This week’s indie selection see us go on a post apocalyptic journey, that isn’t anything to do with Fallout, followed by some cosy gardening in a fancy house. So lets get to it!

Broken Roads

DEVELOPER: Drop Bear Bytes
PUBLISHER: Versus EviltinyBuild
Formats: PC
Price: £29.50
Steam Deck: Unknown (Works fine out the box)

Credit: Versus Evil

Broken Roads is an interesting time. As I both find myself completely engrossed by it, but also can’t quite find the love that I have for other titles in the genre.

The influences are clear, with the likes of Fallout, Disco Elysium, Wasteland, etc all injecting a little of their DNA. On the whole it does work as you have a deep and intriguing story that blends well with easy to understand gameplay to take you on your journey.

However, all elements feel like ‘lite’ versions of their influences. Yes there is a fascinating story with some really interesting moral choices and even a moral compass that plays a large part. But I got a better experience of this in Disco Elysium where it felt much more natural, plus that game was fully voicewd, which makes a hell of a difference.

I’m not going to call the developers out on that though, because I’d rather they went with no voice acting, rather than something half baked. The moral compass stuff too is ok, but again just feels like more could have been done with it.

I do like the point and click navigations around the world as it makes it rather intuitive to use the interactive parts without wandering aimlessly and the combat mechanics are fairly fun too. Yet doesn’t feel as engaging as other games.

The thing that does keep me coming back though is the sense of place. Australia makes for a wonderful setting especially with the post apocalyptic setting. It just feels right and the atmosphere is really well implemented. The mix of the outback and more urban areas really comes together.

Broken Roads unfortunately didn’t hit the standards I was hoping for, but there is still a decent time to be hand and I can see myself pushing through to the end for one run at least. Whether I go back and try different options? Well that remains to be seen.

Botany Manor

DEVELOPER: Balloon Studios
PUBLISHER: Whitethorn Games
Formats: PC, Playstation, Xbox, Switch
Price: £22.49
Steam Deck: Verified

Credit: GameTrailers

What a fabulous game Botany Manor is. I started this early one evening and was still playing way past my bedtime. The whole thing is just a warm cosy hug and I don’t even care about flowers and things.

You are tasked with exploring a 19th century English manor as you discover the story of Arabella Greene, a retired botanist. You go around the massive home learning all about her life. The hook though is how the puzzles work.

Essentially you need to plant and raise various plants and flowers. Which boils down to providing each plant with the environment they need to flourish. This is accomplished by looking for clues that will lead you to what exactly is needed.

An example of this is in the first plant you grow, where you learn where the seed came from, the known temperature of its origins, etc. All leading you to making the right conditions and voila! There is a scrap book too where all your clues are added. Part of the process is deciding which clues are important to complete the book.

Even as someone who doesn’t care for botany itself, I found myself really interested and wanted to understanding more, which is something I think games do better than almost all other mediums. I can’t concentrate on books, get easily distracted with traditional documentaries, but games have led me on a path to education in a wonderful way.

I know that the plants in the game are fictitious, but it’s the (and please excuse the pun) seed it plants in my head to go and learn more. The same way Microsoft Flight Simulator did for wanting to learn more about physics.

I will at some point write something based on why I think videogames could be a huge benefit for school based education, but that is for another time.

All you need to know is Botany Manor is a fantastic time and you really should grab it.

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