Be a water nymph and befriend ducks in chillout game Naiad

There's a certain kind of indie game that's all about chill. You explore a slice of the natural world at your own pace, with a little puzzle-solving thrown in, but rarely anything likely to disrupt your meditative flow. The archetype is Flower, in which you're a gentle breeze that blows through fields rustling plants like some kind of invisible petal wizard, but there are plenty of others—games like Proteus, Feather, or Koi.

Naiad, which was shown during the Day of the Devs stream today, seems like a perfect example of the form. You play a water nymph right out of Greek myth who is born at the source of a river and grows up as she travels along it. You swim, dive, and do a froggy underwater dash as you help fish and other animals past obstacles like fallen logs, trash, and traps. Apparently you'll be able to make friends with ducks, butterflies, turtles, rabbits, and even snakes and crocodiles, as well as a talking cloud who acts as a guide.

Our water nymph protagonist collects vitality from leaves and flowers that fall in the river, and collects sunlight to make her hair grow. She can sing to call animals, make plants along the bank regrow, discover secrets including the river's "essences" as well as hidden poems, and restore color to this bright world where it grows dark.

It's not all putting flowers in your hair and splashing about with frogs, of course. Like in Flower, there's a spreading darkness whenever humans intrude on your world. Pipes pump pollution into the water and highways surround it with noisy, smoky traffic. Restoring nature by making flowers grow back along the riverbank seems like one way we'll have of gently pushing back, but presumably there are others. I'm not expecting the endgame to be full-on ecoterrorism, just a gentle rebuke of civilization's intrusion on this world of green lily pads and blue water.

Naiad is the work of Spanish indie developer HiWarp. The finished game will be a journey through 16 areas, including a spring, lake, and forest as well as dark caves, rapids, and swamp, ending as you flow out into the sea. It's scheduled for release this year on Steam.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.