Horticular is a relaxing garden-builder with a little magical twist. You’ve been summoned by mysterious gnomes to restore an abandoned garden. Immerse yourself in a magical world with a day-night cycle, weather patterns, and adorable animals. Meanwhile, build your dream garden with hundreds of unlockable items. Create lush flower gardens and flourishing crop plots. Attract creatures by fulfilling their requirements and taking care of them. You’ll need to fight off decay and corruption by using the magic within your garden. You’ll also get to rename inhabitants to personalize your gardening experience. And if you want to prove your abilities, enter the in-world competition, plus much more!
Congratulations! You’re the new mayor of Go-Go Town, a declining, rundown tourist destination. One short phone call was all it took, and now it’s up to you to not only take care of this crumbling place, but return it to the vibrant tourist town it used to be. Can you make Go-Go Town prosperous again?
Luckily, you’re not alone in your endeavors. The aging population of Go-Go Town will help teach you the ins and outs of being the mayor, starting with construction. Part of your job will be to collect materials and repair current buildings across town, or build new structures and shops. You’ll also have a number of power tools at your disposal, from chainsaws and drills to leaf blowers and trimmers.
Once you’ve repaired the town, you’ll get to decorate it, as well as plan how you want the town laid out and what shops will populate the streets. It’s your job to decide which types of shops to build, who will run the shops, how those shops will bring in money for Go-Go Town, and how to manage the supply chain. Will a new arcade with neon lights do well? Or perhaps a burger joint for tourists to grab lunch at will be better? Oh, but what about a souvenir shop? Everyone loves taking home a memento of their vacation!
Running a whole town will keep you busy, but the residents will help you out. Expand the industries in Go-Go Town by hiring miners, fishermen, lumberjacks, shopkeepers, and more. With the right combination of tools and people, the town will run smoothly. When you run out of room in your now prosperous town, you can expand. Unlock useful new tools and skills in the tech tree so you can build bigger houses, terraform the land, and much more.
Make Go-Go Town an incredible place to visit, and some of the tourists may even decide to stay!
Unfortunately, Go-Go Town! doesn’t have a release date available. However, you can Wishlist it on Steam!
I’ve written about a couple of incredible little building simulations (Tiny Glade and Gourdlets) that don’t have combat or objectives, and instead are just perfect for relaxing and getting creative with your building skills. So, I thought I’d change it up a bit and present The Wandering Village!
The Wandering Village is the third simulation game from indie developers Stray Fawn Studio. The world has mysterious plants spreading across it that emit toxic spores, merciless weather patterns, bloodsucking parasites, and many more challenges to face. The game goes a step beyond being a simple base builder where you create a village. Instead, a small group of survivors have taken refuge on the back of Onbu, a giant wandering creature. Become the leader of the survivors, build up a flourishing settlement for your people, and will you live in symbiosis with Onbu, or will you make choices for the well-being of your people only? It’s up to you
It’s your job, along with the other survivors, to build a functioning village. Onbu is large, but there is still limited space. You’ll need to plan the village well to include homes, farmland, and much more. Be sure to plan your production chains and optimize them to make use of every little bit of space as efficiently as possible. The Wandering Village even features different biomes that you’ll have to adapt your village to, also. Don’t worry though, you’ll be able to pull out some old-world knowledge to conduct research. Unearth technologies that can help your village flourish, but be careful. Progress can be a double-edged sword, and potentially harm Onbu.
The Wandering Village is available now in Early Access on Steam. It is verified Steam Deck compatible, too. There are also plans to release the game for Xbox, though there is no specific date for that yet. The game should make its way to Xbox Game Preview sometime this year.
Tiny Glade is a beautiful little builder game from indie developer and publisher Pounce Light. With its free-form building mechanic, the game is intended to be a purely relaxing creative outlet. So, there is no resource management, no goals, no combat, and no wrong answers! Just sit back, build some fancy castles and turn some abandoned meadows into incredible architectural scenery.
The game offers a unique building chemistry, too. Tiny Glade features a gridless building system, but also lets players watch as each brick and roof tile is assembled. You don’t need to painstakingly place each piece yourself. Simply draw a path where you want it. Click and drag to place a fence or wall. Want a path to go through a wall? An arch will appear. Want your walls higher? Just drag the top of it higher! And if you drop the wall lower, arches will turn into fences for you.
Tiny Glade looks to be a wonderfully dynamic sandbox, making it perfect for experimenting with builds. There are no wrong answers, after all. Did you build something you don’t like? Changing it is easy! Accompanied by a cozy soundtrack, lighting that changes with the time of day, and other small, cozy details, there’s a lot to love in the game. Ivy adorns buildings, fireflies light up the night, and adorable little sheep roam the meadows freely. Tiny Glade is the perfect little world to escape to.
Tiny Glade is currently in development, but will be coming to Steam eventually! There is no release date available a this time. However, you can add it to your Steam Wishlist now to keep up to date on it.
Gourdlets is another cute building game with no combat, no objectives, and no management!
While we’re on the subject of honey and beekeeping this week (check out Honeymancer if you haven’t), let’s take a look at APICO! Leave your boring city job and return to Port APICO, where you grew up, and return to your beekeeping roots. This cute pixel graphic game is a laid-back beekeeping simulation with breeding, some exploration, and you’ll even learn how to conserve bees.
The APICO islands feature a set of lush, beautiful environments for you to explore. Each biome has its oven 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.
APICO supports up to four players in online co-op, so grab a friend or two and get to beekeeping together! And if you run out of game content, the developers suggest modding the game, though it seems they’re still adding updates to the game. January 30th, 2023 saw the addition of butterflies! Either way, it sounds like APICO can be as simple or as versatile as you’d like to make it.
Welcome to Garden Life, where you are in charge! The goal of this realistic sandbox game is to build the garden of your dreams. There’s no magic or miracles to it, though, and it’s all up to you to plant and nurture your garden. Use the appropriate techniques, the correct tools, your creativity, and a little bit of elbow grease to create a flourishing paradise.
Take the time to learn the needs of your plants. Each one will need different types of care, like fertilizer and pruning. And don’t forget to water! You’re not alone in Garden Life, either. You’ll be able to fulfill the requests of your friendly neighbors, who will reward you with new tools, fun decorations, and even new plant varieties. Take those new plants, and the ones you’ve grown, and experiment with them. Create new hybrids and beautiful variations to further beautify your garden.
Garden Life implements a grid-free placement system, so players really are in control of the design of their gardens. There’s no snapping to place, and fighting against a grid system to create your vision. It also uses a specially developed procedural growth simulation technology. Every plant in your garden is unique, but will also easily adapt to its environment.
Release Date To Be Announced
Unfortunately, the beautifully crafted Garden Life has no publicly available release date. You can add it to your Wishlist on Steam, though. Developer Stillalive Studios also lists the game as being developed for Xbox and Playstation consoles, though the store pages for the game aren’t available yet.
In Garden In, players will get to garden to their heart’s content. The objective of the game is to just grow a variety unique and beautiful plants. Pick from a variety of different pots, throw some soil in it, and plant a seed. Each plant will require different things in order to grow, like clay or rocky soil, but each one wants your time, love, and some care in order to grow and flourish.
You can also create hybrid plants. Take a larger hybridization pot, put in two compatible seeds, and see what you get! Try to discover all the different hybrid plants to fill out your herbarium. Plus, you’ll get to customize your plant rooms to fit your personal aesthetic and mood. You have control of the colors of the room, and the backgrounds can be changed, too. Arrange your plants, change the color palette, and set whatever mood you want for each room.
With no timelines and no quests or goals to complete, Garden In! is the perfect game for the casual gamer. It’s also a good game for the creatives looking to just relax.
Garden In! Will be available on Steam in about two weeks, on January 26th! You can add it to your wishlist to receive an email when it releases.
City building games certainly aren’t a new concept. We’ve even covered a few of them, like The Colonists, where you control a fleet of robots who do your bidding. Harvest resources, refine them, and use them to build your city. There’s also Before We Leave, which has you rebuilding settlements on the surface of the earth and eventually colonizing space. You’ll have to manage your resources, build, and harvest crops. SimCity is also a popular one where players have to make certain decisions to keep their citizens happy while building up the city. Gourdlets stands slightly apart from the rest.
Gourdlets is a cute city builder by developer AuntyGames promises to be even more relaxing. There are no tasks to complete, no resources to gather or refine, and no citizen requests to meet. It’s simply a delightful little sandbox city builder perfect for those who want the creativity of a city builder without the pressure of tasks and requirements.
You start the game with a railroad, a small piece of land, and a bench. It’s up to you to grow the land and make it the city you want to see. You can lay down several types of terrain, like grass, sand, dirt, and snow. There are trees, flowerbeds, and even fences to use for decoration. And of course, there are a few different homes you can place. Design and build the wonderland of your dreams in this charming pastel sandbox, and watch as the Gourdlets move in and live their little lives. What will you create?
Gourdlets is available now to play for free on itch.io. It is also coming to Steam, but currently has no release date available. You can add it to your wishlist, though. You can also follow the developer, AuntyGames, on Twitter for updates, or read the comments on itch.io for information on updates, as AuntyGames is active there too.