ALOFT is an open-world sandbox game where you must survive living on islands set around a giant, eternal hurricane. You’ll build your base, set sail through the skies to discover new islands, and fight to eliminate the fungi corruption threatening to take over. Uncover the secrets of the past civilization, and learn about their demise by reaching new heights.
Build your base however it suits you. Block the harsh winds or allow them to pass through your structures, lay down some ziplines to get across the island faster, farm crops, and raise animals. Craft useful machinery like the windmill to automate your farm and free up your time. And when you tire of that, take to the skies of ALOFT with your handy glider to explore other islands.
Otherwise, craft a bunch of sails and oars to use your own island as a vehicle! You’ll have absolute freedom when it comes to making your sails. Control the height and width of the masts, as well as the sails, and rotate or expand them as needed. ALOFT allows you to create a host of sails suited for your gameplay, and even for decorative purposes. Now, I know combat isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, or their idea of cozy, but I think ALOFT gets a pass. You will need to fight off corrupt fungi, but that leaves you in a place to revitalize the surrounding world. The fungi will grow on top of corrupted flora and affect the animals in the vicinity. As you fight back the corruption, you’ll unlock new animal companions, livestock, crops, and resources. There’s something wholesome and cozy about saving ecosystems, I think.
Unfortunately, there’s no specific date listed for the release of ALOFT, but it will be here next year! You can find it on Steam where you can add it to your Wishlist, as well as try out a demo!
Steam recommends this game for those who like Ark Survival Evolved and Terraria. It also reminds me of I Am Future.
Welcome to Sugar Shack, located at the center of a world that’s stuck in an eternal spring. There, you’ve become the owner of a cute little restaurant where you’ll sell some sweet treats to the townspeople. Tap trees to collect maple syrup, harvest berries, and even grow some crops to use as ingredients in your goods.
As you play, you’ll receive hex tiles to place in order to expand the town. Place each tile how you want to create a fully customized town layout. Each tile interacts with the ones around it with positive or negative effects, so place them wisely. Play Sugar Shack solo or with up to 4 players to collaborate and split the chores. Each player even gets their own room they can decorate to their personal tastes.
You can find Sugar Shack on Steam, though it has no release date yet.
Give Puff Pals a look, too, for a cute village sim experience.
Grab some friends and hop into a chaotic multiplayer co-op game of gathering resources and crafting railroad tracks to travel across the world in Unrailed! Encounter different inhabitants as you journey across more than five biomes in an endless procedurally generated world. Master challenges as you encounter them to keep your train moving.
Unrailed! is a co-op game, so working together is of course important, but make sure to polish your communication skills! There’s only one of each tool necessary for gathering resources, so you and your friends will need to coordinate in order to succeed. You’ll also need to upgrade your train to prepare for the challenges you’ll face. Get an atomic engine, upgrade your crafting car, or upgrade one of the many other options.
Craft, decorate and farm as much as you like alone or with your friends in a fun co-op experience.
The last Nintendo Direct May have been a while ago but it brought a lot of exciting new game announcements. From a new Zelda game, to Pikmin, Kirby, and so much more, there’s a ton of games for players to get excited about.
What I’m personally extremely excited about is the upcoming game Fae Farm a Nintendo Switch exclusive farming and life sim game. There isn’t a ton of information out about it yet, but the little we do know looks great!
Located on the island of Azoria, gather 3 of your friends to play in local wireless or online play to start a magical fae farm together! Customize each of your characters with different physical characteristics and fun clothes. Tend your crops, craft items, or explore the beautiful island of Azoria.
Learn magic and use it in everything you do –fighting enemies, exploring, or tending your farm. Enter dungeons and ruins to uncover the secrets of Azoria’s past. Meet and befriend the variety of townsfolk to learn their stories and complete quests. You can even decorate your Fae Farm homestead with many different decor items!
Coming Spring 2023
This fun title has no specific release date yet, but will be on the Nintendo Switch in the Spring of 2023.
In case you missed it, here is the Nintendo Direct video so you can catch up on all the other game announcements.
Rune Factory meets Final Fantasy
For more even more farm sim fun, check out Harvestella an absolutely stunning take on the farming genre with a sprinkle of Final Fantasy.
Like Coral Island, Summer of Gaming 2022 is still in full and with it came an announcement of an Early Access date for yet another one of our highly anticipated games, Dinkum. Explore tropical eucalyptus forests, scorching deserts and cool billabongs on an Island inspired by the wild Australian outback. Take care of giant wombats, but watch out for those crocs and other predators!
You’ll not only have your farm to worry about, but the entire town with businesses and attractions! To bring in more visitors, you will need to build fences, flower beds, street lamps, beehives, windmills, hedges, fountains, and more. There will even be insects, fish, and minerals to add to your museum’s collection.
Dinkum will have online co-op where your friends can help you construct buildings, shop at your stores, go fishing, race Emus, fight crocodiles much more!
Coming to PC Early Access on July 14th, 2022
Right now you can Wishlist Dinkum on Steam here. Other platforms are still TBA. You can watch the official announcement trailer below and stay tuned for more!
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!
The Wild Area and online options become accessible early on in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. If you don’t like spoiling new 8th generation Pokemon or like to catch as many Pokemon on your own before trading, I recommend getting all of your badges in the main game to fully enjoy everything the online multiplayer feature has to offer. You must have all 7 Gym Badges (last one is the Dragon Badge) in order to find Gigantamax Pokemon in the Wild Area. I go into more details and which select few Pokemon have Gigantamax forms here. See below for more information about playing with other players and ongoing official competitions by Nintendo for rewards and bragging rights!
Link Battles and Link Codes
Link Battles are between you and other players online. If you only want to play with your friends specifically, you can set up a Link Code. A Link Code is a 4-digit password that your friends will have to input in order to join. This is set up this way because everything you do is broadcast live via Stamps (more on that later). Link Battles allow you to choose Single Battle for one-on-one battling and Double Battle where two players can send out 2 Pokemon at one time. Finally, there’s Multi Battle which is similar to a Double Battle but four players are involved and get to control one Pokemon each.
Link Trades and Surprise Trades
Link Trades are the way to go if you have a certain Pokemon in mind that you want to trade with a friend. You can also connect with someone randomly online and both come to an agreement for a trade. If there’s a Pokemon you know you don’t need anymore, Surprise Trades can be really fun! Select the Pokemon that you want traded and go about your business in-game until your Y-Comm alerts you that they found you someone and the trade is complete. As adorable as Skwovet is (the pudgy-cheeked squirrel), you’ll probably come across it often in Surprise Trades as it is the new Ratata. Other times you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what players send out there!
The Victory Station
Go to your menu and click on VS (Victory Station) which displays stats such as whether Shield players or Sword players are winning in categories like “Hatched the most eggs” and “Cooked the most while camping” by comparing numbers with 100 players online. From there, you can select either Battle Stadium for various online competition options or Live Competition to host or participate in battles via LAN.
Casual Battles: Anything goes in single and double battles and it’s all just for good fun or to just test your skills as a Trainer.
Ranked Battles: Compete for the highest rank with other players around the world. You’ll be matched up with others in your tier so that the battles are fair. At the end of each season you’ll get in-game rewards based on your position in the Leaderboards.
Online Competitions: These are limited live and official ongoing competitions. Check out the announcement here for details on the very first competition, Galar Beginnings. You’ll want to sign up now for the period between December 6th-8th, 2019. All players will receive a Participation Gift after completing at least one battle.
Rental Teams: This new feature allows you to share your Battle Team for the public to use, or “borrow” someone else’s to play around with in battles.
Nintendo just announced that Ranked Battle Season 1 is now under way until the end of December 2019. During this time, the rules listed will remain the same with restrictions to Pokemon that you can use. Another season will be starting on January 1st, 2020. For this time around, you’ll be entering in Double Battles, using only 4 Pokemon from your team, and all of your Pokemon will be at Lv. 50. At the end of the season, if you’ve competed in at least one match, you can get the following rewards from the Mystery Gift menu.
Battle Points, or BP, can be spent by talking to an NPC in the Pokemon Center in Hammerlocke in exchange for special items.
Y-Comm and Searching Stamps
Going to your Y-Comm and changing your Local Communication to Internet will allow you to see what everyone online is currently up to by displaying Stamps at all times on the bottom left of your screen. This includes Link Trades, Surprise Trades, Link Battles, and Max Raid Battles. In your Y-Comm menu, it is possible to filter your Stamps if you are looking for specific battles to join or only want to see the Stamps of your friends. I usually set mine to Max Raid Battles and pay attention to the specific red ones as they are the “incredibly/massively strong Pokemon” ones. If someone else found a rare Gigantamax Pokemon, you can join in with a total of 4 players. You’ll want to act fast as this can fill up quickly.
If you find your own Gigantamax Pokemon, I recommend Inviting Others as it’s a very tough battle to fight alone or the three other NPCs given at random can be pretty terrible. You’ll come across a few Magikarp that will often faint and then come back after a few turns at full health, only to faint again.
In every Max Raid Battle, any Pokemon can faint up to 4 times before you lose and get kicked out of the den. You also lose if you go over 10 total turns. Therefore, either set up a Link Code for your friends, or wait the full 3 minutes to give players the chance to join. It is possible to have a mixture of players and NPCs if you can’t fill out all four slots.
Playing with Others Keeps Things Interesting for a Long Time to Come
Even if you have finished the main game of Pokemon Sword and Shield, there are still competitions to enter for rewards and your Pokemon to show-off. If you want to fill out your Pokedex, you’ll need to spend some time in the Wild Area, and to trade for version exclusive Pokemon. Hosting or joining others in Max Raid Battles and Dynamaxing Pokemon is also another fun way to share in the experience and to get the most out of your game.
Introducing a new Steam feature that lets you play your couch co-op games with friends over the internet, together.
Since October 21st, 2019, you can join Steam’s Beta of their new feature Remote Play Together. This feature allows you to invite your Steam Friends to play local co-op, local multiplayer, and shared/split screen games online! This means two things: that you don’t need friends to be physically present in your home, and that every player will have access to their own computer screen and mouse/keyboard/controllers!
This feature gets even better because only the host of Steam’s Remote Play Together needs a copy of the game! No more having to buy your friends the same Steam game just to be able to play together! Furthermore, don’t worry if you have a Mac, Linux or PC because this streaming service is cross-platform.
Valve is currently working on improving network stability, compatibility across a variety of hardware, and adding more games to their growing list of supported titles. You can check out the thousands of games here. If you want to know if a specific game is supported, look for this new tag above!
To help get you started, I recommend the following wholesome, potato-approved games: