Have you been looking for the next great tycoon-type game? You know, like Zoo Tycoon and Rollercoaster Tycoon where the focus was on using your creativity to build parks, while keeping guests happy. Perhaps one without puzzles or roguelite elements. A game that gets back to the roots of the genre and is just purely a tycoon game? Tavern Master might be for you, then! This is a cozy medieval management game where you’re in charge of building, maintaining, and running your own tavern.
Tavern Master equips you with many different tools to help you create the perfect business. Craft impeccable layouts and choose from any number of walls, flooring, fences, and stairs to build your tavern. Add decorations for a personal, cozy touch, too. Be sure to include a kitchen and rooms for guests to stay overnight! Arrange enough tables and chairs, plus light sources, to attract customers. Hire staff to run the kitchen and serve guests, and optimize the workflow. Customers will only wait so long!
Fantastic Haven is a lovely Zoo Tycoon type game where you run a safe haven for magical creatures. As people move towards more advanced technology, their desire to live in harmony with the magical creatures wanes. This puts the balance of magic under pressure, and it’s up to you to restore that balance. Take in magical creatures that are injured or endangered, and restore them to health. Then, release them back into the wild to help restore the magic of the world. Even try diplomacy and education to teach humans about the importance of these creatures. It’s not an easy job, but it’s worth it!
I had the pleasure of playing the demo for Fantastic Haven and I have to say, it was SO short. I got a very small taste of what the game is about, and it left me wanting more. Building facilities necessary for taking care of animals, as well as advancing your research is great for game progression. Hand-crafting the biotopes needed to house the magical creatures is fun and lends a sense of creativity outside of building what amounts to a village with your buildings.
It’s apparent that, despite the short demo, Fantastic Haven will be fully involved and perfect for spending a day gaming. You conduct research, build golems to help you in your tasks, care for the creatures’ medical needs, build biotopes, feed creatures, and much more. It has a very apparent depth to it. However, that means there are menus upon menus for you to navigate. That by itself is fine.
Many complicated strategy and management games have that. Fantastic Haven’s research menu, building menus, creature menus, etc. are common enough. The only problem I found is that the text is TINY. It’s difficult to read, which makes it difficult to accomplish things in the game. The lack of tutorial was mildly frustrating, too. I don’t know if that was demo specific, but I hope so. The starting quests ask you to pan the camera, move around the area, and similar. It doesn’t tell you how to do that, though. So, if you’d never encountered using Q and E to turn a camera, you’d be totally lost and unable to progress the quest line.
That said, Fantastic Haven is absolutely beautiful and offers an immersive storyline along with its game play. I could see myself spending hours upon hours perfecting the layout of my village, negotiating with humans, and carefully building biotopes for creatures. It’s a magical adventure that calls me to play!
I’ll hold off on rating the demo, since they’re not always accurate to what the final game will look like. Just know that I think it’ll be a worthwhile game!
You can find Fantastic Haven on Steam, where you can Wishlist it. It’s not projected to release until Q2 of next year, though. There’s also plans for releases on Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox!
The Tenants is your opportunity to build the rental property empire of your dreams! You’re in the driver’s seat of your new career, so you get to decide everything. Test your investment skills in order to earn money. Take risks or play it safe by finding the best bang for your buck. Then, choose who you rent to. Perhaps the aspiring musician will make a good tenant. Or even build a welcoming gaming haven for a group of gamer friends.
Just be prepared to deal with the various situations The Tenants has that will pop up between neighbors! How you react to things will have an affect on your gameplay. Deal with annoyed neighbors, and even problematic neighbors that might require police intervention. There’s more to it than just managing your tenants, of course. Take time to expertly design and renovate each of your rental spaces. Refresh the paint, redo the floors, and outfit the place with lovely furniture. The better the space looks, the more it’s worth!
If you’re unfamiliar with APICO, it’s a laid-back beekeeping sim game. You can find bees, breed them to create new types, and release them into the wild to repopulate the world. There’s even some resource gathering, home building, and exploration involved. Plus, you can use honey the bees produce to make other fun items to sell, like Apicola (honey soda)!
APICO is super laid-back, but can feel a little overwhelming at first. Instead of implementing forced, unskippable tutorials, the game uses a set of books you can access at any time at the bottom of the screen. The first one, “Grandpa’s Guide”, contains 46 chapters. These chapters are tutorial pages that explain what to do, and reward you when you complete it. These pages of explanations can be accessed even after completing, which is great for those of us who are forgetful.
Graphics and Bees
APICO is SO cute. Seriously cute. Its pixel graphics lend a sense of nostalgia to it, but it’s beautifully colored, too. There’s no overwhelmingly bright colors and nothing is difficult to look at. Nevermind that the little beehives and different wild bee species are adorable, too. Plus, each one of those has their own specific color so it’s easy to determine what type of bee it is at a glance. To make it easier to determine what kind of bee you’re looking at, it’s labeled with a three-letter abbreviation. Rolling your mouse over the bee will pop-up a small window with more information about it, too.
As for breeding the bees, Grandpa’s Guide walks you through setting that up really well. Then, “Beelia’s Almanac” further discusses each species. It also rewards you for discovering different types of bees! There are 45 different bee species for you to discover, making for a good amount of playtime as it may take a few rounds of crossbreeding to produce new species. Plus, you can use what your bees produce to make things like Apicola to sell in order to advance in other areas of the game.
The world of APICO is fairly small. There’s the mainland you start on, swamp biome, tundra biome, and the Hallows located at the center of the map. There are also some fishing spots in the ocean, and a few coral reefs which were recently added in. So, while exploring is a part of the game as each biome has its own unique species of bees, it’s not the main focus. Each biome has been lovingly crafted, though, and offers its own resources.
At first, the map feels too small, but it’s honestly perfectly sized for a game that isn’t adventure-focused. It’s easy to get to the different biomes with the boat to get resources or bees, and be back home quickly. It’s not a chore going anywhere, especially when you’ve turned on the Walk Through Trees accessibility option (which I recommend using; it makes playing so much easier). It also places the focus solely on the bees and breeding them, which is perfect. And you can terraform! So you can make space to suit your needs. Create the perfect bee garden with a little work!
APICO is an otherwise relaxing time. There are no time constraints to complete things. You can explore how you wish, even swimming through the shallower waters around the islands. You can terraform and build and decorate how and when you wish (items are unlocked via completing quests and such, but otherwise done at your pace). There are NPCs you can talk to, but they aren’t adamant and annoying about needing interaction. They also act as the shops of the world, offering useful items. It’s a great little game that’s perfect for learning about bees! And if you’ve done everything in the game, it not only supports, but encourages modding so you can get even more out of this sweet little game!
Nevermind that upon starting up the game, the main menu has links to the wiki! That’s a wonderfully useful piece of the internet that I used a few times as I played. There’s also a link to a charity that helps our real-life bee populations! So, not only is APICO a cute little bee game, it endeavors to support our real-life bee preservation efforts. I couldn’t love it more.
Fantastic Haven takes place in a world where magic has been gradually fading while technological advances take over. These advances threaten the balance, and your role as the Elders means it’s up to you to help rebalance the world. You need to save the magical creatures people like to hunt. Use diplomacy and teach people how to live in harmony with these fantastic creatures!
You’ll start by choosing the perfect starting spot. Pick from a number of different areas in Fantastic Haven, each coming with their own challenges, and begin building basic infrastructure. Unlock new research and buildings as you play to be able to welcome the magical creatures to this new haven you’re creating. Even send your mages out into the world to find new creatures, negotiate with hostile populations, and more. Every choice you make can impact how your future turns out, so choose wisely.
As you find the magical creatures of Fantastic Haven and bring them back to your refuge, you’ll place them in the quarantine facility. Then, you can place them in an existing biotope (enclosure) or create a new one. Either way, you’ll need to respect its needs, as well as its compatibility with other creatures to find it the perfect home. Your goal is to take great care of these creatures before returning them to the wilds, so meeting their demands is important for restoring magic into the world!
You’ll find Fantastic Haven on Steam and GOG next year! There are plans for releases on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox sometime after that, too.
In Cat Cafe Manager, you’ll adopt stray cats to bring them into your restaurant. It’s a restaurant that you get to renovate, furnish, expand, and decorate! Train your staff and decide what goes on the menu to keep those customers coming in! Furthermore, you can forge relationships with the locals, help them with their personal problems, and even get them to divulge secrets of the town!
Available Now on Switch and Steam
Cat Cafe Manager is developed by Roost Games and published by Freedom Games, whom have published the likes of To The Rescue!, a dog shelter managing game. You can get Cat Cafe Manager on Steam here or for the Switch here.
Brew Potions, Manage a Shop, Negotiate Prices, Find Love
Since we last heard about Potionomics, an alchemy-crafting, potion-selling sim, a lot has changed. Developes at Voracious Games now have publisher XSEED/Marvelous backing them up! Now, there’s also deck-building and romancing elements in the mix, in case the game wasn’t perfect enough. Not to mention you practically have Archimedes (the owl, not the inventor) by your side.
You play as witch Sylvia who’s inherited her uncle’s potion shop, along with a huge debt. Players must hone their negotiation skills, outsell crafty competitors, and appease the pickiest customers with the best products in Rafta. Decorating your shop is not only stylish, but can help you to increase your sale prices and provide better quality potions! Gathering ingredients and learning new recipes will also be essential.
Furthermore, certain merchants and shopkeepers will be yours to romance, as recently revealed. Characters such as Muktuk the walrus, Saffron the faun, Luna the moth-human hybrid, and 7 others! You can check out the latest trailer below.
Potionomics available now
Potionomics is now available on Steam and has gathered mainly positive reviews. You can get this adorable and magical narrative-driven, deck-building shop simulator on Steam here. There’s no news as of yet if Potionomics will be coming to consoles, although chances are great with XSEED as the publisher.
Decorate, Manage, and Make Money with Your Own Inn as a Bear
In Bear and Breakfast you play as a bear named Hank and renovate an abandoned shack into an inn to attract tourists. The game is as relaxing as you would come to expect from a bed and breakfast in the middle of the woods.
Each room can be individually customized completely from furniture to fixtures. This includes bedrooms, lounges, kitchens and dining rooms, bathrooms, and more! While exploring the woods for goods, you’ll meet other strange characters, trade items with them, and uncover a story-rich plot.