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  • svgAug 23, 2023Indie Highlight

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    You wake up on a bizarre, unknown island. There, you meet mysterious statues and curious creatures. Bond with the creatures to use their unique abilities to venture deeper into Ikonei Island. Meet the locals, create your own homestead, and uncover the mysteries of the island!

    Ikonei Island not only lets you befriend and bond with some fantastic creatures, but gives you freedom to create and play how you wish. You’ll harvest materials around the island using tools and creature abilities. Then, build workshops to create materials. Use those materials to build all kinds of fun decorations to turn the island into your very own paradise. Even create and nurture your very own farm. Use different tools and systems for increased efficiency, and plow the land, plant the seeds, tend the crops, and harvest your bounty!

    Get to know the locals of Ikonei Island, each of whom has their own intriguing story. Get to know them and they’ll give you invaluable knowledge about this mysterious island. There’s even a crew of greedy pirates who have taken up residence on the island. They have plans to take over the land and profit from it, but you can’t let them do that. It’s up to you to stop them to keep the peace on the island. 
    Ikonei Island is also co-op capable! Gather up to 4 players to play this cute little adventure together. Everything from farming, building, and questing can be done together.

    Available Now

    Ikonei Island is available now in Early Access on Steam.

    Want more adventure? Try REKA and A Tiny Sticker Tale.

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  • svgAug 16, 2023Indie Highlight

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    Assemble with Care is a charming puzzle game with a rich, evocative story. You play as Maria, a world-traveling antiques restorer. She’s recently arrived in Bellariva, a sun-soaked town full of problems. Maria doesn’t know just how broken the town is until she dives into the lives of the inhabitants. 


    It’s Maria’s job to repair the broken items the townsfolk bring her, but she can’t help but delve into their personal lives too. Assemble with Care is all about fixing what’s broken, and you and Maria will do just that. Not only will you work to repair the sentimental items of the townsfolk, but you’ll learn about their emotional lives and come to love their quirks. Fix their beloved items as well as their relationships with each other!

    Available Now!

    Assemble with Care is now available on Steam and Apple Arcade!

    If you want another charming, relaxing game with similar vibes, check out A Little to the Left!

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  • svgAug 3, 2023Indie Highlight

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    Aquarium Designer is a realistic-looking fish tank crafting game. In it, you’ll receive orders from customers like restaurants, hotels, or rich businessmen and you’ll need to create a fish tank based on their preferences. Of course, you’ll need to meet the requirements for the fish, too! As you complete orders, you’ll earn money you can use to buy new elements to upgrade your designs. Pick from a variety of plants, rocks, other decor, and fish. You’ll have access to angelfish, bettas, goldfish, and many more.

    You get to choose from two different creation modes in Aquarium Designer, too. Realistic mode is perfect for those looking for a bit of a challenge. Fish and plants can die, plus water quality deteriorates with time, even when the game isn’t active. Casual mode lets you design without the worries of losing fish, plants, or water quality. It’s perfect for when you just want to relax and craft beautiful aquascapes. 

    Aquarium Designer is available now on Steam!

    For more relaxing games where you build or create, check out Garden Life or even Tiny Glade, where you create architectural beauty!

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  • svgAug 2, 2023Indie Highlight

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    Desktop Virtual Pets

    Remember back when desktop computers were chunky, took up a whole desk, and ran Windows ‘95? I do. In fact, my family kept that computer for decades longer than we should have. It still ran, but mostly sat and collected dust as we moved on to sleeker laptop options. There’s a lot of nostalgia surrounding that giant computer, though. From the screaming dial-up internet tones, to using the AOL browser, and all the fun that machine brought, I remember it fondly. 

    My favorite part, though, was the desktop pets and companions you could download. There were tons to choose from, too. There was Catz and Dogz for those who wanted a real pet, but couldn’t. You fed, watered, and played with your canine or feline fiends. There was even an adorable little sheep. Or, if you were the working type, perhaps you even used Bonzi Buddy who could talk to you, send emails for you, search the web, tell fun facts, and more! 

    Werydlets Brings The Nostalgia

    Now, there’s Werydlets! While not quite the same as that cute little sheep who would run around your desktop, or Neko who would chase your mouse wherever you moved it, Werydlets does exist on your desktop. Choose from Wagyu, a cute little dinosaur, Mochi, who looks like a jackalope, and Gyoza, a sweet little cat. One of them is all yours to care for. You’ll feed and take care of your new little pet by collecting food, toys, and grooming tools. Even pet, tickle, and throw your pet around their habitat! 

    When you idle, your pet will dig around its island to gather resources like Shinies and Prisms, which can be used to buy more items to enrich their life. Werydlets also lets you dress up your pet, as well as decorate a home! Use stickers, accessories, and ornaments to make your pet even cuter. Then, collect furniture and decor to customize your house. 

    Coming Soon

    You can find Werydlets on Steam. The roadmap lists July as the early release, and August as the first live event. Steam lists it as “coming soon”, so hopefully we do get it in August!

    Speaking of virtual pets, have you seen that Neopets is making a grand comeback? You can check out the news here.

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  • svgJul 20, 2023News

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    Humble Bundle is a great resource for the thrifty gamer with their bundle offers. Pick a bundle, then choose what you wish to pay. It’s a great way to grab a bunch of games for cheap. Right now, Humble Bundle has a Cozy Games bundle perfect for trying out a bunch of games you may have had your eye on! And these are all worthy of playing. They’re cute, cozy, and wholesome. Some feature powerful stories, while some are just perfect for kicking back and relaxing with.

    This offer ends in 20 days, so take your time to decide, but don’t let it pass by!

    Cat Cafe Manager

    Cat Cafe Manager has you taking over your grandmother’s derelict cafe in the sleepy town of Caterwaul Way. Restore the cafe, renovate it, and decorate it as you wish, turning it into an inviting home for the plethora of cats that call Caterwaul Way home. Hire employees to help manage the cafe, and explore the village to befriend the inhabitants and learn new recipes.

    Witchy Life Story

    In Witchy Life Story you’re the youngest member of the magical von Teasel family, but you’re not exactly their pride and joy. In fact, you have one more chance to prove yourself or your witch training is over. So, you arrive in the village of Flora to try and save their harvest festival. You have two weeks to make it a success. So, gather herbs, brew potions, get to know the townspeople, and even cast some spells. Maybe cause a little chaos, even.

    Here Comes Niko

    Play as the adorable Niko, who’s just become a professional friend for Tadpole Inc. in Here Comes Niko! You’ll explore different scenic islands while making friends with people you come across. Complete requests for them by catching fish and bugs, solving puzzles, and even just listening to them. If you’re lucky, they’ll pay you and you can then invest in a train system to get to new islands!

    Garden Story

    Welcome to the Grove! You’re its new guardian, and it’s your duty to rebuild the village and uncover the story of its past. Garden Story is a chill wholesome game where you’ll complete quests to defend against encroaching Rot, gather resources, restore, and improve the town. There’s even a way to turn off combat to make it even cozier to play!

    Lemon Cake

    Lemon Cake is an adorable little game about restoring a run-down, haunted bakery. Grow fruit and care for animals, who provide ingredients for your bakery. Repair, furnish, and decorate every room to create an inviting little business. Mix and bake up some fantastic recipes, and maybe even convince the ghost to help you out!

    Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

    Join Alba as she visits her grandparents on a once-beautiful Mediterranean island in Alba: A Wildlife Adventure. She’s ready to explore the island with her friend Ines, but when she sees an animal in trouble, she realizes she needs to help it. As Alba, you’ll start a whole campaign to clean up the island! Convince the townspeople to help out and gather volunteers to restore the island and help the wildlife.

    A Short Hike

    A Short Hike is about exactly that, hiking! Spend time in the peaceful mountainside of Hawk Peak Park simply exploring. Hike the marked trails or explore the wild back country. Climb some rocky cliffs. Glide over lush landscapes. Take your time to absorb the beautiful surroundings and meet other hikers. Perhaps you can help each other out. Even discover some treasures!

    Assemble With Care

    Assemble with Care features a meaningful, evocative story line about Maria, a globe-trotting antique restorer as she arrives in Bellariva.  She wants to help the inhabitants fix their personal items, but discovers it’s their personal lives that are starting to fracture. It’s harder to fix those, but she’s determined to help. You’ll solve puzzles by fixing items brought to her, meet the townsfolk, and tune into a lovely soundtrack inspired by the 80s.

    65% off Coupon for Haven Park

    Unfortunately, Haven Park isn’t included in this bundle, just a lovely 65% off coupon! It’s a great discount for such a cute game where you play as Flint, who has just taken over his grandmother’s beloved park. He wants to make it a park campers will love, so it’s up to you to help him out. Fulfill each camper’s wishes and build whatever their hearts desire. Happy campers will attract more business, which means more quirky characters for you to talk to and enjoy!

    Like lists? Want more game recommendations? Check out 5 of My Favorite Cozy Steam Next Fest Demos!

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  • svgJun 21, 2023Reviews

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    Aside from the sales Steam puts on throughout the year, Next Fest is probably one of my favorite times of the year. Steam Next Fest happens three times a year and is often the first time a demo is available for a game. Plus, it’s always chock full of various demos to grab, and this round has been no different. I think I downloaded over 20 different demos! I won’t bore you with all of them, though. Instead, here are my top five favorite demos I played.

    Moving In

    Moving In is a cozy, relaxing interior design game. You’ve just moved to a new house, all of your belongings are out front by the moving truck, and now you get to take them inside to arrange them however you wish. Arrange the bedroom to make it comfy and perfect for sleeping. Decorate the living room to be as inviting as you can. Even load your groceries into the fridge! With item locking, surface snapping, item rotation, and a variety of decor items, Moving In offers a place where you can let your creativity flow. And, with no challenges to complete, no specific goals to meet, and no timers to compete against, it is the perfect game for just hanging out and decorating a home.

    I enjoyed the simplicity of Moving In. You pick up an item, you put it where you want. Maybe rotate it some to get a better angle, but that’s it. You’re not pigeonholed into placing things in a specific way to meet a goal. You aren’t rushing to do it as fast as possible. You just get to decorate and relax. Even the color palette is pleasing. It’s not too dark or too bright. Everything works together to make a beautiful game.

    Heading 2: Everafter Falls

    Everafter Falls is a humorous little farming and life sim where you awaken in a new town. You’re surrounded by anthropomorphic animals, who explain to you that the past life you remember was all a simulation. You’ve supposedly been here before, but you have no memory of the place. That’s ok, though. Your neighbors are more than welcoming, and patiently explain things to you, including how to restart your farm!

    With the help of your pet, till the earth, plant some seeds, water them, and eventually you’ll have crops to sell. You’ll even be able to employ the help of drones to automate your farm, too, so you can adventure through the dungeons with no worries about your farm. Of course, you’ll be able to fish for a variety of fish, which you can donate to the aquarium to revitalize it. Or, go forage for a number of different items to use. Maybe complete some quests while you’re at it, too. 

    I found Everafter Falls to be just gorgeous and adorable all at once, but what really drew me in was the humor. It immediately throws out hilarious dialogue and cements the animal townspeople are quirky and entertaining. It helps set it apart from other farm and life sims. Of course, the beautiful scenery and cute villager designs help set it apart too. Having a demo is a great way for people to decide if they like the game and will buy it, but not all demos achieve greatness. Heck, I played some that left me bewildered and unimpressed. However, Everafter Falls quickly made its way to my Wishlist with its refreshing characters, but familiar gameplay. I’m always chasing that cozy farm sim feel that Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley left me with. 

    Little Kitty, Big City

    Little Kitty, Big City is about a little black cat who gets lost in the big Japanese city it lives in, and they’re trying to get back home. You play as this adorable kitty as it explores the charming neighborhood alleyways and the bustling thoroughfares of their city, all while trying to make it back home. Befriend other animals and complete quests for them. Nuzzle up to strangers or even trip them and steal their phone! Hunt down cute little hats to wear, and knock over people’s potted plants. Cause chaos or simply find your way home, the choice is yours.

    I have been impatiently waiting for this game for a while now. Unfortunately, it’s not set to release until 2024, but I’m so excited that a demo has released for Steam Next Fest. And it was awesome. Wandering around the streets between homes, finding vending machines and a busy walkway full of business people was all very nostalgic. It is exactly how I remembered many areas of Japan when I lived there. Nevermind that this game gives Untitled Goose Game vibes, but you’re a mischievous little kitty. I had an absolute blast with this demo.

    Paleo Pines

    Next up on my Steam Next Fest list is Paleo Pines, another game I’ve been anticipating for a long while now. You’ve recently moved to a charming little island called Paleo Pines, where you find a small town alongside herds of friendly little dinosaurs. Of course, you’re not unfamiliar to people living alongside dinos. You have Lucky, your trusty parasaurolophus. With Lucky at your side, you’ll not only revitalize your rundown farm, turning it into a lush dino paradise, but you’ll explore the island and uncover the mysteries of Paleo Pines. Make friends with the quirky townspeople, as well as the friendly wild dinos, while you’re at it. Each dino has a skill that can be helpful to you on your farm.

    Paleo Pines seems to be all I’d hoped for. It’s adorable, it’s beautiful, and there are friendly dinosaurs, who have a function beyond just getting to look at them! I absolutely adored this demo, and getting to see a hint of what’s to come. The island has some breathtaking views and easy gameplay, making for a perfectly cozy, relaxing play through.

    Sticky Business

    Sticky Business is the perfect opportunity to run a sticker business without the pitfalls of running your own real business. And it has the added intrigue of character stories! In this game, you get to design different stickers from thousands of design elements, including sparkles and holo effects. Set a specific niche for yourself, or go wild and sell all kinds of different types. Each sticker attracts all kinds of different customers, and each of those customers have their own stories and backgrounds to discover. Once you’ve designed your stickers, print them out, and lovingly pack them up for each order. Listen to your customer’s story as you choose the perfect paper and filling to keep the stickers safe in the mail. 

    The demo for this game was wonderful. It’s calming, relaxing, and has an easy to use interface. Designing stickers was as easy as dragging and dropping elements onto the design area. Even packing orders wasn’t stressful. You see how many of each sticker you have, how many stickers an order wants, then get to choose from several different paper colors, as well as filling options. I’d love to get the full game so I can see the upgrades you can buy, and what goodies there are to add to each box!

    Want To Give Them a Try?

    This round of Steam Next Fest is currently going on, and will be until June 26th. Head on over to Steam to grab the demos for these games, and so many more. And while you’re at it, add your favorites to your Wishlist to get notifications for them.

    And of course, if you’re looking for even more cute games, checkout Pixelshire, Dinkum, or even Coral Island.

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  • svgMar 23, 2023Indie Highlight

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    The Island is Your Playground

    Lil Gator Game is an absolutely adorable open-world, movement-focused adventure game. Traverse the island, where you’ll find a new friend almost everywhere you explore. Of course, making friends isn’t always easy. So, complete a quest or two for the NPCs you find to make friends with them. Then, invite them to play on the island’s playground.

    As you explore Lil Gator Game, you’ll get to experience seeing the world through a child-like sense of wonder and adventure. Climb huge rocks, glide through the mountains, run through the forest, and slide down big hills. You’ll also collect arts and crafts supplies as you wander. You can use these to craft yourself all sorts of things. Craft fun goodies to liven up the playground, and craft yourself new abilities like skimming rocks or a ragdoll teddy to allow you to ragdoll down a mountain.

    This game is perfect for relaxing after a long day, and great for including your little ones! Lil Gator Game has no combat system or health bars to stress you out. You’ll encounter a variety of baddies made out of cardboard cutouts that you’ll be able to hit, but they cause you no damage! This is a no-pressure game with a focus on adventure and play.

    Available Now!

    This sweet little adventure game is available now on Steam. For those of you who like portable gaming, it’s available on the Nintendo Switch, as well as Steam Deck verified!

    For more imaginative and cute games, check out The Plucky Squire and Lost in Play.

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  • svgNov 19, 2022Indie Highlight

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    A Farming Simulator With a Twist

    You, the player, have purchased your first plot of land located in an aging town in Japan’s countryside. Fully customize your character and your cell phone, and begin your new life. 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.  Each of the locals has their own issues to deal with, as well as having distinct personalities and stories. As you take the time to interact with the characters, you’ll get to learn their backstories and problems. Bond with the locals, attend events, and even find someone special to date. 

    What sets SunnySide apart from the other farming sim games that keep cropping up is that it seeks to combine modernism with the old. It also skips some of the more well-used game mechanics. There are no watering cans, shipping bins, or seemingly endless gifting to increase relationships.

    You’ll have access to solar panels, electric water pumps, and other contemporary machinery. Upgrade your technology to further improve your farming experience. Developer RainyGames wanted players to leave the tedium behind and truly get to enjoy a farming experience. 

    Coming Soon

    There is currently no release date available. You can find SunnySide on Steam to wishlist, however. It will also be coming to Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and Playstation. In the meantime, you can check out their website.

    For another Japanese farming sim, take a look at Shepherd’s Crossing. For other farming sims, there’s One Lonely Outpost, Voltaire: The Vegan Vampire, or even Blue Oak Bridge.

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