Greetings, fortnight survivors. It’s time for the 21st Indie Insights, a column I started to spotlight indie games from across time and space. It mostly serves as an excuse for me to play many games. It’s been about a year since I started my mission to tell everyone about games they may not have heard of otherwise, and today, I am celebrating by continuing to do that even though the world is just straight up on fire.
Speaking of apocalypses, I also played monster dating sim/visual novel/ RPG Doomsday Paradise, which features my favorite flavor of creature – vaguely crablike. I also checked out the mystery puzzle game This Bed We Made. It’s like Nancy Drew but somehow nosier.
Now is the time for even more games!
Wrestling With Emotions: New Kid on the Block – Demo
From developers Team Lazerbeam comes a follow-up to their short proof of concept title Wrestling with Emotions. This sequel/expanded version of the original sees you take up the mantle of a new wrestling superstar in the making. Your objective? Win the title belt for hottest Pile Driver. Yes, Wrestling with Emotions: New Kid on the Block is a dating sim set in the heady and sweaty world of competitive wrestling.
As someone with a cat called Macho Man Randy Savage (Savage for short), I was always going to play this game. Add to that the unique, colorful art style and the banging soundtrack, and Team Lazerbeam is baking a recipe designed for me. The year is 1994, and you decide to take the leap and apply to join the premiere wrestling company du jour, Wrestling with Emotions. You get to choose your look, who you are targeting for a tag team love match, and who will be the heel in your story.
There are several components of your wrestler persona to work on while trying to enchant your chosen muscle-bound maestro of the ring. MEAT (Muscle, Elegance, Attitude & Theatrics), BONES (Bodacious, Open, Nervous, Easy Going, and Steadfast), and GUTS (Grabby, Uppies, Throws, and Strikes). In the demo, you only encounter the very beginning of MEAT. Going to locations will help you to increase specific aspects of your superstar. Only a couple are open in the demo: a salon and a skatepark. You get your nails done at the salon and choose hand tattoos, rings, and wrist accessories. You increase your attitude at the skatepark by being a cool, radical dude.
This little pre-match taster of the main event is very fun, extremely weird, and unique in its visual style, and I cannot wait to play the full version when it comes out in early 2024.
Wrestling with Emotions: New Kid on the Block demo is available now on Steam.
These Doomed Isles – Steam
I covered the demo for These Doomed Isles from Triplevision Games Limited a while back. Now, the game has reached early access on Steam, and there are more Gods to idolize and more cards to hoard for their precious town-building abilities. The game aims to accrue followers, build your settlement by expanding your land, and gain faith. If the faith runs out, you lose. If your settlement gets destroyed, you lose. It’s a turn-based card and resource management sim.
In the demo, you could only play as Cernunnos, but in the early access version, there are now three Gods that you could potentially play as. Once you unlock all of Cernunnos’ level three cards, you can play as Plutus, and once you unlock his level three cards, you can play as Acan. More Gods are in the pipeline, with the content roadmap currently pointing at six, with a 1.0 version release coming in Fall 2024.
The game features turns as seasons, with a random draw of cards you have pooled. If you have enough faith, you can redraw or draw more, but doing so will deplete your faith reserves, so you have to keep an eye on it. You need to ensure you have enough housing for your followers by building cabins. This was my biggest challenge while playing. I hardly ever drew any cabin cards, and I had a large swathe of unhoused followers, which affected their overall happiness.
Of course, when you put up buildings, you need to have enough resources as depicted on the card. On the easier difficulties, obtaining wood, stone, and iron is no problem, but it certainly becomes a task if you opt for higher difficulties. Then there’s the constant threat of attack from weird little freaks. You will, however, get a two-turn warning when enemies are coming and from which direction so that you can prepare defenses.
While there are still some balancing kinks to work out, the game is continually being worked on, with developers addressing bug fixes pretty swiftly. It’s easy to lose hours to These Doomed Isles, and I look forward to continued content additions.
These Doomed Isles is out now in early access on Steam.
Suika Game – Nintendo Switch
Yes, I know this is just a merge game. I know. I KNOW. I can’t stop playing it. Suika is a game where you drop different fruits into a box. It makes them all merge into progressively larger fruits until you reach the pinnacle of big fruits, the watermelon. That’s all it is. It’s got kawaii-styled fruity artwork, reverse crane game mechanics, and an ability to cause a deep obsession in all that encounter it. Whoever told me about this game is fired. I have things to do. And yet, the tantalizing promise of watermelon calls me back.
Suika is out now on Nintendo Switch
Gubbins – Ios and Android
This fun word game from Studio Folly has just been released and combines vaguely hallucinatory Yellow Submarine-esque art with making my brain string words together. Fun fact: in the UK, gubbins means nonsense. Whether it has the same meaning in Studio Folly’s native Australia, I don’t know. In each game, you get letter tiles, either singles or several together, and it’s your job to create words from the letters you get. You get more once you use them, and some tricks and treats are involved.
In each game, you chose a Good Gubbin and a Bad Gubbin. The good can be a blank tile, which will act as any letter to complete a word, while a Bad Gubbin can be something that locks adjacent spaces. It’s fun and addictive, with the bonus of forcing my synapses to do something other than weep. The app is free, but you can only play one game daily unless you pay a one-time fee of around $8. I haven’t fully committed to the paid version yet. The game came out about 12 hours ago as I’m writing this, but considering how much I want to keep playing after the games I’ve played are over, it seems probable that the full version lies in my future.
Gubbins is out now on iOS and Android.
- Puzzle adventure The Forest Quartet comes to Nintendo Switch today, November 17.
- Popular adventure FPS Deep Rock Galactic makes the leap to PS5 today, November 17.
- Platformer DOMINO: The Little One comes to PC, Android, and iOS on November 23.
- Roller derby shooter Rollerdrome finally rolls onto Xbox Series X on November 28.
- Mystery game Forest Grove comes to PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on November 29.
- Turnip Boy Robs a Bank, the sequel to his tax-based crimes, comes to PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on November 30.