The Best of Play NYC 2021

Every year, we pick out the coolest new and upcoming games we saw at Playcrafting's convention in NYC — these games are The Best of Play NYC 2021.

Published: September 2, 2021 1:00 PM /


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New York-based gaming convention Play NYC 2021 has come and gone, but we're not done with this Playcrafting event just yet! It is once again time for The Best of Play NYC!

Play NYC is a dedicated gaming convention held in Manhattan on an annual basis that typically features a large number of indie games for players to enjoy. It's difficult to come home from the show without a few favorites in mind; as always, we've picked out some of our favorites. Here is the best of Play NYC 2021!

The Best of Play NYC 2021 - Batsu


by Giant Fox Studios

Japanese game shows are a boatload of fun and Batsu is no different - especially when it comes to penalty games. Originally a live-action show in NYC, the pandemic pretty much caused the whole thing to shut down and an alternative was sought out, ultimately resulting in a card game sharing the same name.

Enter Batsu, a card game put together by Giant Fox Studios. The first half of the game involves drawing a card and playing a game of charades, acting out whatever happens to be on your card. I've tried it myself and it's a fair amount of fun.

What's not so fun, however, is what happens if you fail: You have to play a nasty penalty game. If your acting skills aren't quite up to par, you'll find yourself acting out an embarrassing scenario as punishment for failing to wow the crowd. It's simple, elegant, and a surefire way to have a boatload of fun at parties. You can buy Batsu right now if you'd like to try it out.

The Best of Play NYC 2021 - Scrap Bringer

Scrap Bringer

by PseudoZap

Twin-stick shooters started growing in popularity with arcade games like Robotron 2084. Since then, we've seen a handful of new games launch in the genre every now and again - but Scrap Bringer may very well be the first twin-stick puncher I've ever seen.

Controls for this game are fairly simple: The left analog stick controls movement, and the right analog stick will cause your character to punch in whichever direction you push. Unfortunately for you, that's about the only easy thing in the game; the enemies in Scrap Bringer are seriously challenging.

Adding a novel twist to an existing genre isn't easy, but PseudoZap managed to pull it off. (It doesn't hurt that it has a gorgeous aesthetic, too.) There's no release date for this game just yet, but you can add Scrap Bringer to your wishlist on Steam.

The Best of Play NYC 2021 - Seed of Agony

Seed of Agony

by Autonomic Interactive

Seed of Agony might look fairly plain at first glance, but there's so much more to this upcoming game from Autonomic Interactive. I got to play this firsthand at Play NYC 2021, and I was mildly intrigued by a handwritten sign placed on the booth by the developer.

The Best of Play NYC 2021 - Seed of Agony sign
"4x platformer w/ Demons in Space!! How could you not??"

How could I not indeed - I was visibly excited to try this out. You've been tasked with conquering as many worlds as you can with demonic creatures. You'll start off by sending a lone soldier down to a planet in order to soften up its defenses or complete a specific mission. Once that's done, you can start spreading all sorts of spooky demon buildings and creatures all over, claiming yet another world for the forces of darkness.

Seed of Agony is, in a sense, an evil Starbound with everything that entails: finding gear, powering up your character(s), and colonizing worlds (albeit in a very different fashion). There's no release date for this game just yet, but you should keep an eye on its official website for updates.

The Best of Play NYC 2021 - Skate Story

Skate Story

by Sam Eng

Sam Eng's Skate Story is a little difficult to describe. At first glance, it seems like a competently built skateboarding game where you can zip around 3D levels and perform all sorts of tricks. That's just the surface of what makes this game special, though. After all, you're rolling your skateboard through Hell (or something like it).

Naturally, this dark realm is populated by all sorts of strange creatures who are all too happy to kill you. You're not going to whip out an uzi and gun them down, though; instead, you'll beat these bosses through the power of skateboarding. This is where I will once again repeat my favorite personal story from the game: I fought the moon by doing an ollie over flaming bull horns, blew it up, and then ate the moon.

Skate Story certainly has me intrigued - especially because this game is shrouded in mystery. You can keep up with its development on Twitter.

The Best of Play NYC 2021 - Slumber Squad

Slumber Squad

by Gumboot

Finally, we have Slumber Squad - an innovative couch co-op game created by Gumboot and one of the five Play NYC 2021 Graffiti Games that were showcased this year.

Everyone will, at some point in their lives, have a moment where they say to themselves, "Why didn't I think of that?" Slumber Squad was one such moment for me, largely because it executes a concept that is very familiar to anyone who has ever huddled up around a television with an N64.

In Slumber Squad, you're having a slumber party, and you're excited to try out the latest game. Unfortunately, your mom, little brother, and cat just love to get in your way or stand in front of the television. Herein lies the challenge: The game within a game is an endless runner that kills you if you get caught by the scrolling screen, but your in-game player character will have to drop the controller in order to remove an obstacle.

Slumber Squad is a well-executed concept that is absolutely deserving of a full commercial release with more levels and more challenges. I sincerely hope that Gumboot decides to do more with this project - I'd love to buy it and play it.

And that's it for The Best of Play NYC 2021! I had the wonderful opportunity to play dozens of upcoming indie video games and tabletop games and the show is a blast every year.

Each and every one of the games we've showcased today has a little something special that made them stand out among the rest. Some are launching soon, others are far away, and some of these projects may never see a public or commercial release. However these games turn out, one thing is certain: New York's indie devs have some serious creative chops.

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at

A photograph of TechRaptor Senior Writer Robert N. Adams.
| Senior Writer

One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N