Steam Game Festival: Demo-Impressions, Part 3

The Steam Game Festival is going on until tomorrow, so here’re some more games to check out! I’ve been kind of slouching with these posts due to the quality of some titles and the amount of time that I need to spend in some games to make these posts possible. Pair that with a tight schedule that keeps me from leaving the desk until I’m done with my studies… and then add a little bit of a lack of motivation to it due to me having to continue sitting at the desk in order to write these blog posts… and that basically results in me not being able to write these posts in time. It’s a bit of a bummer and the pandemic and everything isn’t helping, especially with winter ravaging outside and me not being able to leave the house.

But from all of this explanatory exposition to more positive matters. Today we’re playing more Indie Game demos and here are my first impressions on those!

The Longest Road on Earth:

This is an emotive interactive visual novel and auditory experience based upon intimate human connection and the journey we all must take. Just like Per Aspera which we’ve covered in the past, it’s also published by Raw Fury, which is why I was rather excited about trying this one out… It’s a bit of an interesting Adventure game. The anthropomorphic animals each have their own lives and roads to take and master… and while the art style is stunning, I was even more impressed by the fantastic soundtrack by Beícoli. The situations you’re facing are all kind of out of context and focus on small things like riding the bicycle or going to the canteen… but the at times mellow and at times melancholic sounds that have been composed for this title give every single one of these scenes some sort of meaning… For whatever reason, one of the earlier scenes made me cry just now while another lifted me up but if I had played it without the sound on, it would have been completely different, obviously, and I may not have reacted in that way. Similarly, I love it that the demo ends on an upbeat note with some mischief and a little bit of snowy fun.

Ashwalkers:

Ashwalkers is a highly stylised post-apocalyptic survival game where your group tries to find the legendary “Dome of Domes” and hence ventures into a harsh world without rules or judgement. Your choices matter as you always have different approaches to all kinds of situations. Do you sneak past wolves or do you yell at them to scare them away? The choice is yours! While travelling to the vast and grey areas your party members’ energy, food and warmth levels decreases. Alas, you’ll have to set up camp every now and then, distribute resources, schedule guard duties and allow your people to rest or chat in order to replenish energy or let encourage them again. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to face even more dooming challenges. Will your party members make it through? Try it out yourself!

Osteoblasts:

Osteoblasts is a dungeon crawler RPG about, by and for skeletons. Although I’d have to say that since I, as a lich, can still quite enjoy it, I’d imagine that humans like you would also potentially like it. The art style is utilizing some rather pretty colours, the soundtrack is lovely as fuck, and the story is… I don’t really get it but I’m looking forward to figuring it out later on! You are being revived as a skeleton and have to fight against dogs among other enemies. There are multiple classes and items that change your skills. To use skills, you’ll have to use some of your bone marrow… and whenever you level up, you can select between three gods to gain their skill bonuses. The full game will feature multiple endings and while I may not be the biggest fan of turn-based combat in games, I actually really enjoyed this title and am looking forward to trying out some builds in the future and potentially reviewing this game as well once it’s fully out!

Cats and the Other Lives:

Cats and the Other Lives is a narrative experience that explores the reunion of a broken family. After the passing of grandfather Bernard, all of the remaining members of the Mason Family return to their childhood home once again. Alas, we step into the role of the house cat, Aspen, and interact with the world in a point and click style fashion to touch on past hopes, disappointments and regrets of the Mason family. Through flashbacks to the time when Bernard was still alive we learn new things about the past and about the mysterious things that took place in this house, and alas it is our role to relief the family members’ frustrations, to toss things over and to uncover secrets. Overall, this is a rather cute game, though somewhat creepy in some ways. I love the idea of stepping into the role of a pet instead of playing as a family member. It is interesting how typical cat behaviours are put into the game and how the developers enabled the player to utilize those patterns in order to progress through the story. Apart from that, I’ve loved small things like the little bits and pieces of information and lore you can pick up from NPCs in the hallways and rooms as well as the soundtrack that gives the game a somewhat eery and mysterious vibe. Great demo!


And with these few games, it’s already over for me. I have hardly enough time to publish this post and also play more titles. As always there is just not enough time get through so many unless of course, you have nothing else to do than playing games. There are other games that I would have liked to feature but due to time constraints, I’ll just have to vaguely list them:

Dead Estate is an action-roguelike with a top-down-shooter-ish perspective and an interesting art style. It’s supposed to be gory, fast-paced and Halloween-y.

Everescape is a political simulation of an employee of the immigration department. You’re supposed to prevent the entry and spread of some virus and do so with the power of bureaucracy. This seemed like another “Papers, Please” clone but with the difference that it also features an art style that is very much similar to Paintbucket Games’ “Through the darkest of times” (at least as far as the character design goes), so I thought I’d check it out and see how different it is to “Papers, Please” and how well it is done.

Blue Fire is a minimalistic action-adventure that kind of reminds me of Hollow Knight but in 3D. Apparently, however, it is somewhat short and the healing in it is frustrating on top of the game crashing quite often. I would have played it today, actually, but the demo got removed from the store, for whatever reason, so I don’t know how stable the build actually would have been.

Faith of Fate is an adventure game that apparently also has dating sim elements to it and that, according to Steam, is similar to Undertale. Looked interesting!

In My Shadow is supposed to be a puzzle platformer where you use these puzzles to confront your character’s past. The puzzles seemed interesting and I feel like the story could also present you with some nice interactions. Sadly, I didn’t like the art style too much, which is why I let it slide for now and which is why I didn’t play it first thing this festival.

Sands of Aura is an interesting mix of open-world exploration and souls-like action. The premise of it is that you bring life to a world buried beneath a sea of sand, which is something that kind of resonated with me. I like the idea of that world and I would have loved to try out the combat of this one!

Tasomachi is supposed to be an atmospheric 3D Platforming game in a fantasy setting, I guess. The world looked pretty and I would have loved to dive into it. 

Undying allows you to accompany a young mother in her journey to protect and raise her son, Cody, in a zombie-infested world. After being bitten by a zombie herself, she knows that her days are numbered, which is why she’s got to protect her son, search for safety and teach him skills while she still can. This sounds like a great game and I like the minimalistic approach to the art style and the perspectives, so I’m sure that this is a great title to check out. Wishlisted!

Either way, the Steam Game Festival will still be up until February 9th, 10 AM (PST), meaning that I still have about 19 hours left to play some of these demos, and potentially more if some of them still are around after the event. I’d recommend you to check out the titles listed above as well as the games that I didn’t get to. I still have a bit of time until then, so I will check them out. I will probably just not write about these last few titles as there wouldn’t be enough time.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this (somewhat longer) post. What other discoveries did you make during this event? Did you find any nice titles to play? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Steam Game Festival: Demo-Impressions, Part 2

Like yesterday, I decided to make another post on the Steam Game Festival and more demos from this event. Yesterday, we covered ten games on there with most of them being rather interesting and today I wanted to continue the trend with the next ten games that looked interesting and promising. You can check out all posts on the Steam Game Festival (the current one and the previous ones) over here if you want to. Without further ado, however, let’s head into some cool games.

First Class Trouble:

First Class Trouble is a party game where players work together to prevent disaster. Play as either a Personoid or a Passenger in this social deduction game. The passengers need to stop an evil A.I. that is aboard this ship while the Personoids have to stop them, even if it means deception, betrayal and lies. The whole aesthetic of the game is amazing from the customization to the soundtrack and the graphic. The demo itself had a few hiccups with the servers but when everything is patched up and ready, you can find a game within minutes and get ready to eject people out of the air shoot. I personally enjoyed it a fair bit, despite all of the bugs. Whether or not all of them will be squashed on release, remains to be seen! But until then, there’s going to be a lot of time for polishing and further development! 

Luna’s Fishing Garden:

This game is a cosy and adorable fishing and building game where you plant trees, catch fish, trade items for money (leaves) and expand your busine- I mean,… garden. You can upgrade your fishing rod, add plant life to the world, meet characters and bring animals to the archipelago. While the demo can be played through in about forty minutes (At least, I think that there aren’t any more fish in the sea.), I’m sure that the full release will offer a lot more content. On another note, it actually is great to see a new game by Coldwild Games. They’re actually behind Merchant of the Skies as well, so I have high hopes for this game!

Beacon Pines:

Beacon Pines is a rather lovely choose-your-own-adventure-style game by Hiding Spot in which you step into the role of the main character, Luka, and the narrator of the story. Utilizing different words (“charms”) that you find throughout the game, you explore a cute and creepy story within a magical storybook. Are you stuck in one place? Try going back, using the Chronicles, and revise your previous turning points. What could you have done differently? What charms could change the outcome of your fate? Try it out yourself! Incredibly cute game with some eery vibes and an amazing soundtrack. I can highly recommend it and am looking forward to the full release!

Dorfromantik:

Dorfromantik is a peaceful strategy and puzzle game where you create a beautiful and ever-growing village landscape by placing down tiles. There are a bunch of biomes in the game and different interesting tiles that work in different ways. To keep on going, you’ll need to place down your tiles with future tiles in mind. In a way, it reminds me of Islanders but with less creative freedom since you’re using hexagons in this one. Quite a short and somewhat challenging but still rather lovely demo!

Space Wreck:

Space Wreck looked quite interesting, being set in a post-apocalyptic world in space and having to deal with problems in different ways while utilizing TTRPG mechanics… but in the end, I didn’t get quite warm with it. It’s inspired by Fallout 1 and 2 as well as Arcanum, but I’m not entirely sure if I quite like it for a plethora of reason. While I love the art style and atmosphere in the first few minutes, the voice acting feels off and I would have loved it if it just didn’t exist in this game. At the same time, combat is somewhat weird and clanky and as someone who hasn’t played the three games mentioned above, I’m not entirely sure if it’s supposed to be this hard to get into but for a game that is coming out in 2021, I feel like it should be more beginner-friendly. Oh well…

No Place For Bravery:

In No Place For Bravery, we step into the steps of Thorn, an old and ambitious warrior, who roams a vicious war-torn world in search for his lost daughter. No Place For Bravery is a 2D Top-Down Action-RPG with a fantastically detailed pixel art-style and a wonderfully eery soundtrack. Combat feels smooth but has a steep difficulty curve with lots of parries, timings, and different systems to look out for. There are different weapons and items to utilize as well as a story that I don’t really get… but it was fun! Really enjoyed this one. Make sure to wishlist this demo!

And while I would like to talk about more games today, I’m actually rather tired and can’t really play too much more. Alas, I’ll write about more titles tomorrow in Part 3 and I’ll try to get to it sooner instead of leaving it to the last few hours of the day! I’ll also try to limit the time that I’ll spend on each and every demo, as time management is key when it comes to deadlines. I hope you enjoyed this post and I’ll see you in tomorrow’s post!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Steam Game Festival: Demo-Impressions, Part 1

So, as announced yesterday, the Steam Game Festival is here, which means that I have a lot of titles to write about. I picked 25 titles yesterday but then found four more titles again, within the last few hours, so I’m not entirely sure if I’ll get to those soon, but I’ll make sure to share my thoughts on most of these games… just like today! In today’s post, we’re taking a look at the first batch of games. Instead of going in rather in-depth into each of the titles, I’d like to try to share my experience in as few sentences as possible in order to allow me to cover a bunch of games within a post. The first time this event happened, I wrote mini-reviews on the games and ended up still writing about a lot of the titles way after the event concluded. Alas, I’d rather want to share my experiences so that you can check these games out yourself!

Timberborn:

Timberborn is a Colony Sim with City Building aspects that allows you to take control of a tribe of lumberpunk beavers! Build farms, houses, dams and bridges to make this land your own. Humans are no more, so it’s time for your beaver-brethren to shine and erect a civilisation that restores the devastated land that is plagued with deadly droughts. There is a lot of vertical architecture in the game and I love the aspects of controlling the rivers with explosives, terraforming and dams. It’s quite interesting how the game works and I personally really enjoyed it. The demo lets you play a fair bit but since it’s a pre-release demo, there are a lot of limitations to certain features and mechanics that will be there in the full version!

Potion Craft:

Potion Craft is an Alchemy-Simulation game in which you run your own little potion shop, invent new recipes, attract customers, harvest your garden for ingredients, and experiment. I really enjoyed it. The game offers a lot of creative freedom, allowing you to customize potions and add effects to it with ingredients while getting better at your craft. The customers are often quite funny with their reasoning behind needing a healing or poison potion. There are a lot of different recipes to uncover and the demo itself lets you play quite a bit! Really looking forward to the full release of it!

Gal*Gun Returns:

I played Gal*Gun: Double Peace ages ago (in 2017, apparently), and despite the premise being incredibly silly, I really enjoyed it. Girls are running wild because of something in the story-line that I can’t exactly remember, so you need to survive your school-day by sneaking away and shooting girls with a “pheromone gun”. Gal*Gun Returns scared me plenty of times, btw,… and I’m sure it will scare you, too. This rail-shooter demo lets you experience a level per heroine, which can be completed relatively quickly. While incredibly silly, it was rather entertaining. I still don’t get what’s going on but it’s all fun and games, I guess. 

Despot’s Game:

Despot’s Game takes Konfa Games’ Despotism-3K-universe and combines it with some interesting and rather tactical Roguelite Auto Battler mechanics! D’Spot, the game’s antagonist, is an evil A.I. (playable in Konfa Games’ previous game) that throws you and your fellow humans into an Arena of death. Fight against plenty of enemies, upgrade or purchase more humans, mutate them and use your head to strategically place them in order to proceed far enough into the game. If you survive the labyrinth, you’ll have to face off against the unstoppable end-game builds of other players and beat each other to death. The game itself plays itself similarly to other Auto-Battlers like TFT or DotA Underlords but it adds its own twist to it by combing the auto-battler formula with roguelite-elements and random events, known from the previous game. Incredibly challenging but also incredibly fun!

Unsouled:

Unsouled is supposed to be an “ultra-brutal Action-RPG with fast-paced and savagely rewarding combat” but it kind of feels like it’s lacking. The story is confusing, the combat doesn’t feel good at all with you having too many dashes and you being able to guard everything effortlessly. The game looks pretty but the gameplay feels clunky.

Loop Hero:

Loop Hero is actually a title that I’ve been excited about for quite a while. I’m really looking forward to March 4th when this title releases because I’m actually in the game. I, Magi the Lich, have thrown the world into a timeless loop and plunged its inhabitants into never-ending chaos, after all, so it’s your duty to go onto expedition and find out what’s wrong with the world and if there are any other survivors. Your hero loops on a path and battles on its own, so you have to place down mystical cards to create terrain, buildings, and enemies to fight. As you progress, you’ll receive loot and resources that can be used to equip and upgrade your hero and your camp. Once you return, you receive a new loop in your next expedition and you’ll have to try again to survive the loop! Incredibly fun game with some adorable and nostalgic pixel-art and an amazing soundtrack!

AK-xolotl:

AK-xolotl is as the name suggest a game where you play the cutest amphibian ever, an axolotl with an AK (duh!). It’s a top-down arcade battle-arena shooter with some bullet hell elements to it where you defend your pond from invaders to score big. It seems to have multiplayer and it gives me “Nuclear Throne” and “Enter The Gungeon” vibes, on top of featuring axolotl… So I HAD TO try it out. The art style is super adorable, there are costumes, it is challenging, the guns feel good and the soundtrack is fantastic! Pairing cute animals with guns and in-your-face-metal is a great idea that should be explored more often in games. 

SkateBIRD:

SkateBIRd is a game about Skateboarding… as a bird. Take control of a bird on a skateboard and perform tricks… it’s kind of relaxing and brings me back to the days when I played those Tony Hawk games on my Xbox… ages ago… but yeah, that’s about it. There are a plethora of easy to hard tricks to perform, the birds are cute, there are missions in the game, and the soundtrack is super chill. Try it out yourself!

Towermancer:

TowerMancer by Digital Synapis is a strategy tower building game where you gather resources, build rooms and face menacing threats. The story-line is about a lich that married the lichmancer and they got a lot of kids (lesser liches) and the youngest one is you, an aspiring lich that is trying to become a Towermancer. Nice! The pixel art style looked interesting, so I gave it a go, and… it’s quite fun. It’s a bit challenging here and there, although the overall premise of the game is rather simple. I really enjoyed building up the tower and coordinating all of the imps in order to rebuild what those fireballs have destroyed, and I’m looking forward to seeing the full game! The demo only lets you play the first few levels but it’s quite enjoyable, in my opinion.

Roguebook:

Roguebook is a new roguelike-deck-builder with unique mechanics from the developer of Faeria as well as Richard Garfield, creator of Magic: The Gathering! The game itself is similar to other roguelike-deck-building games like Slay The Spire, with the difference that it revolves around two characters. On top of that, you can summon allies, upgrade cards with gems, find artefacts and unlock skills. The two characters can be changed in the full game. While the game itself is quite similar to Slay the Spire when it comes to combat, it also features an overworld akin to Trials of Fire, a Card Battler that came out in 2019. The art style is amazing and the overworld adds another layer to the game, although I’m not entirely sure if I like that system. On top of that, the game has some flaws here and there where it doesn’t explain certain mechanics to you, which made my experience a bit less exciting. Regardless, the game is quite fun and I’m also looking forward to this title when it’s fully released.

So, that’s it for the day. We looked at ten different games and I did enjoy this quite a bit. I hope you liked this post as well! What games did you check out so far? I’ll try to write a post on the next ten games tomorrow and will hopefully wrap this series of posts up within the next two days so that you can get all the recommendations that you want.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

The Steam Game Festival is here!

From February 3rd (yes, that’s now!) until February 9th (10 AM PST), the Steam Game Festival is held on Steam and you know what that means… There are a lot of demos to go through for upcoming games!

Alas, I wanted to write about some of my discoveries and my thoughts on them. I wrote posts on these events a couple of times already, so you can check out the previous posts over here.

Demos, I’ll try out in the next few days:

  • Despot’s Game
  • Luna’s Fishing Garden
  • Ashwalkers
  • Undying
  • Roguebook
  • Unsouled
  • No Place for Bravery
  • AK-xolotl
  • Derfromantik
  • Timberborn
  • Potion Craft
  • SkateBIRD
  • Loop Hero
  • The Longest Road on Earth
  • Gal*Gun Returns
  • First Class Trouble
  • Osteoblasts
  • Space Wreck
  • Everescape
  • In My Shadow
  • Dead Estate
  • Beacon Pines
  • Cats and the Other Lives
  • Sands of Aura
  • TowerMancer
  • Alien Scumbags

So, there’s a total of 26 demos for me to try out here. So, a bunch! Obviously, there are a lot more games on the Steam Store Homepage available for trial but I can’t possibly try out everything, so I decided to limit it to these 26 entries (originally 25 but someone on Twitter approached me with the last entry there). I’ll take a look at the first load of games tomorrow and will make another post the day after that based on how many are left. I think that should work out quite fine unless I’m too busy with uni-stuff… 

Hope you enjoyed this short post over here! I sadly am running a bit low on time and energy, so I’ll have to write more on these titles tomorrow… Looking forward to it.

What games are you trying out? Is there anything from this list that you’ve tried out, yet? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Steam Game Festival: Autumn Edition – Part 2

Today, I wanted to take another look at some other demos. 

Just like yesterday, the Steam Game Festival Autumn Edition is still a thing and it’s going to be a thing for another few days, so make sure to check out its page for some more information and some cool demos. 

Neurodeck

Neurodeck is a difficult card-based Roguelike Dungeon Crawler with a psychology-theme. Dive into your psyche, challenge your fears and face your phobias to defeat them through the power of life-inspired cards.

The game feels alright. You have to balance your two main stats: Your sanity and your stamina. To play cards you need to invest action points that refresh each round or get refreshed using card effects. As you use different cards, you require different costs of your stamina. Your Sanity resembles your Health pool and can be restored using hugs and snacks and other card effects. Most of the time, you’ll fight phobias (enemies) that inflict status effects such as Sorrow (lock cards for a turn at the end of your turn) or Anxiety, which I find quite interesting overall…

…but for whatever reason, I don’t like Neurodeck too much. It is very strategic but it doesn’t feel as strategic as Slay The Spire or Ring of Pain, for instance. You have traits and equipment that you can get throughout the run but the game does poorly to explain those systems. Combat feels a bit too slow, despite it being similar to Slay The Spire which feels quite a lot faster and more strategic. I should like Neurodeck but for whatever reason, it is not my cup of tea, which is totally fine but just something I noticed over the course of half an hour or so. If you wanna try it out, you can download the demo over here

Ponpu

Ponpu is an action-packed party game that is heavily inspired by Bomberman. Play as one of four different ducks (?) and bomb your way to victory. Since I don’t have a second controller, I wasn’t able to play the local co-op and hence, only tried out the Store Mode that features a whole world with different areas, levels and bosses.

Using the A-button you place down explosive eggs that either detonate after a while or when they hit something. Using the B-button you shield yourself, stunning enemies in the vicinity and propelling your egg forward so that it either destroys the environment or damages enemies. 

Since it’s heavily inspired by Bomberman the gameplay doesn’t feel too innovative. What’s really great about Ponpu, though, is the hand-drawn art style, the weird but cool music and the enemy and character design, that I personally enjoyed a lot. If you search for a game to play with friends, I’d reckon that Ponpu could be right up your valley. The single-single player-campaign was quite nice. The other modes include a paint battle, coin battle, death battle and some other modes that you may know from Bomberman already. You can find the demo and wishlist the game over here.

Webbed

Webbed is a physics-based 2D Puzzle Platformer where you swing through the trees, spin sticky webs and make friends with bugs – Oh, and you play a very adorable spider!

I’ve been following Webbed for some time already on Twitter and was quite excited to finally play it this time around! Despite my big fear of spiders, I really like the design of the critter that we’re playing and – worst case – you can still turn all spiders into blobs using Arachnophobia mode. The demo plays a day before the events of the actual game (that should come out in 2021) and features you getting to know the controls and the different bees, flies, moths, ants and other insects that inhabit the demo-forest. You can swing and fly through the air, eat bugs, collect pollen for the bee next-door. You also get to spin your own webs in a very nice fashion and while there is not much to do in the demo, it certainly is still a lot of fun to play as a spider and actually be nice and not pop up in some corner of the room and be disgusting and horrifying and whatever. 

Anyways, you can find the demo and wishlist the game over here! I highly recommend it to you! Lots of fun!

Xuan Yuan Sword VII

Being developed by Softstar, I’m not sure if this is still an Indie Game or not. Either way, Xuan Yuan VII Sword seemed interesting as its demo was available during the latest Steam Game Festival and as it seems to combine Chinese mythology with Action-RPG mechanics.

Play as Taishi Zhao, a calm and reliable swordsman who accidentally got involved in a tragic fate and now has to start a journey to find out about the truth. At first, I thought that this game was really nothing special combat-wise. You have your light and heavy attacks. You can parry. You can dodge away… felt like the classic Action-RPG-experience to me… but then I got introduced to the Martial Arts Stances that unlock different variations of your heavy attacks with bonus effects and special attacks that have a cooldown. On top of that, you have different skill trees and trinkets that you can equip and change to customize your play style. Also, a glimpse at the inventory reveals that your weapon apparently consists of multiple parts that may be exchangeable, improving different aspects of your weapon. Overall, I really enjoy the demo. While the story feels generic and slow, combat is actually a ton of fun! 

So, after an hour, I was able to play through the tutorial and the first boss fight as well as some other small fights. The story feels generic at first but the loading screens tease different empires and mythological aspects to the story that I’d look forward to, personally. Combat was where the game really shines and in case, you wanna play it yourself, go visit the store over here.

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch

F.I.S.T. is a challenging Metroidvania Action Platformer where you play as a rabbit with an exoskeleton and you battle against enemies. Story-wise, you’re playing as Rayton, a former resistance war soldier who’s been living in seclusion ever since the Machine Legion invaded and colonized Torch City – a city inhabited by animals. After his friend was forcibly arrested, Rayton gets his weapon back and gets ready to strike his enemies with an iron fist! Literally!

The demo shows you two out of three weapons but oh boy, it feels so good. You can either hand out high single-target damage using your fist or you slash through enemies using the drill, featuring high AoE damage. The fist is a lot faster while the drill is able to fix you up with some nice damage if you manage to hit a few targets. Using heavy and light attacks, you’re able to perform powerful combos, grab enemies and throw them away, as well as stun-lock enemies when you time your attacks right. Overall, really satisfying! The Dieselpunk aesthetic of the game (powered by Unreal Engine 4) just looks stunning, especially when you perform some powerful combos on enemies and successfully trigger some of the stunning animations that come with them. 

The full game will feature the classic Metroidvania experience with an interconnected game map and secrets but also a total of three weapons: The fist, the drill, and the whip! F.I.S.T. has been on my wishlist for quite a while already, so I was really happy about finally being able to play it! The game’s supposed to come out in April 2021 but in case you want to play the short but fun demo yourself or maybe just wishlist the game, click here!

Superliminal

Superliminal is a First-person Puzzle game that plays with the ambiguity of depth and perspective. 

Generally, it reminded me a bit of CrowCrowCrow’s “The Stanley Parable”, mostly due to the style and the Narration that the game uses. The demo lets you play the first few puzzles where you essentially get to make objects bigger, smaller, move them away or create new ones using the angle and distance that you look at them. I’m actually quite excited about playing this game myself when I get my hands on it! 

The game’s coming out on November 5th and honestly, I really enjoyed the general vibe as well as the creative puzzles in it. You can check out the demo yourself over here

Undungeon

Undungeon is a hand-drawn Action Roguelike with RPG elements where you travel between dimensions and change the world around you in an attempt to reconstruct the shattered Multiverse. I’ve been following the Instagram account for a while now and it looked really promising so far! In the demo, you play as Void, an interesting character that uses normal attacks and mines and has some other interesting abilities – and you try to find the Heralds.

The game feels quite nice actually. There is real-time combat and you essentially are able to equip different body parts for different abilities on each of the characters. While the demo has only Void as a character, the full game has six heroes (like Void) planned, as well as some other dimensions and new abilities and story-lines for each of the characters. What bothered me a bit is that it doesn’t feel too good to hit enemies or objects in the world. You strike something and it seems to just slash through it without an additional sound-effect or something that signifies that you hit the target. Personally, that’s something that I would have liked a lot more in this game. After all, the animations in combat look great! Why wouldn’t they also sound great? The story is a bit complicated to explain and I’m not sure I get it either… but I enjoy the travelling mechanic and the way that the story seems to get connected eventually with some bits and pieces that you learn through conversations. 

At some point in the game, the developer arrives and wants to talk to you. He can’t leave the game until you wishlist it, so if you want to do that or maybe talk to him in the game as well, check out the demo and the steam page over here! If you’re not convinced yet, you can also end his suffering and send him home by stabbing him in the gut. Your choice!

Castle Flipper 

Castle Flipper is a Medieval First-Person Simulation where you clean, destroy and rebuild houses in a similar fashion to House Flipper! 

At first, I thought it was by the same devs as House Flipper… but it’s not. It’s by Pyramid Games who also made Occupy Mars: The Game. The game plays similar to how House Flipper works. You’re tasked with restoring a house or furnishing it or just cleaning an area. When you finish those tasks/quests, you earn gold that you then can use to build your dream Castle… or House or whatever. The game feels rather janky, though. I cannot build up the second floor without placing a ton of walls on the first wall, resulting in a rather limited environment that House Flipper doesn’t have. The game also limits you with the resources that you have. Building materials don’t grow on trees… or rather, they do but they also run out and it’s annoying. 

Maybe it’s not fair to compare this to House Flipper but House Flipper was at least a bit more fun and left you with more creative freedom. Occupy Mars also felt rather janky, from what I remember, so maybe it’s just a thing that Pyramid Games does with its games. If you want to try it out yourself, you can do so over here. I personally didn’t enjoy it too much when I noticed how limited you actually are. 

Monster Prom 2: Monster Camp

I’m actually a fan of Monster Prom, so I’m actually quite excited about this release. Instead of the usual school setting, we’re now at a Camp and the demo lets you play two turns with 9 events and some “smol surprises”. The final game will feature 360 events, 50+ characters, 20+ secret endings, 40+ drinks, 2 prologue minigames, and lots of new special outfits! 

For anyone that doesn’t know Monster Prom: It can be best described as a competitive dating sim. You are tasked with finding a date until Prom Night – and to do so, you go to different places and talk to the person that you like and eventually, you may end up with them liking you and going with you to Prom. Oh, and the cast of characters mostly consists of monsters, demons, and other interesting personalities! 

In the demo, you essentially play a four-player game with two rounds aka 8 events that you do by selecting different places and by making different choices. In one scenario, we got lost in the woods and were about to starve, so Damien wanted us all to cut off our arms and eat it for the sake of survival. Luckily, a pizza delivery person stops by and is completely lost. We have to convince them that this is the place that she’s looking for… so instead of convincing her, we end up doing the creative/bold way: By glueing animals together and sewing a heart to one of them. There we go! For whatever reason, it worked out just fine and I got boldness and creativity for it! These stats are important as they influence the way you react to different choices and scenarios. On top of that, you can get away with certain choices when you’re bold, creative, charming or smart enough. Just like in real life! 

Honestly, I love Monster Prom’s concept and everything. The conversations are fun and intriguing. At times it gets weird, sometimes it’s hilarious or just plain cute. Highly recommend the first game here (remind me to link back the review here once I’ve finished editing it!). The demo for the second game that, quote on quote, is coming out “SOON!” can be found over here – so check it out and wishlist it yourself!

Ring of Pain

Honestly, I love this game way too much and I’ve only played demos so far… it’s another card-based roguelike-ish dungeon crawler set in a dark and horrifying world. 

We already interviewed Simon Boxer from Twice Different more than a year ago at last year’s GamesCom and we even took a few other looks at the game so far, so I’ll just refer to those posts in case you want to see some screenshots and more information. Generally, this game didn’t change too much. The animations are a lot more polished and the stats and different items got changed a little bit here and there, so overall, it’s still difficult but satisfying and very much up my alley! Highly anticipating this title!

If you want to check out the demo, you can do so over here! Check out my other posts on Ring of Pain if you want to! 

Black Border

Black Border is a political game where you’re tasked with controlling papers at the border. The game is heavily inspired by Papers, Please and… I feel like it’s a rip-off.

And I don’t like to use the word “rip-off” or “copy” or whatever, but the systems, the speech, the rules, and even the responses feel like they were copy-pasted into the game from Papers, Please. The developer mentions that they are “inspired” by Papers, Please and they prompt the player to check the original out themselves… but I just don’t feel like playing a game that has no identity and that is just there to try and copy what another game did. 

Black Border is a Papers, Please rip-off that wasn’t even “better” or “as good”, so I’m honestly not a fan of it at all. You can try it out yourself if you want to over here. I’ll also link you Papers, Please over here so that you can play that yourself. Surely, while the styles are generally different, Black Border just doesn’t seem to have any new ideas to bring to the table, which is a bummer. It’s essentially a skin that you purchase of a different game – with the original game looking and being better. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh but… it looks and feels like a copy and I’m not a fan of plagiarism.

That’s essentially it for the Steam Game Festival Autumn Edition!

I wanted to try out a few other games. After all, Stronghold Warlords, Undying, Pumpkin Jack, Dwarfheim, Haven, Manifold Garden, Say No More, and Backbone looked really interesting. There are a fair few titles that are on my wishlist that also are available as demos during the Festival and honestly, it’s just way too much for me to look at. I’ve got a few other posts that need to get finished in the next few days and I’m not sure if I have the time to look at those. If I do, it may also be too late and the Steam Game Festival may already be over… I’ll see what I can do about it! 

Either way, I hope you enjoyed this post. I hope you play and maybe even wishlist some of the games here! Also, stay healthy! My city has become a Corona-Hotspot and I don’t want anyone else to also get restricted! Stay at home and wear your mask and stuff!

Cheers!

Steam Game Festival: Autumn Edition – Part 1

The Steam Game Festival is here! 

This time it’s the Autumn Edition, so strap on for a bunch of demos that I found intriguing! All in one post! Kind of! As you can see by the title of the post, there is going to be a second part and potentially a third part about the Steam Game Festival (if I end up finding even more demos to play), so uh… enjoy!

First up, I’d like to say that the Steam Game Festival is available until October 13th, 10 AM PDT! So, if you want to check out any of these or other game demos, be sure to grab them while they’re here! You can also check out the Steam Game Festival page on Steam to see some live streams, dev talks and other interesting things, available for a limited time!

So, while we did cover a whole bunch of games in a whole bunch of solo-posts in the past about the Steam Game Festival, I wanted to try something different and post about them while I’ve played all of them and summarise my thoughts a bit more precisely. The problem with the way I handled it last time was that a lot of the posts about the games came out AFTER the Steam Game Festival was over, resulting in you potentially not having played some of the titles. This time around, I heard about it a lot earlier and got to play the demos a lot earlier as well, resulting in me being able to work on this post *on time*. Hence, you’ll get a long post about the games that I played and that seemed interesting… and some recommendations!

Natural Instincts

Natural Instincts is a God-Sim where you manipulate animals into moving to different places, eating, drinking, mating, and essentially, living. You can do your best to protect the environment and save it from harm… or you’re just a normal human who’s effectively ruining the environment since forever and doesn’t give a fuck about nature. 

The demo only lets you play in and observe the European Forest where you get to see and influence Boars, Rabbits, Deers, Wolves and Bears. There are lush forests, long rivers, some small lakes and only limited resources available and overall, I enjoyed the experience there. Just observing these rabbits has been wonderful although I would have hoped for more quality settings since my PC can handle a lot more and since I would have loved to see the animals up close! Apart from that, it looks solid so far, although I’d love to have more information available on the screen as well as potentially some options to influence the climate, let stuff grow or let rabbits take over the world and whatever. 

The full game will feature the European Forest alongside the Arctic, Savannah, Pacific Ocean, Tropical Forest, and the Gulf of Mexico, so there is a variety of places to observe and to meddle in. You can find the game over here where DreamStorm Studios has yet to announce a release date.

Carto

Honestly, this was the title that I’m looking forward to the most. It’s an insanely adorable 2D Puzzle-Adventure where you find card pieces and piece them together to shape the world around you. By talking to people and interacting with different landmarks in the world, you get hints that tell you how to find new landmarks and people in the world. 

In one instance a fisherman got lost and only remembered that his house was on the West. It’s our task to guide him home, so we just quickly pop into the Card-Screen (Tab) and move his tile to the West to then unlock his house on the map tile. Obviously, we can still move everything around but we have to be careful as not all pieces fit together. There are different biomes, quest lines (sorta?) and a whole bunch of exploration fun – all tied up in a very cute and charming art style, an adorable soundtrack and an interesting mechanic about world-alteration and finding your family. 

I’m wish-listing this game for sure and I highly recommend checking out the short but charming demo for yourself over here! Sunhead Games’ title comes out on October 27th, so not too long until you get to piece together more of this wholesome game! 

Garden Story

Speaking of cute games, there’s also Garden Story! It’s amazingly cute and looked like just the right game for me in these times. You play as Concord, the youngest grape in “The Grove”, and as the newly-appointed Guardian, it’s your job to help restore the island!

But since that’s a huge task for a young grape like you, you’ve got to rely on your friends, consisting of shrooms, frogs and other fruits! The demo lets you explore the first part of the game a little bit and explains the basic mechanics with combat, loot and items. There are a lot of different characters and overall, I was a bit overwhelmed at first but as time went on, I kind of got the gist of it. We have to cultivate our home, foster the community, explore the world, fight the “Rot” and solve puzzles – and we have to do all of that to connect the different towns and repair old ties! Hooray! While I felt as if I got thrown into cold water at first, I actually learned to swim quite fast and really enjoyed my short stay in this vibrant world.

Picogram’s title is going to come out at some point in 2021, so be sure to play the demo yourself and wishlist the game right here

Calico

And since I already covered two cute titles, why not also talk about Calico? Well, I’d like to talk about this game but… I’m confused. 

You essentially are tasked with rebuilding the town’s cat café. The demo, however, runs super poorly, gives you little to no tutorial information and is full of bugs. At one point, I wanted to decorate a cake (as I had to, mostly) and the whole world got coloured weirdly, resulting in some trippy experience for me where I had to restart the demo. This happened a few times, so I then just decided to explore the seemingly hand-drawn world and play with kitties… but the controls feel janky and overall, my experience with this demo was more than frustrating. Personally, this game should be a good pick for me as it combines cats, a cutesie art style, and managing your own café. I like the way the world looks and the idea behind it but the execution is more than lacking and while the demo isn’t the full game… I would have wanted to play a more polished version of the demo to actually want to play the full game. 

More than anything, I really wanted to play with cats in this game and bake cakes and try out different features but it feels very Early Access to me. Bugs, janky controls, crashes, and the fact that there are no sound effects whatsoever (apart from the same loop of the same song) is just a giant turn-off, in my opinion. Idk, if you wanna check the game out for yourself, click here… and if not, then don’t. 

…there was no trailer for this one available…

Defenders of the Camp

With Defenders of the Camp, I thought that we had a sort of promising candidate at our hands. The idea behind leading a party of adventurers into forests, deserts and other places isn’t new or innovative but I thought that its style looked quite cool and expected a bit more. 

Just like with Calico, however, this is a barely playable demo. DotC seems to be a prototype where you can check out the base characters: A mage, a knight and a priest. Each with their own distinct roles: DPS, Tank, Support. They each have different skills but it all felt quite janky. At one time, my priest pulled a Leeroy Jenkins on me and charged into goblins who then slew the priest. My knight walked into a wall and got stuck so that the goblins were able to fight them off. Honestly, though, my mage did enough damage to mess everyone up, so I didn’t really think about it too much. Who needs a tank anyways? Who cares about the Support anyways?

But as time went on, and as I wanted to progress, I clicked on the different menus only to see that nothing’s really implemented. The skill tree menu is there but it’s not in the demo/prototype and while the stats are great and all… you have no way of moving faster. Alas, try it out if you wanna but personally, I found it frustrating to move at a snail’s pace, especially when you wanna kite enemies or when you want to actually enjoy the gameplay. 

Ecosystem

Just like Natural Instincts, Ecosystem tasks the player with taking care of a natural environment, with the difference that you actually create it yourself and observe the creatures as they evolve over time. 

You generate some terrain, add mountains, hills, caves and other formations into the map, then you add plants and animals and… after the spores grow up, you get your first few species! Play GOD as you decide who dies and who lives! You can boost some creatures using points and overall, you strive to protect the environment you created and to see what crazy creatures are born. The strongest and fastest survive and reproduce while others with their own mutations and evolutionary steps end up dying. You can also edit the creatures yourself and see how they fare.

Originally, I really liked the idea but thought that it may be a bit frustrating to play as your favourite creatures may not fair so well while your fewer favourite creatures end up triumphing… but that fear wasn’t justified at all. I really enjoyed meddling with all of these monstrosities, creating long predators and growing caves and other formations to make plant life possible. In the end, I had a blast and you should definitely check it out yourself!

Rawmen

Rawmen is another title that I tried out and honestly, it’s a lot of fun. 

Rawmen could best be described as a fast-paced Arena-Shooter where you fight other players using kitchen utensils and ingredients. There are a lot of fun items as well as a lot of puns in the game. The different game modes seem entertaining but what’s bothering me is that you queue up for a random game mode but during the queue time you get to see what mode it is. So, if you don’t like climbing a tower by bombing yourself to the top using exploding tomatoes… then you just leave the queue and queue up again. Especially as it’s a demo, it’s a bit rough to find players to play with. Hence, while it can be fun when you get into a game, it’s a bit rough when you have to wait for a while or when people decide to just leave the game when they start losing.

Overall, though, it’s a lot of fun. Especially as you get to customize your character a fair bit, play with different items in different modes and it’s just hilarious in its own way. You can find the game over here

A lot of demos this time around…

…and we’re still not done with them. The problem with the Steam Game Festival is that just like in Summer, there are way too many titles to play. Alas, I’ve made one post now and I’ll play more demos later and publish a second post on this season’s Steam Game Festival. I hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to recommend some demos to me as well. As for Part 2, I’d like to take a look at a bunch of titles, including Undungeon, Ponpu, Neurodeck, Monster Prom 2, F.I.S.T., Xuan-Yuan Sword VII, Webbed, Superliminal, Castle Flippers, Ruin Raiders and maybe I’ll make yet another post about Ring of Pain! There are a bunch of other demos that I wanted to play but haven’t downloaded yet… but those will have to wait until I’m done with these posts. Time’s limited and the Steam Game Festival is over soon, so be sure to check at least some of them out!

To keep up-to-date with all of my posts on the Steam Game Festival, you can visit this link here where you can find all posts with the “Steam Game Festival” tag! So, check out the other posts, if you want to!

Anyways, stay healthy! Happy Gaming!

Cheers!

Looking forward to “Grounded”

If you’ve seen “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”, “The Ant Bully”, or “Antz”, you might like the following title. In Obsidian Entertainment’s “Grounded” you’re playing as one of four kids, shrunk to the size of insects and other small critters. You get to roam a lawn, exploring vast grass-steam forests while scavenging and foraging for resources to survive the dangers that come with not being normal-sized.

The world is beautiful if you look close enough – and well, with your size, you can get close to everything. Ants are as big as you while stink beetles and ladybugs are terrifyingly big! Of course, there are also small critters like mites that you can hunt down for food and… well… as the game tells you in the title screen, there are also spiders. But fear not, fellow arachnophobes, for there is an arachnophobia mode in this game that lets you turn those horrific and vile creatures into weird bobbly balls floating in the air. This also affects their creepy sounds, resulting in a pleasant experience even when you encounter them.

I constantly caught myself staring into the beautiful areas around you – I mean, when if not now do we get to see the world from this perspective?

Houses and benches are huge! We even get to explore “landmarks” such as some weird shrinking machine and soda cans. Resources seem to be rather lush and alas, we gather pebbles and sprigs, mushrooms and clover, so that we can get started with some simple tools for the beginning.

While you chop down trees in other games, you’ve got to chop down the grass, using an actual axe. Quite bizarre in a way but it does make sense. And well, despite stink beetles, spiders and mites wanting to kill you, there are also a bunch of friendly fellows around like ladybugs and ants.

I love ants. The ants in this game look incredibly cute, constantly scavenging for food, just like us, or carrying around sticks and pebbles. “In theory”, I thought… “In theory, I could attack them. I’ve got the spear and all of that already, after all!” – But I didn’t dare to attack such cute little fellows, mostly since I’m afraid that they might gang up on me after sending out their threat pheromones.

There seems to be a full-fledged story available to the game once it comes out but inside of the demo I was able to play for more than half an hour – and the story-part reached until we fixed the (presumably) shrink-reversal-machine that Spoilers blew up on us shortly after we “fixed” it.

Materials can be analyzed for recipes inside of the analyzer that is set near our research globe. Food can be cooked at a roasting spit and, in theory, we can even build a base of sorts with walls, doors and floors!

Honestly, I’m really excited about this game, especially since it does tickle that one itch that I have for base-building survival games! Especially as it also features unconventional aspects to survival. You’ve got to find water drops on grass stems to not dehydrate, for instance, which is a nice touch!

Multiplayer is also something that is going to be included in the full game, so this might get really cool really soon. Grounded gets released in Early Access on July 28th, 2020. It’s by Obsidian Entertainment, so it’s bound to be good, and well, the game so far has been looking great already, especially as this is only a demo!

The only thing that I’d wish for would be an option to turn the spiders into some cute beetles or something, as even the bobbly heads are a little bit triggering to me. I’d also love it if you could turn their sounds into something else that is less creepy. But maybe that’s just my arachnophobia speaking…

Cheers!

Looking out for “Traveller’s Rest”

I’ve enjoyed my fair share of shop or tavern keeping simulations from Recettear to Moonlighter to Shoppe Keep 1 & 2, so it was a bit of a no-brainer for me that I’d try out the demo for Traveller’s Rest. 

But what exactly is Traveller’s Rest?

In Traveller’s Rest, you take charge of a rundown Inn, serve guests food and ales, and where you farm your veggies, hops and grains yourself to become self-sufficient.

Since your tavern/inn’s kind of run-down, you’ve got decorate, clean and unlock a bunch of features as you progress through the quests that the game offers to you. As you gain experience and level up, you also unlock skills, tech trees, and features like ordering ingredients, renting rooms to guests, hiring staff and a ton of other things!

The demo starts off somewhat slowly as you’re being told how to build, clean and serve – the basics, basically. Over time, the Inn gets rather busy with guests swarming in and you having to clean after them when they trash your place, calm them down when they get mad and get rich when they pay up and leave!

I feel like Traveller’s Rest has a bunch of everything in there. The music is nice, the progressing feels steady and overall, it’s a nice little game with all kinds of features. It honestly kind of reminded me of Graveyard Keeper since the style is similar and since the malting and fermenting are quite similar as well. The only thing missing are the corpses that you throw down the river, but I doubt that would fit into Traveller’s Rest. 

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this two-in-game-days-long demo, despite the fact that it was a tad annoying that you’ve got to wait so long for the fermenting or malting or whatever to be done. I guess, a speed-up-option of sorts for those kinds of things would be quite nice, like meditation or something. 

The game’s coming out in Mid 2020. Be sure to wishlist and follow the game on Steam if you’re interested in supporting a solo-project. 

Cheers!

Looking out for “Automaton”

Another interesting title that caught my eye during the Steam Game Festival (Summer Edition) was Cicle Interactive’s “Automaton”, which is planned to be released on August 3rd 2020! It’s a Puzzle-Adventure set in a post-apocalyptic desert world where a small little robot ventures out in search for fuel. You explore abandoned bunkers, stations and other facilities, solving puzzles, in a quest to find out what that thing was that fell from the sky. 

When I started this game up, I saw a lot of potential in it!

Similar to NieR: Automata, Automaton features mixed third-person mechanics and 2D perspectives on top of vast open areas, which I find rather cool. You go from one landmark to another, only limited by the fuel reserves that shut you down when you run empty. There is little to no introduction into the game and little to no hand-holding. The game leaves you be, similar to thatgamecompany’s Journey where you also only orient yourself through different eyecatchers and landmarks that you see in the distance. 

The world is really pretty, the protagonist is insanely adorable (a common theme at this point) and the soundtrack is just astonishing so far! 

The only issues I have with the game are the fuel-mechanic itself. While limiting your access to the World with that mechanic is rather interesting and quite innovative, I find it a bit harsh on the player and flat-out frustrating to have the player die and start anew. A checkpoint here or there would have been really appreciated – but maybe that’s something that’s a thing in the full release. 

Automaton will come out on August 3rd, 2020. Check it out yourself or wishlist/follow it on Steam if you’re intrigued by this little piece. 🙂

Cheers!

Looking out for “For the People”

By now the Steam Game Festival has already ended, but fear not! There will be more posts about the demos that I played! Alas, this post is about For the People – a game about time management and political choices. We take control of the newly appointed mayor of Iron-1, Francis Rivers, who has to try to appease all kinds of different parties from the working class to the military to other people that don’t just seem to get along.

Brezg Studio describes it as an “acute social novel with strategic elements”, which honestly fits really well as you sign documents, make difficult choices, appoint agents for different missions to deal with certain tasks, on top of managing all kinds of appointments, tasks and, at last, more paperwork.

You need to manage your time efficiently while also strategically distributing resources to the people in order to earn their trust and increase your influence over them. Of course, you can’t please everyone. I tried to do that… but it just seems as if you’ve got to take some sides here and there, which obviously results in the displeasure of other parties.

In my case, I ended up trying to provide sufficient healthcare to everyone, no matter their race, gender or class, but I couldn’t appease the military force or the fire force who were in need of resources. I also made some difficult decisions here and there where I denied funds to some people who would obviously abuse them for some bad things… meanwhile other times, I made the wrong choice and accepted proposals that were based on lies and misinformation.

It all comes down to this: You can’t do everything right. You can’t appease everyone. Just go your way and see what happens!

There are five different endings in the full game, although the demo only lets you play through the first few days, so I couldn’t really see what’s going to happen. I’m quite excited about how it all plays out. I’d love to see if there are any possible romance options as well, since I kind of ship Francis with our assistant, Helen.

And then there’s the style. It’s just insanely great. You’ve got these visual novel style cutscenes here and there with incredibly stylized moments in the next scene and cuts to different points in time, which I found rather impressive for a small studio’s first game!
My explanation of all of this probably doesn’t make much sense unless you see it for yourself, so to make it easier to understand: The presentation is great. Just go see for yourself!

And then there’s the soundtrack. It was great! Yeah, I can’t really describe it too well, either…

Honestly, I’m really excited about this game. It kind of reminded me of “Papers, Please” and “Through the Darkest of Times” as well as (potentially) “Beholder”. All lovely games and all so unique that TtDoT probably fits the most style-wise and theme-wise, though the other games may fit more choice-wise and gameplay-wise.

Either way, this is a game that I’ve got wishlisted for sure. The Release Date (2020) is relatively unspecific, so I just hope that it arrives soon!

Looking out for “Critters for Sale”

Critters for Sale is… interesting. It’s a weird and mesmerizing experience. I don’t exactly know what drew me to it when I saw it on the demo page but without really knowing anything about it, I installed it and started it up only to find myself in some surreal ride full of events that I’m not sure I really comprehend.

“Experience death from the comfort of your seat”, the Store description says. Sonoshee, the dev behind Critters for Sale, is also known for Rym 9000 but apart from the equally mesmerizing soundtrack and some weird symbols here and there, I couldn’t really draw a connection between the two games at all.

Critters for Sale is a text-based Noir Adventure… I think?

It features Gore and Violence on top of a lot of different symbols and metaphors as well as a story that I’m not quite following at this point in time. The demo lasts about 13 minutes as you play until a certain point of time of the first chapter, “Snake”. You play as Sergei, a taxi-driver, who gets messaged by… Michael Jackson? You’re supposed to come to the Limelight Club that is nearby.

Do you get out of the comfort of your bed or do you stay asleep? Do you take the bait or do you stay paranoid? Do you believe the man who’s looking like Michael Jackson? Do you listen to his crazy story of the future and your connection… or do you doubt it all and throw it all away? And what do you make of the weird sculptures and the people in the club?

It’s honestly a wild ride from start to end.

The sounds, the music, the aesthetic… it’s just insanely mysterious, mesmerizing and weirdly alluring. The different parts of the screen feel satisfying to click on. There are different parts and different ways to go through the story. You may leave the club early? You may find some interesting new detail? Who knows?

It’s sinister and grainy. It’s weird and grotesque. It’s unhinged and… I’m not sure but I think free describes it quite well? It doesn’t try to be overly scary or funny or dark or sad. It just does its thing. It’s not too sad, it’s not too funny. The game’s doing it right without trying too hard.

Critters for Sale looked “interesting” but caught me off-guard as I expected nothing and was flat-out overwhelmed.

I’m not sure what to say about it all. I love it. I’m excited. I’m hyped. I wanna play more. I wanna see where this goes. I want it now… but it’s getting released in 2021, so I guess we’ll have to wait for that…

If you don’t mind a little gore and a little violence… check this title out. Wishlist it on steam. Follow the game’s development. Check it out on itch.io as well! Definitely recommended!

Looking out for “Starmancer”

Starmancer looked like the closest thing to any of the games that I’m usually enjoying and all the demos I’ve seen on the Steam Game Festival. It’s getting published by Chucklefish which fits most of my favourite games… it’s a strategy, base-building simulation game based in Space and you essentially play as a powerful A.I. who’s controlling a base while researching, expanding and upgrading everything.

You try to survive starvation, sabotage and other threats – and worst case, you’ll just regrow your humans.

Developer: Ominux Games
Publisher: Chucklefish
Release Date: "Coming Soon"
Genres: Simulation, Strategy, Base-Building, Space, Indie

The idea of either “following protocol or going rogue” was really interesting to me, so I thought I’d give Ominux Games’ “Starmancer” a shot and I’m pleasantly surprised.

That’s us!

You start up with researching some technologies and building up biomass synthesizers that fuel your production and are essential for your success. You then link up your machines with pipes and wires while managing your colonists.

You send out humans on missions, make money and advance your production further to ensure a happy life to your colonists.
The full game will feature diplomacy, exploration, and modding support as well as the features that are already in available in the demo like personal relationships, memories, rumours, jobs, unique colonists, procedural generation, Insanity and Mutiny.

All beginning is hard!

All the good stuff!

The demo features 60 minutes of gameplay, although you may restart it whenever you want. You’re also granted a lot of starting money for the sake of exploration, as well as unlocked misc items to ensure your colonists’ happiness.

It all plays surprisingly well for an Alpha. There are no bugs from what I’ve seen, yet, and the mechanics work rather well. I still need to create a successful colony to date as I’m always failing in the worst possible way.
In one run, one of my colonists started picking fights with everyone as they were hungry. This lead to them making enemies out of everyone and eventually it started to pick fights with all the other colonists (who were all pacifists), resulting in two dead and one living colonist.

Charistmatic but disgusting? Also an aggressive douchebag? Ah, whatever!

I wanted to revive both colonists but sadly the mad one also turned into a cannibal and started eating them while having this urge of bloodlust… So, I had to starve the mad cannibal out until I could regrow the other ones. Starving her out didn’t work out well… So then I just vented the oxygen into space, so that she suffocates and dies that way. That worked.

When I generated more oxygen a fire started spreading and destroyed the human growth machine, resulting in no way for me to grow more and alas one run ending.

In the next one, I ran out of money and had no way to recover… and in a different one, I ran out of time and had to restart the demo as I played it for yet another hour.

So, I guess, you could say that I had a blast! I really enjoyed this game. I’d describe it as a mix of Oxygen Not Included and RimWorld.

Not again!

I really liked the fact that your colonists can get better at the jobs they’re doing which would then unlock more research options and alas more blueprints and items! I would have liked it a tad more if I had a better way to see the colonists happiness and if there were more ways to increase their happiness, like giving them some rest here and there or even changing their schedule completely.

So, this is essentially a winner. I’m really looking forward to the full release which is “coming soon”.

Realm of the mad cannibal!

Wishlist it and get notified when it comes out! The Alpha Demo is also still available for download on Steam, so try it out if you want to! 🙂

Looking out for “RoboCo”

I used to be a waiter, as I previously mentioned a couple of times, and, well,… I wasn’t all that great at it. I wasn’t the fastest but I cared about my guests. Sometimes I wished I could have hit “space” and restarted, only to add some extra servos, wheels and hinges… maybe some blocks here and there… and to top it off… a moustache. A glorious moustache! But I can’t just do that unless I hop into RoboCo, the cute little Robot-Building Physics game where we build adorable little robot waiters and stuff!

Filament Games did a great job with this one. They really did! There is only one challenge in the demo and it’s about serving a sandwich to a guest. Yep, that’s right! We have ONE job! Are we going to fail it? We’ll see.

When I started the game, I already an idea of how I wanted my robot to look like. He’d be rolling around on one wheel or a small platform with a few wheels while only being held up by one rod to which his body is attached to. He’d also be very classy and demand tips for his services.

Naturally, I started building and already had to realise that not only it’s hard to manoeuvre around on only two wheels… but it’s also hard to stop with four wheels only, so I need to do some balancing… or find a different solution!

I present to you: My solution! Four extendable pistons that essentially stop us from falling onto the ground… we always fall at an angle and get to get up again. While this worked well as a solution, I couldn’t figure out how to assign controls… until much later! Alas, I could have also used four rods for this instead… or one in the front and one in the back. Oh well!
Sadly, the plate breaks when it falls onto the pistons, resulting in property damage, which is always tough to deal with as a waiter… be it as a human or as a robot.

Next up, I added two arms to the robot to make him look friendly… on top of adding a platform of soft blocks to his pistons… These essentially catch the plate but in case of falling, the plate would get smashed, too, so I ended up spacing out the wheels a bit for a stable ride… which rendered the pistons useless but whatever.

Since the “plate” was a tad low, though, it couldn’t reach the table… Furthermore, the plate with the sandwich would constantly be on the verge of shattering and/or falling, hence ruining our chance to get a tip! Alas, I had to take some actions to tackle both of these issues.

My solution? First up, we’ve got a piston that moves the soft tablet up and down, using Q and E, to adjust to the table’s height. The tablet also features an increase at the back of it, so that it doesn’t fall off the tablet before reaching the goal. Alas, there was still the problem of softly placing it down, so I added a rotating part to the tablet that would then softly tilt the tablet using I and K. This way we could ensure that we’re able to balance out the tablet while walking to the table… all while also ensuring that we can slowly drop off the plate with the sandwich UPRIGHT on the plate and without touching the table. This ended up only requiring one arm, so we built a second arm in the same anatomically correct fashion. It features the HANDinator-1337™!


Before we proceed with the end of the demo-challenge, I’d like to talk about my overall impressions:

The game is insanely cute and derpy featuring all kinds of cute little details and customizability-options. The demo let me build up this robot however I wanted. I got a bunch of blocks, wheels, hinges, motors and other objects to construct this beautiful lad here. The technical side of things is a bit hard to approach at first… but once you try some stuff out, you get the bigger picture of how things work.

The game was a ton of fun (the fact that I spend more than an hour building up this waiter-bot should testify for that) and the music and style are quite pleasant as well, which results in a great experience overall. Worth checking out! I’m going to wishlist this one! 🙂 It’s coming soon as well, so that’s a pleasure!


And here we are… after nearly two hours of work done on this robot… we created a lovely waiter, able to catch, deliver and place a sandwich without any problems. The guest, as you can see, is terrified about the fact that his sandwich could fall any minute…

But in the end, it all worked out! Hooray! Eureka!

Now, pay me. Thank you.

I’m serious.

Looking out for “Occupy Mars: Prologue”

I’ve always been fascinated by space and games that play in space. Landing on some planet, starting colonies, all that good stuff. Surviving Mars is a great game, Kerbal Space Program is something I wanna be good at, and well,… today’s Demo: “Occupy Mars: Prologue” by Pyramid Games is something I want to like…

You are on Mars, duh.

You have your tools and your rover. You build and upgrade your base, discover new regions, conduct mining operations, retrieve water and generate oxygen while growing plants and doing your best to colonize Mars. You try to make living on Mars possible, step by step. I love the premise.

It’s a highly technical, open-world, sandbox, survival game that really scratches that itch that other games have scratched in the past.

It’s got a day/night cycle and makes use of mainly solar power. You also try to fix broken parts using highly realistic mechanics like SMD, smoldering, hot-air and electronic measurements, fixing cables and platines and stuff.

I’m getting “The Martian” vibes from this game, which is really neat in a way. I really like the idea of ultimately trying to create an atmosphere on Mars using Mars.

Buuuut… it’s super janky. I struggled for ten minutes to try and pick up a rock with the rover’s crane. Some cables that you unplug or pick up, vanish into the ground, rendering the game broken sometimes. It’s only a demo and the game will start out in Early Access as well but I feel like some of the “realism” is harming the experience as you are trying to lift a rock or getting those ores while your oxygen, food and hydration meters are emptying over time, threatening your survival… I feel like some guide rails would be really helpful.

We’ll see if that changes in the actual game.

I guess I’d tune in for the finished game but I wouldn’t enjoy an EA-phase where the game breaks itself. I feel like the intent and the premise are there but they don’t necessarily are just “good enough” at this point. Alas, I’ve got it on my wishlist, waiting for possibly the full release… and then I might pick it up and review it… or I might not, judging from other people’s response to it.

Looking out for “Hundred Days”

Coming from a region where a lot of wine (primarily Riesling) is made, I thought that this one is a title that I HAVE TO TRY OUT. “Hundred Days” is “a game of choice, nostalgia and winemaking”, which is honestly a perfect match for me.

Broken Arms Games’ title “Hundred Days” features different action-cards that you play out to place tiles into your schedule. Obviously, you only have so much time in the day for the different tasks, resulting in you having to carefully place tiles like Harvesting, Weeding, Marketing, and some other options.

Developer: Broken Arms Games
Publisher: Broken Arms Games
Release Date: "Soon"
Genres: Agriculture, Management, Economy, Simulation

There are a lot of different things that you need to get used to in the game, like the fermentation-process that looks and sounds more difficult than it actually is.

When I first started playing the demo, I ended up just trying things out only to find out what the results would be like. I personally like sweeter wines more, so I tried to get a couple of sweet ones… sadly, there were no white wines in the demo, from what I could tell, so I ended up creating mid-tier wines with not enough acidity and way too much sweetness, which is fine, I guess? These wines would go well with your dinner, probably!

A lot of the processes that are being pictured in the game appear to be accurate from what I gathered. As mentioned, I’m from a region that has a lot of vineyards and alas I know a thing or two about the process of wine-making. I used to be a waiter at a restaurant and a lot of the winemakers came around and told me a thing or two about the whole industry, so that was quite fascinating.

In a way, the game got me to dwell in nostalgia but I’m not entirely sure how it would sell to other people, especially as not everyone has a connection to wine and since not everyone might connect the dots when it comes to making a choice and seeing it getting reflected in the stats on the side. Alas, that would need a bit more clarity!

Features that I’d be interested in seeing would include upgrades to get more workers, bigger fields, and more stock. I’d also like it if you could do research projects or maybe even customize your vineyard. Another great thing would be if you could branch out into liquor and create distilleries. That’d be a nice little touch, especially as a lot of winemakers seem to get into “the good stuff” as well as a side-job, which is quite nice, actually!

Overall, it’s been an enjoyable demo! I’m looking forward to seeing more when the game gets fully released!

Cheers!