Yvonne van Geloven
Garden In! does scratch the gardening itch without getting your hands dirty. More than that, it is a casual game that will appeal to fans of the simulation genre. There is a nice collection of seeds to collect and bring into bloom; there are various rooms to work in, and things to take into account, like soil and the sort of vase or pot you use. By growing more and more plants, you can fulfil your achievements and get even more customization options. I love this game. As I couldn’t play it on the Steam Deck, I can only wish Garden In! will eventually make its way to the Nintendo Switch as well, where it will be a day-one buy for me!
Although I don’t like cleaning in real life, cleaning in the Fresh Start Cleaning Simulator had me glued to the screen. There’s something so satisfying about washing all the muck and rubbish away and give the animals their beautiful habitat back. No big challenges; just getting in the zone of cleaning and watching everything look lovely again. Although you can collect achievements in the game, this isn’t the game for you if you want a challenge. Fresh Start Cleaning Simulator mimics real life’s workings in a very satisfying way with lovely graphics and satisfying little puzzle elements. A pity the first-person view made me nauseous, but that is entirely personal.
The My Universe games are aimed at kids, and I’m sure the young ones will love taking care of their Baby Dragon. It’s fun to see what Dragon Baby you get to take care of, though I do wonder if the gameplay loop doesn’t get boring after you’ve delivered a series of dragons. Still, I hesitated whether to add an I Like it a Lot to this review of My Universe – My Baby Dragon. Ultimately, I chose a slightly lower I Like It because the controls didn’t sit well with me.
Refreshing my memory after playing the first game with these new puzzles, I repeat my verdict for Madorica Real Estate 2 – The Mystery of the New Property. There isn’t any other puzzle game on Switch quite like it. The combination of challenging puzzles, the use of paper floor plans, QR codes and silly ghosts is unique. Play this escape room puzzle adventure alone and get the feeling of great achievement when you get rid of the ghost. Or play it with friends or your kids and have great fun together. The first ever interview we did on LadiesGamers was with Takashi Hamada (you can find it here) and I’m glad he brought us another great puzzler.
I quite like the idea of an advent calendar in video game form. The individual puzzles offer enough content to keep you interested in short gaming stints, with the addition of multi-player and several levels. The levels also have a short tutorial and are obviously made with care. This will get you in the Holiday mood, and offer some relaxing quality time as well. Overall, this puzzle game will give you relaxing moments and get you in the holiday mood at the same time!
Windosill is fun and unexpected and you can let your imagination run wild. Don’t rush through it to solve the puzzles but take time to try it all. It’s short, if you rush through it, very short. But as I already highlighted that’s not the point of Windosill. Your child in your lap, trying it all out together and marvelling at what you see, hear and feel. That’s how it should be played. The price for the Switch version is higher in comparison to the iOS and Steam versions. But the game isn’t just ported, it is fully adapted for the Switch. It now has multiplayer added and a collection of lovely sketches from the developer. Having said that, it’s still an experience that I wished had lasted longer!
When you start with BunHouse, I can imagine someone looking for action and entertainment being disappointed. However, this is just my cup of tea: a management game about a topic that I love. This is the first game I ever played that actually feels as if you’re really gardening. When I have the bunny sell the plants, you see the root system and it fits with the actual way a plant’s root system looks. For example, one of the Forget-me-not is an actual clump, straining for a bigger pot. This tells me that Patrick Gauthier really paid attention to his plant knowledge. BunHouse is a great management strategy game, that is cute at the same time. It’s coming to the Switch as well which is great news, as it works well in handheld. For how it performs on the Steam Deck, and the game itself, I can only give it one verdict.
Hokko Life doesn’t deny where it found its origins, mainly in being inspired by Animal Crossing. Being a small development studio Wonderscope clearly shows this for the passion project it is, and one that the fans of the genre will love. As I couldn’t help but compare, some niggles do pop up and I found that the game is awfully slow in really getting interesting. Once Hokko Life gets underway it gets interesting, and there are some things in Hokko Life that go quite a bit deeper than you would expect. Custom designing is really hands-on. I found it a bit fiddly on the Switch, but I saw projects up on Steam that really inspired me. It’s fun to see how they re-invented bits of the well-known gameplay, and I think this could be a real-time sink!
At first, I felt a little overwhelmed by all that Dreamlight Valley had to offer. There is just so much to collect, so many things to do and so many tasks and quests. Added to that, Gameloft is sprinkling treasure chests into the game daily and sends mail containing all kinds of goodies. I mean, isn’t this little fellow brilliant? By now, I’m wholly committed to the game, and loving my time with all the familiar characters. The only reason I’m not giving it a Two Thumbs Up at this time is because of the bugs and other things that need adjusting. But, after all, that’s why it’s an Early Access version. This is a must for any Disney fan, and if you’re into simulation games, this is one for you too. You can wait for the free version, but I must admit I’m happy to pay the price for my Basic Edition.
Ooblets is fun to play. The sim elements of dance battles, farming, crafting and questing are combined in a nice way. I love games with lots of questing and tasks, and it didn’t bother me that the story is thin. It kept my interest due to the things added along the way. I have some minor niggles: the info text in the inventory is annoyingly over the rest of the items in stock. Switching back and forth to the farm field view doesn’t feel very effective. Still, this is a game I can easily sink in many hours of gameplay. The fact that it’s cute and colourful, and has an uplifting beat will make sure that I won’t even regret the hours spent with my Ooblets.
We are OFK certainly brings something new to the table: a video game that is more of a tv series to promote a soundtrack for a new group. A group that only exists in pixel form, but that makes nice music. I have found the characters that I followed relatable and endearing, but I didn’t like all the strong language that is included. It’s not a game I’d recommend for kids, but I suspect young people will embrace this with gusto. The storytelling is great but I could have done without the mini games at the end of each episode. With all of this in mind I must conclude that I love this new territory that Team OFK is exploring!
Farm Manager 2022 is the best that Farming Management Sims have to offer, or so I think. It has a lot of improvements over Farm Tycoon and has much more elements to manage. It is less hands-on though, but it does give the opportunity to delve deeper into statistics such as Market prices. Not surprising when you realize Farm Tycoon is Farm Manager 2018 under a different name. The current game I am reviewing now is much more evolved, though the fans might miss the more hands-on element. It’s a pity not all button choices work well nor intuitively. And that it can crash when the farm gets bigger. But with a good tutorial, campaign, scenario mode and several difficulties setting in free mode there are many, many hours worth of farming fun to be had!
If you expect a visual novel with cute guys or girls and lots of romance, Long Live the Queen isn’t it. Don’t be fooled by the title image, as not all is pink and rosy. It is a novel alright, but it is a story that has you making mainly political choices. Elodie has to deal with betrayal, civil wars, assassinations, invasions, and magic… Who knew leading a kingdom could be so difficult? You can’t be a universally loved queen, you will have to make tough choices. Some will hate you, some will think you are doing okay. And all neighbouring countries try to influence you to benefit them. If you like a story where you have to build stats and have trial and error lead you to various endings, this one is for you. This is not an easy game, and if you want to reach all endings, you will have to play the same parts over and over again. There is a skip button, however I do wonder if players will be engaged enough to search for all endings. Make sure you have a notebook handy to jot down the choices you make and save often. That way, if Elodie meets a bad fate, you can still reverse it!
Sorcery! is a classic fantasy novel and game rolled into one. The elements all fit together. The storytelling is ace, there are many, many choices to make all leading to a different storyline. It’s the kind of tale where you have to remember who you met along the road, pick up keys you find, try to find magical elements and more. It’s like you are stitching loose pages of a book together in the order you want them to be. The graphics are gorgeous as is the soundtracks. If you have never played a Sorcery! game and you love your fantasy books, this is a lovely one to go for. And even if you have played the chapters before, it’s great to have them all rolled into one.
I have pondered the rating I was going to give Behind the Frame. I enjoyed playing it immensely, I love the whimsical atmosphere and the intriguing storyline. The puzzles aren’t overly difficult but I don’t mind, it made it feel wholesome to me. The game is short, but when it ends I really wanted more because of the story behind the painter and the old man. It certainly challenged my creative mind, as I keep thinking about what exactly I had been witnessing. The price tag on Switch for Behind the Frame is along the lines of the Steam price, but you should know that the mobile version is about half the price. Due to the fact that it’s a touchscreen game, I do wonder if that wouldn’t be the best version to go with. This is a game for fans of wholesome games with a whimsical and nostalgic feeling.
What can I say? I love Farm Tycoon because I love the management part, trying to make it into a thriving farm and keeping my eye on the finances. I would like to see some improvements however in the game like a tutorial that is sorely missed to make Farm Tycoon more accessible. It got me making my own lists and schematics, but I can see how this would deter other players. It’s been some time since I couldn’t stop thinking about a game during the day, wanting nothing better than to play on. A sure sign of a hit for me. Based on the PC game Farm Manager SONKA did a good job helping the game make the jump to consoles. It’s great fun to have this fully-fledged farm in handheld mode on my Switch. I can manage the farm while travelling to my own work by train!
Even though I have never played the first Goetia game, I must say I really liked my time in the strange world of Goetia 2. I would have liked to have more light and be able to see the details better, but the graphics look good, and the areas you search through are very detailed. This point & click really had my brain cells doing overtime, and although I wouldn’t have young children play it, it wasn’t too disturbing for me. The developers did a good job at creating a spooky atmosphere without it being very scary.
Anuchard is a combination of a action fighter and simulation game, with the emphasis on exploring dungeons and solving puzzles. With five guardians to search for, you have several different dungeons to explore, all in a different style. The cartoony style depicts the characters well with only a few color strokes. The excellent humorous writing makes the game stand out for me. I found the action-based fighting to turn hectic pretty soon, but the mechanic of avoiding damage allowed me to focus on the puzzles instead. I’m pretty sure though that for someone who is more adept at action fighting and dungeon crawling will have a blast!
I was curious to see if such a tiny game could entertain me, and it certainly did. I like the idea of giving budding developers the chance to bring their work to a bigger audience in this way. They can show their hard work without having to spend years on a full fledged video game production. I do feel the price is a bit high, but the funds are used to add additional content for upcoming updates to Lotus: The Self Made Witch. If enough funding is reached, we might even see the release of Lotus on Steam and Google Play!
Of course, Calm Colors isn’t for everyone, but it’s a good game if you want to unwind and think happy thoughts while sliding the pieces onto the right shape. It offers relaxing gameplay, and turns the myriad of lines into a lovely bright image. Looking at the price, you are looking upon many hours of relaxation with no stress, timers, pressure…just you sliding the pieces to the soothing music.