Andre's Indie Game Chosen Ones: Lemnis Gate, The Eternal Cylinder, Skatebird, The Juggler's Tale, Grand Tactician: The Civil War, Timemelters, Honey, I Joined a Cult, A Little Golf Journey
Lemnis Gate, The Eternal Cylinder, Skatebird, The Juggler's Tale, Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865), Timemelters, Honey, I Joined a Cult, A Little Golf Journey, Loot River, Tchia, + Reviews!
Welcome to the First Weekly Issue of Andre’s Indie Game Chosen Ones!
This is a reminder that anything below that is underlined is a clickable link.
Not every section will be included in every issue. My Indie Game Discovery Roundup will always be included! This is explained in the About section.
I’m being very selective with media embedded videos in order to make this newsletter as e-mail friendly as possible for readers using mobile devices.
Indie Game Discovery Roundup #50
(PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox GamePass)
Lemnis Gate, developed by Ratloop Games Canada, is a turn-based combat strategy FPS competitive experience that takes place in a 25-second time loop. Each player takes turns choosing a character with special abilities from a choice of seven characters that are all very different from each other. It’s a tactical experience where players have to try to capture and control the most areas/flags for the full 25 seconds, all while preventing and responding to the other player’s decisions and character choices in the 25-second time loop one character choice at time. Once all the turns have passed another round starts from scratch with the other player going first this time. It’s hard to explain in words, but amazing to watch and see all the creative possibilities for a game to unfold. I’ve been looking forward to Lemnis Gate since it was announced due to the concept and I’ll be trying it out at some point very soon. I recommend at least watching a video of it because words don’t do this game justice!
Release Date: September 28, 2021 (OUT NOW)
Lemnis Gate on Steam
(PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, Xbox Game Pass)
SkateBIRD, developed GlassBottom Games, is exactly what you think the game is based on the name. You can customize and skateboard as a bird in levels that I feel are very creatively designed and show the room proportional to the size of a bird. I actually played some of SkateBIRD through Xbox Game Pass and I’m still very agnostic on what to think because the controls and camera can be a bit rough. I put this on my radar when it was announced, played the demo almost a year ago, and this final version feels much better than what I played in the demo. This is in my Indie Game Discovery Roundup because it’s too interesting not to put in here! It’s a relaxing casual game, has a nice soundtrack, and what’s not cool about doing skateboard tricks with a bird wearing sunglasses and hats?
Release Date: September 16, 2021 (OUT NOW)
SkateBIRD on Steam
SkateBIRD Release Date (Official Trailer)
A Juggler’s Tale
(PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch)
A Juggler’s Tale, developed by kaleidoscube, is another game that I played the demo of earlier this year and thought it was very interesting. You control Abby, a string puppet, to guide her through puzzles and try to free her from her puppet master’s control and escape the circus. What compelled me the most about A Juggler’s Tale is the narration and storytelling that goes along with the puzzles. Even in the demo version the story was interesting, and the ambitious puppet physics work well enough to keep you immersed. A Juggler’s Tale is definitely a game that I’ll keep on my radar for the future and one you should add to yours!
Release Date: September 29, 2021 (OUT NOW)
A Juggler’s Tale on Steam
A Juggler's Tale - Release Trailer
The Eternal Cylinder
(PC, PS4, Xbox One)
The Eternal Cylinder, developed by Ace Team, is a game that I put on my radar the first time I saw the trailer earlier this year. You control aliens on a planet that have to explore, adapt, and evolve to survive, while also trying to avoid the looming threat of a rolling ancient cylinder that crushes anything in its path. There is a certain amount of mystery surrounding the concept of The Eternal Cylinder that is automatically attention-grabbing and I can’t wait to play it! I’ll be playing this after I send off this newsletter. Expect a review from me as soon as next week (Issue #2) or the week after (Issue #3).
Release Date: September 30, 2021 (OUT NOW)
The Eternal Cylinder on the Epic Games Store
Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865), developed by Oliver Keppelmüller, is a game that I happened to stumble upon on Steam over a year ago typing in another game and the autocomplete in the search gave me this and I thought it was interesting enough for me to click on. The size, scope, and historical accuracy of Grand Tactician: The Civil War immediately drew my interest as the Civil War game we haven’t seen before. The game allows the player to choose between playing as the Union or Confederacy, use historical commanders, fight historical battles using historical weapons, and control your army in real-time. Could Grand Tactician: The Civil War be the definitive Civil War game? Maybe. I haven’t played it yet, but this is definitely a game that has flown under the radar for everyone, so I’m at least glad I could give it some shine here. On top of that, this was developed by one person, Oliver Keppelmüller.
Release Date: September 24, 2021
Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) on Steam
(Watch trailer on Steam Page)
Kickstarter Spotlight: Timemelters
Timemelters, developed by AutoExec Games, caught my attention because of its concept of time travel playing as witches to strategize your way to defeat levels. I recommend watching the video on the Kickstarter page because it explains everything much better, but the powers that the witches possess to create multiple time loops and strategize to complete a level is what intrigued me the most about this. Judge for yourself.
As of this writing: $17,455 pledged of $23,586 goal
Ends Sat, October 9 2021 9:01 AM EDT.
Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of the Kickstarter, nor am I affiliated with the developers. Pledge at your own risk.
Steam Early Access Report: Honey, I Joined a Cult (Launch)
Disclosure: This Honey, I Joined a Cult Steam Early Access Report is based off of a copy of the game provide for free.
Honey, I Joined a Cult, developed by Sole Survivor Games, recently entered Steam Early Access and I was somewhat unsure whether this would be the kind of game I would be comfortable with. To my delight, the game has a very casual approach to it that play like a combination of Two Point Hospital mixed with some RimWorld unit management mechanics. Given that this just entered Steam Early Access with still a lot to add in the game, please understand that what I say below isn't the final verdict.
The gameplay at its core is base-building simulation, not sandbox, something I hope changes in the future. Honey, I Joined a Cult is certainly a catchy title, but a peculiar one given that you are the one creating the cult. The game starts with a backstory of someone running away to start a new life and create a new cult, something that isn't really needed in this game to waste your time and should be scrapped entirely. This leads to the cult creation screen where you can can customize your cult leader's clothes and name, names and appearance of your cult followers, choose your own cult symbol, designate a worship room, and decide what idol your followers will actually worship.
After completing creating your cult, the game starts to walk you through how to build new rooms, place objects, manage your cult staff members, and recruit new staff members from your followers. One of the key things about Honey, I Joined a Cult that is done cleverly is that you don't decide what your cult is actually believing or promoting other than a Divine Being. The abstract nature of this game design makes a game like this more palatable to the masses in this day and age. Most of the time managing your cult consists of adding more beds, feeding your members, making sure the bathroom is clean, and just regular maintenance to make everything is operating correctly. The game's day/night cycle currently has nothing to do at night, although that will come in a future update that I'm looking forward to. Despite this current omission, there are still plenty of missions to do during the day, plus many staff members you can manage and level up who have unique traits. I'm the type of person who automatically gets attracted to games with skill trees and that's what this game has! You can use influence gained from worshipers praising your Divine Being to spend on a research tree that advances you through the game.
One of my main criticisms is that it feels like the game has more of a linear moving direction rather than a lot of choices a player can make that leaves other options behind. It feels like everything in the research tree has to be researched to move the game forward. On the other hand, the game features Divine Inspirations, upgrades that affect the strength and power of your Divine Being that seem a lot more customizable to how you want your cult to grow. Linearity is the my greatest concern right now. On another note, the background music is good, especially for a game in this genre.
Honey, I Joined a Cult, developed by Sole Survivor Games, just entered Steam Early Access. There is no current timetable for version 1.0, but they released a roadmap listed on their Steam page of what updates are being worked on.
My Version 1.0 Wishlist:
Remove the Beginning Story
Less Linearity, include Diversionary Decisions
New Objects Filter(!) (avoid having to scroll)
Version 1.0 Release Date: TBA
Honey, I Joined a Cult on Steam
Honey, I Joined A Cult - Steam Early Access Launch Trailer
Preview: A Little Golf Journey
Disclosure: A copy of A Little Golf Journey was provided for free.
A Little Golf Journey, developed by Okidokico, is a game built off from the experience of their first game on mobile, OK Golf. Since this is only a preview of my experience so far, what I can say is that the game is very relaxing and the soundtrack is very soothing, like you can see and hear in the trailer. I still have worlds to go to complete my golf journey, but you’ll have to wait to read about that later.
Release Date: October 14, 2021 (PC, Switch)
A Little Golf Journey on Steam
Trailer: Playtonic Friends Presents: A Little Golf Journey coming out in October!
You can expect my full review of A Little Golf Journey to be linked and included in Issue #3 - October 15.
Loot River - Announcement Trailer #2
Loot River is a game that was announced very recently and I can’t wait to play it. The trailer shows a roguelike experience of you controlling a character while also controlling the platforms below you that move like Tetris pieces to avoid getting hit by enemies and find your path forward. It’s a very unique concept and the trailer has sold me 100%.
Release Date: TBA (Xbox, PC)
Loot River on Steam
Tchia - PlayStation Showcase 2021: Tropical Adventure Trailer | PS5, PS4
This trailer of Tchia will melt anyone’s heart. It’s about a girl that travels around an open-world island that can take control of random animals, as well as use a fully playable Ukulele. The very colorful visual style is very warm and I really like the wild life animations. Tchia isn’t going to release until 2022, but this is definitely on my radar to play eventually.
Release Date: 2022 (PS4, PS5, PC)
I have no demo thoughts for this issue, but from October 1st - October 7th the Steam NEXT Fest will be happening. Developers put up Steam demos for upcoming games for a limited time and anyone can download them for free.
Expect a lot of demo thoughts from me in next week’s issue!
The timing of my newsletter may be disappointing because some of the demos I might cover may no longer be available to download by next Friday. Hopefully not!
Full Length Reviews
The Big Con Review (PC) - August 31, 2021
…The goal and gameplay of The Big Con is Ali going on a mission to pickpocket and use as many underhanded tricks as possible to acquire enough money to pay back the loan sharks to save her mom’s video store. Right at the beginning, what is really well done in the game is setting up the plot with beautiful 90s cartoon visuals and dialogue to set the rest of the game up. There really isn’t any wasting of time, something that other game writers and even screenwriters should take note of. As you explore and travel with Ali you’ll notice the color palette is very eye-friendly, the animations are just what they should be without being overdone, and most importantly, her style is very 90s.
Tennis Manager 2021 Review (PC) - September 13, 2021
...The actual game flow of Tennis Manager 2021 is you coach a player and you also run a tennis academy. At the start of the game you have the choice to play in an academy already created or you can start from scratch and create your own. The defining characteristics of a tennis academy in Tennis Manager are staff, infrastructure, and team. The staff consists of trainers, physios, coaches, scouts, agents, and analysts, while the infrastructure has financial upgrades that help increase the cap number of staff members, as well as the publicity of your academy. The team is the group of tennis players within your academy, but at the start of the game you pick your starting player. There is a long list of people you can sign to your academy in whichever role you need and they all have various statistics for different strengths of playing tennis or their coaching abilities. The one thing that may be disappointing for some is that they don’t have the official license for names of real tennis players, so some letters are switched around and the Grand Slam tournaments are named generically. Good luck going up against Rafael Nabal, Novak Djorovic, and Naomi Okasa!
What to Expect in Issue #2:
Indie Game Discovery Roundup (5 Games)
Demo Thoughts from the Steam NEXT Fest (Many Games)
Review (Excerpt & Link): The Eternal Cylinder (PC)
(Hopefully ready by this time)
The first issue of Andre’s Gaming Odds & Ends will launch next week!
(UPDATE: Pushed back to next week due to a more busy than expected week.)
Don’t forget to sign up (and confirm it) if you haven’t already so you don’t miss the launch issue of Andre’s Gaming Odds & Ends and Andre’s Indie Game Chosen Ones Issue #2. Both are always FREE!
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-Andre, Editor-in-Chief of GameReviewPad
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Introducing Andre’s GameReviewPad: What to Expect is an overview of my approach to covering video games.