Open World Archives - myPotatoGames
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  • svgJun 12, 2024Feature

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    Thank you to Pixeduo Studios and Crytivo for the copy!

    The solo developer at Pixeduo Studios describe To Pixelia as the “ultimate” life sim. It is an extremely robust entry into the life sim genre, too. The game starts as you arrive in the city of Pixelia. You’ve traded your life in some unknown town for the hustle and bustle of the city. Create your story on your own terms through carefully crafting your character. Choose hairstyle and color, clothing to wear, and even personality traits that will play a role in the game. 

    You need to care for your character’s needs through food and drinks, using the toilet, bathing regularly, sleeping, and even entertaining them through different activities. Buy or rent property and decorate it how you like. Start your To Pixelia life with a basic job and work your way up the ladder towards your dream career. Engage in different hobbies for fun, and drive around on a fun motorcycle or in a cool car. Cook meals, fight your rivals, and so much more! 

    The Ultimate Life Sim

    The open-world nature of the game makes for a fun time exploring. You aren’t limited to just a few areas, but instead have a wide, open city. Fill in your map by visiting each of the available shops and businesses and see what all there is to do. Grab wallpaper and floor tiles to redecorate with, buy groceries from the market, cheese store, and butcher, and even buy a motorcycle or car to make getting around easier. There’s a gym, music store, recording studio, florist, basketball courts, library, academy, internet cafe, casino, and SO many more places. It’s easy to get lost without using the map, but it’s so hard to get bored in a place like Pixelia. 

    And like many life sims, you do need to care for your character’s needs, or they’ll refuse to accomplish anything. Grab slices of pizza from the pizza cart, or perhaps a steak dinner from the restaurant would satisfy you more. Of course, To Pixelia gives you the option to buy ingredients and make different recipes too. Not only do you get a satisfying homemade meal, but you get to increase your cooking skills too! Make sure you bathe regularly, too, and entertain your character with dancing or other leisure activities. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right? 

    What to Do For Fun

    As for the fun stuff, you can visit the casino to play some games. Perhaps you’ll win some money, or perhaps you’ll run into a streak of bad luck and lose some money. Visit the nightclub in the unsavory portion of town to engage in some dancing fun. Maybe even head over to the shops and pick up some stuff to grow your own plants in your apartment. Walk around the city talking to everyone you meet to build friendships and even get close to someone in preparation for when marriage is added to the game. There’s even pets you can get so you have that fluffy companion to come home to every day. Or take a reckless drive around town on your hot new motorcycle, unless you prefer a sleek car instead. Both are available for purchase. 

    Careers

    Not only are there a great many different features in To Pixelia, each of those features is incredibly in-depth. The jobs and careers portion is probably my favorite of any game. Start by visiting the Job Office to apply for a starter job. There is only one to begin with, waiting tables, but there are a couple more options later on. Starter jobs don’t require any specific skills, so are perfect for just earning income to pay bills. The best part is the jobs don’t take place off-screen or in a cutscene. You actually do them! To wait tables, you wait for orders, relay them to the chef, then deliver the orders to each person. The cleaning job at the hotel entails walking up to each dirty spot and sweeping or wiping it up. The experience is far more engaging and rewarding than having it happen off screen! 

    However, you won’t be stuck waiting tables or cleaning the hotel forever. You also get to choose a dream career to work towards. Choose to become a business guru, renowned artist, rockstar, elite fighter, basketball star, bestselling author, supermodel, family person, the president, or even a criminal mastermind. As you live your life balancing work and leisure, you can also take time to fulfill tasks that level up your dream career path. For example, I chose the bestselling author path, and I can spend time reading books on writing and practicing writing in order to hone my craft. Practice makes perfect after all!

    Home Design 

    You start out with a super dingy, fairly small apartment, but it’s not your forever home. In fact, To Pixelia has several different apartment options for you to rent or buy. And you can decorate each one! Grab some fun wallpaper and floor tiles to match to give the place a makeover. Add some necessary furniture to meet your character’s needs. Then, throw in some accessories to make the place feel more like home. Rugs will brighten up a room or help give it some depth. Outfit the kitchen with an oven and fridge so you can get down to business cooking, but don’t forget the microwave for easy reheating! Even make room for a computer and hobby items like a guitar or keyboard. Get creative with your decorating to turn your apartment from a place to simply live into a place to enjoy.

    You can find To Pixelia listed on Steam now! Go ahead and Wishlist the game so you get notified when it releases. Which, it’s set to release later this year!

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  • svgApr 25, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Cozy Crest is an upcoming cozy farming sim perfect for those of you who enjoy Avatar: The Last Airbender! Created by indie developer UnlaeD, this game lets you immerse yourself in a magical world full of elemental magic. Play in singleplayer or with up to four players to build, farm, explore, and master your powers. 

    This adorable cozy game will have you building your very own cozy homestead from scratch. Cozy Crest puts you in charge of building your home from the ground up, and even lets you decorate the inside with furniture and decor. Then, set out on a journey to explore the gorgeous world around you as you swim, climb, and even soar through the sky using your glider. Master the four elements (earth, air, water, and fire) to reveal treasures that only respond to elemental magic. You can even use your magic to plow, plant, and water your crops! Or explore procedurally generated dungeons and fight monsters with your elemental powers. Even build up community relationships with your neighbors to gain exclusive benefits. There are also 12 romanceable characters if you want to fall in love! 

    Release Date

    Cozy Crest is currently listed on Steam where you can Wishlist it. There is no specific release date available, though it’s set to come out sometime this year!

    Looking for other farming sims? Check out Lightyear Frontier, Grimshire, and Sugardew Island!

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  • svgMar 20, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Little Lives, by solo developer Houndstooth Games, is a life sim game set in the town of Littleton. Featuring semi-realistic graphics, you get to customize your own character, including traits, and set out on that journey known as life! Work a job, build friendships, and face unexpected challenges as you play. Climb the corporate ladder, buy your dream home, and much more in this top-down life sim.

    Little Lives has a bustling open-world that you can navigate from the default top-down perspective. Or, hop in your car and drive through the town of Littleton in a captivating 3rd person view. The town has a robust economy and is home to several different shops where all your needs will be met. Find your perfect home from an inventory of rental apartments or homes for sale, then decorate your living space to suit your tastes. Some items even have useful modifiers to improve your skills. Build meaningful relationships with friends or even find someone to romance and marry! Select your ideal furry companion, train your skills, find the perfect job and climb the corporate ladder, and take on hobbies to live the life of your dreams! 

    How will you live your little life?

    Release Date

    You can find Little Lives on Steam now!

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  • svgFeb 28, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Lightyear Frontier by developers FRAME BREAK and Amplifier Studios is a peaceful open-world farming sim set on a planet at the edge of the galaxy. Live a quiet life on this breathtaking planet as you settle into farming and exploring. So, hop into your customizable mech and see what this alien planet has to offer.

    Lightyear Frontier combines modern technology with classic farming. Customize your mech with fun paint choices and use a variety of tools to accomplish tasks. Need to plow some land and water seeds? There’s tools for that! You can also unlock new things through upgrades, making your mech more powerful. Raise a variety of fun crops and trade them for credits or materials to be used on building up your homestead. Explore the gorgeous planet to discover the planet’s past and gain lost knowledge. While out exploring, take time to nurture your relationship with nature by cleaning up the environment, removing invasive weeds, and replanting trees you harvested. 

    Play this lovely farming sim solo, or with up to three of your friends. Create your perfect homestead, and uncover everything your new home has to offer! 

    Release Date

    Lightyear Frontier is coming to Steam and Xbox March 19th!

    Check out Sugardew Island, another upcoming farming sim!

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  • svgFeb 7, 2024Reviews

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    It’s February already, and that means it’s Steam Next Fest time! I’ve written about past Next Fest demos that I fell in love with here and here. This time, I’m bringing you an even bigger list of cozy games because this Next Fest is packed full of great ones. From interior design games, farming sims, and creature collectors, to gardening and diorama makers, there’s so much to see this time around. So, without further ado, here’s a whopping 10 different Steam Next Fest demos you need to try this month!

    Make Room

    Make Room is a relaxing little diorama designer game. Use hundreds of different items to craft the perfect spaces in each environment. Set up a charming country kitchen, build a comfy reading nook, or design the coziest living room you can think of. You have total control over where items are placed, so you can make your interior design visions come true. 

    The icons in this game are SO small, but the item options and color choices are perfect for creating some great rooms. The sandbox mode is great for strictly creating on your terms. The objectives mode is easy and relaxed, even though you must build to certain specifications. And creating things on a smaller scale makes creating a lot less overwhelming.

    Critter Crops

    Critter Crops is a gorgeously designed game where you play as Sylvie. She’s a newfound witch who’s been run out of her town because of her abilities. As Sylvie, you arrive on Mutter Island where you discover you can grow magical Critter Crops. These special plants can help you restore the island to its former glory. When you’re not farming, explore the lovely little island you now call home, gather resources, mine, and get to know the people you come across.

    What a delightfully whimsical game! The art is very unique, and the crops are too. Raise creatures by growing crops that are very, very different from what you’re used to. The town and crops and creatures are all slightly spooky, which is perfect for the Halloween-loving player who dislikes actual scary things. The color palette and the music is super pleasing, too. Talk about a farm sim with a twist!

    Everholm

    In Everholm, you play as Lilly, a young woman looking for her lost sister, Melanie. While out searching, you come across a mysterious portal that beckons you to the cute and cozy little island of Everholm. Weirdly, everyone there seems to recognize you, too, like you’re an old friend. So, embark on an adventure full of mysteries, magic, and relationships as this sim game is all about learning new skills and living together in harmony with others. Farm, forage, fish, raise livestock, and more. 

    Here’s another beautiful game. This time, it’s a lovely pixel art style game with a great story behind it. I like that your character actually holds a conversation with the NPCs, too. You’re not just subjected to a one-sided monologue. Plus, the NPCs exhibit some really great personalities through their speech. It’s clear this game was lovingly made. 

    Furnish Master

    Furnish Master is a relaxing interior design game where you furnish apartments, houses, commercial estates, and outdoor spaces. Use intuitive controls to place each piece of furniture and decor how you like it. Painstakingly choose color schemes and materials for your furniture to match the theme of each room. Even resize items so they fit perfectly in a space. As you complete spaces, earn money so you can buy new properties to continue decorating. You can also engage in story mode where you can buy properties across a single city. Even take on some challenges and puzzles in story mode to unlock new items.

    Here’s another diorama-like interior design game, but this time has a far more complex system and more involved missions. Paint the walls to certain specifications, furnish a whole kitchen with specific items, and use your hard-earned money to decorate your own place or buy other properties. There was even a puzzle level in the story mode where you search a room for puzzle pieces and put it together. If the levels have that much variation, I think it’ll be a really fun game. Not to mention the furniture options are varied, there’s a pretty great placement mechanic that includes snapping, and the graphics are nice. This is great for folks who want a little more direction and a more involved interior design game. 

    Botany Manor 

    Botany Manor takes place at a stately home in 19th century England, and you play as Arabella Greene, a retired botanist who lives at the manor. Spend your days exploring the different rooms of your historically accurate manor. Get to know Arabella and her career as a woman in science through your explorations. Discover beautiful gardens and sprawling countryside vistas as you take in the relaxing nature around you. Take care of a variety of plants by finding their seeds and planting them in the appropriate environments. Inspect newspapers, letters, paintings, and more to get a better understanding of the needs of your plants. Care for them and help them flourish by meeting their exact needs, and watch as your efforts are rewarded!

    The visuals are just breathtaking in this game. They’re by no means highly realistic levels of art, but the designs of plants, the architecture, and the dynamic lighting work perfectly together to create such a charming environment. The manor grounds are to die for. I’d love to have my own home with a garden and orchard as beautiful as this one! Searching for clues on how best to grow the plants adds an element of fun beyond simple gardening. It gives you a reason to look around the manor, but also makes you feel like a researcher, which the character you play is! If you play nothing else on this list, play this game. It’s so worth it.

    Minami Lane

    Welcome to Minami Lane! This lovely little life sim lets you build your very own street where you can decorate and manage shops. Build homes to attract villagers to your street. Keep them happy by beautifying the area with decorations, shops, and attractions. Build ramen shops, boba cafes, bookstores, and more. Each shop has its own inventory and effects on the neighborhood. Play missions for a challenge or sandbox mode to focus on the creative side of building. 

    This was such an enjoyable experience. There are goals and missions to complete, but they weren’t super high-stakes or difficult to complete. The overall graphics are gorgeous and soft and adorable. I love the Japanese-inspired architecture and street design. It’s nostalgic for me, and brings a sense of comfort. Overall, this game is perfect if you want a city-builder with more than just creative building. 

    Lightyear Frontier

    Lightyear Frontier is the cozy farm sim set on an alien planet and uses mechs to farm! That’s right, you get to pilot your own fleet of mechs to get things done around the farm or go out exploring the gorgeous world around you. Build your new home and develop a flourishing farm by growing alien crops. Explore your surroundings and restore them by cleaning up pollution and clearing invasive weeds. Discover the secrets of the world, and do it all while playing solo or together with friends.

    What’s better than a farm sim? A farm sim with semi-realistic art where you pilot a mech suit to farm and explore, of course! This is seriously such a fun concept, and the different advanced tools you have access to make things even more fun. Vacuum up some water or seeds. Use your spikesaw to obliterate rocks and bushes. It’s a very modern sci-fi take on farm sims, and I love it! 

    Night Stones

    In Night Stones, you find yourself trapped in a dream in a world full of magic and a rich story. Upon waking, you find yourself still in this world and must discover the secrets of the world and find a way home. Explore the beautiful world of Mythica where you’ll encounter Night Stones. These stones will turn night into day, and vice versa, allowing you to meet new characters. Complete quests to gain new abilities that will help you to further your mission. There’s no combat in this game, but there are enemies you’ll need to outsmart to accomplish your goals!

    This was such a short demo, but I loved it. Movement is smooth. Controls are super easy. The art is cartoony, but lovely. Animations looked great, too. All of it comes together to present such a good demo that makes me excited for the full game!

    Kamaeru: A Frog Refuge

    Kamaeru is an adorable farm sim where you farm, raise frogs, and preserve nature. Transform the surrounding wetland into a hospitable home for your amphibian friends. Meanwhile, feed, breed, and care for a variety of frogs. In fact, there are over 500 frogs for you to collect! You’ll need to figure out how to attract new types of frogs, then breed them together to unlock rare colors and patterns. Take pictures of your cute pals, and decorate the refuge to make the coziest little from rescue! 

    I loved the watercolor-like art in this game, and a comfortable creature collector. Playing is calm and easy. The frogs are adorable, plus restoring the wetlands is a fulfilling objective. Decorations are adorable and fun to place. There is a tic-tac-toe mini game to breed frogs together that adds a fun element, and there are more minigames mentioned to be coming with the full version. This makes me excited for the full version because it ought to be packed with a lot of great things to do. 

    Summerhouse

    Summerhouse is a relaxing building game. That’s it! Build structures on a small scale to create cute neighborhoods. Set your neighborhoods near the sea, in the middle of the city, or nestled in the majestic mountains. There are no rules, no goals, and no objectives to this game. The focus is purely on creative building. So, kick-back and relax with some building!

    This one reminds me a lot of Townscaper. You just simply unleash your creativity and build, but instead of creating whole cities and villages, you’re creating houses, apartment buildings, or shops. The art is beautiful and relaxing, and so is the music. This is a great game if you’re looking to get creative without the constraints of missions or timers.

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  • svgDec 28, 2023Feature

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    I truly don’t know where the year went. It’s been an interesting year, and it’s certainly been full of a ton of top-tier games. We’ve seen the release of Palia, a lovely cozy MMORPG that lets you gather friends and strangers alike to farm, mine, and more. The Moonlight Peaks demo dropped recently, too! Then there’s Spells & Secrets, a great roguelite wizarding adventure. dotAGE is the perfect survival city builder. And Roots of Pacha takes top spot for my favorite farming game this year. Some other notable games are Spirit City: Lofi Sessions and Smushi Come Home. But what’s in store for next year? Well, time will tell, but here are nine games to look forward to in 2024!

    Little Kitty, Big City

    First on the list is Little Kitty, Big City! You play as a kitty who’s lost in a big city. You can hurry on your way and find home, or you can take time to explore this brand new place. Cause a little chaos as you explore, too.Dive into trash cans, knock potted plants off their ledges, and walk through some fresh paint to leave behind your paw prints. Meet stray animals on the streets and become friends with them. Find different adorable hats to wear. Plus, so much more!

    Coming to Steam and Switch!

    Bloomtown

    Next up is Bloomtown: A Different Story. You play as Emily and her younger brother Chester as they spend their summer holiday in their grandpa’s cozy and quiet town. Underneath this sleepy little town, however, a demon world is growing and children are going missing. Embark on a grand adventure to save the towns 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. 

    Coming to Steam and PlayStation!

    Chilltown

    Third on the list is Chill Town! This game promises to be a soothing blend of idle game and life sim. You run around collecting resources on a beautiful island. Catch bugs, visit the shops or town hall, fish, farm, and tame cute creatures. Unleash your creativity in build mode and create your perfect home using a variety of different decor items. Even add your personal touch to the outside of your home with benches, light posts, and more. Plus, take care of your very own furry friend! 

    Coming to Steam!

    Horticular

    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!

    Coming to Steam!

    Critter Cove

    Next on the list is Critter Cove, an open-world life sim set in a post-apocalyptic world. You’ll restore an old town, and sail across a gorgeous archipelago. Collect relics and treasures as you explore. Fish for a variety of sea life. Craft everything you might need from tools to decor. You’ll even get to find new residents to invite to your town. And so much more! There’s tons to do in this game, and it’s all up to you to restore it to its former glory.

    Coming to Steam!

    Chef RPG

    Next up is Chef RPG! The beautiful little seaside town of White Ash harbor is your new home, and once was a thriving tourist destination. Now, it’s up to you to help revive the town using your experience as a traveling chef. In Chef RPG, you’ll run your very own restaurant to serve up delicious dishes in order to attract tourists back to town. Hunt, harvest, and shop for the ingredients you’ll use in your cooking. Build a thriving restaurant and become a successful chef!

    Coming to Steam!

    Tavern Talk

    Sixth on the list is Tavern Talk, where you find yourself to be the owner of Wayfarer’s Inn. It appears to be a normal inn in the middle of the world, but looks can be deceiving. And you can infuse beverages with magic that can influence someone’s fate. You’re known for helping the people of the realm via these magical drinks. Listen to the stories of the unique cast of beautifully designed adventurers that come in. From boasting about their glory or commiserating about failures, you’ll experience a variety of different personalities and tales. Help them find a place that feels like home by building relationships and creating an inviting environment inside the inn. Craft different interesting drinks, while you’re at it, but be careful what you serve. Your drink choices will alter their fate and the path their quests will take. Your choices shape the story of Tavern Talk!

    Coming to Steam!

    SunnySide

    Welcome to SunnySide. You’ve just purchased your first plot of land located in an aging town in Japan’s countryside. Your goal is to create a homestead you can be proud of. You’ll learn to collect your own water, generate power, grow crops, craft food, care for your animals, and much more in order to help your local economy. You’ll get to ferment soy sauce, grow and grind your own flour, and even make cheese. Then, you can take it all a step further and cook recipes using your homemade ingredients. SunnySide also features a colorful cast of characters for you to interact with. Life in the small town is peaceful, but not without its problems. What sets this game apart from the other farm sim games is that it seeks to combine modernism with the old.

    Coming to Steam!

    Meetlight and the Secrets of the Universe

    In the last game on the list you play as Anna. Anna has faced a terrible tragedy and lost her spouse. Now, she has taken over her great-uncle’s forge and become the new blacksmith. You’ll build your house from scratch (and decorate it too!), customize your character’s appearance, and befriend animals, nature, and your neighbors (some are even romanceable!). You’ll even be able to complete quests for the villagers or trade with them. With the loss of your spouse, you’ve gained the ability of clairvoyance, which you’ll slowly develop and perfect as you play. Enter the magical world of energy where you’ll meet new inhabitants, explore lost places, and discover the secrets of the universe. In this 3D open-world, with 19 places to visit on the map (so far), there’s just SO much to do and see. Plus, there’s farming, animal companions, cooking, and alchemy for you to enjoy!

    Coming to Steam, with plans for Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation!

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  • svgNov 22, 2023Indie Highlight

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    Solarpunk is a first person game that you can play solo or together with friends. While it is an open-world crafting survival, it’s also a cozy adventure full of resource gathering, building, exploring, crafting, and farming. Harness the power of sunlight, water, and wind to automate your homesteading processes. 

    Take advantage of the modular building components to build the home of your dreams. Build your floor plan from scratch by placing each floor tile. Set up walls, windows, doors, and roofs to complete the plan. Add stairs for a multi-story set-up! Solarpunk also has a variety of decorations for you to use to create the coziest home possible. Then, you can place farm plots to grow your own fruits and vegetables to consume. Each crop satisfies a different amount of hunger, so growing a variety of them can be useful. You can also trade your bounty to the merchant for other goods. 

    Don’t forget to build your own airship so you can explore Solarpunk’s numerous sky islands. You’ll find caves, mountains, lakes, and rivers across the world. Different resources can be found on different islands, too. Or if you’re more of the farmer type, raise and breed different animals. Treat them well, and those animals will reward you with resources! There’s no exploitation here, only coexistence. So be sure to provide them with enough food, water, and space. 

    Coming Soon

    You can find Solarpunk on Steam where you can add it to your Wishlist. There is no official release date listed yet.

    Loftia has some promise for a cozy MMO, also with solarpunk elements like harnessing alternative energy sources!

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  • svgNov 15, 2023Reviews

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    Smushi Come Home is an adorable little exploration game. You play as Smushi, a tiny mushroom, who’s been taken from their home and dropped in a large forest. You must find your way back to your siblings and home island by adventuring through the forest. Run, jump, climb, and glide your way through different areas. Complete puzzles to progress through your journey. Even befriend some quirky forest-dwellers who need your help! 

    A Cozy Adventure

    Though short, Smushi Come Home was a wonderfully relaxing and chill experience. The game does a great job of showing you how to play, setting up the story, then releasing you into the world to experiment with your skills. It’s low stakes, and takes very little effort or thought to play. This is not some complex strategy game, and it’s perfect that way! 

    This game is great for unwinding after a long day at work, or curling up on a cold day under warm blankets. Explore the autumn-colored woods, glide through the dark and mysterious caves, and swim underwater in search of items. Smushi Come Home has gorgeous scenery and a cast of quirky characters to keep you entertained. I mean, you get to ride on the back of a capybara! What’s better than that? Plus, a number of puzzles to complete that provide a small challenge, but don’t hinder the chilled out enjoyment just add to its charm. It’s such a cute little game, and great for all ages. 

    Final Thoughts

    I wish I could gush more about this game, but that’s hard without giving away spoilers! I really recommend it if you’re looking for something short, but fulfilling. It’s scenic, relaxing, and just fun to wander around the woods. 

    I give it: 

    You can find Smushi Come Home on Steam and Switch!

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