Indie Insights Vol. 29 – Investigating Weyrd

Another fortnight, another clutch of lovely indie games I got to play! Hooray – it’s Indie Insights! This fortnight, I got to play cozy and addictive tiny house builder SUMMERHOUSE and sky-high adventure Passing By – A Tailwind Journey. This fortnight’s theme is chill vibes and cuteness as a contrast to the never-ending assault of real life. Big shoutout to Ryan Gosling’s Oscars performance of I’m Just Ken for bringing choreographed joy to the week. Also, thank you to the Godzilla Minus One team for winning and taking Godzilla toys with them on stage. Legends.

On top of flying high and building small, I’ve also dived into some closed betas for titles I’ve been looking forward to for what feels like forever. One of these games featured its short demo here before, but now I’ve played an extended version, it’s time for a revisit.

Times & Galaxy – Closed Beta

Times and Galaxy
Image Credit: Copychaser Games.

Created by developers Copychaser Games, a team of ex-journalists themselves, comes an investigative journalism experience unlike any other. I played the original demo for this game way back in October 2023 and loved the small taster of the investigative reporter robot adventure. Back then, only one robo-reporter model was available. The beta allowed me to pick between the full roster of three models. The adventures of Lois Lame continued, but this time as a femme bot. I kept the lime green and purple color scheme, though.

The beginning of the game remains much the same: you are the world’s first robotic reporter and have just started your internship at the renowned holographic newspaper The Times & Galaxy. The closed beta included the content from the demo and much more, giving a better idea of the final experience. The rest of the spaceship-based headquarters of The Times and Galaxy was opened up to explore, and the rest of the staff reporters were available to talk to, and many more bizarre assignments awaited me.

Filled with a motley crew of aliens and robots, each offers a chance for friendship and sometimes more. A dialogue choice not available in the original demo I played was now open to me: flirt. Why yes, I will deliver absolutely atrocious chat-up lines to the weight-lifting crime reporter who is always working on her gains at her desk. I loved getting more color from the supporting characters in this longer beta. All the space weirdos are great fun to talk to and make the world more than just visiting weird places and putting together news stories.

Times and Galaxy cat show
Image Credit: Copychaser Games

Of course, the news stories are great fun. Reporting on an alien cat show with a robot cat, a goop cat, a cat in a jar that is entirely eyes, and a secret fourth cat is exactly the story I would jump on given the opportunity. Depending on your choices, you could get very different stories from those of your interviewees. Deciding what headlines, flavor text, and quotes to use to focus the story’s interest is an opportunity to see just how good of a reporter you are. Did you uncover all the options?

The main takeaway from the beta is that the game has a lot more to offer than just Frankensteining news stories together. Some real alien interest stories are developing in the workplace. There’s the scary editor with her complicated parenting issues, the other intern who hates you, and the security bot who hates everyone but wants you to collect alien plant seeds for their garden. The full release will be coming later in 2024, and I can’t wait to play it.

The Times & Galaxy beta is now over, but a demo is still available on Steam.

Weyrdlets – Closed Beta

Weyrdlets home island
Image Credit: Weyrdworks.

From small Malaysian developers, Weyrdworks is Weyrdlets, a new take on the desktop pets of the past. It’s like Bonzi Buddy but without the malware and terrifying robot voice. Instead, you have a cute dinosaur buddy who you can entertain at his home or, more importantly, toddle around your desktop while you write about him. In the current version of the game, one type of Weyrdlet is available: the aforementioned dino guy. His name is Wagyu, and he looks like a Mudkip crossed with Godzilla, who is a good friend.

When you are in full-screen mode, you can hang out with your weird little guy on his island. Your Weyrdlet’s home can be decorated and customized, although you will need shinies to spend at the store first. To get shinies, complete daily tasks and let your Weyrdlet dig. Feeding the beast increases its luck, making digging more lucrative. Your Weyrdlet can dig up to 24 times a day, but there is a cooldown, meaning not all attempts can be successful.

Rolling over the bottom right corner of your screen makes the menu bubble into existence. There’s a store to buy food, toys, tools, and furniture for your new friend, your inventory, a daily tasks list, build mode, and the button to switch to desktop mode. The bottom left corner has the music player, and the top right corner has your help and settings options. Right-clicking changes the mode of your cursor. You can switch between grab, navigate, pet, slap, and commanding your pet to stay.

Weyrdlets desktop
Image Credit: Weyrdworks.

There is also a helpful tutorial sailor dog who will get you started on your new life with your Werydlet. His boat also offers the chance to send your new friend out on an adventure during the day. It’s too dangerous to go out on the seas after 3 pm. You can also visit a playground where you can play with your buddy. Spin them around on the roundabout until they fly off. Swing them on the swing until they fly off. See-Saw until they get bored and face plant into the sandpit. In its current iteration, the playground is a little bit janky – once I went there, I could not leave unless I had exited the game.

Considering that this is the first full playtest for Weyrdlets, it’s a great experience. For those who just want a chill experience with a silly little guy that you can throw around, take care of, and play with, it’s perfect. The visuals have a Claymation feel to them; it’s bright and colorful, and your new pet is full of personality. If you are looking for epic adventures and deep stories, this won’t be for you. However, if you love virtual pets, collecting, and interior decorating, then Weyrdlets is shaping up to be a winner.

Weyrdlets will be coming to invade your desktop sometime soon.


Upcoming indie releases are now featured in their own post every Monday. If you have a game coming out or think one should be featured, let me know in the comments below!

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Written by Emma Oakman

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