A strange week in the world of indie games for me. I’ve mainly been hammering a couple of titles and playing games that aren’t technically indie. Lies of P and Resident Evil 4, fact fans. Plus a bit of World of Goo after hearing the sequel announced. I loved the first game and I can confirm it plays excellently on the Steam Deck!

Anyway, on to this week’s games, of which there are only two!

Against the Storm

DEVELOPER: Eremite Games
PUBLISHER: Hooded Horse
Format: Steam
Price: £24.99

I have technically been playing Against the Storm for a couple of years now, as I picked it up in early access from pretty much day one. However I did take a full clean break from the game midway through last year as I wanted to wait for the 1.0 release.

Well that day finally arrived and it is totally worth the wait. Against the Storm is a roguelite city-builder centred around a world-changing apocalypse, where you are taked with rebuilding society and keeping in the queens good graces. How you play affects how queen feels essentially so you need to keep meeting targets. Yet at the same time you need to build and manage individual settlements, keeping the populations of humans, lizards and beavers happy so they can help you expand. Open up trade routes, mine resources and expand civilization.

The thing I really like about Against the Storm is it fixes some of the issues I have with many city builders as someone with ADHD. You see, I get to a point where I get overwhelmed by how much there is to manage, so I quit and start again and build to a similar point. Essentially replaying the first few hours over and over and over.

But that is what Eremite Games have nailed here. You build and follow missions that you need to deliver to earn good grace, whilst doing what you can to keep the wrath from growing. Or in simpler terms… Make the blue bar fill up before the red bar fills up. Fill one completely and that is the end of the level. You can continue to build if you wish, or move on!

Do that and you earn rewards that you can take into a new settlement and build bigger and better. The other thing to worry about is the overall cycle of the game. As you build settlements time passes and you need to make a sacrifice and start again at the end of the timeline.

There is a lot more to it too, but honestly this is one of my favourite games as the gameplay loop is so addictive and so well balanced. If you have any interest in city-builders, strategy games, resource management, rogues… then pick this up!

Big Ambitions

DEVELOPER: Hovgaard Games
PUBLISHER: Hovgaard Games
Format: Steam
Price: £19.32

Some initial impressions really as Big Ambitions is still in very early access but it does have some…I am so so sorry… Big Ambitions.

Hovgaard Games have created a game that is part Sims, part tycoon game, part economy simulator and much more besides. Essentially you are a singular character who gets a small apartment in New York City and a tiny budget. The goal… own all of New York!

But it isn’t just a case of starting the game and making business decisions. It is a life-sim as much as anything else, to you have to worry about your own needs, starting with simply moving into your empty apartment, furnishing it, making sure you have food in and maintining your character.

It’s not all through menus and popups, you literally need to leave the apartment and go to the shops, etc in a city that have a full 24h cycle. I am still very early in the game, so everything is still small in scale, but already I can sense a path to growth, but with the frustrations of not yet having the means to do it.

This isn’t a game where you quickly move through the gears as the game is designed to be played as a slow burn experience.

Being in early access means there are a myriad of issues that you do need to put up with, ranging from minor UI bugs, to controls that are still rather janky and a lack of polish in a fair few areas. But there is definitely something here that will keep me checking back in on a regular basis with each new major update as it moves towards a full release at some point.

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