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  • svgJul 1, 2024Reviews

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    Rusty’s Retirement is a cute farming idle game that sits at the bottom, or vertically on the side, of your computer screen. It’s a farming sim, so you plant crops, raise animals, and decorate. But instead of requiring your full attention at all times, it chugs away at whatever tasks it needs to while you do other things. You start out with just Rusty running the show, but as you progress, you can automate by building robots who will plant, water, and harvest crops for you. It’s perfect for the busy person looking to take short breaks playing a little something cozy! 

    It’s The Perfect Idle Game

    I really don’t generally enjoy idle games, honestly. They don’t hold my attention and the progression never feels good. Nevermind that most idle games I come across are combat-based and require repetition of levels to get good enough to advance. I’ve found myself trying different ones before, but always forgetting they exist after a while. I just can’t get into them. 

    Rusty’s Retirement, though? It’s perfect in my eyes. Perhaps it’s because I already enjoy farming sims, but I think it really is more than just that. The game uses some lovely pixel art that I’ve grown to love over the years as it represents a sense of nostalgia for me. Plus, the color palette used for everything works well. The grass, farm plots, and buildings aren’t overwhelmingly bright. They’re actually a fairly subdued color, which helps things like the different decorative flowers pop when they’re placed. It makes for a really pleasant look overall. 

    Which brings me to the different options. You initially start with just Rusty’s house, a biofuel converter, and water well. The rest is an empty plot of grass, much of which you need to unlock to expand. Place down farm plots where you want them to begin growing crops. There are 42 different crops to grow in Rusty’s Retirement, and 7 different houses to build. Each house serves a different purpose in unlocking new options for you. Decorative flowers and other natural decor, berry bushes and bees, bot upgrades, farm animals, and farm statistics all come in handy at some point. The bees provide honey and the animals produce fertilizer that help crops grow. Everything has its place and works together with everything else to create a balanced game. Of course, the decorations are just for fun and to make your farm a creative outlet. 

    Easy to Play and Perfectly Cozy

    I really appreciate that Rusty’s Retirement is easy and casual. There’s no huge learning curve. There isn’t some big, hidden challenge. What you see is what you get, which is exactly what I want from it. It’s easy to come back to. And your little helpers are fairly intelligent when moving buildings and plots. The ones performing the move will grab a box, move it to the new area, then head back. They focus on finishing that one task before moving on to something else. No one is performing tasks like I do when I’ve had too much coffee: a little bit of everything here and there so nothing really gets done well or in a timely manner. Plus, the unlock progression feels appropriate. It doesn’t feel like an overwhelming grind. It also doesn’t feel too quickly achieved. There is a balance that’s been struck that feels just right. 

    Final Thoughts

    If you haven’t tried Rusty’s Retirement, please do. It’s so relaxing and chill. You can play while completing important homework tasks or answering work emails. Or you could even let it run while you play other games. Your options really are nearly endless. It’s a great bite-sized game that deserves every bit of love and attention it gets from the gaming community. 

    I give it:

    You can find Rusty’s Retirement on Steam now!

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  • svgJun 29, 2024Feature

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    Sunrise’s Order by Misstic Studio is a super cozy and adorable farming sim that pulls inspiration from great games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley. You landed yourself in some hot water with your job after losing track of time and binging a brand new farming sim game. The game was just way too fun and you lost track of time! You decide in the moment you’re ready for a change of pace, anyway, and would love to live out the farming life in real life. So, you sell your things and buy an island to start your new dream! 

    While an exciting new adventure to face, buying an uninhabited island and taking up farming doesn’t come without its challenges. With some cheeky humor and hard work, you can turn your island into a paradise, though. You’ll have to rely on a delivery service to get your seeds and tools! In Sunrise’s Order, you’ll utilize the extremely useful Animazon for all your needs.

    Buy starter tools, start farming with seeds you order, and unlock more items for farming, decor, and crafting as you progress through the game. Animazon will be an unimaginable help for turning your simple home into a flourishing farmstead! The builder app on your computer will let you expand your farm, too, but clearing out and claiming new parcels of land across the cozy, quiet island. 

    Income

    Your main source of income will be from fulfilling customer orders. Of course, you can sell the items you gather or the fish up, but you’ll make more of a profit completing orders. Use the wood, stone, ore, crops, and whatever else you can grow or find to craft items that customers need. Set up different workstations to craft items a variety of things. Catch fish and grill them up.

    Grow food crops and flowers. Or even craft decorative items to beautify your home with or to sell. Fulfilling customer orders will help you unlock even more workstations to upgrade your crafting skills and abilities, too. So, the more orders you fulfill, the more money you make, and the more you progress! 

    Skill Progression

    Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Sunrise’s Order is that there’s a dedicated skill tree and development progression. As you complete chores around the island, you’ll earn experience points that level up individual things (ex: each crop has levels; foraging, fishing, and wood cutting do too). Leveling up these things levels up your farm.

    You earn a skill point each time the farm gains a level, and you can spend that skill point on useful things like more stamina, receiving more wood when you chop trees, and lowering the amount of stamina used during an activity. The development progression lets you unlock a bigger house, animals, and much more. It all gives the game a great sense of direction without strong-arming you into specific cutscenes or storylines. 

    Where to Find It

    You can find Sunrise’s Order on Steam now! There’s even a demo to try out first, but if you really like farming without the pressure of being social, this game is perfect for you!

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  • svgJun 27, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Garage Sale, developed by Bug Burrow, is a super charming interactive fiction where you play as the young resident Juniper. She’s a shy girl, but is eager to overcome that shyness while curing her summer boredom. The perfect opportunity to solve both problems happens to come in the form of the town’s summer garage sale! 

    Explore the beautifully wooded town of Lettuce Village looking through the different treasures people have put up for sale. Stop by the numerous garage sales, yard sales, and shops to discover fun items. You’ll come across things like antiques, handmade crafts, and items that give a glimpse into the owner’s past. Of course, you have to buy these items as the sellers aren’t looking to just give them away, but if you explore every nook and cranny of Lettuce Village, you should be able to scrounge up enough coins! 

    Your quaint village is in the middle of nowhere, so your neighbors are a bit quirky, but summer is the perfect opportunity to get to know them. As you explore what Garage Sale has to offer you, get to know your neighbors through conversations and help them with tasks. These tasks will reward you with pieces of the town’s history, money, unique items, or just plain friendship. And despite its tiny size, Lettuce Village holds onto a rich history. There’s even some secrets, so it’s well worth it to help your neighbors out!

    Release Date

    You can find Garage Sale on Steam, where it releases in full on Friday, June 28th! 

    Enjoy collecting things? Try Collector’s Cove!

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  • svgJun 26, 2024Snack Size News

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    A Little to the Left is a relaxing game all about organizing. Play through 100 unique logic puzzles featuring charming illustrations and satisfying gameplay. Play through levels at your pace and in whoever order you choose. Each puzzle has multiple solutions, so you aren’t forced to figure out the singular way to solve. The puzzles are all hidden among common household items, too. Organize books, the kitchen junk drawer, chess pieces, and so much more. You can even utilize the Let It Be function to skip puzzles that have you stumped. Or use a hint to help you along! 

    Now, developer Max Inferno and publisher Secret Mode, have announced a brand new DLC to add even more cozy puzzle fun to A Little to the Left! This new DLC, called Seeing Stars, adds 33 new levels for you to enjoy. These new levels are a mixture of multiple solutions type puzzles and traditional organizational puzzles. There are also 5 new bonus levels to complete. Fold, flap, crush, join, stick, bounce, stack, strum and smash your way through each of these pleasant puzzles. Each level has up to five different possible solutions, with 100 total different intriguing solutions to uncover. As you play the levels, keep an eye out for collectible stars. There are 100 in total to collect. You’ll even get to see some cute kitties as you tidy up! 

    Release Date

    You can pick up the fabulously relaxing A Little to the Left: Seeing Stars on Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch now!

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  • svgJun 20, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Set off on an exciting adventure across an open world featuring 100 islands ripe for exploration in Moonstone Island! While adventure is a major aspect, this adorable game, developed by Studio Supersoft and published by Raw Fury, also includes a little bit of everything. It’s a creature-collecting life sim with fun deckbuilding and also unique puzzles and mazes, some farming, and resource collecting too. Get to know the locals, brew potions, collect Spirits, and work on completing your alchemy training!

    Following the long-standing traditions of your village, you move to a sky island to complete your alchemy training. Pick from any of the 100 different islands to settle on. Then, you can start your new adventure by building a cozy home to call your own.

    Use over 200 pieces of fun furniture and decor to make your home the coziest around. If you grab the Decorator’s Pass, you’ll gain access to all of the DLC cosmetics that have been added since launch, and more that are to be added later. Plus, you can start your own garden full of crops and flowers to use in your alchemy or to tame Spirits with.

    Don’t forget to go talk to the cast of diverse and intriguing NPCs while you’re at it. You’ll become a valued member of the community and can even find someone to fall in love with and marry. You’ll not only experience a newly added wedding scene, but you can move in with your new spouse, too!

    When you’re not spending your time at home, take the chance to go explore Moonstone Island. Travel via balloon, broom, and glider to see some unique biomes. Tame and befriend over 70 extraordinary Spirits (a roster that has only grown bigger since the PC launch) while you uncover secrets about your new sky-based home. Battle other Spirits with your own in engaging encounters where you’ll use a deck of cards as the battle system.

    Solve unique mazes and puzzles, then battle against fun dungeon bosses, and earn rewards. Earn helpful new upgrades, useful loot, and island secrets. You can also take on the newly added INFINIDUNGEON for an unending challenge!

    This game is perfect for the gamers who love Pokemon, Stardew Valley, and even Slay the Spire. The combination of collecting Spirits with a card-based battle system makes for a cozy, but engaging experience. Yet, it has that cozy no-rush aspect (with farming) like Stardew Valley has. So, complete your quests and explorations at your own pace with no time limits!

    Moonstone Island is NOW AVAILABLE on Switch!

    It’s now finally out on Nintendo Switch, so you’ll be able to take it wherever you go!

    For PC players, you can also check it out on Steam.

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  • svgJun 20, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Times & Galaxy is a vibrant and quirky interplanetary adventure game developed by CopyChaser Games. You play as the brand new intern at the Dorp system’s favorite regional holopaper, Times & Galaxy. You’re even the very first robot reporter to write for a newspaper, too, so don’t waste this opportunity to become something incredible! Take on different assignments, journey to other planets, interview witnesses, and construct engaging, informative articles. If you work hard, you might be able to prove you belong on the staff full time. 

    During any given cycle, you have the choice between a few different assignments, all with their own intrigue. Cover a mysterious shuttle crash, let the world know about the intersolar cat show, or even attend a ghost funeral. Choose your assignment, then set off to a new planet to take in the scene. Interview sources. Investigate the scene and dig up clues as to what happened. Then, use the information you gathered to write your story using the Build-a-Story™ tool. Your tone and the quality of the article matter for your success, as does your ability to gather all of the relevant information. Were you a diligent reporter bot, or did you slack on gathering clues? 

    Of course, Times & Galaxy isn’t all about interviews, gathering clues, and publishing articles. Your fellow staff all live and work on the Scanner, the spacebound newsroom. Then, between assignments, you can explore your workplace and get to know your fellow crew members. There are over 20 colorful and unique employees for you to get to know, including writers, photographers, pilots, and more. Encounter aliens of all kinds right in your newsroom as your fellow employees hail from all corners of the galaxy, and also possesses their own personality and stories for you to get to know. 

    So, take off on an exciting interplanetary adventure full of fun characters and use your investigative abilities to dig up the best and juiciest information for stories. Your future as a reporter depends on it! 

    Release Date

    Times & Galaxy is finally releasing everywhere, too! June 21st you’ll be able to pick up a copy of this excellent game on Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.

    If you want more newspaper fun, try News Tower!

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  • svgJun 20, 2024Indie Highlight

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    Everafter Falls is a cozy farming sim that lets you rediscover the simple life. You once lived in this quaint place, actually, but a terrible accident happened. When you wake up from that accident, you learn your previous life wasn’t actually real. It was all a simulation! You no longer remember your adorable animal neighbors, the charming little farm you called all your own, nor any of the inviting flowers and cool breezes you used to enjoy. You remember none of it! 

    There’s nothing to do but to get back into the swing of things, though. So rejoin life in the quaint town of Everafter Falls. Reacquaint yourself with your old friends. Learn how to farm and fish again. Your cute pet will help you along the way, and so will automated drones. They can help with expanding your inventory and caring for your crops. If you crave some action, then take up your trusty old sword once more to fight your way through the dungeon! Earn upgrades to better defeat dungeon enemies and use those automated drones to help you fight for even more success. 

    The question is, is Everafter Falls really as peaceful as it seems? 

    Release Date

    Everafter Falls is available everywhere now! The game launches today and you can find it on Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch

    Vampire Rancher is another adorable farm sim you should take a look at!

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  • svgJun 14, 2024Feature

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    Thank you to Prideful Sloth and CULT Games for this early access copy!

    Go-Go Town is an adorable city builder and management game where you’re the mayor. Your job is to plan, build, and prosper! Rise through the ranks as you surpass other towns as a prime tourist spot. Turn the rundown town from not to hot by cleaning it up and building things people want to see. Food stalls, knick knack shops, and beautiful parks all make for a fun experience for visitors. There’s a little more to it than just building things people want to see, though. Being mayor isn’t easy! 

    What’s New

    The first time I was given the chance to play Go-Go Town, it was a simple and limited playtest that barely scratched the surface of the game. This time, there’s so many new features and cool additions to the game that it’s like playing a whole new thing! There are new areas to explore, upgrades and progression that didn’t exist, plus fun cosmetics. 

    You now start the game with a humorous and easy tutorial that walks you through how to play while setting up a simple story behind why you’re suddenly a mayor. You can access the information via your in-game phone at any time, too. Then, you’re set off on your own to explore town and do almost anything you want. You are limited in what you can build until you unlock more things. However, you can build something and move it any number of times you want with ease. So it’s easy to redesign if you change your mind! 

    As the mayor in Go-Go Town, your prime objective is to restore the town. To do that, you’ll build interesting attractions to lure in visitors. To do that, you’ll need construction materials! Go mine some stone to turn into bricks, and cut down trees to turn into planks. Eventually, you can automate those jobs by hiring some of your new inhabitants. As you progress further through the game, you’ll be able to automate just about everything from farming and fishing, to courier services and trash pick up. In order to progress, you earn EGO points you can use to unlock more options. You’ll get the chance to have town decorations, upgrades to farming, fishing, mining, and forestry, as well as new home types, shops, and more! Progression is easy, but still satisfying. 

    What Else Is New

    Your handy in-game phone now has several apps to help you manage your town, too. The tourist tracker lets you know if any of the visitors are unhappy so you can fix the problem. The calendar shows you what time trains arrive, but also lets you schedule your leaderboard challenges. These challenges can be scheduled once you’ve bought every EGOTech currently available, and completing a challenge increases your town rank, unlocking more EGOTech to buy. Challenges are pretty easy to complete, and can be rescheduled with no negative outcomes should you fail. My first challenge needed me to earn 100 coins (which will happen through your shops), build some shops, and build a few lamp posts. The leaderboard app shows you how your town ranks amongst other towns. Keeping an eye on your apps will help you learn how to progress, but also lets you see how far you’ve come! 

    The potential new residents that show up in Go-Go Town now require you to meet some demands before they’ll accept an invite to move in. That means you’ll need to pay a fee, build something specific, or even just give them a high five! You can then assign them to a specific home and give them a job. Hiring residents will help you automate the town and take some tasks off your plate. If you’re getting overwhelmed, though, you can close the train station to visitors. This lets you restock shops, redesign and redecorate, build, clean up the trash and spills left behind, or even explore the new areas and biomes in peace! Of course, you won’t earn any money, but that’s an easy trade-off for momentary peace. 

    While you’re designing the town, don’t forget to give yourself a redesign! Visit the little kiosk next to the train station to change your hair, facial features, and clothes. As you find loot throughout the world, they’ll be sent to this kiosk. So, you can change clothes and add fun accessories like heart-shaped glasses. There are even a variety of hats to choose from, plus different baskets to carry your stuff in. 

    Overall

    Go-Go Town is such a great game. It’s exactly as chill as you need it to be since you can close the train station, but even then, it’s not an overly demanding or hectic game. The art is lovely. The music is perfect and not overwhelming. Being able to decorate and manage a town makes for a cool concept, but with the addition of the progression tiers, it’s a super engaging game. There are an almost endless list of possibilities for your little town, too! 

    There is a new demo available for the current Steam Next Fest, too. Even more exciting is Early Access drops on Steam June 18th! That’s just next week. So, if you haven’t already, add the game to your Steam Wishlist to be notified when it’s live.

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