My experience with Saltsea Chronicles was a very conflicted one. It’s unlike anything I’ve played before and I appreciated its genuine uniqueness. It boasts an intricately crafted world with an intriguing investigative system, colourful characters and seemingly endless choices. But as much as I liked the narrative conceit, the way it unfolded felt long-winded in a way that struggled to keep a firm hold of my attention.
Mineko’s Night Market is a carefully considered, cosy life sim, with an intriguing, low-stakes narrative and plenty of familiar activities to keep you busy. It might not sound groundbreaking on paper, but it delivers on everything it promises, offering a felicitous, feline-filled escape from your troubles.
Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch bites off more than it manages to chew. It has the makings of a grand immersive adventure and a detailed life simulator, but it doesn’t excel enough in any of its core elements. Between the lack of a fully actualised world, flawed controls and technical glitches, I had to work hard to feel invested. There’s a certain charm to its overall style and environments, but its issues greatly hinder the horse fantasy it wants to foster.
Bear and Breakfast is a unique management sim with memorable characters. Roleplaying as a bear who flips abandoned old B&Bs is unexpectedly entertaining. The dark, existential humour somehow manages to make a depressed turkey feel relatable. But I suspect the game will be much more enjoyable to play once the kinks have eventually been ironed out.
Escape Academy is more than just an escape room simulator. It’s a narrative-based puzzle adventure bursting with personality. There’s a fine balance of characterisation, story exposition and puzzle solving that creates a uniquely enthralling experience. It’s a delightful way to pass a few hours that left me hungry for more.
Video games have the power to create an affecting emotional experience by making their audience active participants in the world. In A Memoir Blue, the interactive elements aren’t impactful, while the narrative is too metaphorical. Aesthetics aren’t enough to make up for that.
Submerged: Hidden Depths succeeds in being a relaxing exploration game. With a gorgeous world, good puzzles, and an ample amount of collectables to uncover, it wouldn’t be surprising if it started appearing on those ‘top ten cosy games’ compilations on TikTok.
Tunic is an adventure that’s crafted with care and consideration, with a beautifully detailed, charming, and challenging world. Whether you’re looking for some cosy exploration, or to hack-and-slash through hordes of enemies, the world of Tunic is a lovely place to do it in.