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Well, summer has arrived. As I write this, it’s a hot day here in the UK and I’m melting. But it’s just a nice excuse to have ice cream and play some more games!
I’m back with another episode of the Indie Corner! Just two games will be covered today, but both of these are games I’m very excited about, both in Early Access and well worth your time.
My Time at Sandrock
I was hoping to get around to this game sooner, but life did get in the way, especially regarding the Steam Deck. However, I’ve managed to put a fair bit of time into this game, enough to give an impressions review of it.
I enjoyed My Time at Portia when it was released, even if it never really grabbed me to the point I wanted to play it more. I do enjoy simulation and farming games, and the 3D versions seem to be getting more popular. While Portia was a solid first attempt, it slowly lost my interest over time. It felt grindy at points and it had some rough optimization problems. However, it’s still an interesting simulation game and you can pick it up cheaply these days.
Panthea Games worked on a sequel for several years after the success of Portia, with My Time at Sandrock finally releasing on 26th May 2022 in Early Access. Boasting an expansive, vibrant desert open world with a large amount of content for its launch version, I picked up the game during the Steam Summer sale. While being a beta title it has its quirks and issues, I’m greatly enjoying my time with Sandrock, and it’s everything I wish Portia was and more.
After some high-quality cutscenes, you are thrown into the desert village of Sandrock, which has seen better days. With some impressive voice acting, the game slowly introduces you to its mechanics and open world. With the help of your rival and friend Mi-An, the new Builder jobs come thick and fast. There’s a story already in the game about rebuilding the village, making a new building company, and exploring plenty of places. You start small with just a tiny shack to begin the journey, but that’ll build up over time.
It’s an enormous improvement over Portia. The game feels more streamlined from the start, with perks that enhance the experience from the start. Water is vital for survival and it’s pricey to collect and buy, but all the standard resource gubbins are there. There’s mining, logging, farming, and all sorts to experience, and the characters are diverse and well crafted. Nearly every major event/dialogue is fully voiced with high quality, and I was quite surprised by how much effort is put into it.
Sandrock isn’t perfect, of course. Early Access means it’s incomplete and there’s a long way to go. The combat isn’t as refined as I like, and it feels more like button-bashing than any real tactics. The loading times are rather long with the odd bug and crash, but it’s been more stable than I expected coming in from my buggy experience with Portia. The game world oozes charm, there are plenty of little places to explore, lots of character events that warmed my heart, and even some cool minigames to try out. There’s so much potential with Sandrock, and so far I like what I see. You can pick up My Time at Sandrock on Steam and Epic for £19.99/25$/22EUR, and you can grab it by clicking on the link here:
Scottish Rimworld, huh? Where do I sign! I’ve been keeping my eye on Clanfolk for a long time and now it’s out!
I’m largely joking. There are some similarities of course, and people will notice that, but Clanfolk differs in several wars from the critically acclaimed Rimworld game and there’s enormous potential brewing in its highland depths. Big thanks to Hooded Horse for the review code, and I hope this little impressions review does justice. While I only have a few hours in Clanfolk so far and barely scratched the surface, there’s a lot to like.
For starters, I love how the tutorial works. There’s a basic one to start you off which teaches the very basics, and then it pretty much leads you to it. One cool thing it does though is leaving reminders. When you run low on a resource, for instance, there’s a helpful prompt that pops up on the right side of the screen, and it gives a quick reminder on how to collect it. I love this because a game like this can get overwhelming very quickly, so it’s great to have these little helper tips that pop up. While the main tutorial ends quickly, the game continuously unlocks new stuff as you get new resources and buildings, and every new thing has a little tutorial on how to do it. Clanfolk is more of a gentle, chill sim than a hardcore one, and it does an admirable job in that. The interface can seem clunky at first glance, but it’s very intuitive from my early thoughts so far, and I never felt lost working out what I wanted to achieve.
Being the Scottish heritage, one thing about Clanfolk is being able to survive the highland winters, which are well known for destroying everything in their path. Taking control of a multi-generational family, your task as the player is to build a legacy. Everything picked up and crafted improves the knowledge of the clan, with technologies constantly learned. It’s a nice progression system and feels more organic than just researching a technology like many other crafting games.
Another thing I like about Clanfolk is the focus on character building and community. Natural disasters and surviving the cold are the primary challenges in this game, rather than dealing with war. There’s an importance on unity and forging alliances with other clans, who can turn up for trading, marriage contracts, and odd jobs. Every civilian is randomized with their unique likes and dislikes, and so far there’s plenty to see and do.
This is definetely an early impressions, but so far, I’ve been impressed by what the game offers even in its current state. Clanfolk launches in Early Access (it should be out by the time this article goes up, if not it’ll be later in the day!), and you can pick it up right here: