Where has the week gone? I think we can still count it as week 14. Anyway, some indie titles for you including a cosy island and a cosy production line!

Ikonei Island: An Earthlock Adventure

DEVELOPER: Snowcastle Games
PUBLISHER: Jetpack Collective
Formats: PC
Price: £20.99
Steam Deck: Unknown (Works without issue)

Credit: Wholesome Games

Earthlock was a capable if unspectacular RPG adventure released back in 2018. It’s not a game I ever think I was desperate for a franchise to be born from, but Ikonei Island is a spin-off that takes the Earthlock name and does something really fun with it.

What you have here is another cosy exploration game set on an island that you can just enjoy at your own pace. You know what though? Hook them into my veins!

It is a game that has all the usual trappings of the genre. Set up home, explore the world, light ‘farming’, befriending wildlife and battling monsters. But all with a lovely cartoon aesthetic that just oozes charm. Everything seems to be a case of ‘that thing, but lite’ and that isn’t such a bad thing.

I popped Ikonei Island on for a quick go and found myself utterly engrossed by the world and the narratove that drives the game, as well as the characters you come across. It’s just a lovely time from the very moment you start.

It can be played solo, but also in co-op with only one person needing to own the game, in a feature I’d love to see more of. You can provide upto three friends with a friend-pass, which means they can join your session and play alongside you without ever needing to purchase the game.

To play solo, you do need to buy the game, but it is a great way to introduce new players to a game and let them really get to know what it is all about. I have had a great time with Ikonei Island and will be popping back every now and again for the foreseeable future.

The Magical Mixture Mill

DEVELOPER: Glowlight
Formats: PC
Price: £17.99
Steam Deck: Unknown (Graphics settings need playing with)

Credit: GameTrailers

Yet more cosy, cartoony worlds! This time though less exploration and more management based! I love that there is such variation in the indie scene, as we have two games this week that could be part of the same world, but somehow feel completely different.

The Magical Mixture Mill is a game about earning money. Earn money by making and selling potions and tonics to the various adventurers that need them.

My favourite thing here is that this feels like a very accessible business management and automation game, without feeling like ‘baby’s first manager’, as The Magical Mixture Mill strikes a perfect balance between wanting you to be challenged, but never trying to hold you back or be difficult.

Whilst the end goal is to earn money and grow, I found the most satisfying thing to be getting the automation in place. It just feels great when you get a production line working and watching it. It is like poetry in motion.

The vibrant colourful world is also fantastic to be part of. There is a glorious cheerful feel to everything, which just made me want to stay, for as long as I possibly could. Since the full release controller support has been added, which makes this a very playable game on Steam Deck.

However, it can chug a bit on default settings, so I do recommend playing with the graphic settings until you are happy with performance. Aside from that though, it is such a great time with some fantastic systems.

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