’ve seen a lot of cinematic adventures where characters gracefully traverse open land — The Pathless and Journey to name a few. However, there’s something utterly delightful and comical about this runner speeding along with its tiny, tiny legs. The game is a prototype of an unannounced project from Wilhelm Nylund and while we don’t know much about it yet, you can see what the developer is up to on his Twitter account.
Prototyping a game about running fast pic.twitter.com/odhsc2XfhR— wilhelm nylund (@wilnyl) September 14, 2021
Mario Maker meets Hamtaro in Pompom
Pompom is a puzzle platformer from Tomo Camp where you play as a hamster who takes a trip to space. As you try to beat each level, you’ll need to place different elements like springs or platforms to help the hamster cross. It’s a cute concept with an even cuter protagonist who reminds me of the beloved anime pet, Hamtaro. According to one of the developers, Willem Rosenthal, there’s a demo coming soon.
I'm excited to announce my new game, Pompom: The Great Space Rescue! It's an awesome, SNES style adventure puzzle platformer.— Willem Rosenthal (@willemrosenthal) September 11, 2021
Please wishlist here: https://t.co/XLJJTK8iKU
Demo coming soon!#screenshotsaturday #indiegame pic.twitter.com/tOAbEwqBsO
Whip a boat around like a jet ski
Whipping this tiny sailboat around like a jet ski sure looks like a blast. A clip from developer Deniz Cetinalp shows off a “balancing system with procedural animation” that allows that character to spin the boat around and walk all over it, like people do in log rolling. The goofy feature is a part of No More Flat Days, a horrifying adventure game that will have you running from amorphous blobs of flesh.
#NoMoreFlatDays | ♂️ Implemented a balancing system with procedural animation. Still rough around the edges, but this is super fun to play with! More cool things next week. | #screenshotsaturday #gamedev #IndieGameDev #gaming #madewithunity #indiegame #gameart #surfing pic.twitter.com/2AMgHk2nAA— Deniz Cetinalp (@416_dc) September 11, 2021
Yet another cool frog game
Frogs are having a moment. Or at least, they’re popular with indie developers. This clip from Chris Wade shows some pretty slick platforming as the frog rolls, dives, and jumps from island to island. You can even use its tongue like a hook shot. This game doesn’t have a title or release date yet, but you can follow progress on the game on their Twitter account.