Dreaming Isles by solo developer YawningDad is an upcoming cozy life sim perfect for discerning players looking for more than just farming! You find yourself shipwrecked on an island with an abandoned farm. You possess no memories of your past, but you’re determined to not only survive, but thrive on this unfamiliar island.
Set out on an exciting adventure full of farming and sailing as you explore a variety of different islands in Dreaming Isles. Restore an old, abandoned boat to set sail in the open seas. Side with the pirates of the Global Trade and take down the other organization by using the cannonballs you grow and craft. Yes, grow! Your crops are unique and can be used as ammo in your conquests! Plus, you’ll learn spells that will help you in your adventures. Just don’t forget to get to know your fellow islanders. You might even fall in love!
Dreaming Isles will release on Steam some time this year. The developer plans to release it on the Switch and Xbox if there’s enough interest!
We’re another week closer to Christmas and I can’t wait! I love going around the neighborhood looking at people’s decorations. I think that’s part of why ACNH having lights in trees feels so satisfying to me. What else is super exciting about the Christmas season, is the new gaming systems and games you get! And with Steam Decks being fairly popular, what better way to celebrate the approach of the holiday with some gift ideas for that system?
The following list only features games that have been Steam Deck verified, to save the gamer in your life some troubles and heartache!
My Time at Sandrock
My Time at Sandrock is the long awaited sequel to My Time at Portia. And just like the prequel, this one takes place in a post-apocalyptic world 330 years after the Day of Calamity destroyed a lot of modern technology. You accept the role as a builder of Sandrock, a desert community. Gather resources to build machines, befriend locals, fight enemies, and lead the town to economic prosperity! Uncover the backstories for over 30 NPCs while you forge friendships with them. Complete side quests, play fun minigames, and even team up with a friend to play the game together!
APICO is a lovely game where you leave your boring city job and return to Port APICO, where you grew up, and return to your beekeeping roots. The APICO islands feature a set of lush, beautiful environments for you to explore. Each biome has its own breed of bees for you to discover. Gather resources to use in your studies or crafting. Make and sell Apicola (honey) and other beekeeping items you will discover. Play fun beekeeping minigames, without the stings! More importantly, breed different cross breeds of bees and discover 30 new species to help repopulate the APICO islands with. Plus, uncover the secrets of the islands while you explore.
I even have a review of APICO here, if you want more information!
Cornucopia offers the same comfortable features players have grown to love from the farming game genre, but in a lovely 2.5D pixel art style. You plant 52 types of fruit trees, 15 types of berry bushes, and grow 52 different crops, including their different artisan varieties. Sell crops or cook them up in one of 200 different recipes! There’s also logging, fishing, mining, and pet breeding to occupy your days. Also enter the pets into competitive races or use them to help you fight monsters. Then, kick back and relax with some crafting and decorating. Unlock furniture and decorations to turn your farm into your favorite getaway. Make friends with Cornucopia’s NPCs, too. Who knows, maybe one of the over 47 NPCs will catch your fancy! Romance them, go on dates, and unlock their romantic cut scenes. Even marry one, start a family, and decorate their room in your house.
While the Iron’s Hot
Play as a simple journeyman blacksmith in While the Iron’s Hot. You’re looking to become a master blacksmith. This game features an exciting combat-free experience. Journey to the mystical lands of Ellian where you’ll meet a cast of quirky characters. Explore tunnels full of puzzles and resources. Master every step of the blacksmithing process. Smelt ore, turn metal into ingots, and shape them into useful items. Use your skills to repair machinery to open up new areas to explore. Craft equipment that helps you explore new regions. Even work hard to restore the defunct blacksmithing town of Stal. Revitalizing the village just might prove to Eillian’s artisans that you’re worthy of being a master blacksmith!
In Loddlenaut, you play as an interstellar custodian who has been hired by the spacefaring mega corporation GUPPI to clean up their mess. They’ve inundated GUP-14 with pollution, and want you to restore the planet. This is an open-world ocean adventure where you’ll get to explore this beautiful alien planet, along with the corporate ruins of GUPPI. You’ll find remnants of their buildings, ships, and machinery that have all sunken to the bottom of the game’s ocean. Use your bubble gun, clean up the trash, remove oil spills, and uncover clues about the past inhabitants. Unlock better gadgets to help you clean up different types of ocean pollution. Recycle the trash you collect and use it to craft items. Even befriend cute little axolotl-looking creatures called loddles!
We currently have Palia, the cozy MMO with zero combat and a focus on some pretty neat world lore. This was released in open beta in August of this year. Then there’s Loftia, a cute solarpunk cozy MMO whose early access isn’t coming until 2025! Now, there’s another possible cozy MMO to keep an eye on.
WorldShards is a sandbox MMORPG set in a fantasy world. What was once a prosperous world inhabited by cat creatures called meowkle, a terrible catastrophe shattered the land. Then, evil wargs attacked. Now the world is made up of numerous flying islands, and you’ll have to explore these fragments, fight the wargs, and restore the meowkles to their former glory!
You’ll receive the use of your very own flying island to turn into your home base. There, you’ll be able to build a house to suit all of your WorldShards needs. Process resources you gather, access crafting stations to make equipment and weapons, and more. Even recruit a friendly meowkle friend to help you out around the house or in your adventures.
Otherwise, take time to explore a beautiful fantasy world full of stunning vistas. Discover the mysteries and secrets WorldShards has hidden in its islands. Set up a useful teleportation system to generate islands that will be useful to you and your play style. Even solve puzzles and complete quests. Gather various resources during your adventures that can be used in crafting or trading. Also go toe to toe with the evil wargs and their ruthless king to help save the world. Engage in stealth missions or defeat them in dynamic battles that depend on your play style.
WorldShards is currently being developed, but you can find the roadmap on their website. Early Access is intended for Q3 of this year, with a full release slated for Q3 of 2024! You can find it on Steam and Epic Games to add it to your Wishlist now!
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!
Veil of Dust: A Homestead Game is a farming simulator seeking to turn the genre on its head. Inspired by the likes of Stardew Valley and Don’t Starve, this game is a historically-grounded fantasy homesteading and survival game with a more adult-oriented gameplay. You’ll play as the Callahan siblings, Shane and Áine, as they learn to cope with loss and learn how to survive life in the desert of eastern Oregon.
With a more task-centric focus, and less grinding, Veil of Dust sets you on an adventure to explore magic, intrigue, small town politics, and more. You’ll farm, forage, and hunt to scrape together the resources and food necessary to survive. Overcome challenges with tools you craft, and fill bellies with different recipes you’ve scraped together, as well as forge relationships. Survival isn’t just about finding food and shelter, after all. Life needs to be worth living, too! Experience deep characterizations and explore realistic, relatable scenarios that touch on heavier topics.
Veil of Dust isn’t devoid of humor and fun, though! Guide Shane and Áine as they search for answers as to why mysterious monsters attack their town and livelihoods. While defense wasn’t always a priority, you might need to protect your homestead from them. The homestead you’ve carefully made your very own by lovingly choosing the perfect colors, turning your inhospitable dirt patch into a comfortable home.
Palia is a free-to-play cozy MMO all about farming, cooking, fishing, and more. Expand your homestead and build a gorgeous home for yourself, while you’re at it. Play solo or with friends and immerse yourself in a beautiful new world full of interesting characters and compelling storylines.
August 10th, 2023 saw Palia enter the Open Beta phase, and the developers over at Singularity 6 have spent a lot of time patching bugs. This month also saw the very first game-wide event called the Maji Market. Players are able to set off mesmerizing fireworks, buy some tasty treats, complete a few quests, and take part in the Chappa Chase!
Now, Palia has had its first update since entering Open Beta, and it’s got some fun content. Players can now explore the Temple of Flames and complete the bundles it has. Finish all four bundles to receive the very special Ancient Rock Garden item that can be placed in your yard. The fabled Kitsuu will visit the rock garden, and you can offer up items to it once a day for a chance at some rewards. Even more fun is that players can now befriend Tau, Hassian’s canine companion. You’ll even receive a cute Tau plushie for completing his friendship quests!
That’s not all this Palia update has to offer, though. You can pick up a brand new furniture set, the Emberborn Set. In celebration of the Temple of Flames being added, this new set is a beautiful, fiery addition to anyone’s home. Zeki’s Wondrous Machine has new items for you to win, too. And you can now multi-craft recipes on the workbench, which is such a relief to me. I couldn’t efficiently flood my plot of land with torches before! Players can now grow corn and spicy peppers in their gardens, as well as cook a number of new dishes:
There’s also some cosmetic shop updates, which you can read about, as well as a list of fixed bugs, and a list of known bugs that are being worked on. You can access all of that, plus the full patch notes here on their website!
In Dolphin Spirit: Ocean Mission, you’re on holiday on the beautiful tropical island of Maupiroa. Your vacation isn’t going to be easy, but you have your grandpa to lean on for help, as well as the other island inhabitants! Embark on an amazing adventure to learn about the folklore and traditions of the island to save it from destruction. Immerse yourself in the heritage of your ancestors to uncover the secrets of the magic totems.
Dive into the depths of the sea and explore with your dolphin friend Keanu. Discover the hidden treasures as you explore the gorgeous, colorful underwater landscapes. You’ll learn about marine life and ecology. Take time to help the inhabitants of Dolphin Spirit: Ocean Mission with conservation efforts. Figure out how to preserve the endangered lives of marine life by using your powers. Even take pictures of all the critters you come across in to fill out your codex!
Hometopia is a building simulation that turns you into a home designer and developer in a realistic virtual world. You’ll build your career step by step, starting from the beginning and progressing to professional home designer as you go. Learn the ins and outs of the industry and level up your skills to unlock unique content.
Engage in a dynamic job system that offers a variety of tasks to complete. Successfully execute one-room makeovers or build whole homes from the foundations to the roof. Hometopia gives you the tools to seamlessly create and design for your clients. Enter first person view to get a better look at the interiors, or use overhead view for plotting the area better. Plan layouts of homes and plots by deciding the size and placement of each room. The grid-less designing allows you to place furniture exactly where you want it, and the color wheel lets you pick the perfect colors for each item. There’s even a workshop for custom items so you can achieve the perfectly designed spaces of your dreams!
Hometopia even has player homes for you to create and design with total freedom for yourself. And if you don’t want to design alone, play co-op with up to three others to complete tasks. Solo or together, design homes across five different neighborhoods and build a successful career!
Hometopia will release in just 3 short weeks! September 27th, you’ll be able to grab a copy of this fun home builder on Steam.