Bloomtown: A Different Story is a narrative JRPG that mixes turn-based combat, monster taming, and social RPG elements into a pleasant 1960s Americana setting. You play as Emily and her younger brother Chester as they spend their summer holiday in their grandpa’s cozy and quiet town. With its cinema, grocery shops, library, and parks, Bloomtown is an idyllic cozy town, but it’s hiding a big secret. Underneath this sleepy little town, a demon world is growing and children are going missing.
Embark on a grand adventure to save the townspeople of Bloomtown: A Different Story from this mysterious demon world. The demons are the fears and vices of the townspeople that have come to life. As Emily, figure out the mysteries and the disappearances and save the souls of everyone! Face off against giant demons and dungeon bosses in the Underside using a turn-based combat system. Fight alongside your friends, who each have their own sets of abilities, as well as summon your own inner demons. Even capture new creatures to use in other battles by weakening them during combat.
When you’re not out with your very own demon-hunting squad, trying to solve the mysteries of the Underside, take some time to relax and enjoy the beautiful little town. Explore the secret areas, visit the gym to strengthen your physical abilities, earn pocket money working at the grocery store, make friends, or even spend time relaxing with gardening. Bloomtown: A Different Story lets you decide what’s the most useful for your adventure!
Bloomtown: A Different Story is coming to Steam Q2 of 2024. It has also been announced for PlayStation!
SunnySide is an upcoming game published by Merge Games with a mix of farming and a dash of dating sim. The graphics are reminiscent of the Lake so it really has a relaxing vibe. SunnySide is inspired by the Japanese countryside and will have you fermenting your own soy sauce and slicing tofu, and gazing upon cherry blossom trees!
Much like My Time at Sandrock, SunnySide has more of a modernised take on farming by giving you access to solar panels, electric water pumps, and other such contemporary machines. You’ll be totally self-sufficient when it comes to growing and cooking your own food and generating your own power. There will be no shipping boxes or other tedious tasks!
With that extra free time, you can really get to know the locals. Moreover, form friendships or romantic relationships, join groups, attend events, and more! With the use of technology, like your in-game smartphone, you can keep in touch with new friends, access online shopping, and store your favourite farm fresh recipes.
Coming Soon to Switch and Steam
The developers behind this beautiful farming JRPG plan to release it on PC and Switch in 2023, with PlayStation and Xbox to follow soon after. For now, you can Wishlist SunnySide on Steam here.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s no secret that pixel-art-stylized games are popular right now (we even recently wrote an article about our favourites). Pixel-art-stylized video game fans will be pleased to hear that there is another game in development. Developer’s Aloft Studios are currently working on a Zelda-inspired game entitled Hazelnut Bastille, which they hope will bring some retro vibes and SNES magic to the Nintendo Switch console.
Hazelnut Bastille is an upcoming Zelda-esque 16-bit JRPGMetroidvania game that has been confirmed for PC, Mac, Linux, and more recently, Nintendo Switch. The game has been compared to Chrono Trigger and Golden Sun. It currently has a tentative mid to late 2020 release window.
Aloft Studios is a small indie game studio who have emphasised that quality is of utmost importance to them.
Additionally, composer Horoki Kikuta (who is known for his work on Secret of Mana) has joined the Hazelnut Bastille team as a celebrity guest composer.
Aloft Studios have given the following information about the game in a previous interview with Nintendo Life:
“The timescale for this release will either be simultaneous with our PC / Mac / Linux release, or following some months after, as funding and development time ultimately allows, but we would very much like to see a release across all four of our starter platforms if it proves possible!”
“Hazelnut Bastille, for PC, Mac, and Linux, and now Nintendo Switch, is a lush, topdownMetroidvania in a 16bitJRPG style, which seeks to continue the great lineage of superior design from the mid 90’s- the moment in time when mainstream 2D titles reached arguably their greatest level of refinement, in titles such as Super Metroid and Link to the Past. We seek to emulate this period in most ways, from graphic presentation to audio production, to general level design philosophy. Hazelnut Bastille tells the story of a young woman who travels to a foreign shore on the outskirts of her world, in order to seek out the promised gifts of mythological ancients, in hopes of retrieving something which was lost to her. On the way, her story becomes irrevocably intertwined with the lives of those living in this far off land.”
Bit of a tongue-twister eh? Are you forever skint like myself? Or are you a thrifty person who feels guilty forking out on video games? Never fear, for the Steam summer sale is here! Lasting until the 5th July, you can now nab those games you’ve been wistfully browsing through and adding to your Steam wishlist. Here are 6 discounted great games that you should totally grab whilst they’re on offer.
Being a Level-5 BANDAI NAMCO game, this sequel is naturally of excellent quality, which unfortunately is reflected in its price. It’s original price of £49.99 was too steep for me to even consider. However, it’s current sale price of £29.99 (40% discount) makes it very tempting.
Currently discounted by 70% (£29.99 to £8.99), this game is hands-down a bargain. However, there’s also a bundle available on sale, which includes The Witness + Braid for just £9.82. Their combined cost would be £40.98 when purchased individually at their normal price. ????
South Park: The Stick of Truth is very highly regarded on Steam. It’s one of those games you’re always tempted by, but can’t justify forking out for. Well now you can! It is currently reduced by 75% from £26.99 to £6.74.
A bundle containing South Park: The Stick of Truth + South Park: The fractured but whole is also on sale. The bundle is massively discounted by 73% from £76.98 to £20.91! ????
This beautiful game (made by indie developers Double Fine) is still adored 4 years after its release. If you haven’t already had the opportunity to play it, you can currently nab it for just £2.99, which is an 80% reduction from it’s usual price of £14.99!
(Pssst! You can also get the Double Fine bundle, which contains 18 items, for 90% off. That’s £145.83 down to £15.01!) ????
Firewatch is repeatedly praised for its narrative and interactivity. If you want to play a unique, story-rich game that bridges the gap between games and digital writing, you’re in luck. Firewatch is currently discounted by 75% from £14.99 to £3.74
If none of these games tickle your fancy, there are plenty more bargains to choose from in the Steam Summer Sale.
[dropcap]G[/dropcap]uildlings is an upcoming mobile game for both iOS and Android. Currently in development by Sirvo, (the creator of ‘Threes!’), the single-player episodic adventure game is set to be released this summer. Combining ‘Wizards and Wi-Fi’, Guildlings (alongside upcoming magic school games Ikenfell and Witchbrook ) capitalises on the popular combination of teen angst and wizardry.
With amazing graphics, beautiful audio, and a focus on story, Guildlings is split into chapters, and is designed for longer play sessions than most mobile games. The JRPG game has you play as Coda, a home-schooled teen with a cursed smartphone. Recruiting your friends as Guildlings, you utilise their magical powers in an attempt to rid yourself of the curse, whilst also saving the world.
Gameplay combines exploration, conversation and non-traditional combat, which are connected by a mood-based character system. Each of your Guildlings have their own unique powers. However, in the realm of Worldaria, magic is driven by emotions. Essentially, your Guildlings can only use magic when they are feeling a certain way (eg confident). Therefore if your Guildling is afraid when they need to be confident, your task as a Guildmaster is to figure out how to influence their emotions and mood.
A sneak-peak of Chapter One
The first chapter offers players the ability to:
Embark on a grand Quest to Save the World
Reunite with long-lost friends
Duel with a grumpy kitchen appliance
Navigate a maze of trashbag-crabs
Annoy your big sister by insulting her love life
Collect tons of gold then spend it all on snacks
Snap selfies at the mysterious Makeout Temple
Narrowly avoid being crushed by a giant apocalyptic bird (?!)
Influences and Goals
Guildlings was inspired by games such as Earthbound, and interactive narratives like 80 days. It was also influenced by the much-loved Studio Ghibli films and globally adored Harry Potter franchise.
The game’s developers have said that their two major goals upon starting Guildlings were:
To build a fun, inspiring coming-of-age adventure for mobile.
To make the phone feel like a small portal into a large fantasy world.
You can read more about the game (and obtain a free Guildlings mobile wallpaper) here.
We recently posted about Chucklefish (publishers of Stardew Valley) collaborating with Pixpil games to deliver an exciting new game entitled Eastward. In a recent interview with Red Bull, more information about the previously elusive game has come to light. Therefore we thought we’d take this opportunity to update anyone interested.
Eastward is an upcoming JRPG adventure game with pixel graphics, which is set in a post-apocalyptic Shanghai. The game, which focuses on a father and his daughter, is said to be very emotive and exciting. Eastward has beautiful graphics similar to Chucklefish’s farming simulation Stardew Valley and their upcoming magic school game Witchbrook (which you can read more about here). Therefore, Pixpil’s decision to partner with Chucklefish is undoubtedly a positive and prosperous one.
Pixpil initially started out as a small team of three. As the game progressed however, the team started to grow. There are currently around a dozen people from Pixpil working on Eastward. The company’s office is located in a Shanghai shopping mall, and is surrounded by many furniture stores. Pixpil have said that the ‘small and sneaky’ location of their headquarters has influenced the game.
Having also been compared to games such as Zelda and Earthbound, and inspired by Japanese anime, and the hustle and bustle of Shanghai, it’s safe to say the game has a wide variety of influences.
Pixpil’s co-founder and designer, Feng Ye talks about the game’s protagonists:
“The main characters are John and Sam,” Ye explains. “A tough, hard-working guy, and a long white fluffy-haired girl respectively, who start their journey in a mysterious underground place isolated from the rest of the world. In the outside world, the human population has shrunk to an all-time low, and strange creatures are beginning to descend on the cities. After leaving their small underground village, John and Sam are about to discover what has made the world become so dangerous and what destiny awaits them.”
Despite taking place in a bleak post-apocalyptic world, the upcoming JRPG still has a plethora of interesting characters to discover and engage with. For example a merchant character called William, who has an adopted robot-boy assistant, undergoing surgery to become a real boy.
Although the game is single player, players will have the opportunity to switch between the two protagonists in order to solve puzzles. The game will feature John the most, but will still incorporate his daughter Sam in order to add variety and different characteristics. On same occasions, the pair will need to be separated in order to proceed. This mechanic adds more complexities and possibilities to the gameplay.
The game combines 2D art with 3D effects. Eastward consists of tried and tested game art methods, as well as more modern effects, created with a variety of equipment, and a bespoke Homebrew engine. This very unique combination has resulted in beautiful graphics.
Eastward’s visual allure is one of the key reasons that Chucklefish got involved, according to producer Rosie Ball. “From the moment we saw Eastward we absolutely fell in love with the art style, and we just wanted to find out more! After we spoke to the Pixpil team and got hands-on with the game, we were so happy to discover that it’s not just a pretty game. It’s also really interesting from a technological point of view, with what it’s doing creatively with pixel art. The Pixpil team are being very innovative with their techniques, and that’s something that really excites us at Chucklefish.”
The developers have also made it clear however, that they want the audio in the game to be just as compelling. Due to difficulties in finding local composers familiar with their game language, Pixpil have decided to outsource audio to Joel Corelitz The Unfinished Swan, Gorogoa, Tumbleseed) and Hyperduck Soundworks (Dust:An Elysian Tail, The Adventure Pals). Pixpil are working closely alongside them to ensure the music and audio is exactly how they want it and that the soundtrack is well-matched to the game.
It has been hinted that Eastward is ‘moving towards completion’, although no fixed date for the game’s release has been set. Pixpil have said that they are very proud of their game, and belive that their partnership with Chucklefish has been very helpful in getting the ball rolling. Currently, the game is only set to be released for PC and Mac, although developers have expressed interest in releasing the game on other platforms, such as Linux.
Could this mean a spot beside Stardew Valley in the Nintendo eShop?