Introducing ‘Indie Showcase: Magazine Edition’

Remember the Steam Next Fest that took place one month ago that I said I would make some content for? It’s here! I played so many great demos and I am very excited to finally share them.

One night I had an idea – which then became a personal goal – to create a magazine. It seemed like a fun challenge to get to practice writing, graphic design and art all at once, and that turned out to be true.

Although the festival has been and gone, the games last forever. Some still have demos going and some have even released, so it is always worth taking a look.

You can view on desktop directly or download a PDF below to view at your own leisure. This is something that is a little different for me so if you have enjoyed, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

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Indie Game Festivals – 2021 Releases

I recently made a post about a bunch of the Indie Games that have released this year, of who’s demos I had played over the years. Since I didn’t cover all the Indie Game Festivals as comprehensively as I would have liked at the time, I decided to do the same thing again except this time, for games that got their releases last year. This still feels relevant as thankfully, the games havent gone anywhere. In fact, now may be better than ever what with updates and such.

4th February 2021 – NUTS – Joon, Pol, Muutsch, Char & Torfi

NUTS is a single-player walking simulator surveillance mystery. Record the squirrels, report your findings, and piece together what’s really going on in Melmoth Forest.

This games striking art style grabbed my attention almost as much as the premise. We play as a sort of wildlife watcher. Our job is to place cameras and watch them each night, in order to track the movements of Squirrels. I really enjoyed both the puzzle of the tracking and the potential of the story that is being told through it.

You can get the game for yourself here on Steam

18th February 2021 – Lemon Cake – Cozy Bee Games

Restore an abandoned bakery and prepare pastries from farm to table! Grow fresh ingredients in the greenhouse, cook pastries & sweets in the kitchen and serve your baked goods to hungry customers in your own shop!

Lemon Cake is an especially cute bakery management game. The adorable art and the cozy vibes made this a pleasant experience all around. Eloise from Cozy Bee Games is also very open with her development, sharing her designs and progress on Twitter and Twitch!

Here is a link to the Steam Page

26th February 2021 – Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery – Kiary Games

Everybody are missing in a town. Find the answers of town mystery in a point and click adventure game with escape the room mechanics

I love escape room games. Tiny Room Stories: Town Mysteries features escape rooms – or escape buildings/areas – each in their own little dioramas, connected by an ongoing story. The difficulty was perfect for me to make it an enjoyable experience that I want more of.

Check it out on Steam here.

22nd July 2021 – Song of Farca – Wooden Monkeys

Hack into crime scenes, look for evidence, analyze data, interrogate criminals, track suspects and deal with the consequences of your decisions. This is a dark and brutal detective story with a Black Mirror-esque atmosphere of digital dominance and the narrative structure of a US crime procedural.

The Song of Farca Prologue is still available to play for free at the time of writing. This game is set in an apartment, but it is easy to forget as you are interacting with the story through different panels, experiencing the world beyond. It is fun making use of the tools given to you and working your way through mysteries in a way that only a private detective could.

Try the prologue or buy the game here.

17th September 2021 – TOEM – Something We Made

Set off on a delightful expedition and use your photographic eye to uncover the mysteries of the magical TOEM in this hand-drawn adventure game. Chat with quirky characters, solve their problems by snapping neat photos, and make your way through a relaxing landscape!

TOEM is a black and white adventure game where our goal is exploration and taking photographs. I had a lot of fun scouring every area for things to snap to fill up my compendium. Best of all, the game has just had a big update, including new areas and more. So even if you have already played there is every reason to go back and take another look.

Get it here on Steam.

14th October 2021 – Growing Up – Vile Monarch

This is the story of your life. Experience the entire journey from toddler to adulthood. Go to schools, learn new things, meet new friends, and have wild adventures! Every choice you make will influence your future career, and decide who your romantic partner will be. Who will you become?

When I first started this demo I had no idea what to expect. I had never played a game that looked or played like it. I ended up really enjoying it and being sad when I reached the end. In this game you will play through your characters life, shaping their personality and experiences through the choices that you make. Balance their needs and life decisions and see how you turn out.

Check it out here.

18th October 2021 – Sacred Fire: A Role Playing Game – Poetic

Sacred Fire is a psychological role-playing game. You’re a refugee hunted by Rome, your actions compromised by fear and rage. Build up your willpower to control story choices and master battle tactics. Outsmart opponents and gain allies. Wage war or strive for peace. End up a hero or an outcast.

I loved this demo. I have never played anything like it and I got really into it. The art style is somehow simple and complex at the same time. It is a game full of choices and you are in a lot of control of how to deal with situations. Or at least, you are in control of how you intend to deal with them, as long as the dice roll goes your way.

The game is currently in Early Access with a free demo here.

19th October 2021 – Escape Simulator – Pine Studio

First-person puzzler you can play solo or in an online co-op (best with 2-3 players, but playable with more). Explore a set of highly interactive escape rooms. Move furniture, pick up and examine everything, smash pots and break locks! Supports community rooms through the level editor.

Escape Simulator is an escape room experience specifically designed for multiple players. The rooms themselves are fun and well themed, and another selling point is that you can create your own rooms, as well as play rooms others have created.

Here is the Steam page if you would like to check it out.

21st October 2021 – Growbot – Wabisabi Play

An adventure about a robot saving her home from a dark crystalline force. Set upon a biopunk space station bursting with fantastic plants and aliens.

Growbot is an adorable point and click adventure. While art style can play a huge part on whether I enjoy a game, that isnt the only reason I liked it. Upon solving the puzzles and reading every bit of lore I could find, I was fascinated by this world that I was learning about. From what I can tell, this game is fairly short. I would love to stream it sometime.

Take a closer look here.

16th November 2021 – Moncage – Optillusion

Moncage is a unique puzzle adventure game where you explore a fascinating world trapped inside a mysterious cube. With each face displaying a unique scene, you’ll have to leverage the illusions and discover the hidden links to solve the puzzle.

There were so many unique games released in 2021 and Moncage is no exception. This is a puzzle game in which you need to manipulate objects within an environment, in order to alter the perspective. It is very satisfying when you solve a puzzle and everything lines up the way it should. It is also telling a story throughout. I would say it is comparable to a 3D Gorogoa, all be it in a totally different style. 

You can buy it on Steam here.

There were of course many more Indies released in 2021, but I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the demo of every game above. It is so great to watch a game go from releasing a demo to releasing the full game, rooting for them and seeing how they do. Now, I will get back to playing more demos, scouting for more of these delights!

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Indie Game Festivals – 2022 Releases

Over the last couple of years since the very first Steam Game Festival, I have spent a lot of time playing the demos of Indie Games. The idea of these festivals was fantastic to me. Games get the chance to showcase what they are, and I get the chance to try games that I may not try otherwise. Since then, I have covered festivals on my blog, on my YT channel and in my discord. It is something that I enjoy very much and would like to continue for years into the future. Seeking out the Indie gems is like panning for gold and when you find it, it makes you want to shout from the rooftops.

I got the idea to look back over the demos I have played back in July when 4 of those games released in one month! It is so nice to see games that I first tried back in 2020 finally get their release. So here are the demos that I enjoyed that have released this year, and some more to watch out for in the coming months. I haven’t played them all but I am itching to!

March 19th – Eternal Threads – Cosmonaut Studios

Eternal Threads is a single-player, first-person story-driven puzzle game of time manipulation, choice and consequence.

I prioritised playing this demo, not only because it looked up my alley but it is set in the North of England. I was not disappointed. Taking place within a house, this narrative based walking sim absorbed me, flashing between the past and the present, piecing together what happened. This is a game that I would love to stream sometime.

You can check out Eternal Threads on Steam here.

April 14th – Cat Café Manager – Roost Games

Travel to the sleepy village of Caterwaul Way and rebuild your grandmother’s cat cafe. Renovate your restaurant, befriend the local cats and townsfolk, forge lasting friendships, unravel catty mysteries, and build a home for dozens of unique felines!

Cat Café Manager is a very chill, cute, management game. The problem with management games is that you don’t know whether there will be a difficulty spike, or equally, whether it will stay engaging for long. As far as I can tell, this is a nice, easy going game that would be a good entry to the genre for anyone intimidated by management sims or looking for something that isnt too taxing on the brain.

Buy or Wishlist it here.

May 20th – Apico – Tngineers

APICO is a laid-back beekeeping sim game about breeding, collecting, & conserving bees! Set in a series of lush environments, APICO uniquely combines resource gathering, biology, and beekeeping minigames, taking ideas from a mix of real-life and fantasy apiculture & floriculture.

This is another management game, but instead of serving food you are breeding bees! The simplistic art style is easy on the eyes, giving way to the addiction of repopulating the island. I really enjoyed trying to breed them all, and the demo is still available so you can try bee-fore you buy.

Find it on steam here.

July 14th – Escape Academy – Coin Crew Games

Welcome to Escape Academy. Train to become the ultimate Escapist. Solve Puzzles. Hack Servers. Meet the Faculty. Brew the perfect cup of tea. Escape Rooms in single player or co-op with a friend – local or online!

Escape Academy is a delightful escape room puzzle game. If you enjoy escape rooms then you are sure to like it. With a fun story between and silky smooth gameplay, I can’t recommend this one enough. This is the only game on the list that I have played in full, and you can too right now if you have Game Pass!

Here is a link to the steam page.

July 15th – The Final Earth 2 – Florian van Strien

The Final Earth 2 is a vertical sci-fi city builder. Earth is unlivable, so you decide to create a space colony. Gather resources, then build and research your way to a better future! Grow your city from an exploration ship to a huge metropolis, full of advanced technology. What will you build?

This is a great city builder. Easy to pick up, but so difficult to put down. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. The graphics are simple but clean and clear, making a visually unique game that you can get creative with. Definitely a recommend from me.

Check it out on Steam here.

July 20th – Hazel Sky – Coffee Addict Studio

Hazel Sky is a heartfelt adventure about a young engineer facing his destiny and his desires. Fix ramshackle flying machines and jump, climb, swing, and slide through a beautiful, mysterious world.

Hazel Sky is one of the earliest demos that I played and I was very happy to see it recently get a release. I can’t speak for the rest of the game, but the demo made me laugh out loud, and contained intrigue that made me want to see the rest of this world.

You can take a look for yourself here.

July 28th – Bear and Breakfast – Gummy Cat

Bear and Breakfast is a laid-back management adventure game where you build and run a bed and breakfast…but you’re a bear.

I am seeing a trend here. And the trend is lovely, laid back management sims. In this one, you play as a bear running a bed and breakfast. I really do have a spectrum of management covered! You can explore while gathering resources to make your business the best that it can be and meet the people(?) around you, all with minimal stress!

For more info check out the Steam page here.

July 28th – Lord Winklebottom Investigates – Cave Monsters

It’s the 1920s and the world’s foremost detective is about to embark on his most challenging case yet. Thankfully, in this world that’s not quite like our own, there’s nobody better to crack the case than the great detective and gentleman giraffe, Lord Winklebottom.

I really want to play this game! Lord Winklebottom is a classic, point and click murder mystery adventure game. I love the style, it feels so nostalgic and has charm. The people are animals (obviously), fully voiced, and British. As someone who loves playing detective.. Yes please to all of the above!

Buy the game for yourself here.

September 13th – Deadwater Saloon – Creative Storm Entertainment / Tanglefoot Games

Dive into the wild west as a saloon owner in a volatile frontier town. Customize your character and face the consequences of your choices as you forge friendships and enemies of townsfolk, travellers, outlaws and lawmen. Build the most famous saloon in the territory, or be overwhelmed and destroyed.

I was so mixed about this one. On one hand, I had problems with it. But on the other, I couldn’t stop playing. Two hours in and I finally forced myself to stop. At the time of writing the game has just released, so I will be interested to see if the problems have been fixed!

Check it out on steam here.

All of the above have released so far this year. But wait.. There’s more! September and beyond are full of releases.

September 22nd – Beacon Pines – Hiding Spot

Beacon Pines is a cute and creepy adventure game. Sneak out late, make new friends, uncover hidden truths, and collect words that will change the course of fate!

I really enjoyed this one. The mixture of its really unique art style, and the contrast of cute but eerie makes me want to continue. The closest tone I can think of is if Night in the Woods, except younger characters. The gameplay however is a story book narrative puzzle. You collect terms that you can add to the story in certain places to alter the sentences and as a result, branch the paths. I have seen similar mechanics in Fate of Kai, and Indie Showcase demo Storyteller, and I have loved them every time. If this couldn’t be better, it is, because it will be available day one on Game Pass! I’m really looking forward to see how this one does.

Wishlist on Steam here to be notified when the game releases!

September 26th – Monorail Stories – Stelex Software

Monorail Stories is an adventure game focusing on extraordinary things happening to ordinary people. Board the monorail and experience a special story about humanity, friendships, and intertwined destinies manifesting during the everyday commute.

This is another demo that I played a long time ago. It was short but sweet, telling a story and building a world through rides on a monorail. You only need to look at the screenshots to see how much care has gone into the art. I wish them all the luck for a successful launch!

Wishlist on Steam here.

September 27th – Dome Keeper – Bippinbits

Mine for resources, choose from powerful upgrade paths and fend off waves of alien attackers in this innovative roguelike mining action game. There’s just enough time to mine a little deeper, find a little more and get back to defend before the next wave attacks your dome.

I played the Dome Keeper demo earlier this year as recommended by a few friends. They were right, it was a blast! In this roguelike your time is split between mining for resources and defending your base, using upgrades gained from said resources. It is fast paced, easy to learn but I imagine not so easy to master, and has that ‘one more try’ appeal. I hope this one blows up!

Wishlist here on Steam now.

September 28th – The Excavation of Hobs Barrow – Cloak and Dagger Games

The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow is a folk horror narrative-driven adventure. Explore the isolated moors of rural Victorian England as you uncover the mysteries of Hob’s Barrow. The answers lie in the soil…

I am generally not a fan of horror so I avoid it, but for whatever reason this is one of the demos that I played. And honestly? I was so glad I did. I played this one on my own without recording and I remember having a great affection for it. But – my memory being my memory – I can’t remember exactly what happened or how it played. What I do know, is that it immediately went on my Wishlist, and I would love to stream it sometime after it releases. The art is gorgeous and I want to be back in that atmosphere.

Previously known as Incantamentum, you can wishlist on steam here.

2022 – Nobodies: After Death – Blyts

Nobodies: After Death is a puzzling point-and-click adventure in cleaning up dirty work. After your agency takes out a target, you make the evidence disappear without a trace. Find a way to get in, get out, and leave no bodies behind.

I loved the demo for this one and it is still available now! The best comparison I can make is that this is like a point and click, escape room style game. You are cleaning up after murders and trying not to get caught by solving the puzzle of the area you are in. The art is gorgeous which sounds like a contrast to the concept of the game, but it makes it even more fun to see where you might end up next. I hope this one finds its audience because the demo is a strong recommend from me!

Follow along on Steam here.

2022 – Organs Please – TECHHOME

A dark and satirical management sim, where you take control of a recycling factory with a twist: it recycles humans. Your job is to decide who gets to escape our dying planet in a cozy spaceship and who sacrifices their blood, sweat and tears for humanity. Literally.

Finally, Organs Please doesn’t have a release date except 2022. Despite the dark humour in the dire world that we are living in, it is easy to forget the horrors of what you are actually doing as you enter a flow state of maximum efficiency. The mechanics are introduced at a satisfying pace, building you up from rookie to mega multitasker in no time. I really enjoyed the gameplay of this one and would definitely like to play more upon release.

Here is a link to the Steam page.

And that is it. Apparently this has been a quiet year for games. While that may be true in the AAA spaces, new indie games are coming out every day. It can be hard to know how to filter through the volume of games, so hopefully someone will not only find this list useful, but also give these ones a chance! Some of these games were created solo and they are absolutely excellent. Let me know if you give any of them a go!

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Steam Game Festival: Autumn Edition 2020

The Steam Game Festival: Autumn Edition 2020 is here! Usually I play many demos, record them for YouTube and make a video of my highlights and top pics. I’m extremely disappointed that – due to technical reasons – I will not be able to do that for this season. So instead, I am going to write about all of the demos that I play here!

I will keep updating is post as I try new demos! Right at the bottom of the post is a playlist of 12 demos that I played during previous festivals, that are available once again this week. Highlights for me that I would highly recommend playing are ‘NUTS’, ‘Superliminal’, ‘Backbone’, and ‘LOVE: A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories’.

The Tenants

Steam DescriptionBecome a landlord and deal with problematic tenants as you build your rental property empire. Decide how to react to annoyed neighbours or police interventions. Will you rent your apartment to a college couple or an older lady with four cats?

Developer – Ancient Forge Studio

Release Date – TBA

My Thoughts – This game was already on my Wishlist but I am not entirely sure how it came to be on my radar. Upon playing the demo I was pleasantly surprised. The best way that I can describe this game is this – It’s kind of like The Sims, but without the life sim part.

To begin with, you start off doing basic renovation tasks for other people. You have to clean a place up, then renovate and redecorate to their specification and within their budget. As you progress, you level up to unlock new redecoration and furniture options, as well as earning money that you can put towards your own projects. Eventually, you will invest enough into your own space that you can rent it out to your first tenants. While the game may seem quite basic at first, it impressed me that there is clearly more depth beyond the demo. Eventually you will earn enough money to buy more buildings, you can rent out house shares, choose your tenants, manage the social side of being a landlord, all while decorating and renovating the spaces how you would like.

This is going to sound strange but bare with me. Did you ever download a mobile game because you just wanted to do some mindless decorating and management, only to find out that it is a game full of in app purchases and you have to wait hours of real time to do anything? The Tenants is exactly the game that I hoped for every time I downloaded one of those games. No add, no waiting around, just the good stuff. It feels like the perfect distraction game while you are half watching tv.

+ Addictive gameplay loop

+ Good sense of progression through unlocking more decorating options

Some of the samples of walls and flooring looked very different when you actually used them, a testing system would be nice.

Would I play more? Yes

Lemon Cake

Steam DescriptionRestore an abandoned bakery and prepare pastries from farm to table! Grow fresh ingredients in the greenhouse, cook pastries & sweets in the kitchen and serve your baked goods to hungry customers in your own shop!

Developer – Éloïse Laroche

Release Date – February 2021

My Thoughts – Lemon Cake is another game that was already in my Wishlist and I’m not sure where the recommendation was from. However, the description sounded right up my alley so I was excited to try it. I have been looking for a Diner Dash type game since before I started covering the Steam Game Festivals.. one of those games where you can get into a strategic flow.

In this game, you are helping a ghost restore their bakery. Every day you earn money, which you can spend on upgrades to make your life easier, and you get more recipes as you go. The demo lasted around a week of game time and I enjoyed my time with it. Beyond the demo there seems to be a lot of upgrades left on the skill tree, as well as the idea that you will be able to customize your own recipe book. I don’t think this game is going to be a game that I would spend huge amounts of time on, but I would for sure be interested in continuing and seeing how getting more upgrades impact the game.

+ A nice example of the Diner Dash formula

+ Lovely art style

+/- I am unsure on the controls. Having to click the recipee with the mouse felt a little jarring sometimes and took me out of my flow.

The sprint was not very reliable. It would give you a sudden boost in a direction, but I would just prefer a toggle on speed boost. Especailly considering the ground you have to cover between rooms.

Would I play more? Yes, but only with a controller or on switch

Undying

Steam DescriptionInfected by a zombie bite, Anling’s days are numbered. She must now fight to survive, not for herself but her young son, Cody. Ensure Cody’s survival in this zombie infested world by protecting him, searching for safety, and teaching him valuable skills, at any cost.

Developer – Vanimals

Release Date – 2021

My Thoughts – As soon as I read the description of Undying I was very interested. I don’t often play games with zombies but I have never heard of a game that has this take on it. I have always wanted too see it, as a persons story doesn’t necessarily have to be over once they are bitten

I would describe this game as having a vibe similar to This War of Mine, but it is very different stylistically. It is primarily a survival game where you start off in your own home. From there you can venture out onto your street – and beyond – collecting items to aid your survival. Classically, you have to manage your hunger and thirst, but there are also some other cool mechanics. To access certain areas you need certain tools, but the tools and weapons only have limited uses. Most importantly, everything you do, your son Cody gains experience from you. Eventually this adds up to be able to buy abilities, which I guess is the aim of the game, to leave him in a good position by time you are gone.

I lasted for around a week of in game time before we starved to death, and felt like I learned a lot. There are areas to discover, some safer than others, some with more resources, and you can even set up a farm for more reliable food.

+ Gorgeous art

+ Atmosphere is perfect

+ A different take on a zombie story

+ Feels difficult, but it’s tempting to play again to have a better run. Nice progression

If you don’t like hunger and thirst in your games you will not like this game, it runs low pretty quickly

Would I play more? Yes definitely, if I was in the mood for a survival game.

Papetura

Steam DescriptionPapetura is an atmospheric point & click adventure game, handcrafted entirely out of paper. Little creatures Pape and Tura will face monsters that will try to burn down their beloved paper world.

Developer – Petums

Release Date – 2020

My Thoughts – The Papetura demo was very short, lasting for around 5 minutes. It contained light puzzles set in a very nicely crafted scene, centered around a little paper character, lights and moths. The closest comparison to another game I can make – although I haven’t played it yet – is Unravel. Having such a sharp image with a unique art style are the reasons I make that comparison, not the gameplay. Ultimately, I’m unsure if the demo made me want to play the rest of the game, just as it was extremely short, but it was a nice little taster.

+ Very good looking game

Demo just too short to really make an opinion

Would I play more? Probably yes but I’m not hooked.

Going Medieval

Steam DescriptionStake your claim in this colony building sim and survive a turbulent Medieval age. Construct a multi-story fortress in a land reclaimed by wilderness, defend against raids and keep your villagers happy as their personalities are shaped by the world!

Developer – Foxy Voxel

Release Date – Coming Soon

My Thoughts – Imagine Rimworld, but in a medieval setting, and 3D. That is Going Medieval. While I don’t quite think it is there yet, for reasons I will explain below, it is a great start.

It almost feels unfair to compare it to Rimworld – a game that I have spend my fair share of time playing – because not only was that game in early access for a long time, it has also been out for a while now. But it would be a injustice not to compare it, as they are very similar in the way that they play and it is clearly an inspiration.

I think the key difference between the two currently is that Rimworld, at its core, calls itself a story generator. The small, random events that happen are just as important as the base building, and the characters feel as though they have a personality, as well as the environment as a whole. During my playthrough of this demo, there weren’t a lot of social interactions going on (or I couldn’t find them) and that made me feel just slightly less immersed, and hence less invested. When I first begun the game I felt extremely excited at the prospect of building my camp, and I did enjoy what I played, but there were certain things that I found to be a little finicky. Nothing game breaking, just small things, like I couldn’t figure out how to get a roof over my building, or what exactly classes as safe storage to stop deterioration. I also couldn’t figure out how to move any furniture that I had already placed, which became troublesome. I will say though, this game does have enough of it’s own ideas to also differentiate itself. For example, the idea that ‘research’ is actually a physical item and can get stolen, and being able to construct multistory buildings.

I hope it doesn’t come across that I am being very negative. I only get very critical when I can see that something has a lot of potential and want it to be the best that it can be. This game is ambitious. They have a great base, and if they keep working at it (which they will.. this is just a demo of what they have got so far) then it could turn out to be fantastic. Either way I will be keeping my eye on it for sure!

+ Great potential

+ Great attention to detail

+ I liked the UI, it wasn’t too busy

Not much social interaction

Feels slower than Rimworld and not as much depth yet

Would I play more? I want to keep my eye on development. If they work on the things I mention above then I would jump straight in.

Suzerain

Steam DescriptionAs President Rayne, lead Sordland into ruin or repair during your first term in this text-based role-playing game. Navigate a political drama driven by conversations with your cabinet members and other significant figures. Beware or embrace corruption; shirk or uphold ideals. How will you lead?

Developer – Torpor Games

Release Date – TBD

My Thoughts – Suzerain is a text based game about being the President and leading a country. I had intended on playing this one during the last festival but ran out of time. Since then I have also seen it recommended elsewhere, so I had to jump in. When I begun playing I instantly thought this game was not going to be for me. I am not a very political person and a lot of the terms used went over my head. But the further in I got I became completely immersed and I had to know the consequences of the choices I had made.

The demo begins with a long stretch of questions that lead into the story of your characters past, shaping him into who he is now. It skipped between the key moments of his life but was also quite in depth. For a while I thought this was what the whole game was going to be. Then the rest of the game started. It takes place on a map of the fictional country that you are in charge of. All of the different cities and towns have markers, each of which can flag up with reports about their status whenever necessary. The gameplay consists of attending meetings and other functions, making the decisions that you think are best for your country, dealing with emergencies, balancing the opinions of your staff and country, and even spending time with your family. It is not all politics. In my opinion the game was paced very well and the fact that it had a story as it does took me by surprise, as well as how well it all ties together. I went in without a clue what to expect and honestly had a great, great time.

+ The game works brilliantly. If I need information about something, I am not afraid that anything is going to get broken when I pause a conversation to read through my files

+ The attention to detail and sheer amount of information is absolutely brilliant

+ Every decision I made felt extremely important and weighty

+ The story was engaging and even thrilling at times

+/ Gameplay is reading and making choices. This is not a negative and certainly not an issue for me, but it does mean it wont be for everyone

Would I play more? Absolutely. I played for two hours and was sad when it ended.

Insurmountable

Steam DescriptionConfront various terrains as a lonely mountaineer and endure the countless dangers of climbing! Many tough decisions await you in a risky environment. Make your way up and down the mountain, overcoming insurmountable heights!

Developer – Byterockers’ Games

Release Date – March 2021

My Thoughts – Insurmountable is described as ‘a strategic adventure game with rogue like elements’ and I couldn’t put it better myself. The aim of the game is to make it to the top of the procedurally generated mountain. Movement is tile and energy based, and there are other stats that you have to manage including sanity and temperature. Certain tiles have different random events that can help or harm you, and it is your job to navigate through them while keeping your climber alive.

I was instantly attracted to this game purely because of my fascination for mountains. I did manage to make it to the top, but only just. The game sort of just throws you in and lets you figure things out for yourself. Although it can be argued that some games benefit from that, I personally prefer a little bit more instruction when I am first starting out. Having said that, I think that I understood a lot of what the game is about by the time I reached the top. I wouldn’t recommend this game to someone who was looking for an action packed, fast paced strategy game. In my opinion, it felt quite slow. Having said that, I almost found it more therapeutic than anything else. It was a game that I enjoyed my time with and I am glad that I played, but I can’t say I am hungry for more. But don’t forget to take into consideration that roguelike games don’t tend to be my type of games.

+ I love the look of this game

+ Almost meditative

+/- Could use more random events, although I did like the ones I got

+/ Slow paced. Could use a fast forward button for climbing sections

No tutorial

Camera angle just felt a tiny bit wonky at times

Would I play more? If I heard they had made some changes then I probably would, however I actually feel satisfied with the experience I had.

Craftlands Workshoppe – The Funny Indie Capitalist RPG Trading Adventure Game

Steam DescriptionFrom the out-there imagination behind the Shoppe Keep series comes a brand-new fantasy business adventure set in the clouds. Craftlands Workshoppe is hiring! But can you run your store, master three noble crafts and solve the former owner’s mysterious disappearance?

Developer – Arvydas Žemaitis

Release Date – Early Access – 13/10/2020

My Thoughts – In Craftlands Workshoppe you begin the game with a choice. Do you want to go down the Alchemy route, the Cooking route, or the Blacksmithing route? From my understanding you eventually get to try out and master them all, but I personally went for Blacksmithing, as it seemed the most different and I didn’t have to grow my own ingredients.

The gameplay loop of this game is something that I have wanted for such a long time. I have never played Moonlighter, but a section of this game is what I imagine the none combat section of Moonlighter to be. You basically get to do every part of running your own store. In order to smith things into items to sell you need ingredients. In my case, I had to hit stone for ore, chop down trees for wood and buy blueprints from another store. Next, you make the goods. It was a simple clicking game but I really enjoyed it. Then, you get to choose what to advertise, and sell the goods. Now though, the part of this game that I enjoyed the most is that you can plan all of that stuff out yourself. It is up to you how much of which item you want to make to sell. You have limited energy points to use so you have to make choices about whether you want to use them gathering more ingredients or making more stuff. You can figure out what is going to make the most profit margin, then you need spares too because people might ask for them too and even pay more. What I am trying to say is that the management in this game gives you a lot of freedom, and to me it felt very very satisfying.

Beyond the demo it seems you can expand into all of the different crafts, hire workers, and unlock lots more areas on the map. During the demo it was possible to explore a little and some of the other residents had quests. I did some of them and appreciated that they were there, but I never had the feeling that I wanted to go out of my way to help or talk to any of these characters. As much as I loved the game by the end, it didn’t click with me for the first half of the demo. There is something about the style that I cannot put my finger on, as well as some of the points that I will make below. Eventually though, I was addicted and dreading that it was going to end.

Once again, it may seem like I have a lot of negative points, but its only because I love the concept so much. I recognize that a lot of this is subjective and I hope others can see that I actually really liked this game!

+ Very addictive gameplay loop

+ Lots of freedom

+ Good feeling of progression and working towards goals

+/- Movement/Camera movement was very strange. However there were many settings to choose between

+/- I would love this on the Switch

+/ I liked that I could go to sleep just before 6am and still get my energy back. I’m not sure if it was intentional but I enjoyed it

I think I just don’t quite have the right sense of humour to appreciate the game properly

I wasn’t keen on the layout of the town in relation to my shop, would have liked a bike or something to be able to move around quicker

I found the character models very off putting for some reason

Would I play more? 100% Yes.

Sadly that is all of the demos that I got to play this time around. Hopefully by the next Steam Game Festival I should have a PC, and therefore be able to go back to making video content!

Full playlist of the Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition 2020, this time featuring 40 demos!

Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition 2020 – Top Game Picks

I tried something a little different this time. Since I have now played so many of these demos, I thought it would be helpful for anyone new to the festival to have a guide to know where to start.

So this time I have made a more comprehensive quickfire guide of games that I think are worth your time.

Here is a list of all of the games. If you would like to see more of what they are about, my video at the bottom of the page covers all 18 of these games in under 5 minutes!

Port Valley – The (not so) classic Point & Click adventure where perspective changes everything! Witness Port Valley’s Election Day from 3 points of view and find out what’s really going on in this bizarre town.

One Helluva Day – An egocentric businessman is desperate to save his company from collapse. However, he is forced to save the whole city from an impending disaster.

Lord Winklebottom Investigates – It’s the 1920s and the world’s foremost detective is about to embark on his most challenging case yet. Thankfully, in this world that’s not quite like our own, there’s nobody better to crack the case than the great detective and gentleman giraffe, Lord Winklebottom.

Backbone – Backbone is a noir roleplaying detective adventure. You are raccoon private eye Howard Lotor, a second-class citizen of dystopian Vancouver, BC inhabited by animals. Interrogate a diverse cast of characters, collect evidence, and choose which leads to follow.

Roki – Röki is an adventure game inspired by Scandinavian folklore – a dark, contemporary fairy tale underpinned by a touching narrative, an alluring art style, ancient puzzles and atmospheric exploration.

Hazel Sky – Hazel Sky is a heartfelt adventure about a young engineer facing his destiny and his desires. Fix ramshackle flying machines and jump, climb, swing, and slide through a beautiful, mysterious world.

Omno – A single player journey of discovery through an ancient world of wonders. Full of puzzles, secrets and obstacles to overcome, where the power of a lost civilisation will carry you through forests, deserts and tundras – even to the clouds.

Travellers Rest – You are an innkeeper, on a journey to transform a run-down inn into a bustling social space. Brew your own beer, run a farm, explore the world, and build relationships with your customers to create your own fantasy tavern!

Cartel Tycoon – Cartel Tycoon is a story-driven business sim inspired by the ‘80s narco trade. Expand and conquer, stave off rival cartels and authority attention, earn people’s loyalty and try to overcome the doomed fate of a drug lord with too much power.

The Final Earth 2 – The Final Earth 2 is a vertical sci-fi city builder. Earth is unlivable, so you decide to create a space colony. Gather resources, then build and research your way to a better future! Grow your city from an exploration ship to a huge metropolis, full of advanced technology. What will you build?

Grounded – The world is a vast, beautiful and dangerous place – especially when you have been shrunk to the size of an ant. Can you thrive alongside the hordes of giant insects, fighting to survive the perils of the backyard?

The Survivalists – A living world full of surprises, secrets and danger awaits in The Survivalists, an adventure-filled survival sandbox set in The Escapists universe. Explore, build, craft and even train monkeys with up to three friends in a desperate bid to survive. Have you got what it takes to be a Survivalist?

Superliminal – Perception is reality. In this mind-bending first-person puzzler, you explore a surreal dream world and solve impossible puzzles using the ambiguity of depth and perspective.

Moncage – Moncage is an adventure puzzle game, where the player will explore a lonely world trapped in a mysterious cubic device. Each face of this cubic device will display a different scene. The player will navigate through the island and the factory by finding the connections among the scenes.

Love – A Puzzlebox Filled with StoriesEvery life has a story. Every story has regret. But what if you could change the past? LOVE is a puzzle game about finding the things we’ve lost in ourselves and the people who help us find them.

Summer in Mara – Take care of your own island and explore the ocean in this farming adventure. Summer in Mara mix farming, crafting and exploring mechanic in a tropical archipelago with a colorful style and strong narrative.

Jessika – Jessika committed suicide, and it’s up to you to find out why she did what she did by prying into her digital past. What at first seems to be a job like any other quickly develops into a dark drama with twists and turns.

NUTS – A single-player surveillance mystery set in a remote forest – record the squirrels, report your findings… and uncover the secret that the curious creatures are hiding.

My top game picks from the Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition 2020. 18 games in under 5 minutes!

Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition 2020

The Steam Game Festival has well and truly grown, as shown at the Summer Edition 2020. Now containing hundreds of demos, the event has become something that everyone should mark on their calendar. With the event now spanning over 7 days, not only indie games are being showcased but AA and even some AAA titles.

I tried a good mixture this time, and after counting the games I already tried I put together a playlist of 40 demos! As usual, some were better than others but there are certainly some that should not be missed!

Full playlist of the Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition 2020, this time featuring 40 demos!

LudoNarraCon 2020 – 6 Indie Narrative Games to Watch out for

For my highlight video of the LudoNarraCon 2020 I only included the games that I played for the first time during this festival. Meaning, I didn’t want to repeat games from my Steam Game Festival: Spring Edition 2020 video. Instead, I hand picked my top 6 experiences from the new demos I played.

Here are my top games in Alphabetical Order! For more info on why they were great, what they are about and to see some game play, the video below will have you covered!

Backbone – Backbone is a noir roleplaying detective adventure. You are raccoon private eye Howard Lotor, a second-class citizen of dystopian Vancouver, BC inhabited by animals. Interrogate a diverse cast of characters, collect evidence, and choose which leads to follow.

Lost Words: Beyond the Page – Lost Words is a 2D narrative adventure game where players move words to solve puzzles. The game features a story written by Rhianna Pratchett and ties the narrative into the gameplay in an unusual way, by having the player running on and interacting with words to solve puzzles.

Over the Alps – Postcards written in invisible ink reveal a secret history… Travel back in time in the debut game from Stave Studios, OVER THE ALPS. Stay undercover, evade the police, and race across 1939 Switzerland in this Hitchcockian World War Two spy thriller.

Ring of Fire – Scour police records. Antagonize your suspects. Comb through a disturbing crime scene. You’ll stop at nothing to expose the truth. Ring of Fire is a search-based detective noir puzzler with a mature narrative set in the hyper-stylized streets of New London.

Still There – Every day is the same on the faraway Bento space-lighthouse – until a mysterious radio message breaks through. Evade the past, welcome oblivion, make the perfect Italian coffee. Still There is a psychological adventure game about grief, technical puzzles, wacky AIs and dark humour. How far is far enough?

Tangle Tower – Unravel a thrilling mystery by exploring a strange and twisted mansion, discovering curious clues, interrogating peculiar suspects and solving unique puzzles. Will you be able to uncover the secrets of Tangle Tower?

Video of my Top 6 Games from the LudoNarraCon 2020!

LudoNarraCon 2020

After covering the Steam Game Festival: Spring Edition 2020 I was looking forward to the Summer Edition. Little did I know that the LudoNarraCon 2020 was just around the corner. Basically, it is the same type of event as the Steam Game Festival, except this one is solely focused on narrative games. It’s like it was made for me! Naturally, I went on to play 15 more demos.

Since a few of the Steam Game Festival demos were available again, I added them to the playlist too, bringing the total up to 19! Really enjoyed covering this festival, and once again found some more gems that I want to keep an eye on.

Full playlist of the Steam Game Festival: Spring Edition 2020, featuring 20 demos!

Steam Game Festival: Spring Edition 2020 – Top 10 Demos

Of the 20 demos that I tried I during the Steam Game Festival: Spring Edition 2020 I managed to narrow it down to my top 10! All here for different reasons, I am confident there are some gems. I am going to be keeping my eye on them all to see how they do during their release and beyond.

In no particular order these are my top picks!

Lord Winklebottom Investigates – It’s the 1920s and the world’s foremost detective is about to embark on his most challenging case yet. Thankfully, in this world that’s not quite like our own, there’s nobody better to crack the case than the great detective and gentleman giraffe, Lord Winklebottom.

Moncage – Moncage is an adventure puzzle game, where the player will explore a lonely world trapped in a mysterious cubic device. Each face of this cubic device will display a different scene. The player will navigate through the island and the factory by finding the connections among the scenes.

Liberated – Enter an action-adventure game inside a living, hand-drawn comic book. Uncover an alarmingly current cyberpunk reality where human rights are dying away. Take up arms and solve puzzles in a noir rain-soaked city that’s desperate for justice.

Coffee Talk – Coffee Talk is a coffee brewing and heart-to-heart talking simulator about listening to fantasy-inspired modern peoples’ problems, and helping them by serving up a warm drink or two.

Roki – Röki is an adventure game inspired by Scandinavian folklore – a dark, contemporary fairy tale underpinned by a touching narrative, an alluring art style, ancient puzzles and atmospheric exploration.

A Space for the Unbound – A slice-of-life adventure game with beautiful pixelart set in the late 90s rural Indonesia that tells a story about overcoming anxiety, depression, and the relationship between a boy and a girl with supernatural powers

Hazel Sky – Hazel Sky is a heartfelt adventure about a young engineer facing his destiny and his desires. Fix ramshackle flying machines and jump, climb, swing, and slide through a beautiful, mysterious world.

Superliminal – Perception is reality. In this mind-bending first-person puzzler, you explore a surreal dream world and solve impossible puzzles using the ambiguity of depth and perspective.

Embr – Embr is a frantic firefighting game set in a hyper-capitalist reality where traditional emergency services are a thing of the past. Scale buildings, smash windows, fight fires and save lives either alone or with up to four players. Embr is the last stand in a world ablaze.

Chicory: A Colorful Tale – You’re a dog wielding a magic brush! Use painting powers to explore, solve puzzles and make friends in this top-town adventure game. From creators on Wandersong + Celeste.

If you want to know more information, you can find out why these games stoof out in my video below, as well as see some game play!

Video of my Top 10 Demos from the Steam Game Festival: Spring Edition 2020!

Steam Game Festival: Spring Edition 2020

The first Steam Game Festival that got my attention was the Winter Edition 2019, where around 8 game demos were available to try for a couple of days. I didn’t make any content about them at the time but I tried 4 of them – Spiritfarer and The Drifter being stand outs – and had a really great time. I loved the whole idea of showcasing some games that you may otherwise not see and was delighted to see the Festival return bigger and better in the Spring.

For the Steam Game Festival: Spring Edition 2020 I decided to make some videos. If I remember correctly there were around 40 demos available for 4 days. I played as many as I could, recording the experience, and then made a highlight video of my favorite experiences. I managed to play 20, which are all available to view in the playlist below.

Even though the festival is long over, that doesn’t change my opinion of how much attention some of these games deserve!

Full playlist of the Steam Game Festival: Spring Edition 2020, featuring 20 demos!