Another fortnight (not that one), another plethora of delightful little oddities for me to talk nonsense about. Welcome back to Indie Insights!
Yes, I am still making the fortnight joke.
The last few weeks have been troubling times for games journalism, with mass layoffs affecting multiple outlets, and in the world of video games itself, there’s always something baffling going on. This time it’s the hotly debated The Day Before, which may or may not be released soon and may or may not exist. Oh, video games industry, what even are you?
As is customary, the only way to deal with the continuing onslaught of abject horror in the world is to play some funky fresh video games and talk like a Vanilla Ice tribute act. (My performing name is Tonka Berg. This is the worst joke I have ever made. I will not be removing it.)
I had the absolute, delirium-inducing joy of playing and reviewing the sneaky surprise rhythm game Hi-Fi Rush and a handful of delicious, short escapism experiences. Thank you, human brain, for having disassociation built in. One of the best features. Without further ado, here are things!
Let’s look at the demos I had a chance to play this week.
Gourdlets – Demo
Itty bitty town/city building sandbox game Gourdlets is here to steal your time with cutesy little visitors who will desert your creation by a hot air balloon if it isn’t cool enough. Solo dev Aunty Games is creating a completely open-building game with no objectives, goals, or achievements. Simply keep building and creating tranquil environments for the adorable Gourdlets, who will randomly appear by train.
There are a bunch of different building terrains you can select, from dirt to sand to concrete as well as other options for house style. You can plant greenery, build walls and add little decorating touches to your ever-expanding dominion. Build a dock, and Gourdlets can hop to the end and fish. They will pop in and out of the buildings you place and just generally go about their day as weird little plant/vegetable/fruit guys. So if you are like me and spend days at a time building and customizing your house in The Sims and then never play it again, this is that, but in perpetuity. No release date as yet, but the demo is playable now on Steam.
Rhythm Sprout: Sick Beats and Bad Sweets – Demo
Rhythm is a dancer, and that dancer is a wee onion lad on a mission. I mentioned this in my upcoming releases section in the last edition, and the full game is indeed out now, and I can assure you that I will be playing it in its entirety. We all know I love rhythm games and am terrible at them, but I play them regardless. In Rhythm Sprout from developer SURT and publisher tinyBuild, you’re a little onion knight set out into the world by King Brock (he is a massive broccoli stalk) to talk to Count Arelle (a mushroom with a mustache).
To move through the levels, you have to hit the beats, and it’s also how you battle your enemies, the EVIL CANDY PEOPLE. Dastardly yet delicious treats are set on stopping you, and slashing them up with your sword or dodging is dependent on hitting the notes flying at you. Resplendent in your tracksuit, headphones, and knight’s helmet, you are on a mission. A groovy mission to…punch cupcakes to EDM music. Honestly, I’m down. The full release boasts an eclectic soundtrack with lo-fi, EDM, and Hip-Hop inspired tunes, 30 levels, the ability to remix levels, and unlockable outfits.
The only thing I didn’t like about the game was the missed opportunity for a vegetable pun in the title. C’mon Rhythm Sprout: Sick BEETS and Bad Sweets. Surely. The full release of Rhythm Sprout is out NOW on Steam.
Mr. Saitou – Demo
From the world of Rakuen comes Mr. Saitou, a short game about a lonely white-collar worker searching for meaning. Walking through a world full of ghosts and disconnected, Mr. Saitou suffers an accident and wakes up in a hospital. Here he meets Brandon, a young patient who is super excited about everything, makes friendship bracelets, and wants to start his own business selling his crafty wares. He also draws Llamaworms. Yes, those are what they sound like. He draws some for Saitou and names them all Saitou, apart from Widetou, my new favorite wide lad.
Next thing Saitou knows, he has awoken in a boardroom full of llamaworms, is a llamaworm, and has a presentation to give that he doesn’t have notes for. After being given an extension by Bosstou, it’s time to scour the office for IMPORTANT METRICS. The J. Jonah Jamieson of the llamaworm world simply must know if trains are cool. From here, it’s time to explore, interact and scour the scene for the holy metrics. There are plenty of other llamaworms to meet, all either called Saitou or a variation thereof. Including Irritatu, who loves the sound of his voice, clears out rooms, and has a theme song written by Toby Fox of Undertale fame. The demo is delightful, with adorable character designs and fantastic music. Even if you aren’t familiar with the world of Rakuen and solo dev Laura Shigihara, you will enjoy it. Check out all the plants in the office to find a relatable buddy.
Mr. Saitou will be released on March 23, 2023, and the demo is available to play on Steam now for a limited time! BONUS WIDETOU!
- Dicey Dungeon makes its way to Xbox and PlayStation consoles on February 6, 2023
- Weird and Unfortunate Things Are Happening releases on Steam on February 6, 2023
- Bakura comes to Steam on February 13, 2023
- Blanc comes to Switch and PC on February 14, 2023
- Souls of Chronos comes to PlayStation 5 and PC on February 14, 2023
- Plan B: Terraform comes out on Steam on February 15, 2023, and currently has a free demo available.