In As Far As The Eye, you play the role of the wind guiding the Pupils as they journey to the center of the world. It’s your job to manage their resources, their buildings, and their whole lives. Direct them to a bigger and better life in order to make it to their destination while surviving life and the rising waters that threaten them. Ensure they survive and thrive!
The roguelike tribe system gives As Far As The Eye a fresh feel each play through you take on. Plan out the route the Pupils will take to reach the center of the world. Not every route spells disaster, but each one holds its own special discoveries. Explore and search points of interest along that path to discover long lost treasures, and even meet allies along the way. And before you head on to the next spot, harvest resources, build your mobile village, and stock up on necessities!
As Far As The Eye reminds me a lot ofdotAGE, which I absolutely loved. They both lack enemies, and instead pit you against random events that threaten the survival of your people. You overcome these events by preparing your people, in this case the Pupils, appropriately. Instruct the Pupils to conduct research that will improve their skills in agriculture, crafting, scientific and mystical arts. You’ll also want to improve your Pupils through the job system, as well as upgrade buildings for better results.
Mind Over Magic is a simulation game where you run a magic school. Design, build, and develop your ideal magic school. Prepare your students survival skills and how to face the obstacles of the Underschool, an underground trial. Engage in a number of different types of magic, and make sure to keep the mysterious fog at bay!
Mind Over Magic allows you to build the school brick by brick. Create unique rooms by hand-placing lights, furniture, and decorations. Opt for a whimsical and cozy look, or perhaps the creepy and spooky is more your style! Then, run classes to teach your students magic and survival skills to prepare them for the Underschool. Choose the class schedule and assign teachers for each one. Craft wands and potions to summon more powerful students, and animate the dead to take care of chores. Then, delve into the labyrinthine Underschool to fight deadly magical battles!
You can find Mind Over Magic on Steam. There is no release date set, but you can add it to your Wishlist and sign up for Playtesting!
It’s Steam Next Fest time again! Last time, I found five cute and cozy games to play and wrote about them here. This time around, there are 10 games I thought fit the bill. These games are a fairly wide variety, so hopefully you’ll find one you love, too! One has combat, but the rest are perfectly relaxing and stress-free, so perfect for kicking back for some fun. If you haven’t tried any of these demos yet, I suggest you do it!
Bug & Seek
First up on the Steam Next Fest list is Bug & Seek! Once the lifeblood of the town, as well as the center of its economy, the Insectarium now stands abandoned. Someone stole all of the bugs and displays in the dead of night one day. Now, it’s up to you to restore the Insectarium, and even solve the mystery of the Great Bug Heist! Catch over 175 real-life types of bugs. Use those bugs to fulfill requests, as well as restore the Insectarium to the once fantastic bug display it used to be.
This demo was much shorter than I expected, and left me wanting more! With its charming pixel graphics and simple gameplay, Bug & Seek promises to be a perfectly relaxing game.
Cupid Island is a cute life simulator all about bringing together couples and nurturing their blossoming relationships! You play as a Cupid, and it’s your job to explore the human world and make couples. Once coupled, you can bring those humans to live on Cupid Island where you’ll collect their Love, Joy, and Passion which will help expand the island. Build and customize absolutely everything from your own home to the looks of your couples. Farm, fish, dance, and even play soccer in your down time. And who knows, maybe you’ll find your very own true love!
This was another short Steam Next Fest demo that I really enjoyed. It’s adorable, charming, and just so positive. It definitely will give you the warm and fuzzies!
If you enjoyed Forager, give Vexlands a try. You’re a lone survivor deep within a cursed land and you need to explore the world by unlocking surrounding tiles. You do this by gathering resources that appear around you, sell them, and use that money to unlock new tiles. Those tiles will reveal more resources, loot, dungeons, monsters, and even disasters! Unlocking a tile also cleanses it of the mysterious curse surrounding it. Craft gear to help you in your adventures, and even build your very own home base with decor. You’ll also unlock the ability to raise animals as you grow your home base. There’s even cute hats to collect!
In Manitas Kitchen, you play as Trexito, a Tyrannosaurus who has a dream to make pizzas! Your short little arms make that difficult, though. Under the supervision of a tiny, rude boss, however, you’ll gather a team of other dinosaurs to make up a kitchen full of the best cooks. With a humorous crime drama narrative, you’re sure to have a ton of fun with this one. You’ll learn to make pizzas and get to unlock new recipes as you buy ingredients from the store.
I found this Next Fest demo to be quite a bit of fun. You get a little bit of story and a little bit of gameplay to get a peek into the whole picture. I did find Trexito to feel a little slow, and the movement felt a little clunky. However, this one seems like it’ll be a ton of fun once released!
Snufkin: Melody of Moomin Valley is a charming game with a classic storybook art style. It’s easy to play and easy to navigate with a compelling storyline. You play as Snufkin, who’s returned to the valley after a long winter, only to find a series of parks has popped up. These parks ruin the natural beauty of Moomin Valley, and Snufkin’s determined to get rid of them all. Explore the beautiful valley as you remove ugly signs, knock over unsightly statues, and dismantle grotesque park fencing. Complete puzzles and gain friendly help using your trusty harmonica. Even sneak around park patrols to restore the beautiful valley to what it once was!
I loved this demo. It’s an absolutely gorgeous game. I felt like I’d been dropped down into one of my childhood storybooks. Plus, it’s easy to learn how to play. It’s perfect for relaxing after a long day, and great for adults and kids alike!
Ever wanted to escape city life and run a cute, cozy little cafe out in the woods? Now you can in this Steam Next Fest demo, Nom Nom: Cozy Forest Cafe! This game is a relaxing cafe management game where you complete simple rhythm minigames to bake tasty treats. Serve a variety of adorable animal customers, and even talk to them while they enjoy their food. Even decorate the cafe to your liking with different wall colors, flooring options, windows, signs, and more! You can also design custom t-shirts to give away to your customers as a thank you.
This demo was WAY too short. I got to experience a single customer, made one item for that customer, and decorated the cafe with a few options. I wanted more! What was there was so, so cute, though. Definitely keep your eyes on this one!
Time to Morp is like Pokemon meets automated machine production, and I’m all about it! You’re in charge of building up this planet, starting with making use of the cute little creatures name Morps. Build them suitable enclosures, and feed them different materials to watch them transform and produce resources! Explore a vibrant, colorful world in search of new Morps, new resources, and exciting new biomes. Then, settle in and build a network of pipes, pumps, wires, tubes, and more to create an automated system. Use it to feed your Morps, or direct them where to go, and more!
This demo was a lot of fun. The colors are super vibrant, but work really well within the game. The Morps are fun to take care of, and exploring is interesting with the wild variety of terrain and plants. Plus, the people you interact with are quirky, which makes for fun dialogue. This game doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Next up on my Steam Next Fest list is Horticular! You’ve been magically summoned by gnomes to restore a garden that’s seen better days. You’ll engage in a fantastic world where you have total creative freedom. Build and expand your garden. Use hundreds of unlockable surface types to create lush grasslands, lavish pond habitats, and ornate rivers. Decorate with a variety of items and plants, too. Create inviting habitats to attract back animal friends in order to restore the ecosystem. Just be sure to maintain the magic elements as magic will help you with unhappy animals, garden decay, and corrupted agents sent to sabotage you!
I really enjoyed this demo, too. It was relaxing, even though there were objectives to complete. There wasn’t a rush to complete them, and I could rearrange and redo my garden however I wanted. Plus, the sheer number of items promised in the full game, just makes me more excited. This will be the perfect game for designing gardens!
Chill Town promises to be a soothing blend of idle game and life sim. And really, it reminds me of ACNH, but people instead of anthropomorphic creatures. You run around collecting resources on a beautiful island. Catch bugs, visit the shops or town hall, fish, farm, and tame cute creatures. Unleash your creativity in build mode and create your perfect home using a variety of different decor items. Even add your personal touch to the outside of your home with benches, light posts, and more. Even take care of your very own furry friend!
This demo was super cute. You got to interact with some of the townspeople and get an idea of what they’re like, while learning how to fish and collect items. I’m thinking this will be a great alternative to players looking for more ACNH-like games!
A New Leaf: Memories is an adorable new farming sim where you wake up on a mysterious beach with no memories of how you got there. The mayor has graciously gifted you a plot of land, and the townspeople helped equip you with the necessary tools. Grow a number of fruits and vegetables on your farm, and sell the produce or use them to cook fun recipes. Explore the island to find a network of caves where you can gather resources. Even take a moment to fish in the different bodies of water found across the island. Plus, raise farm animals, complete quests and build relationships, befriend an adorable cat or dog, and decorate! You’ll be able to customize your look, as well as change your clothes. And of course decorate your home to create a cozy escape from farm work!
I’m sure we’ve all been eagerly awaiting A New Leaf: Memories, and thankfully they released this demo during this Steam Next Fest, because boy was it adorable. The demo shares just the basic first steps, but it was beautiful to run around and explore. Plus, the plot of land you get for your home is massive! I can’t wait to see all of the fun farms people create!
Remember those adorable desktop pets and helpers you used to be able to have? I touched on them a bit when I talked about Werydlets, a cute desktop pet game that’s coming to Steam. Well, it appears developer 3DM Live Wallpapers has jumped on the cozy game train to bring us Desktop Farm.
As the name suggests, it’s a farm that you play on your desktop! Your farm becomes your very own live, interactive wallpaper. There’s no rushing necessary in Desktop Farm. Develop your farm in your own good time. And since it sits in the background, it’s perfect for playing when you have an idle few minutes to spare. It starts when you start your computer, and pauses when you open other applications, so you aren’t missing anything. No need to spend all your time and energy on your farm. Just visit it when you have a moment and wish to relax!
This fun little desktop game is available now on Steam!
Havendock is a resource management and colony sim where you find yourself on a single square of a pier. You need to gather resources as they float by in the ocean’s current in order to expand your living space. You’ll also build new facilities to help make your life on this pier more comfortable. Arrange your facilities where you wish, catch fish and grow crops for food, and even manage new settlers as they arrive. You can assign them to specific jobs to make operations much easier, but make sure you have enough food, water, and shelter for them!
And it’s recently received a great new update!
Cows, Birds, and More!
You can now visit Cow Island and speak to Josh to add the adorable cow to your list of animals. Feed them to receive milk, which can be turned into cheeses and desserts for your settlement to enjoy. You can also visit Bird Island where you’ll find Mother Kewi, a large bird who will help repopulate Bird Island. Once you rebuild her nest she’ll appear, and you can customize her colors, complete quests for her, and feed her. She’ll repopulate the island with tiny Kewi, who will carry resources back to your island. You can even take a ride on Mother Kewi!
There’s even more to enjoy, too. You can now access an abandoned fishing village. It was once a village full of life, but now it’s up to you to revitalize it. Rebuild necessary buildings and recruit new fishermen. You’ll need their services to create a sustainable way to feed fish to the birds, after all. When you’ve done that, hop into the water to discover the mysteries of the crash. Use your bots to clean the area, drill for minerals, and investigate the wreckage. Even attract a new doctor NPC by shooting off a flare.
Havendock now has The Cave, where you can explore and fight slimes. To access The Cave, visit Bird Island and find the door. Fighting slimes will reward you with slime bubbles, which can be used to make desserts or combat gear. This portion of the update is bare bones at the moment, and the developers are looking for suggestions on equipment, upgrades, etc to improve the area.
Find Havendock on Steam now! It is in Early Access, but receives great updates regularly. For another colony sim, check out my review of One Lonely Outpost.
It’s no secret: Stardew Valley is my favorite cozy game; it’s possibly my all time favorite. I’m eagerly, and impatiently awaiting the release of Haunted Chocolatier, too. Until then, I’m always on the lookout for the next great farming sim. There are some great ones out there, and many more coming out that have potential. One Lonely Outpost was definitely one I’ve had my eye on for a while. Cozy farming sim where you restore the dying planet to its lush former glory and establish a brand new colony of people? Sign me up! Except, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
You can find One Lonely Outpost on Steam, and it is undoubtedly cute, and getting to restore the planet, while watching the flora and fauna slowly return is heart-warming. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment from rebuilding the world into something liveable for my character and the NPCs. Getting to live on a planet that isn’t just some carbon copy of Earth, but actually feels like a surreal, alien planet is perfect. It immerses you into the story more, and makes the game just different enough, but with familiar elements.
What I really enjoyed was that sprinklers unlock early game. I can ramp up my farming almost immediately because of this, and ended up building a sprawling farm. There’s no endless struggling to complete tasks for in-game months while fighting your tiny amount of energy. Plus, it doesn’t feel like an end-game condition or after-thought. I can’t express enough how happy I was to get those sprinklers early.
I know I just praised the sprinklers, but I have to also express how clunky they are. You have the sprinkler itself, which only waters crops within a specific radius of the sprinkler head. That’s normal and common in farming games. However, One Lonely Outpost also requires you to have a water pump placed near a water source, which will then provide water for the sprinklers to water crops. Then, you need solar panels to power those pumps. And each item has a specific range, so to cover a wide area, you’ll need multiples of each. Luckily, you can place a water pump by a water source, then place another water pump within the area of the first, and daisy chain the pumps to cover an area. However, if you’re wanting an aesthetic farm plot, it’s going to take some real planning.
The map is another problem for me. It’s SO low tech. You’re over here crafting food processors, forges, and water pumps from parts, but your map only shows you a broad overview of the One Lonely Planet world. It doesn’t zoom into the specific spot in a region you’re in. It doesn’t have visuals so you can find the paths to other regions. You just have to guess, and really commit the place to memory. Nevermind not having icons for the NPCs, which is fine. Stardew Valley does the same, and that was workable. It just feels a little silly that we’re building a brand new colony with solar panels and cooking stations we’ve crafted, but the map is basically useless.
Fishing is usually my least liked activity in farming sims, because they’re often just annoying. Stardew Valley, for example, has got to be my least favorite fishing activity. It gets easier with practice and new items, but it’s often the skill I ignore when I play. However, the fishing mechanic in One Lonely Outpost is perhaps worse than that. You get this cool little fishing drone that you release into a body of water, which initiates a minigame.
You control the drone by moving left or right, and dashing forward to catch a fish. Then, you play a little minigame where you click when the indicator is inside a tiny bar that moves. Sometimes it’s fast, and sometimes you do this up to three times, and this is what determines if you catch the fish. Unfortunately, the drone maneuverability is not on par with the fish. It’s slow and cumbersome, while the fish are swift and swim away if you approach too close. You also need to resurface before the battery runs out, or you lose your drone, forcing you to buy a new one or make a new one. They’re not that cheap, either.
You can buy drones and other items from Linny. Except, Linny is the new Marnie. I think I successfully caught her in her shop twice, maybe three times since she moved to the planet. I imagine she has a specific schedule I just wasn’t able to suss out, but it sure did make buying necessary items from her unduly difficult.
What really bothered me was the glitching. Most of the time, using my bug catching drone bugged the whole game. When it’s out, it shows an area on the round so you can see if you’re close enough to catch a bug. If I had the drone out and walked to a new region, that area disappeared and I just had to guess. Then, it morphed into only showing up when in one specific region. This issue also caused the areas shown for sprinklers, water pumps, and solar panels. So, I struggled to rearrange my farm unless I did it first thing when turning on the game and before I ever used my bug catching drone.
It has potential, and some of my complaints are more personal preference than a problem with the game. However, there were enough problems that I just didn’t vibe with the game. One Lonely Outpost is in Early Access, though, so there is hope that it has the wrinkles ironed out and it improves. I truly hope it does, too, because I enjoyed the atmosphere of it. Until then, I rate it:
Once upon a time, the beautiful continent of Cataria was home to an ancient civilization. However, the continent disappeared one day, becoming lost to the world for centuries. After hundreds of years, Cataria has been found, and dozens of adventurers have set off to explore the continent and its ruins. People wish to find a new home and resettle Cataria, and uncover its mysteries along the way
You play as one such person. Choose between two ancestries in Ages of Cataria, humans or elves, find the perfect location for your new village, and craft its origin story. Humans are just that, human, while elves are elegant plant-like creatures. Each has their own set of attributes. Each also has their own unique building style, resource requirements, and lifestyle events. Villagers of Cataria all have their own personalities, skill proficiencies, and wellness levels. It will be up to you to manage their wellness so they stay comfortable and productive.
In Ages of Cataria, you’ll perform jobs around town in the form of mini games to boost your character’s productivity and skill level. From cooking to hunting, each job has its own unique mini game to be played. You’ll also get to experience character-driven quests with your villagers. These will be in the form of interactive visual novels that will help define your villager’s personalities and stories. Some quests are minor, while some are life-changing events. And of course you have stylistic control over your village! You’ll be able to customize your town’s buildings to fit your style.
Coming June 2023
Unfortunately, we’re a long way out from the release of this beautiful and unique game. However, it will be on Steam and Switch. It is currently open for pre-orders on the Cataria website, too.
For another cute sim to play, check out Hokko Life!
Farm, Colonize, Build Relationships, Explore a Mysterious Planet
The publisher Freedom Games (Cat Cafe Manager), as part of IGN Summer of Gaming 2022, showcased their upcoming indie games. One of them included a sci-fi farming simulation game called One Lonely Outpost. In a barren alien world you’ll be in charge of building a colony and decide on growing crops and raising livestock naturally or synthetically (hybrid plants, spliced genes).
To bring colonists over, you’ll have to terraform your desert with a trusty robotic pet. That includes, fertilizing the ground, securing water sources, and making the air breathable. Depending on what you do, new people will come to your outpost like mechanics, environmental engineers, and more. You’ll even get to befriend them or romance them!
Play with up to 3 online friends on the same or separate farms in the same community. Each player can even form their own relationships within the same colony!