Nintendojo at Day of the Devs

We talk about some of the games we got to go hands-on with at the event!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 03/25/2024 17:04 Comment on this     ShareThis

A couple Sundays ago in an old, converted warehouse in San Francisco, developers from all around the world convened to participate in Day of the Devs 2024. Established back in 2012 by Double Fine Productions, it is an annual event where emerging talent within the video game industry shows off their projects to the public and publishers in the hopes of making an impression and taking their work to the next level. The event was free to attend, and this year Day of the Devs found itself back in SF. I was fortunate enough to attend with Senior Editor Angela Marrujo Fornaca, where we both got to try out a number of different games.

I’m going to link here to the official site for Day of the Devs so you can see everything in full, but below we want to just quickly highlight a couple of games that are either perfect for a Nintendo platform or that encapsulate the Nintendo spirit.

Isles of Sea and Sky

Probably the first, most succinct reaction people will have when they play Isles of Sea and Sky for the first time is to say, “This is a lot like the sliding block puzzles in the Game Boy Color Legend of Zelda games.” And really, you’re most of the way there if that’s the conclusion you come to. The mechanics are very similiar, albeit in the build I played there was no pulling of blocks, only pushing. Not that this limited the experience in any way, of course. Players awaken as a nameless traveler on an island. The tropical locale is a large, open sandbox to explore and solve puzzles. Fill holes, overcome hazards, and even more interestingly, turn back time by undoing steps in solving a puzzle in order to correct mistakes (and save some time versus redoing the whole thing).

I was thrilled by the visuals, which are clearly inspired by classic like The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening while establishing its own look and feel. In fact, I’d argue Isles of Sea and Sky does a better job of giving us those tropical vistas that we only got a wee bit of Link’s Awakening. If I could levy any criticism, I would argue that the controls are a little imprecise; movement is aggressive, meaning if I push in a direction to walk the player launches a tad too much. Beyond that, however, everything worked like a dream. The official press kit says developer Cicada Games is looking to get Isles of Sea and Sky on other platforms, including Switch, so fingers crossed.

Jet Cola

Apologies, folks, but the above trailer is only in Japanese; however, watch the first chunk of it and you’ll get an idea of Jet Cola’s gameplay. You have a fake cola bottle which the player then vigorously shakes for about 30 seconds (give or take), and then the game calculates how much “pressure” was produced. On the screen, which sits to the side, the display shows how far into space the bottle is launched based on the pressure the player was able to create. There’s actually an elaborate narrative about the Cold War which you can get into here, but my immediate impression from playing this was that it’s perfect for an arcade, and that a Joy-Con could easily handle the shaking mechanics. No word on where Jet Cola will wind up, but it is nonetheless a clever creation, especially so far as non-traditional controllers go.


This is another game where its inspiration is worn pretty prominently for all to see: Crowsworn shares a lot with Hallow Knight. This is very true visually, with the main character, who wears a plague mask and runs around a large, labyrinthine world Metroidvania-style engaging in kinetic, gripping combat. The visuals are all hand-drawn, and have a flowing, gorgeous style to them. While our first impression of Crowsworn screamed Hollow Knight, the developer Mongoose Rodeo specifically sights, however, Devil May Cry and Bloodborne as its inspirations, at least for the combat. Given the three-weapon setup of Scythe, Pistols, and Corvian Magic, this is a fair comparison to make. The developer hopes to get this one onto Switch at some point, but notes that being between console generations might cause some hiccups.

Lastly, I want to highlight this one, as it was refreshing to see AI used in a less aggressive way (meaning, not stealing people’s livelihoods). For, the devs produced an experience not unlike the Jackbox Party series of games, where there’s a central console or platform in commands, while other wireless devices can all connect and play—no need for extra controllers. In this game, one player takes on the role of artist, drawing an auto-generated prompt (in our case, it was prisoner). As the artist draws, four other humans are able to guess what the prompt is. However, as the humans try to figure out what the drawing is, the game’s AI is also trying to figure it out. If the AI can guess what the drawing is supposed to be of, but the humans can’t, then the AI wins. is easy to grasp fun that could easily make its way to a Switch.

That’s a small smattering of things at Day of the Devs 2024. There were plenty of other traditional games, including low-poly racers and horror games, non-traditional adventure experiences, and so on, and they’re all worth giving your attention. If you got to go to Day of the Devs this year, please share your takes down in the comments!

Source: Day of the Devs 2024

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