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This spooky subway game gives Sunday Scaries a whole new meaning

There’s also a frog RPG and a climber that would put Link to shame

a group of 2d drawn characters sit on a the chairs of the subway. a person walks down the middle as glowing, empty eyes stare at them Image: Bubby Darkstar
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Even everyday activities can be horrifying, if presented in the right — or in this case wrong — way. This is the kind of approach we see creator Bubby Darkstar take with an upcoming horror game that’s equal parts cute, horrifying, and trippy. In it, a routine trip on a dark subway ride takes on a new tone as you traverse a hallway filled with prowling eyes.

There are horrifying subway rides 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 game that looks likes a collage made out of plants and objects from a garden, a frog adventure, a fast-paced platformer that reminds us of Portal, and a lively climbing game.

Your morning commute has never been so terrifying

The flickering, neon world of Subway Midnight looks like a trippy twist on your morning commute. Described as a “cute” horror game, a new trailer from Bubby Darkstar shows a character trotting down an aisle of empty-eyed subway passengers. As the player adventures, bubbly music fit for a relaxing island stay contrasts with the dark and twisting monsters players encounter. According to the trailer, it’s coming “soon” to consoles so keep an eye out if you’re a horror nerd.

Link meets his climbing match

So many open-world games allow us to climb now. I’m awed by these characters who seemingly defy the laws of physics as they clambering their way up steep surfaces with merely the edge of their fingernails. (See, Link in The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild.) Code Blue Games shows us a different kind of climbing animation, one that is inspired by the way the rest of the human body flails about while a climber uses just their upper body. The motion of its limbs and the avatar’s attention to the wall itself make it look like you’re seeing an actual human bouldering. The game is still in early development, but you can follow the team’s work on their Twitter account.

Little seed, big adventure

This new game from Bardsley Creative has you taking a grand adventure as a tiny seedling. How does that work precisely? Well, you are at the mercy of the environment as you swing and fling yourself from place to place. (Since seeds can’t, you know, walk.) Games like this always bring me back to the early days of Amanita Design, which created similarly fantastical worlds out of the objects and textures of the natural world. According to its Steam page, Seedlings is scheduled to be released in April 2022 and you can check out a demo of the game now.

It’s time for frogs to get their own RPG

I know I have some sort of weird bias for frogs on this column, but they just seem to be particularly trendy lately. The latest entry in the long list of frog-filled indie games includes A Frog’s Tale, a “turn-based RPG” where you adventure along as a frog. The developers, Norman Company and Cathar Games, posted a clip showing a frog hopping up to a chest and opening it to find a berry. If this looks like your kind of romp, you can follow the team’s work on the game’s Twitter account.

Escape an office from hell

Here’s a good reason to keep working from home: Your office is literally filled with lava. In Hell of an Office, you leap through portals to try and avoid the rising lava. A clip shows the platforming in action, and the way you fly through the portals looks a whole lot like the Portal games. The game, being made by 43 Studios, doesn’t have a release date but you can follow progress on the game’s Twitter account.