This week’s Indie Round Up is a triple game week. As there have been a ton of games released that I’ve had to find time to play in between sessions of Balatro. Including a Balatro-like, a Simer Rancher-like and a clicker-lite? So lets get straight to it.

Clean The Sea

DEVELOPER: Backpack Games
PUBLISHER: Backpack Games
Platform: PC
Price: TBC
Steam Deck: Unknown (Plays just fine)

Credit: Backpack Games

Starting of this week with a lovely game that you can play and finish in a cosy evening on the sofa. The goal is simple and does exactly what the title suggests. Clean The Sea!

You control a boat which can gather rubbish from the sea to clean it. Clean rubbish, get paid, upgrade, clean more, expand, clean more, upgrade, clean more and so on. You can upgrade your boat to move faster, collect larger quantities of rubbish and even build an automated fleet.

Essentially taking some of the mechanics of a clicker game and building on it wonderfully, with a message about the state of our oceans. I found this to be a relaxing experience with a bit of a deeper message. It isn’t pushing any boundaries in terms of gameplay or anything like that. But sometimes you just want to play something you can polish off in a day, or over a weekend. This is that game.

Whilst I don’t think this is a title I will continue playing, or go back to, it doesn’t need to be, I had a lovely experience in my short time with it.

Time to Morp

DEVELOPER: Team HalfBeard
PUBLISHER: Yogscast Games
Platform: PC
Price: £16.75 (Early Access)
Steam Deck: Unknown (Plays without issue)

Credit: GameTrailers

Oh my word! Cuteness and cosiness overload! Time to Morp is just a giant hug of a game, that might wear influences on its sleeve, but that really doesn’t matter when it is this lovely.

A cross betrween Slime Rancher, Viva Pinata and something like Lightyear Frontier. Time to Morp sees you setting up home on a new planet and working with the fascinating creatures that live there to build your new home.

The Morps are just lovely and have many skills, with the main one being, resource generation. Essentially you will use the Morps to harvest and produce materials so you can build your new home, bigger and better.

Morps evolves based on numerous factors, such as what they eat, so a standard ‘White Morp’ can eat a something in the world and become a ‘Blue Morp’, in turn you can then home the Blue Morps, provide them with the habitat they desire and they will then start producing materials needed.

It expands beyound that of course and whilst I am only just getting going in the Early Access version, I am already set on playing Time to Morp fully when it gets a full release, whilst periodically checking back in.

There are some minor niggles at the moment, which is why I am willing to sit out for a bit. Some of the controls are a bit finnicky and it is easy to mess up building things, it can also do with some better UI elements, as it is a little trial and error in places.

However, that is the sort of thing I expect at this stage. The core gameplay loop, the aesthitics and general feel of the game are all there and I can’t wait to see where this one goes!

Bingle Bingle

DEVELOPER: Knitting Games
PUBLISHER: Knitting Games
Platforms: PC
Price: £9.29 (Early Access)
Steam Deck: Unknown (Works but fiddly)

Credit: Knitting Games

It took just short of 1 month for another Baltro-like to come out. But here is the thing. I don’t think this is a clone or a quick scam. It honestly feels more like a ‘Deep Impact / Armageddon’ or ‘Antz / A Bug’s Life’ type situation. Where two thematically similar things hit and it just the way it is.

Hell I might be wrong, but I am willing to give benefit of the doubt, because as we’ve seen with the Vampire Survivors ‘clones’ it isn’t always a bad thing to have these.

So firstly Bingle Bingle is an interesting game and one I am enjoying the more I play. The issue is almost two-fold though. Firstly roulette isn’t as simple to understand as cards, there are too many factors to a roulette wheel that are 100% reliant on RNG. Whereas in pok er there is an element of control you have, it’s easier to work out the probability of drawing to a flush, or a pair in a round, than it is to pick a single number, or a range of numbers, etc. You are completely reliant on the ball and the spin. It’s why casinos always win when it comes to roulette (remember the green 00 tips everything in their favour).

Now that’s not to say things can be influenced in Bingle Bingle. As you progress you unlock different types of bets, balls with special skills (tee hee) and various other powerups. Which on the whole makes for a fun experience, I just found it to be a bit too random and haven’t yet worked out a way to build a consistent run in the same way I can Balatro.

That’s what keeps me coming back to Balatro and only slightly intrigued by this. I can play the former and have a run I want to try when I start and then adjust on the fly. Everything here feels like I am guessing.

It is also confusing at first, as you place a bet and start a round with the same chip by clicking on the correct half. I didn’t understand how this works initially, as I didn’t know if it randomly assigned my chips, or if they were ordered, what happens if I place a bet with the last chip, etc.

I think Bingle Bingle has legs, I really do, but it feels like it has been pushed out the door to try and get a piece of the Balatro pie before all the shameless clones rush in. I think that’s smart and it is different enough that it can sit alongside, but it needs a lot more work to make it as appealing and accessible as LocalThunk’s glorious game.

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