Welcome to another fortnightly edition of Indie Insights, where I play whatever random indie game piques my interest. It can be old, new, full release, or a demo; it doesn’t matter as long as it’s new to me and looks interesting. The world of indie games is vast and deep and encompasses every genre you can imagine, so much of it is overlooked. So I look at it. Probably too much.
There’s a joy in discovery. New art, ideas, stories. It’s the best thing we do as humans, and the medium of video games is a way we can all participate in the stories and visions of others. Maybe it’s because the weather today is smoke, making me focus on the good things people do, or perhaps it’s just because I love video games. Probably the smoke, though.
Here are some games I played this fortnight!
Fruitbus – Pre-alpha Demo Steam
Fruitbus is a delightful cooking sim where you must build your menu, discover recipes, and make friends while traveling around in your grandma’s old Fruitbus. You have recently inherited the old Fruitbus after your grandma passed away, meaning you have to build up the trust of her old clients. People (adorable anthropomorphic animals) will make specific menu requests. It’s up to you to discover their ingredients and recipes. You can also purchase tools and upgrades for the bus and spruce it up during your travels.
Fruitbus was only recently announced by Krillbite Studio and isn’t due for release until next year. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a Pre-Alpha build demo has been released on Steam. For a Pre-Alpha build, it gives a really good feel for what the intention of the game is. The graphics are clearly not fully polished yet. However, I have seen worse in full releases, and it doesn’t run 100% smoothly yet, but collecting and prepping ingredients works well, and it is already extremely visually appealing and vibrant. Also, when you jump, it goes “bweep bwoop,” which I enjoyed.
Fruitbus is due sometime in 2024.
The Repair House: Restoration Sim – Steam
The Repair House comes from Claudiu Kiss (PC Building Simulator) and Quantum Logic Games. In the same vein as PC Building Simulator, The Repair House sees you take on the role of a repair man, except instead of being limited to computers, you are now a repairer of all manner of things. Disassemble, reassemble, clean, and fix everything from skateboards to arcade cabinets to make rent and buy access to other rooms of your own house.
For some reason, this runs terribly on my computer. It is stutter, slow, and takes forever to load. It shouldn’t; I checked my specs, and while I am not exactly operating on the cutting edge of gaming tech, I’m comfortably mid (do people still say mid? I am very old.) It’s also just quite soulless. I generally enjoy games in this genre; games like PowerWash Simulator and Assemble with Care held my attention and even invoked the all-consuming power of hyperfixation. The Repair House wasn’t engaging or interesting. In the end, everything still felt disassembled.
The Repair House is out now on Steam.
Kabaret – Demo Steam
The world of Kabaret is baffling and beautiful. From Persona Theory Games, Kabaret is based upon Southeast Asian Folklore. You play as Jebat, who has been transformed into a Naga-esque (snake) monster with 30 nights to break his curse. The demo begins in chapter two and lands you in the middle of events you know nothing about. Jebat is being ferried to Kabaret, a refuge of sorts for monsters. Enough information is given to deduce that Jebat was human but is no longer.
Upon reaching Kabaret, you can explore the area and talk to its denizens. Some are willing to greet you. Others are less than enthused by your presence. There are also a few games that you can participate in. There is also a chance to converse with some ghosts who will ask you to make them tea. You will have to deduce which ingredients each would like, brew the tea, and serve them. There is also the living “tea pet,” a telepathic frog called Raden, made of clay, who appears to be your guide. The game’s art is beautiful, the folklore is interesting, and an area I’m not hugely familiar with.
The game does a great job of explaining words, games, and aspects that may not be familiar to all players. It reminds me of the Clive Barker film Nightbreed, where a man finds the city of monsters known as Midian and learns he is a true citizen of the hidden place. I am definitely going to be picking up the full version of Kabaret when I can.
Kabaret is out now on Steam and has a free-to-play demo.
- Action-Adventure Dreamers comes to Xbox One and Xbox Series X on September 1.
- Bomb Rush Cyberfunk graffitis the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on September 1.
- Zany platformer Enchanted Portals comes to PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on September 6.
- Hauma – A Detective Noir Story comes to PC on September 11.
- Bizarre-looking surreal food art experience Nour: Play with Your Food comes to PC, Mac, and PS4 on September 12.
- Long awaited dating sim/RPG Eternights comes to PC, PS4, and PS5 on September 12.
- Comedy Colony sim Galaxy Pass Station comes to PC on September 14.