It’s a new year! I hope everyone had a grand celebration. I know 2022 was pretty rough on most people, me no exception. However, one area I’m proud of is my work in gaming coverage for last year. The last quarter of 2022 is probably our most successful year yet for the website. Even though we’re a small outlet, I think we’re starting to get noticed, which is terrific. I’ve loved every minute of my time with developers and covering their great games, and 2023 looks to be even stronger than last year.
Today’s article is a part update, part dive into my Steam sale habits. I wanted to discuss some of my plans for the coming months and gush about new games because, let’s face it, I’m here to chat about games most of the time!
1) I have nearly finished my new game dev interview questionnaire! I had much success with these in 2022, but some great feedback made me realize the interview was too generic. So this year, I’ll be tailoring more technical questions for developers. I’ve also completely reworked the template interview, which is more in-depth and should allow for more interaction. I’ll be sharing that in the coming weeks.
2) My Indie Corner series will continue this year! I had a lot of fun with it in 2022 and found it helpful when curating my reviews. Of course, I’ll change the formula over time as I experiment with different methods, but this will be an exciting time for us all!
The Indie Corner saw twenty-five episodes in 2022 alone. I’ll be experimenting with different methods of game coverage this year, but for those new to the series, this is how it works. I’ll cover two or three indie games in every episode, giving my impressions of them. Pretty hard for someone to complete the game you lovingly crafted if the first few hours turn them away!
3) New to 2023, I’ll be starting a series called The Update Corner. I’ll use those episodes to discuss major updates for games, especially in the Early Access scene. The gaming industry constantly evolves, with games frequently requiring more content and patches.
It’s always that time of year, huh? Steam Sales come along and hold everyone hostage, and I’m no exception. Even with my healthy Steam library, I’m a massive sucker for good deals and finding hidden gems. So, with many games on my hunting list with historically low prices, I leaped at the chance. But while they’re always exciting, it’s a little terrifying for my wallet!
I decided on a small budget for this year’s winter sale doing what I usually do: find weird and beautiful games I wouldn’t otherwise try out. None of the games I’ll cover today will be reviews or even early impression reviews; my brain is a little fried from writing my GOTY series in December, so consider this a hidden gem promotion… thing.
I purchased six games from the Winter Sale, but I’ve only had time to play two. So, therefore, I’ll just be discussing those for today!
One of my favourite indie games in recent years, TABS, recently left Early Access. It’s one of the most enjoyable auto-battler games I’ve ever played, and the concept is so simple. Select units with silly faces for each side, and let them kill each other for your amusement. Simple.
I may need help with stuff like this. I should see a doctor about that. Ignore the prisoners in my Rimworld colony; they will get fed when they earn it.
While I already owned TABS on the Epic Store courtesy of their giveaways, I wanted to pick it up on Steam for the Workshop support. So, when I saw it in the sale for 66% off, I jumped at the chance. It’s a labor of love by the developers, who’ve spent years adding content to the game and offering mod support.
It’s such a simple but great game. There are hundreds of different units to experiment with, with a treasure trove of different scenarios. The number of missions borders on insanity, with each battle serving as a little puzzle game. Which combination of units will do the right job?
With a sandbox mode, a custom unit creator, and Steam Workshop support, this is an excellent choice for those on a budget. Plus, y’know, being a great game in its own right. If you don’t own TABS already, there’s no downside to trying it out. A Starbucks costs more than this.
Perhaps my biggest surprise of the Winter pickups this year. Who would have thought a universal fishing simulator be so enjoyable?
I could play this game for hours, but the weirdest thing is that I didn’t even know it existed until the sale. While browsing and looking for cool games, I found a recommendation thread on Reddit. It has a ton of great recommendations for hidden gems, and I’m talking about real ones, not Celeste! Top of the recommendation pile was Intergalactic Fishing, a fascinating space sim that’s built entirely around exploration and fishing mechanics. For £4.70, I had to give it a whirl, and five hours in, I’m completely engrossed with it.
I think visuals keep people from getting into this, and I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t look very appealing. However, graphics aren’t everything; Intergalactic Fishing has many different systems at work, combining them to form a non-linear, endless experience that’s quite absorbing. I’d make a fishing depth joke, but don’t overlook this little gem. There’s a story mode, but you can do whatever you want after the short tutorial. Once that’s done, you’re free to explore to your heart’s content. The ability to create your own lures and the procedurally generated types of fish makes a fantastic blend between realistic fishing mechanics and fantasy. There’s no downside or cost to teleport to different lakes and seas across the universe, so if you have no luck in one place, go somewhere else. While there’s a lot of story content to devour, there are tournaments and endless quests from random fisher boats exploring the map, so there’s always something to do.
It’s slow-paced, and it can take a while to catch things; I’ve said many swear words waiting patiently for fish to bite the damn lure, but I’m having a lot of fun with Intergalactic Fishing so far. Perhaps you might like it too!
Today’s a shorter article than most I’ve written lately. December was a massive undertaking; my annual GOTY series was my most prominent and most successful yet, but the aftermath hit me hard. I sit with a pile of review notes and think, “Huh. What are words?”
I might be a little burnt out. However, I hope to be back with frequent reviews soon! I have four episodes of my Indie Corner series already planned, and once I’ve finished the main story of Pokemon Scarlet, I’ll also be writing a review for that.
In the meantime, have a great week, and stay safe! I’ll be back soon.
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