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  • svgFeb 7, 2024Mobile Game

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    Welcome to My Home is a charming mobile game where you can escape to a gorgeous world full of decorating, farming, and crafting! Customize your character using hundreds of different outfits and hairstyles. Decorate your adorable farmhouse with different kinds of flooring and walls. Place chairs, stools, benches, and more to create a cozy living space, as well as crafting stations to make a working workshop. 

    The focus of this game is completing quests and story missions by talking with NPCs and fulfilling their needs. You also can fulfill orders in Welcome to My Home from an order board to earn money needed for upgrades and items. Plus, there’s a social aspect to the whole thing. Make friends with other people and post on your own timeline or interact with your friends’ posts like other social media apps. Request help from your friends and help them with their requests. You can also join a guild for more social fun! 

    Release Date

    Welcome to My Home is available now on Google Play and Apple App store.

    Cozy Islands is another cute and cozy mobile game app!

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  • svgFeb 1, 2024Reviews

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    I’ve had my eye on Little-Known Galaxy by developers Carbon & Kay for a bit now. In fact, I’ve written about it before because it’s so cute and looks like it will be a great farm sim with a different setting. Recently, the game received a demo on Steam, which I took some time to play, and it was such a fun experience. 

    Little-Known Galaxy puts you in the shoes of a brand new space captain-in-training who has been assigned to their first ship by the Space Alliance. It’s your job to work with your crew to solve the mysteries surrounding an ancient alien relic found on the Grey Planet. You also get to do things like build relationships with the crew, take on some new crew members as your progress, explore alien worlds, grow crops, decorate, and more! 

    The Demo

    I’ve been excitedly waiting on the Little-Known Galaxy demo, and played it as soon as I heard it was out. And it did not disappoint. It’s a very introductory look into the game, as most farm sim demos are, but it gives a good feel to many things. You meet the base crew members, who are so unique and so quirky. There’s humans, aliens, old people, young people, and some robots, too. They’re sure to be a ton of fun as you progress through the story. Also, their dialogue matches their personalities and they appear to have actual, real conversations with you. 

    The overall aesthetic of the Little-Known Galaxy is just adorable. You’re plopped onto a derelict ship that’s in need of serious upgrades, but the common areas are pleasant. The shops have personality, and the crew homes match their inhabitants. Nothing is too bright or over-the-top. Everything feels like it has its own place and meshes with its surroundings well. Using robots for the sales bin and the family bots adds to the sci-fi, futuristic too. Throw in container gardening on a space ship and I think the developers have nailed having a farm sim on a spaceship. 

    I found the introduction of the Little-Known Galaxy’s captain’s quarters to be funny in how similar it is to other farm sims. It’s a wreck. There’s debris and trash everywhere, much like your farms start out on Earth! The clean up is far more satisfying, because you receive a cleaner ray to zap away the boxes and debris. It’s an oddly satisfying and comforting start to a game that I really enjoy having. Another fun aspect is finding random sparkly spots throughout the ship where hidden parts or money can be found reminds me a lot of checking the trash cans in Pokemon games for items. It was a touch of nostalgia that added to the charm of the game.

    I can’t wait to experience this game in full. I want to explore the universe! 

    Release Date

    You can find the game, along with the demo, on Steam. You can Wishlist it, but there is currently no release date listed. 

    Galactic Getaway is another life sim set in space!

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  • svgFeb 1, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Play as the adorable raccoon Rocco as he prepares for winter in Seasons of Rocco by developer Vivid Visions Studios. Rocco looks to you for guidance, so you’ll need to spend the fall seasons assisting him in gathering what he needs to survive the winters. Explore a tranquil world searching for fruit amid the colorful leaf piles. Take them back to his Tree House to sort them for later use. Be sure to gather enough to sustain Rocco over a long winter! 

    When spring comes in Seasons of Rocco, venture out as Rocco to explore a landscape now exploding with blooms and growth. Plant seeds you collected from the fruit eaten over the winter so you can have a bounty come next fall. That’s it! This game is a chance to step back and relax while you explore gorgeous landscapes and relish the beauty of different seasons while preparing for them. 

    Release Date

    Seasons of Rocco is currently available on Steam and is free to play!

    This game reminds me a lot of Smushi Come Home, which is another cute and relaxing game that focuses on exploring and gathering.

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  • svgFeb 1, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Do you remember the Chao Garden in Sonic the Hedgehog games? You know, the cute little creatures with water drop-shaped heads that you could raise and race with? Well, Voxelotl Garden reminds me a lot of the Chao Garden! You hatch and raise cute little creatures called voxelotl by providing them with food and water, and other amenities. The goal is to just raise adorable little animals and discover the different personalities and coat markings you can get from breeding! 

    Voxelotl Garden is a casual breeding and care game with a Minecraft look. Voxelotl are similar to axolotl, but possess the unique ability to live on land, and they live together on a cozy little island where you care for them. The voxelotl have their own goals and need you to help them achieve those goals by caring for them. Helping them achieve their goals will increase your bond and award you some prizes. Provide hiding spots for when things get scary. Teach them tricks like dancing, singing, art, and more. Dress them up in cute outfits you buy from the shop. Plus, you can set up training stations to increase different skills, which will help the voxelotl win races. Then, breed your favorite voxelotl together to get offspring with the very best traits and features! 

    Release Date

    Voxelotl Garden is available now on Steam!

    Looking for more virtual pet-type games? Check out Werydlets!

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  • svgJan 31, 2024Reviews

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    Cat Cafe Manager by developer Roost Games is an adorable and casual cafe management game full of cats, decorating, and fun customers. You return to the little village of Caterwaul Way, home to your grandmother’s old cat cafe. You’ve recently inherited the place and it’s your job to renovate it to get it back up and running. Impress the locals with your business savvy, while befriending and caring for the local stray cat population. Even adopt out the cats to forever homes! 

    Graphics

    I really enjoy the visuals in Cat Cafe Manager. It looks like a hand drawn game, and the backgrounds and character designs all feel unique. They fit in with the sleepy little village vibes and enhance them, even. Every visual works together to create the cozy vibe that this game goes for. The cats are adorable, too. Plus, the main characters each have their own designs and personalities. The regular customers are just carbon copies of each other, which works for this game as they only serve to earn you money. Their designs are nice, though. You can tell who is a fisherman, a witch, and so on. 

    The Gameplay

    Cat Cafe Manager is a fairly short game, clocking in around 10-15 hours depending on your play style. It’s reminiscent of Diner Dash, which I played a ton of growing up, just without the time constraints. Instead of dashing around as fast as possible to appease customers and keep them happy, you can take your sweet time taking orders, preparing drinks and food, and delivering to customers. There’s no reason to rush around. Everyone is there to relax and enjoy their time. Plus, they want to hang out with the adorable cats you’ve collected. However, it is a bit grindy and repetitive. Day in and day out is filled with opening shop, serving customers, buying resources, rescuing cats, and upgrading the shrine’s upgrade trees. That’s it. 

    You get to lay out your cafe’s floorplan yourself, so you can create the perfect little space to suit your needs and design vision. It’s a nice touch to the game to give you almost total freedom from the get-go. Cat Cafe Manager also lets you decorate the space using several different sets of furniture and appliances. However, the decoration options are severely limited. I want spooky, moody wallpaper and flooring to match the harvest and vampire tables, but that doesn’t exist. It’s all up-beat and perky pinks and greens, which are perfect for a plant-heavy cafe, or there are  other unsuitable colors. This type of game should be heavy on the decor options, especially when sets are a thing already. The sets should go all the way into walls, floors, etc. 

    Another element to Cat Cafe Manager is hiring staff to help you in the cafe. This is useful if you’re tired of running around taking orders, making items, delivering to tables, cleaning, and making friends with the local strays. The staff can be tasked with any of those things, taking a load off your plate. However, it really veers into idle game territory once you do that. There isn’t much need for you to do anything besides befriend cats and shop for necessities or decor when you have staff. So, if you’re looking to be more hands-on, don’t hire so many staff members, or any at all. 

    Final Thoughts

    Overall, I did enjoy Cat Cafe Manager. I did struggle with keeping the desired items stocked so customers could order them, but that could just be a skill issue. The different types of customers are very well interconnected with the rest of the game, otherwise. Each type pays in a certain kind of money, which can then be used at specific shops in town. Having different types of currency added a level of necessary management that the game otherwise doesn’t have since it’s so laid-back. Sometimes the item collision boxes were annoying as they aren’t very apparent, but caused me to get stuck on tables and chairs that didn’t appear to be in the way. 

    What really got to me, though, was that upgrading the shrine in town didn’t visually appear to change anything. Cat Cafe Manager emphasizes that you’re restoring the shrine by running the cafe and adopting out cats, and does give you upgrade trees to buy into. However, it doesn’t ever visually look run-down, nor does it look improved as you “restore it”. That would have been a super satisfying addition to the game. 

    This game is cute, but not extremely engrossing. I give it:

    You can find Cat Cafe Manager on Steam and Switch!

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  • svgJan 31, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Abyss: New Dawn is an upcoming cozy game from indie developer Aloya Studio currently listed on Kickstarter. The game is a charming farm sim and adventure game set in an enchanting world. You start your journey in New Dawn Land, the first floor of a 10-floor world. Each floor has its own ecosystems, climates, and landscapes. Embark on an adventure full of all kinds of fun activities. Explore gorgeous areas. Raise adorable creatures and useful pets. Gather resources and take on some intriguing challenges, and so much more! 

    Start your new adventure by customizing your character with cute clothes and other traits. Team up with friends or fly solo to create a flourishing homestead where you grow a variety of crops and take care of some cute farm animals. Abyss: New Dawn features 13 different crops already, with a stretch goal that will add more glowing plants and farm crops, as well as the ability to cook these items. There are also 7 different farm animals already in the game, as well as pets and dinosaur mounts who can help you with your tasks. You even need to build the town yourself. Once you do that, you’ll have NPCs move in at your request, and they can provide you with the necessary goods for your exploration.

    When you’re not busy exploring and fighting bosses in the caves, take time to decorate your home in Abyss: New Dawn. You can create the perfect cozy interior for you and your friends to hang out in. Your friends can even contribute and place furniture they’ve earned into your home. Then, go fishing or bug catching to build up a cool collection to show off! 

    Release Date

    This lovely little game is currently listed on Kickstarter. The timeline there states a hopeful release for the end of next year, with early access coming before that. There are plans for launch on Steam, Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox!

    Solarpunk is another unique farm sim I think you should take a look at!

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  • svgJan 31, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Have you ever wanted to play as a cute, sentient little garlic bulb who builds equally adorable construction projects? Garlic Builder by developer Cave Liquid lets you do just that! You play as Garlic, who has taken over the family construction business. This cute game is set in a tranquil mountain village where you collect various building resources to create pixel builds.

    Take customer requests to build objects they desire, then experience a deeper story in Garlic Builder. A story full of corporate conspiracies as the nearby city encroaches on your village’s peace. Meanwhile, use the building resources you collect to accurately build what your customers ask for in a timely manner. You also get feedback to see how your building has impacted your customers!

    This super casual building RPG feels like picross with a good story behind it.

    Release Date

    Garlic Builder is available now on Steam!

    Looking for a more realistic tycoon-type game? Check out United Penguin Kingdom!

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  • svgJan 31, 2024Reviews

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    Echoes of the Plum Grove by Freedom Games is a farm sim where you play as what looks like a person straight from Colonial America. You embark on a journey to a new land to settle and set up a farm where you’ll live out your dream life. However, disaster strikes, and you find yourself washed up on the shores of Honeywood island. There, you’re returned to health and handed a parcel of land to tend to. Spend your days farming, getting to know the townspeople, decorating, cooking, and fishing. Even build a legacy and play through different generations of the family you built. 

    The Demo is a Great Peek at the Coming Fun

    I received the demo of Echoes of the Plum Grove and I am in love! The graphics in this game are so charming and I’m enamored by them. The environments are gorgeous and full of life. Each building has its own personality, but the map thankfully labels the buildings so you have an easier time navigating around town. Run into the cozy bakery for tasty treats, or visit the accommodating town hall to talk to the mayor, then run down to the bog to talk to the mysterious town witch. There’s different areas to explore that exhibit their own vibes perfectly.  Plus, there’s fast travel between signposts! 

    I also really enjoy the character designs of Echoes of the Plum Grove. They’re varied and the different outfits seem to match character personalities. They also have a Paper Mario feel as they’re not 3D. The dialogue seemed pretty baseline and normal, but not unique enough to set it apart from other games. What’s really fun is that you can make choices to befriend the people or antagonize them and make enemies. The generational family aspect is quite unique, and is something I think will set this game apart from others. Raising your children, then playing as them, or others, after your character perishes is a fresh take many have craved. Eternal youth is great, but getting the chance to grow old and have family that are more than just there is fantastic.  

    I can’t wait for this game to be released! 

    Release Date

    You can find Echoes of the Plum Grove on Steam, where you can Wishlist it. However, the Steam page lists the release date as this year. I’m hoping it’s sooner, rather than later.

    Blue Oak Bridge is another cute farming sim, but with magic and weird little creatures.

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