The second episode of a short series on games I discovered at WASD 2024.

30 Birds

30 Birds is an adventure game where your job is to rescue a kidnapped bird god. The Steam description suggests it’s an open world but I wasn’t able to verify that at WASD as I was largely running around a single location chasing down a quest line.

What I didn’t realise while playing is that each location is laid out across the surface of a lantern. This means while you’re largely exploring 2D spaces, when you reach a lateral edge of the current area, suddenly you’re pivoted across 3D space as the lantern turns. You might be able to make this out in the photo I took above.

Influenced by Persian art and paced with bizarre musical mini-games – in one you’re dragging a frog’s tongue around – this felt vibrant and fresh. It’s the kind of thing that makes these expo visits so worthwhile.

30 Birds will be coming to Windows this year.


Conscript is the polar opposite of 30 Birds. It’s grim, oppressive and grey.

It’s a top-down survival horror set in a French WWI trench and I was amazed to discover this evocative game is the work of a single developer; they’ve been working on it for six years.

As the game’s protagonist, what you want is to get home alive with your brother Pierre, but you’re on the front line. You’re charged with protecting Fort Souville from falling to the Germans. What follows is brutal hand-to-hand combat using a shovel to beat men to death and a rifle that is sloooow to reload. And being chased by two enemies simultaneously, one with a shovel and another with a rifle, was enough to terrify me into running away.

Once you’re out of the starting section, the environment becomes chaotic and noisy. It’s not always clear where you’re headed or where you could go, because war is happening all around you. I don’t know if Conscript can maintain this momentum throughout but what I saw was impressive.

Conscript should be arriving on Windows this year.

Last Spartan: Glory Over Madness

Hot on the heels of my resurgent Slice & Dice addiction, I discovered Last Spartan: Glory Over Madness which, thematically, I would describe as Leonidas vs Cthulhu.

You are the last Spartan, determined to get revenge against the Eldritch horrors that destroyed your men. You have five dice to throw in each fight, with sides offering defensive or offensive actions. If you take too many turns, your sanity will begin to fall – and once your sanity fails you, then it’s game over.

You have to battle your way across a Slay the Spire style map. The few battles I took on were not too difficult although a boss battle towards the end was a bit more ahem dicey – if I wasn’t careful the horror could have put me down quickly. Naturally, success in battle will bring forth dice upgrades.

Last Spartan: Glory Over Madness will be rising on Windows, Mac and Linux later this year. An interview with the developer will feature in my WASD video for Thinky Games.

Bootleg Steamer

I guess the title says it all: Bootleg Steamer. It’s the Prohibition era and you’ve decided to smuggle contraband on your boat for profit. This plays a little like Sunless Sea (caveat: I played Sunless Sea for about ten minutes once). You’re more a trader than courier: you buy goods at one dock and sell them on for profit elsewhere.

The coastguard are on the lookout for smugglers like you and your boat barely has an engine to start with, so don’t plan on daring escapes just yet. You can borrow from the Mafia if you want to accelerate ship upgrades but I’m pretty sure that will end badly if you can’t pay. You should hire crew to improve prices and upgrades – but they’ll cost you every week.

Numerous locations are available, from the hustle and bustle of Staten Island to the serenity of the Great Lakes. Some UI issues – it got really annoying at times at how mouse clicks would make your boat move instead of selecting the establishment you were berthed at – but I sat comfortably at it for 20 minutes.

Bootleg Steamer was just released for Windows.

Download my FREE eBook on the collapse of indie game prices an accessible and comprehensive explanation of what has happened to the market.

Sign up for the monthly Electron Dance Newsletter and follow on Twitter!

1 thought on “Dabbling At… WASD 2024, 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.