I’m still in that period post holidays where I have a single game on the go as a sort of comfort title to relax with, that still being Cyberpunk 2077. However I am still playing Indies, because they are the bread and butter of the gaming world. This week I’ve had two pretty relaxing games, so without delay…
Nothing screams relaxing into a new year quite like a life-sim! So Snacko really hits the spot and warms the cockles during these freezing weeks or early January!
Honestly there isn’t much to describe here that you won’t already be aware of. Do you know about Animal Crossing? Yeah? Well it’s that but by an indie studio called Bluecurse Studios.
You setup fresh on a new island, away from the bustling city, where you build a new life from scratch, whilst building, decorating, etc. Befriending the inhabitents, catching the wildlife, discovering new things and generally have a fun relaxing time!
Nothing really sets Snacko apart from most other games in the genre, but it doesn’t need to. The familiarity here is what draws you in. As someone who put an obscene number of hours into Animal Crossing, I had grown a bit tired of the setting and so a similar game with a new aesthetic is more than welcome. This is where Snacko delivers in spades, the 2D/3D combo here works really well and helps create a fascinating world of unique characters who you enjoy being around and getting to know.
The building, farming, decorating is all pretty intuitive and only helps to enhance the relaxed nature of the title. Whilst it doesn’t feel quite like it will have the legs of Animal Crossing itself in terms of overall longevity, it is still la very cosy game and one I enjoy spending an hour or so in each day with a cup of coffee and a biscuit. Well worth a visit if you want something chill for 2024.
It feels like we’ve had every possible version of turn-based strategy games we can at this point. So another stealth based version doesn’t immediately strike as being a fresh entry into the genre. But Koi Snowman’s Spirited Thief manages to do just that.
The core mechanics are as you’d expect. You make your moves, then it is the enemies turn. You must complete your goal to complete the level and then move on. But what Spirited Thief does is add a scouting layer to proceedings.
It is this element that sets the game apart from others. Now that isn’t to say it is better or worse, but it is something a little different. The idea is you take your main physical character through a level to achieve the predetermined goal, which is fairly straight forward. Needing to pickpocket keys to unlock doors, steal items, etc.
Before you do that though, you send in the spirit character on a recon mission, where they can essentially scout ahead to see where enemies are, who has keys, what loot there is, etc. They cannot rhough do anything that needs physical interaction, such as stealing or unlocking doors. But being a spirit, they don’t need to worry about things like doors, as they can just go through them undetected.
I like the overall loop of Spirited Thief and the growing team you build changes up the game slightly, but I did feel I had seen and played enough before getting to the end. Which meant rather than wanting to play through everything, I find this to be a game I pop on every now and again, which is why it is probably the first time I’m talking about it, despite having it since September.
Again, it is not a bad game, but in such a stacked year it didn’t grab me as much as many other games. I am glad I have this in the library and I will continue to dip in and out, but unfortunately I it isn’t essential.