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  • svgFeb 15, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Project Real is a pixel-graphic sim that immerses you in a robust life sim experience. Set out on a journey on Serena Island and live a wonderful life full of choices and interactions. Explore the world, start a career, attend fun events, and get to know the townspeople. Even complete collections and sell items you find while exploring. Plus, decorate your home and customize your character to really fulfill your dreams. 

    Project Real aims to set itself apart from every other life sim out there by offering an extensive career system. You can become a fishing expert, run your own restaurant, or even become a jeweler who creates your very own designs, and more. There’s a wide variety of career choices for you. There’s also a diverse cast of characters to meet and get to know. Every conversation and every choice you make will influence your overall destiny, too. So, choosing wisely would be smart! 

    Release Date

    This cute game is available now in Early Access on Steam

    Moonlight in Garland is a lovely city-based life sim full of apartment-living, getting to know your neighbors, and more!

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  • svgFeb 14, 2024Mobile Game

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    Tiny Boutique: Fashion Game by TinyBoxGames is a wonderfully adorable mobile game with pretty pixel graphics. In this game, you run a little boutique that services customers looking for fresh new outfits and accessories. Each customer will have a request for a whole outfit or just some accessories. You can buy the requested items to fulfill the order, or dress each customer in something else. You want to make sure you send them off in something they love, though! As you make sales and earn money, you can buy upgrades to make the boutique comfortable and cuter. Choose different themes for your shop, decorate your home, and customize your character, too! 

    Graphics

    I love how cute and simple Tiny Boutique looks. The pixel graphics lend a nostalgic charm to the game that is enhanced by the varied character designs. Your customers all look unique with different outfits, fun hairstyles and colors, and some really cute clothing requests. The color palette used throughout the game is lovely, too. It’s not quite all pastel, but none of it is super bold or harsh. It’s easy to look at and play.

    Gameplay

    Overall, Tiny Boutique is a delightful app to play. You put together outfits to please customers, upgrade your shop, decorate your home, change the theme of the shop, and that’s it! It’s a simple game that focuses on exactly what it advertises. This isn’t one of those bait and switch types, like is common in mobile games. It’s a breath of fresh air, really. Plus, having a fun fashion game is great. 

    There are some ads in Tiny Boutique. You have the option to watch some ads to get customers into the building faster. You can watch up to 10 ads daily. Each ad brings in 8 customers, which means you can call in a total of 80 customers a day. Otherwise, customers trickle in every 20 minutes or so, making this game a very casual, relaxed experience. There are no time limits or speedy service rewards. Just some good fashion fun!

    Final Thoughts

    While Tiny Boutique is simplistic, it’s perfect for taking some time to just relax with a game. It’s easy to learn, easy to pick up and play, and fun! 

    I give it

    You can find Tiny Boutique on Google Play and the Apple App Store!

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  • svgFeb 14, 2024News

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    If you’re unfamiliar with Kynseed, it’s a lovely farming sim that dives deeper and brings more to the table than most farm sims. Run your farm and customize it to your tastes. Run a business of your choice like a blacksmith, apothecary, or general store. Craft items, battle monsters, and get to know the townspeople. Even get married and raise children!

    There is so much to do and experience in this gorgeous game, and now there’s a huge update called “The Big Build Update” that has recently been released. If you already own this game, the developers suggest you restart with a brand new character so you can get the full experience of all the new things.

    The Big Build Update

    The following is the huge list of content this update brings to Kynseed.

    • Customize the look of your farm’s interior and exterior.
    • Buy new farm plots.
    • A certain Fairweather item might also give you a further area to customize
    • New farm structures.
    • Repair structures like bridges to access new areas.
    • Fix statues and stalls to make travel and commerce easier.
    • Repair houses that can be destroyed by the encroaching evil creatures of the land.
    • New Axe and choppable trees for wood collection
    • New Stone resource.
    • Track all your progress through Progress Screen with a picture that fills in as you go.
    • 400+ challenges to complete
    • Items screen gives a breakdown of number found, total collected and the highest rating acquired.
    • Relationship screen tracks all current npcs and your relationship with them.
    • Story/Event keeps a history of parts of the game you have already discovered.
    • Shops give a brief overview of how your shops are doing.
    • Customization catalogue shows you all items you can unlock and what activities will unlock them.
    • New Noticeboard Tasks
    • Talent system means each NPC, including your children, has their own skill which can be used to your benefit.
    • New dialogue
    • New relationship cutscenes
    • The type of an NPC’s like/dislike can now be seen on their info
    • NPCs now travel between levels and have had other AI tweaks.
    • Your previous family can visit from time to time

    Plus so much more! There are bug fixes, some story pacing adjustments, and batch crafting. Unlock proverbs, there’s a star rating for items, and a new instant message system that alerts you to events, tasks, and shop alerts for low stock. And there’s even more than that, which you can go check out on Kynseed’s Steam page!

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  • svgFeb 14, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Sugardew Island is a beautiful new farming sim developed and published by rokaplay, who’s the same publisher of Spells & Secrets! A surprise storm pops up and shipwrecks you. You wake up on a deserted island where you must now start your new life. The island was once inhabited by the Forest Folk, humans, and animals who all lived in harmony. The Harmony Tree grew and was nurtured by all of the islanders, until the humans grew greedy and sought to fell the tree. Losing the tree threw the island into ruins and the Forest Folk and animals fled. Now, it’s up to you to restore the island to what it once was. 

    Sugardew Island is a farm sim at its heart. Grow a variety of crops by plowing the land and watering the plants. Even craft fertilizer to use. Sell you items in your very own farm shop. Negotiate prices with the Forest Folk who come in looking for goods. Collect wood, stone, and weeds to use in upgrades for your farm and on new buildings to grow your homestead. Raises chickens and cows to collect resources from them, and befriend an adorable pet who will follow you around. Plus, fulfill quests for the Harmony Tree in order to upgrade the island and attract life back to restore what was once a flourishing place. 

    Release Date

    You can find Sugardew Island on Steam, where you can add it to your Wishlist. There is not a specific release date, but it will release sometime in Q2 this year!

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  • svgFeb 8, 2024Reviews

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    A Tiny Sticker Tale by developer Ogre Pixel (the same devs who made Lonesome Village) is a cute and cozy little adventure game with a heartwarming story. Play as Flynn the donkey, as you explore Figori Island. You’re there to search for your father. Things aren’t quite what they seem, though, as everything is a sticker! You’ll complete quests and manipulate your environment to solve puzzles by using the stickers you collect. Move a bridge to get across the river. Find a bird’s egg. Even decorate your very own home with cute decorations! 

    The Story

    There isn’t much of a story to A Tiny Sticker Tale, actually. You start the game by hopping off a boat onto Figori Island. There, you speak to a rabbit NPC who teaches you how to manipulate the stickers in the world, but also mentions you’re looking for your father. That’s it. That’s all the backstory and information you get about why you’re here in the first place. Of course, having a story at all isn’t necessary for a successful game, and I don’t think the lack of story impacts this game. Nevermind that the game is a solid two hours of gameplay, so it’s not bogged down by too much exposition or cut scenes. 

    Gameplay

    A Tiny Sticker Tale is simple to learn and easy to play, which makes it a great little palette cleanser between heavier games. You move around the island, collect stickers, solve puzzles, and complete quests that are often fetch quests. That’s it! There’s no complicated mechanics. Nothing is hard to understand or do. It’s a great game idea that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s reminiscent of my childhood and using sticker books for entertainment. 

    The characters you encounter add life and warmth to the world. They each have a reason for needing help that makes you feel good about performing good deeds. But what really adds to the overall heartwarming feel of A Tiny Sticker Tale are the graphics and soundtrack. The cartoony nature of the art is charming and adorable. They’re inviting and easy to look at, while the soundtrack sits perfectly in the background accompanying you on your journey. 

    Final Thoughts

    Overall, A Tiny Sticker Tale is an enjoyable experience. It’s a cute little game worth the few hours it takes to play! 

    I give it a

    You can find A Tiny Sticker Tale on Steam and Switch!

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  • svgFeb 8, 2024Indie Highlight

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    I once wrote about Unrailed by developer Indoor Astronaut, and have enjoyed my time playing it with friends. It’s a frenetic track-building game where you and your friends team up to build a train track ahead of a moving train to get it safely across the map. Now, there’s an Unrailed 2 coming! 

    Unrailed 2: Back on Track is another co-op multiplayer track-building game with even more train chaos. Now, the game features a story mode that will take you down different paths so no two games are alike. Spread across different biomes, you’ll get to experience side quests, boss fights, and random encounters each level. Unlock fun new cosmetics for your characters, as well as upgrade them and your train. There’s even a Train Conductor mode where you can create your own custom maps to share with the community! 

    Unrailed 2 is going to be packed with so many cool new features!

    Release Date

    This fun train game is coming to Steam sometime this year. You can add the game to your Wishlist, though!

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  • svgFeb 8, 2024Indie Highlight

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    The once great city of Rome has fallen, and now you’re in search of a new land to restart life. Nova Roma by developer Lion Shield has you lead a small band of people who seek to build a new city called Nova Roma. This city is meant to be a bastion for all the good things the Roman Empire once was, but it’ll take work. Start from a tiny little village and work to build a bustling city. 

    Nova Roma is a building simulation at its heart, but you’ll also need to figure out how to harness the world around you. Build dams and aqueducts to control water for your city. Explore the world in search of necessary resources and ship them back home to use. Meet the many needs of your citizens by providing homes, entertainment, and more. Even choose to keep your urban sprawl in check or risk the wrath of the gods by taking over the countryside. Of course, you can build temples to those gods to appease them and ensure Nova Roma’s prosperity! 

    Release Date

    This gorgeous city-builder is coming to Steam this year. You can add it to your Wishlist now!

    Want something a little more free-form and relaxing? Try Tiny Glade!

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  • svgFeb 7, 2024Reviews

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    It’s February already, and that means it’s Steam Next Fest time! I’ve written about past Next Fest demos that I fell in love with here and here. This time, I’m bringing you an even bigger list of cozy games because this Next Fest is packed full of great ones. From interior design games, farming sims, and creature collectors, to gardening and diorama makers, there’s so much to see this time around. So, without further ado, here’s a whopping 10 different Steam Next Fest demos you need to try this month!

    Make Room

    Make Room is a relaxing little diorama designer game. Use hundreds of different items to craft the perfect spaces in each environment. Set up a charming country kitchen, build a comfy reading nook, or design the coziest living room you can think of. You have total control over where items are placed, so you can make your interior design visions come true. 

    The icons in this game are SO small, but the item options and color choices are perfect for creating some great rooms. The sandbox mode is great for strictly creating on your terms. The objectives mode is easy and relaxed, even though you must build to certain specifications. And creating things on a smaller scale makes creating a lot less overwhelming.

    Critter Crops

    Critter Crops is a gorgeously designed game where you play as Sylvie. She’s a newfound witch who’s been run out of her town because of her abilities. As Sylvie, you arrive on Mutter Island where you discover you can grow magical Critter Crops. These special plants can help you restore the island to its former glory. When you’re not farming, explore the lovely little island you now call home, gather resources, mine, and get to know the people you come across.

    What a delightfully whimsical game! The art is very unique, and the crops are too. Raise creatures by growing crops that are very, very different from what you’re used to. The town and crops and creatures are all slightly spooky, which is perfect for the Halloween-loving player who dislikes actual scary things. The color palette and the music is super pleasing, too. Talk about a farm sim with a twist!

    Everholm

    In Everholm, you play as Lilly, a young woman looking for her lost sister, Melanie. While out searching, you come across a mysterious portal that beckons you to the cute and cozy little island of Everholm. Weirdly, everyone there seems to recognize you, too, like you’re an old friend. So, embark on an adventure full of mysteries, magic, and relationships as this sim game is all about learning new skills and living together in harmony with others. Farm, forage, fish, raise livestock, and more. 

    Here’s another beautiful game. This time, it’s a lovely pixel art style game with a great story behind it. I like that your character actually holds a conversation with the NPCs, too. You’re not just subjected to a one-sided monologue. Plus, the NPCs exhibit some really great personalities through their speech. It’s clear this game was lovingly made. 

    Furnish Master

    Furnish Master is a relaxing interior design game where you furnish apartments, houses, commercial estates, and outdoor spaces. Use intuitive controls to place each piece of furniture and decor how you like it. Painstakingly choose color schemes and materials for your furniture to match the theme of each room. Even resize items so they fit perfectly in a space. As you complete spaces, earn money so you can buy new properties to continue decorating. You can also engage in story mode where you can buy properties across a single city. Even take on some challenges and puzzles in story mode to unlock new items.

    Here’s another diorama-like interior design game, but this time has a far more complex system and more involved missions. Paint the walls to certain specifications, furnish a whole kitchen with specific items, and use your hard-earned money to decorate your own place or buy other properties. There was even a puzzle level in the story mode where you search a room for puzzle pieces and put it together. If the levels have that much variation, I think it’ll be a really fun game. Not to mention the furniture options are varied, there’s a pretty great placement mechanic that includes snapping, and the graphics are nice. This is great for folks who want a little more direction and a more involved interior design game. 

    Botany Manor 

    Botany Manor takes place at a stately home in 19th century England, and you play as Arabella Greene, a retired botanist who lives at the manor. Spend your days exploring the different rooms of your historically accurate manor. Get to know Arabella and her career as a woman in science through your explorations. Discover beautiful gardens and sprawling countryside vistas as you take in the relaxing nature around you. Take care of a variety of plants by finding their seeds and planting them in the appropriate environments. Inspect newspapers, letters, paintings, and more to get a better understanding of the needs of your plants. Care for them and help them flourish by meeting their exact needs, and watch as your efforts are rewarded!

    The visuals are just breathtaking in this game. They’re by no means highly realistic levels of art, but the designs of plants, the architecture, and the dynamic lighting work perfectly together to create such a charming environment. The manor grounds are to die for. I’d love to have my own home with a garden and orchard as beautiful as this one! Searching for clues on how best to grow the plants adds an element of fun beyond simple gardening. It gives you a reason to look around the manor, but also makes you feel like a researcher, which the character you play is! If you play nothing else on this list, play this game. It’s so worth it.

    Minami Lane

    Welcome to Minami Lane! This lovely little life sim lets you build your very own street where you can decorate and manage shops. Build homes to attract villagers to your street. Keep them happy by beautifying the area with decorations, shops, and attractions. Build ramen shops, boba cafes, bookstores, and more. Each shop has its own inventory and effects on the neighborhood. Play missions for a challenge or sandbox mode to focus on the creative side of building. 

    This was such an enjoyable experience. There are goals and missions to complete, but they weren’t super high-stakes or difficult to complete. The overall graphics are gorgeous and soft and adorable. I love the Japanese-inspired architecture and street design. It’s nostalgic for me, and brings a sense of comfort. Overall, this game is perfect if you want a city-builder with more than just creative building. 

    Lightyear Frontier

    Lightyear Frontier is the cozy farm sim set on an alien planet and uses mechs to farm! That’s right, you get to pilot your own fleet of mechs to get things done around the farm or go out exploring the gorgeous world around you. Build your new home and develop a flourishing farm by growing alien crops. Explore your surroundings and restore them by cleaning up pollution and clearing invasive weeds. Discover the secrets of the world, and do it all while playing solo or together with friends.

    What’s better than a farm sim? A farm sim with semi-realistic art where you pilot a mech suit to farm and explore, of course! This is seriously such a fun concept, and the different advanced tools you have access to make things even more fun. Vacuum up some water or seeds. Use your spikesaw to obliterate rocks and bushes. It’s a very modern sci-fi take on farm sims, and I love it! 

    Night Stones

    In Night Stones, you find yourself trapped in a dream in a world full of magic and a rich story. Upon waking, you find yourself still in this world and must discover the secrets of the world and find a way home. Explore the beautiful world of Mythica where you’ll encounter Night Stones. These stones will turn night into day, and vice versa, allowing you to meet new characters. Complete quests to gain new abilities that will help you to further your mission. There’s no combat in this game, but there are enemies you’ll need to outsmart to accomplish your goals!

    This was such a short demo, but I loved it. Movement is smooth. Controls are super easy. The art is cartoony, but lovely. Animations looked great, too. All of it comes together to present such a good demo that makes me excited for the full game!

    Kamaeru: A Frog Refuge

    Kamaeru is an adorable farm sim where you farm, raise frogs, and preserve nature. Transform the surrounding wetland into a hospitable home for your amphibian friends. Meanwhile, feed, breed, and care for a variety of frogs. In fact, there are over 500 frogs for you to collect! You’ll need to figure out how to attract new types of frogs, then breed them together to unlock rare colors and patterns. Take pictures of your cute pals, and decorate the refuge to make the coziest little from rescue! 

    I loved the watercolor-like art in this game, and a comfortable creature collector. Playing is calm and easy. The frogs are adorable, plus restoring the wetlands is a fulfilling objective. Decorations are adorable and fun to place. There is a tic-tac-toe mini game to breed frogs together that adds a fun element, and there are more minigames mentioned to be coming with the full version. This makes me excited for the full version because it ought to be packed with a lot of great things to do. 

    Summerhouse

    Summerhouse is a relaxing building game. That’s it! Build structures on a small scale to create cute neighborhoods. Set your neighborhoods near the sea, in the middle of the city, or nestled in the majestic mountains. There are no rules, no goals, and no objectives to this game. The focus is purely on creative building. So, kick-back and relax with some building!

    This one reminds me a lot of Townscaper. You just simply unleash your creativity and build, but instead of creating whole cities and villages, you’re creating houses, apartment buildings, or shops. The art is beautiful and relaxing, and so is the music. This is a great game if you’re looking to get creative without the constraints of missions or timers.

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