Fayburrow – Cozy 3D Mystery Visual Novel – Free on Steam

Today, I plunged headfirst into the free games pile of new releases over on the Steam store. On my arrival, I discovered a cozy little visual novel among the listings called Fayburrow, and I decided to take a look at it. Fayburrow is a free game created by the self-named “Fayburrow Troupe” at VIA University College in Denmark. It just hit the Steam store today. What was first intrigued, turned into a fascination with the conjunction of such delightful graphics with a genre I have not covered in far too long! So, after downloading, I fired it up and took it for a spin at the courtesy of the game’s student makers and you dear reader. Let’s take a look at Fayburrow.

Platforms: PC (Steam)

Getting Started with Fayburrow

With a gorgeous intro on a fantastic Victoriana-style train, the story starts with a letter from Agnes, a childhood friend, presumably at an academy. The world is a mix between steampunk and a fun fantasy-themed style within a substantially, open world. Upon arrival, you, a red-haired Anne of Green Gables type character named Beatrice, and your companion fairy Lu, wander through a small village with Stan, a young jack of all trades, to be led into a very pomp academy/mansion of sorts.

The academy seems to be where Beatrice has spent her youth learning under the wing of a warm cast of faculty, information of which is revealed through player exploration. Agnes hasn’t been seen in days, the suspiciousness of which is unclear.

You collect clues around the academy in the village by interacting with characters, investigating items strewn in suiting places, and maintaining a detailed journal which is pretty much always accessible. Piece clues together to discover the nature of Agnes’s disappearance.

Additionally, the presence of fairy/fay companions in Fayburrow is the norm rather than the exception.

First Impressions

Incidentally, my crew over at IGCollective had a field day with the game called Grow not too long ago. I was not able to get in on that one personally, however, the graphics of Fayburrow remind me of what I saw of Grow combined with the delights of one of my favorite games Fable–in other words: cozy, pastel, and folky.

This is a nice cozy game with some real muscle to the dev process shown, and frankly, with some tweaks, it’s ready for market probably. And I really want to emphasize the Fable thing. While the narrative is super low key, this is one of my favorite aspects of playing student games. Every time I see something grand from such projects I feel snug as a bug in trying them out because there’s a certain charm to playing something ambitious and homegrown like other student games I’ve tried.

Features of Fayburrow

  • Open world exploration and unique environments
  • Thoughtful dialogue with light-hearted charm
  • Multiple-choice responses
  • Several unique characters
  • Gorgeous 3D rendered graphics
  • Visual novel narrative with interactive elements
  • Sound effects and soothing soundtrack
  • Free on Steam
  • Fairy companion to assist in your investigating

Final Thoughts of Fayburrow

It’s perfectly suitable for those cozy lovers out there. It was a treat to see such beautiful graphics on a visual novel that was provided for free. I played into about 20 minutes of the game, but the trailer assures much more exploration beyond this. Way to go Fayburrow Troupe for putting this together, and welcome to the game dev world. Occasionally games like this end up going even further on the market, such as it did when I reviewed Beasts of Maravilla Island. This game is just what I need though, and I encourage you to check it out, Check it out and share with friends, I think this one is a lot of fun

Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. Be sure to take a look around the site and please come back!

Tales Of The Neon Sea: Impressions

Tales of the Neon Sea is a bright pixel art in the hardboiled cyberpunk detective style. It’s also borderline platformer and adheres to a very high-density environment in synch with some of the best cyberpunk cinematics out there. Explore shadowy laboratories or deep dungeons sewers. This game is not for the light-hearted but it does deliver on content. This is probably the most sophisticated pixel art game I have ever played. Let’s take a look.

Initiation Sequence in the Tales of the Neon Sea

Heads up on a certain aspect. This game is pretty graphic. Your protagonist is a detective so obviously, there are some shady things investigated. If you can stomach that, you’ll be alright. Onward

I am totally stunned by this game. I’m not sure how it’s even possible to incorporate this much detail into a game. The opening scene begins in the large lofty home of Rex, a hardboiled detective. There is a lab in the basement where the first sort of mystery-solving occurs. You live with a robot that’s a cross between BB-8, Johnny 5, and Wall-E. It is not just similar, it’s a deliberate parody! And I loved it. This game has a lot of crosses between humor and fine storytelling. It also has some pretty intriguing puzzles. The first one has to do with an animated robotic suit that’s rumbling in the lab. Collect items to unlock key parts of the puzzle and solve the mystery.

Scene of the Crime

Sometimes I write about games where I really enjoy the game but really dislike one aspect. In this case, I loved pretty much everything, however, there is a major scene involving a murder. You discover the victim in a trash heap and use your environment to preserve any initial evidence. This is pretty early on in the game. It’s a little unnerving for a pixel art game to see this type of content included, yet it’s more stomachable since it’s just pixels and really just a graphic cartoon. It would be unlikely to have a mystery game without at least one casualty. You’ll have to decide for yourself though.

From what I’ve researched, it appears that although the crimes in this game certainly have a dystopic nature, the society depicted is quite peaceful. Screenshots show bustling social areas and trustable dialogue. It’s an ironic detail I found kind of interesting. There are many curve balls here and I implore you not to expect a cliche whodunnit.

In this aspect, it seems that the first crime has a larger contextual meaning in the game. Skipping ahead with the synopsis in Steam, it seems there is a very strong undercurrent of involvement by a syndicate of… cats? Yeah, I don’t know how that became a part of it, but it seems pretty amusing, and apparently, you can even play as the cats. And there’s a semi-mechanical god involved too, but I’m out of my depth on that one. Seems pretty cool from the pictures though!

What I Know

With all the easter eggs, the massive attention to detail, the beautiful bright neon hues, and artistic illustration, Tales of the Neon Sea is a winner. Most people aren’t quite as sensitive to a general video game crime scene as I am. I know some folks even enjoy that, so whatever, it’s all good. This is a fantastic game. I also know tons of people are constantly on the hunt for cyberpunk pixel art and it’s here folks. Also, crime is one of the top 3 selling book genres, which I am just going to mention for no reason.

As more of an impressions article, this should set the standards for a general info post. If you want to check out more about the game though and investigate any of the trailers, you can certainly visit the Steam page linked below and explore.

In the meantime, I want to thank you for reading MrDavePizza.com. I’ve updated the site a bit here today, so don’t be alarmed if it seems a bit brighter! It’s more about the content these days so I toned it down. Feel free to look around, there’s plenty to see!

Genesis Noir – What in the World Is This!?

Genesis Noir is an experimental detective story that takes place in a cosmogonic setting in different parts of the universe. If that already sounds mind-blowing, it’s artistically extravagant in the creative gears that turn its two-dimensional, or even 5-dimensional, gameplay mechanics–metaphorically at least. The game starts wandering the streets of some strange alternative 1950s cityscape and blows open a new case to investigate with a bang, a big bang. Yes, that one. In this review, I’ll talk about the game–and also talk to you about a new project I’m working on involving space exploration in games.

Genesis Noir: Cool Beans

First, no bones about it, Genesis Noir is challenging. Not so much in the way that games like Cuphead, which are also anachronistic, are challenging/impossible. More like the fact that the puzzles require some thought if you’re not going to look up a walkthrough. I thought I was gold when I solved the first one, but then stuff got so weird, interesting, and somewhat baffling. Also, I shouldn’t say that about Cuphead; I’ve only sheepishly watched demonstrate how challenging it is. Luckily, I have the internet, so I skipped around after playing to see what I missed. Welcome to reality.

One thing I noticed, almost from when I saw the trailer or hoped at least, is that the setting of this game is SO in tune with the film Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey. I also keep getting notifications from YouTube every time the next interstellar song meme video is. Some are just wrong, but a few are genuinely hilarious. Such is the ‘webs.

From the moment you enter into the cutscene that throws you into quantum hallways of double selves and grids of varying obscurity, yeah, this is so Interstellar. I recently realized that film came out around 5 years ago, what the…? It’s a good opportunity to think about that film though because it was quite fascinating and unique, and I don’t mind thinking about its philosophical and maybe even scientific implications.

Ground Control

I read an article from Neil DeGrasse Tyson a few years ago about how that film could actually represent a scientifically realistic scenario. My reaction to that: WOAH. Genesis Noir captures that alright. And plays it cool.

The game made me wonder what its narrative was. It’s a 3-hour playtime at the earliest, but within the thematics of the story, I think this is mostly a story about people. About our innocence and also intuition to deeper mysteries. There were things in this game that were also quite deep in thought. The music and audio for the game are so interesting to me. It’s like a mix between spooky jazz and the clicks and clacks of clocks and corners.

I suppose the question of this game setting, is, what exactly does it look like to see things 5 dimensionally. Quick answer: like this.

Get Your Butt To Mars!

This game has nothing to do with Mars, but I wanted to say that.

I like to use these reviews to talk about personal topics of interest because not everything is about games, but they can be. It’s been real existential on planet Earth lately. And as I continue working on this website, I’ve questioned how is this thing I do important, is it even at all? It is to me but beyond that? I listened to a nice speech about living for a cause recently. If you have a cause, you can do a lot more for it just because you are passionate about that thing. Obvious, and true. But games? I don’t know, I’ve grown a lot over this past year. So, what do I care about? Obviously, there’s a balance between science, entertainment, and my writing. I’ve often, out of all agendas, thought that space exploration for the continuity of our species is probably the most important thing ever.

Space

I’m afraid of heights. I suck at math. Still, to see humanity voyage into the stars is our destiny in my opinion, whether it’s on a rocket or through a door. If the speech I listened to is right, maybe I need to see this through. I don’t even really need to be somebody who does it, I just want to support it. It’s a little crazy, but if it wasn’t important, I’d probably cathartically dismiss it. This isn’t really the topic of this game, although cosmology is certainly the theme.

NASA has been encouraging different fields of independent groups and individuals to help discuss what the course of space exploration over the next 30 years looks like in a project called Future-Scaping Our Skies from a sponsored program called HeroX. I even read a great article in Forbes, not too dated, about how nuclear fission and fusion could send us into the galaxy before the end of the century! WHAT. In 5 years we’ll have completed the construction of the Extra Large Telescope project in Chile. We’re on our way to Mars. We just flew a drone for the first time on another planet 7 hours ago WHAT. WHAT. WHAT.

Genesis Noir: The Big Crunch: My Take

So, that’s my review. I guess it was more about space, but this game is a nice tribute to cosmologists and poets.

One other actual thing to discuss in Genesis: Noir. I don’t have a severely deprecated graphics card. It’s not that great, but I did have to turn down the graphics a bit on this though, which is slightly bewildering. Luckily, it improved the graphics quite a bit. Check the system requirements if you want to max out this game, even though I’m not sure where the powerhouse was needed for it. It does look good either way.

Thanks so much for reading MrDavePizza.com. I review games all the time, and you can read as much as you like, for free. I’m taking breaks on updates for weekends, or at least I did this past one. I’m still here though, and some rules are meant to be broken. Thanks again.

BROK the InvestiGator – Which One Is He?

Brok has been released since this was written, but here are my thoughts on the demo. Do yourself a favor right now, and download the Brok the Investigator: Prologue on either Steam, Game Jolt, or ItchIO. Right now it’s in demo mode, but it is pretty massive for a story introduction. It’s a nice game to try out for a regular gaming session, twitch, or whatever.

It’s a side-scrolling point-and-click cartoon adventure detective story. Fully interactive, voiced characters. It’s chock full of feel-good, heartwarming, animal noir gameplay. And what would an animal people noir be without a detective croc named Brok?

Forget it Brok…

The game begins in an inexplicable house fire, although things aren’t quite what they seem. After this introduction, you’ll start your story from an underground apartment. Brok’s son, Graff, is a raccoon or bear, I think. Graff is a teenager who’s your typical snippy teen, but fairly helpful in establishing location.

Brok’s phone rings shortly after he wakes up and a call comes in. A client summons him into the surface world to a gritty sci-fi animal society–not too gritty though. There’s no context, but it becomes clear the Brok is a working gumshoe and gets around quite a bit.

Brok The Investigator

The mechanics in the game are very smooth. The house fire and the apartment provide the function of teaching you how to play the game. You’ll be introduced to the story interaction, inventory, and combat modes to progress in the story.

While Brok is just a sweet ol’ crocodile, he can really bust a move on obstacles and bad guys. The combat is simple cartoon beat-em-ups but nothing too stressful. It is exciting to watch him whomping open a door or a mob though. There is a difficulty level selector as well; if you want a more action-packed Brok experience, you can do that!

Bring Back Saturday Mornings With Brok

Brok the Investigator

The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was the character Leatherhead from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, shoutout to Shellheads Podcast. An easy comparison aside from the fact that Leatherhead is an alligator, and Brok is a crocodile, amongst other things. Although I guess Brok might be an alligator too because he is an Investi”GATOR.”

The closest style comparison I can make from the game is the 90’s Disney cartoon tv show TaleSpin. If you’re not familiar, it’s The Saturday Morning anthropomorphic chartered pilot service series, which somehow featured Baloo as a seaplane pilot. Yeah, it kind of made no sense, but it went well with sugary cereal in the living room.

The game animation is totally perfect with a lot of attention to detail made. I’m not sure if any titles have combined personified animals with an anime-like backdrop this way. It’s not quite Shadowrun, but it’s not quite Duck Tales.

For a more elegant comparison, might I give acknowledgment to the classic children’s fantasy series Redwall, about a monk warrior mouse in an andromorphic kingdom, which itself is getting a Netflix restart soon? We like animals, and we like fun characters, it’s a good genre.

Beat-em-ups for Good Guys

Croc Visual Novel

I’ll probably know as much as you within 5 minutes of gameplay but there’s just one more thing I want to talk about. Between the house fire opening segment and the regular story, there seems to be some plot being set up for the rest of the story.

As Brok is a detective, it is highly likely that this plot will involve learning some context-changing information about the fire. Probably later on revealing that the incident in that fire was orchestrated with some life-altering malice. I only say this as an observer of storylines. There is a lot of unique material here though, so I’d be open to anything. My experience of it so far is quite interesting.

Heuristics

There are some psychological references to cybernetics here and there too, just based on my own observations. This makes me think maybe things are really, really, really not what they seemed, but that is total speculation, and probably not true. Actually, that’s not an uncommon theme in sci-fi games. The Steam description says “Light Cyberpunk.” I like that!

It certainly would be an okay way to go that route, but I rather in enjoy the complex technological and sociological themes throughout this prologue.

Visual Novel Croc
Brok the Investigator Map

It’s not your average tough-guy beat-em-up, but there’s plenty of action if you want that. Brok has introduced right away as a likable nice crocodile guy. I want to see him succeed. And I really enjoy the way I can interact with him but also watch him interact. There’s some quality character development here that is worth checking out. A lot of unique ideas here in general.

In fact, you can specify that when you start the game. I went with story mode because that’s usually my best bet at avoiding throwing off my first impressions.

If you like anthropomorphic video games and you like good sci-fi noir, make sure to check this one out. It’s bound to make some heads turn.

Thanks for reading my review. If you want to read more games go to MrDavePizza.com. I’m also on social media, with links at the top.