Sprout Valley is a sweet little farming simulator where you play as Nico, an adorable cat character. Take a step back from your busy life to live a simple life growing the garden of your dreams. Spend your days gathering resources and growing crops. Harvest and sell your crops, and use the resources you find to improve your relaxing island life. Even discover friends and interesting events as you live your life on the island!
It’s October, which means it’s time to get into the spirit of Halloween! Or at least get into the spirit of fall, if you’re not big on Halloween. Either way, Book of Hours is the perfect place to start. It’s cozy and charming, with a dose of mystery. There’s no combat, and it’s not scary so those of us who are scaredy cats can enjoy it too!
In Book of Hours, you play as a Librarian who has chosen a solitary life full of books and research. Your library, the famous Hush House, was once a bastion of knowledge. For fifteen centuries it stood as a place for patrons to gather and learn. However, a fire wiped out the book collection and the former Librarian simply disappeared. Now, you spend your days peacefully organizing books and helping visitors seeking information.
You’re also on the lookout for answers. Researching the occult stones around you, you’re determined to uncover the mysteries of history and that fire. Book of Hours offers an elegant, but melancholic experience as you spend time crafting inks and other tools to use in your day-to-day. You’ll even get to decorate your new home, study the nine Wisdoms, more!
Tiny Life is an isometric pixelart style simulation game that seeks to capture the essence of The Sims. Like The Sims or the upcoming Little Sim World, you control a group of people and take care of their needs, build their skills, forge new relationships, or whatever you want to do. Have them lead perfectly normal lives, or cause chaos and totally upend their lives. It’s up to you, really!
You get to create your own characters using a number of different options. Tiny Life lets you choose personality traits and skills. Plus, there are over 100 clothing items and thousands of colors for you to pick from. There’s even age groups that you can pick, each with its own unique interactions and gameplay possibilities. Craft each of your Tinies exactly how you want them.
Then, build houses and community spaces like parks and cafes for your Tinies to explore. Tiny Life has hundreds of furniture, wallpaper, tiles, roofs, and more so you can create a beautiful town. You’ll even be able to share all of your creations with the community, as well as use mods to add additional content to the game!
You can find this fun simulation game on Steam now!
In Fossil Corner, you’re a retired paleontologist who enjoys the calm environment of their garage. There, you’ve created a peaceful sanctuary to hang out in and build your fossil collection. Then take some time emailing old friends to stave off the loneliness, or stare out the window at the beautiful fall leaves swirling in the wind.
To really pass the time in your retirement, you’ll focus on building your fossil collection. Fossil Corner features a variety of randomly generated fossils, trilobites, and crinoids for you to collect. You’ll work through a number of puzzles, too. Each puzzle is a box of procedurally generated fossils that form a whole family tree. It’s your job to unscramble that family tree by observing how the species changed over the generations. Once you complete a puzzle box, you receive a fossil to display!
You can find this cute fossil collector on Steam now!
Coffee Talk 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly is the second episode in the Coffee Talk series. In it, you play as the proprietor of a cozy little coffee shop that’s only open at night. Set in an alternate present-day Seattle, join a cast of fantasy friends and serve up some delicious hot drinks as you explore the world by listening to their stories. Even use your phone to follow their lives outside of the coffee shop via social media, and return lost items to further influence story outcomes.
I’ll be honest, I did not play Coffee Talk. I have only played Coffee Talk 2, but I don’t feel like I missed out on anything vital to the story. I’m sure meeting the characters in Coffee Talk would have made their stories richer, more fleshed out. However, it was easy to settle into the story, overall. The characters are interesting and diverse. They have varying personalities that you get to experience through the conversations you have with them. Each person struggling with their own real-feeling issues, as well as sharing their joys and achievements with you really adds a beautiful, personal touch to the game. You’re more than just a barista at their favorite late-night hangout. These characters feel familiar and real. Nevermind the sass and sarcasm that’s thrown around. You’re genuinely a friend to everyone, and it’s heartwarming.
Setting the Scene
Besides the fun characters, the setting is nice and cozy, too. Set in rainy Seattle, the ongoing rainstorm provides a wonderful sound backdrop. Pair that with the lofi chillhop beats that play and Coffee Talk 2 really has a great, relaxing environment. The overall color palette is pleasing to the eye, too. Some characters wear some bright colors, like Lucas in his bright yellow hoodie, but it’s not overwhelming. The coffee shop is decorated in neutrals and muted colors, too. It’s an easy-to-look at environment that still offers a great variation in color so it’s not boring. It is the perfect cozy environment.
Figuring out what people want to drink via hints (mostly) was an interesting game play element. It not only gives Coffee Talk 2 a sense of replayability so you can discover all of the drinks and outcomes, but makes it a little bit more than just a reading experience. Correctly, or incorrectly, guessing someone’s drink gives you just a touch more immersive play than if you simply read the pre-written dialogue and picked pre-made drinks. Now, you can influence the conversation and other game outcomes by serving drinks. Plus, the latte art portion is fun. I’m by no means good at it, but it’s fun to play with and see what you can make. I made a palm tree once! Accidentally.
This was a chill, relaxing game. It was fun serving drinks, and interesting reading the conversations with everyone. There’s no rush to complete things, and you can save in the middle of a day. Coffee Talk 2 is the perfect cozy visual novel, really. I can’t recommend this enough for anyone looking for a relaxing, no stakes, no pressure game to play. It’s perfect for curling up on a comfy couch, cozy blanket on a rainy day.
Blue Gravity was kind enough to provide a copy of Little Sim World for me to play!
I received a pre-alpha demo version of Little Sim World to play, which means I got an early view of a game that is growing bigger and better nearly weekly. What I saw, however, was already incredibly promising.
What Is It?
Little Sim World is an adorable life sim that draws inspiration from popular games like The Sims, Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley and Pokemon. You are in charge of your very own little cartoon-looking sim person. Start the game by creating one using a number of customization options (with more to come later!), like hairstyles and color, clothing, and facial attributes. Then, pick out different personality traits like favorite foods and quirks. After that, you’re released into the world of London and set in front of your very dingy new home.
Really dingy. Your fence is broken in spots and the paint is flaking. The front door and windows have seen better days. The appliances in the kitchen are dirty and barely fit to use. At least the furniture looks worn, but comfortable and cozy. Your computer, however, looks like the old dinosaurs from way back when that ran Windows ‘95.
Worry not, though! You receive a meager paycheck from unemployment benefits that you can use to survive and maybe even fix up your new home. Or, you can hop on that ancient computer of yours and search for a new job! Pick from one of five career paths like athlete, culinary, science, journalist, or painter. Detective is also listed, but either isn’t available yet, or I haven’t reached an appropriate milestone to unlock it. Either way, you’ll Start with basic jobs like professional fan, dishwasher, lab cleaner, greeting card wordsmith, and brush washer. As you level up in skills and traits, you’ll be able to earn promotions that will get your better pay. Better pay means better food, clothes, and house decorations!
There isn’t too much to the city just yet, but it’s beautifully drawn and animated. There aren’t any transition screens, either, so moving from one activity or building to another is smooth making it feel like a big open world for you to explore. No waiting on a silly dark screen with a loading bar!
You’ll find several useful stores spread throughout London. Buy groceries needed to cook and level up your cooking skills with. Or trot on over to Simon’s Pub for some spirits and ready made meals. Get furniture from Futon Furniture and flooring or wallpaper from D&Y. Berry’s Electronics has all your appliance needs, while Banana21 Apparel provides for all your clothing needs!
Not in the mood for shopping? Head to the gym to get your sweat on. Or go to the library to relax with a good book that’ll level your skills. Perhaps you need to edit your sim’s profile? Pay the Royal Snail a visit and take care of that real quick. The nearby museum is worth a visit, too. You’ll be able to donate items you’ve found to replenish the exhibits, as well as collect stamps for accomplishments. Throw in cars and busses driving around, as well as other people walking along the sidewalks, and London is full of life and things to do!
The design aspect of Little Sim World is super simple. You buy the elements you want from the shops, like wallpaper from D&Y. Then, while at home, you’ll enter the build menu which is laid out in an easy, intuitive manner. There’s a remove tool to not only remove walls and items, but to get some money back for them. You click the design element you want to work with, like wallpaper, and you can click each individual wall you want papered.
Or click and drag to cover the whole room. It’s easy to change whole rooms in this manner. Just be sure you have enough money. Buying the design at the shop merely unlocks the use of it. Placing it costs money too!Placing items is just as easy, too. Select the furniture you want to work with and simply click to place it where you want.
This part of the game is so easy and so simple to learn and do. It was fun designing my sim’s home instead of it being a chore. Switching flooring or rearranging furniture is quick and painless. I can foresee many, many hours spent simply building a fun house.
Little Sim World isn’t just all about the fun shopping sprees and exploring, though. Your sim is essentially a real person. They need to eat, drink, and use the toilet. Bathing is essential to a happy and healthy sim, too. Of course entertainment and exercise needs should be looked after as well.
It’s up to you to fulfill all those needs, and I have to say, that’s a full time job on its own. Maybe it’s because I like to push things instead of balancing my time appropriately, but my sim always feels like it’s starving or needs a shower. Learning to balance my time between working, cooking, having fun, and other needs will take some practice. The challenge is fun, though. It doesn’t feel like a hindrance, but an aspect to rise up to and overcome.
Little Sim World has quite a few other game elements that aren’t included in this early version. Finding love, traveling the city via car, bus, or underground, even having a roommate if you want to play with a friend. And if they implement those with the same care and effort as they’ve done with the rest of what’s in the demo, it’ll be excellent! One of the planned additions is the ability to choose Identity attributes. You’ll distribute points among attributes like smart, health, charm, courage, energy, and luck. I suspect these will help determine how well your sim does in their romantic relationships, as well as maybe their job, and overall life.
There is constantly something to do. Care for the sim’s needs, get them to work on time, and fulfilling tasks are all just what’s available in the demo. Add in romance and whatever exciting new features that are planned for Little Sim World, and it’ll be hard to be bored with the game.
As for designing your home and clothing options, the demo has a limited view of each. I imagine Little Sim World will have a much larger variety of everything upon release and I can’t wait. The clothes and design items are already great. I look forward to even more variety for cute or dark aesthetics!
I for one cannot wait for the full release of Little Sim World. It’s bound to be an adorably great time.
This lovely little game is projected to come out in the beginning of 2024! You can find it on Steam now to add it to your Wishlist.
Wish Upon a Llama is an immersive open-ended RPG where you take on the role of a rancher. You’ll raise a variety of adorable animals like llamas, geese, bunnies, sheep, fish and more. Plus, meet the unique townspeople like the determined engineer and the chill gamer. Each one has their own interesting story to tell. You can even challenge them to jump rope, cleaning the town, trivia, spelling bees and more!
Spend time discovering the over 50 different special breeds through caring for and breeding your livestock. Wish Upon a Llama features animals with a number of different traits to collect. There are different colors, patterns, personalities and more. Babies will inherit traits from both parents, so breed specific pairs together to receive animals that look and act how you want.
When you want a break from caring for your animals, go explore the town. As you contribute to the town’s fundraising efforts, you’ll gain access to new areas. Vacation islands, lush forests, bustling cities, and picturesque beaches will all be available for you to enjoy. You can even start a family and have an active hand in raising your children! Guide them as they grow, go to school, and make their own friends. Wish Upon a Llama even allows you to unleash your creativity by decorating your home and surrounding lands!
I’ve been following Wish Upon a Llama via their Instagram for a while now, impatiently waiting for more news on this adorable game. They just recently released their Steam page, and there is no release date available. However, you can add it to your Steam Wishlist to keep an eye on it!
Dave the Diver is a casual 2D deep-sea exploration and fishing game. You control Dave, a diver who explores the depths of the ocean at night and runs a sushi restaurant during the day. He is in search of treasure and looking to solve puzzles. It is up to you (and Dave) to unravel the mysteries of the Blue Hole as you explore its depths.
The game features a variety of different environments to explore, including beautiful coral reefs, enticing shipwrecks, and even the mysterious Mariana Trench. Dave must use his diving gear to survive in the harsh conditions of the deep ocean, including low oxygen levels and high pressure. You can also use your trusty harpoon to catch fish as you explore.
Don’t forget to make your restaurant successful, though. The profits you earn from selling sushi will fund your deep-sea adventures. Collect resources and use your income to upgrade your equipment or buy new weapons to prepare for what lurks in the depths. If you run out of oxygen, you’ll leave your precious fish and finds behind!
You’ll also encounter a quirky, but fun and lovable cast of characters, plus a full story. Encounter fun jokes, goofy spoofs, and other humorous scenes as you get to know your customers and others.
Dave the Diver features a combination of pixel and 3D graphics to provide a stunning art style with breathtaking ocean scenery. The game is set in a realistic marine environment and includes over 200 different kinds of sea creatures for you to discover while you explore, complete quests, and play minigames.
Dave the Diver is available in Early Access on Steam now. Developer MINTROCKET plans to release the full game in June of this year.