Village Monsters – I Love This Spooky Town Sim – Review

Village Monsters is a solo dev project from Josh Bosser. It’s a pixel art town sim that departs from conventional titles with an alternative community of friendly monsters. The game plays on similar genre themes as Stardew Valley but the content goes into the outsider/quirk genre of games with its monster acceptance communicated in each character’s unconventional friendliness. It departs from too much comparison by offering a vast amount of exclusive unique story concepts in each characters’ backstory and dialogue. Players can also enjoy activities like treasure hunting, fishing, exploring, working, and contributing to the town itself. Village Monsters is pleasantly surprising and the subject of this indie game collective showcase/review post. So, let’s see what’s inside!

Platforms: More than you’d expect, including PC, Switch, Mac, Xbox, and PlayStation. Wow!

The Progressive Charm of Village Monsters

There is a lot of thought packed into the charming presentation of Village Monsters. There is no leaf unturned when it comes to the purpose of the world’s layout, although I had approached the whole thing sort of skeptically at first due to the promised scope of the game. It really is all here though, and the threads of its connectedness are not unraveled into inconsistency. Instead, the game offers a solid experience is offered. The result of exploring Village Monsters is interesting and rewarding.

The premise of the game starts with a casual plotline involving being the first human to visit the village of monsters in ages. As this is fairly disruptive to some villagers, your character awaits trial by a court at the day’s end to determine what will happen. This introductory period is enough time to explore the main spots in town and see who is who and even make a few friends. That’s helpful since this is basically the main premise of the game.

I really enjoy the variety of characters and hobbies in Village Monsters. It’s not by any means a horror concept; actually, it is very definitely a cozy title, and not to a fault. I’ve had a generous interest in monsters for years. One thing I love about the topic is how neatly they wrap a metaphor into a character by merging appearance with its archetypes. Friendly monsters become the foreign mutant/alien counterpart that exists to fill the remaining areas of monster lore. In Village Monsters, this form of expression is the purpose of its story. It is also an interesting dip into what I consider the outsider art area of the indie game community.

Screenshots of Village Monsters

Features of Village Monsters

The game is availably by purchase, but no fret because there are tons of features that allow for some vast replayability and quality value.

  • A diverse world filled with friendly monsters.
  • Hobbies like treasure-hunting, fishing, gardening, and collecting/training creatures.
  • Make friends and learn a well-written backstory
  • Check out other areas of the world with different climates
  • An immersive environment with seasons, weather, and corresponding events
  • Cozy pixel-art that engages monster themes in a fairly pleasant way
  • Get your own place by refurbishing a fixer-upper
  • Find yourself bobbing your head to a pleasant soundtrack
  • A storyline quest involving collecting “glitches” and fixing the game (intentionally)
  • Discover secrets and explore!

Additional Thoughts

My exploration of Village Monsters fills a void for me in the town sim genre. While cozy games are nice, I like a little more creative diversity sometimes. There’s a massive chasm to the games out there that bounce between ultimate comfort and its awkward weird counterparts. There’s plenty of room for all, but I often just want to skip the social hyperbole and just escape into a neat game. That’s what’s here, and it gets a near full pie of recommendation for me. There are a couple of features that I couldn’t figure out the intentionality of, but I suspect this is explored further into the Village Monsters’ gameplay.

So, I guess another IGC game has managed to captivate me by helping me try a game on the leading edge of artistic indie games for you. If you’re looking for something a little more unusual but comfortable to play, there’s a whole world to explore here with lots of story-rich characters. Make sure to check out the game’s listings on a whopping profile of consoles and PC/Mac.

And as usual, thank you for reading Mr. Dave Pizza, be sure to explore the many reviews and articles on this site.

For information on the Indie Game Collective, go here.

To purchase Village Monsters on Steam or find more information, go to :

https://store.steampowered.com/app/679830/Village_Monsters?curator_clanid=40853436&utm_source=IndieGameCollective

Monster League: Honestly, It’s Not Bad, Just Monstrous

It did The Mash! Monster League is essentially a complete kart racing Halloween game from the makers of Medieval Dynasty. It sits on the roster of Early Access titles and has since 2019, but fans are still playing it and are still nudging the team for a full release even now. Nobody really knows what is happening, but I had a lot of fun with this game and encourage you to purchase it at its fairly modest price for your co-op party, your Twitch, or just playing something different. At the very least, why not be a bit thematic and go for the Halloween vibe.

There are a few things that make this still a work in progress, and I will share them, but I see so much work that has gone into this project that maybe it’s hopeful, or not, it’s not bad though. Maybe this can be revived, or resurrected if you will, but I sure do like playing kart hockey as Frankenstein…

My Pumpkin, “Vincent”

Let’s Do The Mash

Okay, I’ll lay all of this out here. Currently, after purchasing the Early Access you get the full Monster League game with access to several maps and a handful of characters on every game mode. There is a kart racing mode kind of like Mario Kart, a Rocket League-style game, hockey (which was my favorite), capture the flag, and battle mode. Not a bad variety at all. I feel like most co-ops might give you one two or three, but here, six! Swoon.

Along with my affinity for the hockey mode, which involved crashing karts into large pucks in a Rocket League setup, I also enjoyed racing quite a bit. There are two ways to play. With nitro boosters, and without. Try both. I had to make it as easy as possible so I could record a video, so I put everything on beginner and turned of boosts.

Next, wow, this looks amazing! The graphics in this somewhat obscure project are actually really, really good. Rarely do I attribute the quality of a game to graphics alone, and of course this is no exception, but they did improve my personal score for the game and overall enjoyment really. The way you can see the fur on Wolfie’s back or the grains of sand in the track ground, it’s not a bad touch really. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Bobbles and Trinkets


Okay, now that I’ve bashed the mechanics inadvertently, I’ll highlight some more aspects.

Everything has plenty of features. More features than you’d probably see on most co-op games. It is not far off from a AAA release. I’m not even kidding. Vibration and UI updates, maybe a few more characters, possibly a little more patient in the handling, that’s all you would need for this game. It is intended to be a multiplayer or co-op game, you can try this feature online or just play up to four controllers on your PC. Yeah, this is all PC by the way, that’s not new here really.

Monster League: Features

  • 6 Game Modes – Race, Ball, Hockey, Battle Mode, Capture the Frog, and Golden Egg
  • 6 Characters to Choose from: Vlad the Vampire, Cleo the Mummy, Abe the Yeti, William Werewolf, Jack the Pirate Skeleton, and Frank the Frankenstein
  • Multiple Maps for every mode from towering castles to creepy woods and ancient Egyptian pyramids
  • Original Sound Effects and Soundtrack with spooky enough sounds to accompany every environment
  • High Definition Graphics with excellent attention to detail
  • Possibly More Someday

More Thoughts on Monster League

I didn’t mind this at all. Competition is always going to be stiff if you’re going against Mario Kart 8, but they aren’t trying to say that it isn’t. Actually, there are all sorts of fun games imitated including Rocket League. This is intended mostly to be a party game with multiplayer, something which sounds cool if you’ve got a good setup and compliant friends.

I mentioned the vibration and the dev drag enough here. The only other issue I had, which isn’t even really an issue, is the weird popping noise the item boxes make when running into them. I had to turn my sound-effect volume almost completely off because it was so loud. I hardly noticed it after.

And that’s it. I think this game is great, and I think it should be revived, however, it also has a lot of great content already and it’s a nice change of scenery. It’s especially suited around this time of year, and I’d gladly get some pumpkin flavor snacks and hot bubbling cider to go with it.

Wa, Hoo!

If you liked this article, please come back again. Consider supporting these independent views if you like them. And thank you much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza! Happy Halloween!

P.S. This game is also part of a compilation of 4 other Halloween games on this site here:
https://mrdavepizza.com/halloween-game-indie-list-spooky-station-and-4-more/

Unbound: Worlds Apart – It’s Dark And Unusually Satisfying

Unbound: Worlds Apart is a unique new 2D platformer with a fantasy twist and versatile special abilities. On the surface, it’s a beautiful game, on par with the likes of Ori and the Will of the Wisps. On inspection, there’s a heck ton of attention paid to the fine details of the environment. And when you actually play, solving puzzles with your special ability rolls off your controller quite intuitively. This is a high-quality production for those who love platformers and want to really see what’s possible in this genre. If you’re ready to brave a collapsing reality inexplicably parallel to a world of creepy crawly things, but recluse in your summonable portals, say that 5 times fast and push the dang portal button.

The ability to showcase this game is made possible by Alien Pixel Studios and my friends at Indie Game Collective.

Descend into Unbound: Worlds Apart

I’ve gotten really fond of platformers recently. There is an alluring characteristic of these games that provides the ability to jump in, play for a bit, then jump out. Unbound: Worlds Apart does have an interesting story, and it continues throughout the game. I find this style similarly if not equally compelling as high fanbase games like Hollow Knight and Ori. So be ready to jump right into the main gameplay but also learn more about the world you’re exploring–without sacrificing action!

The world is filled with strange eyeball/pincer monsters of all scales, although you shouldn’t have too much trouble reality-hopping away from a giant pincer or googly-eyed arachnid. <shudder> There is so much detail to things in this game that will exist for a moment, then disappear for a while. It almost mimics the nature of real life, a straight-arrow of experiences with a premium destination. The optimism of this art direction is recognized by me, and I find it really compelling and rare.

Features

The developer Press Kit boasts the following features explaining the game. You can easily gather from them that this is a full-fledged adventure, with twists, turns, foes, and heroism.

  • Explore the beauty and the danger of long-forgotten hand-crafted worlds through a dark fairy tale story. Unravel their secrets and their past through an extraordinary journey.
  • A variety of magic portals that can help you to progress through the worlds and solve unique puzzles as they shape-shift creatures, reveal solutions, or hurt you
  •  Decide your path, in a non-sequential level design of the world. Gather more knowledge about some puzzles that seem to be impossible at first and come back and apply what you learned.
  •  Encounter deadly monsters that lurk through the world preventing you to accomplish your mission.
  •  A reach and beautiful soundtrack will set an epic mood and a wonderful experience

Now You’re Platforming With Portals

Another thing I want to discuss is how it has become pretty standard for most platformers to give the main character a special ability. Usually, this is based on a magical artifact or in-world explanation. There are a couple of abilities here, particularly the ability to create a portal that creates a bubble that separates two realities. One is a safe normal reality, and the other is a catastrophic reality full of monsters. There is so much potential for ideas like this, and they’re really met here in Unbound: Worlds Apart.

What I like about this ability is the worlds in the game are pretty dangerous! Sometimes you’ll need to just jump a ledge that only exists in the other reality. Other times, a passage will open, but you’ll need to avoid the giant bunch of eyeballs creature that also exists in that reality. It is really amusing and quite fun. If you use your mind, you can figure out how to get through any of these obstacles. And if not, you can try over and over, pretty easily, since respawning generally sends you right back to where you were.

The monsters are quick, but so are you, and if you keep up with your portals, you’re going to be jumping between realities with ease.

Final Thoughts on Unbound: Worlds Apart

This game is a very recent release, and it’s honestly one of the best value indie platformers new on Steam right now. Make sure to snag a copy at the link below if you decide to play it, and you’ll get a 15% off deal.

Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. I’m getting close to really getting serious about expanding content, and there are many new changes that make it easier to explore. So please have a look around, and come back again!

Monster Pub – One of the Great Indies Ever In My Opinion

Monster Pub is a neat and funny narrative wrapped up in a nice isometric, pixel art game that is ultra-casual. You’re whoever you want to be, a shadow-cloaked being, approached on a dark rainy street by a bright pink monster named Pfeffer. She leads you to a mysterious location that turns out to be a public house… for monsters, which is apparently based on the set for the ’80s TV show Cheers. Only here, it’s where every *monster* knows your name. Let’s play some sandwiches, Norm!

They did the Monster Pub mash

If you follow my reviews or know me, you’ll probably be aware that I don’t cover topics that are too graphic for any of them. So, you’ll realize quite predictably that these monsters are simply just some colorful limbed kooky humanoids–most of them at least. They just want to make some new friends and maybe even show off some of their specialties. I love a good monster, seriously. There are genres within genres when comes to these creatures, and I simply love what Monster Pub has to offer for it.

There are three chapters in Monster Pub currently, plus trivia night. Seeing how this is a very indie game, the art style and dialogue are innovative and quirky. It’s something I really didn’t know much about when I started down this path. Certain indie game makers and dialogue writers seem to have this gift to portray characters in a very unexpected and real way. I felt this very present in Pfeffer and Argon but in almost every character. There’s an especially loveable giant blue bartender that takes the cake for fun monsters in this game too.

Games Within Monster Pub

As a bar, there are naturally some games around the pub that you can engage in to make friends. Yes, the goal of this game is to make friends. Didn’t I tell you it was harmless? So, there’s a card game called Sandwiches which is that slapping card game everybody always wants to play. You can also try to win at solitaire to entertain B.R. Keeper (the giant blue barkeeper.) I walked over to the pool table but Slats, the cool duck monster, tells me that the balls have deflated. Haha, I never figured out what that was about.

I played for around 30 minutes. There are a lot of sources of content that I hadn’t even breached in this time, but I played enough to tell that this game is polished and it is quite entertaining. Mostly aimed at the visual novel crowd, but also any gamer or artist. The honky noise of the dialogue clatter is pretty funny on its own, let alone the way Pfeffer chomps her words. Lots of fun small touches throughout here and there.

Final Thoughts

I never thought of a pub for monsters based on Cheers. Although then again, I might have because Mr. Dave Pizza is really weird like that, but either way, it’s totally unique and funny. I used to watch that show at 2 in the morning on cable as a teen because that was considered fun back then. In college, I hung out with friends at a pub that was basically my own version of Cheers. Instead, however, they liked to call it “Where everybody *calls* you names.”

The steam link is below. I hope you enjoyed this article. Thank you so much for reading MrDavePizza.com. I review all kinds of indie games and even some other stuff. Take a look around as much as you like. Find me on social media too!

Slime Rancher (The Original!) – One of My First Indies

You’re an adventurous protagonist named Beatrix who has settled down on her uncle’s ranch on an alien planet where the landscape is occupied by canyons of shiny cute blobs of a variety of species and value. Also some chickens. Which… some slimes eat. Moving on.

Yer not from around here, are you?

So, what is the point of this? Or the goal, to be a little more specific. Well, it’s basically a high-quality vacuum cannon survival sim. This game is super wholesome–and fun. The slimes remind me of the sparrows that visit our backyard in the daytime to get food and water.

Okay, in the image below, this isn’t a slime prison if that’s what you were thinking. It’s a ranch! See, it’s all coming full circle now. You build this kind of forcefield pen for various slime species. Next, you turn some areas into super technical vegetable gardens for feeding the slimes. Whenever you feed a slime, you get a little crystal thing they, er, excrete called plorts. And they’re generally more than happy to eat your vegetables. You can collect these crystals and take them to one of your vendor displays and trade them in for currency, which you can then use to build your ranch or abilities or whatever really.

Why?

The market is just like a commodities market like actual farmers use now. Don’t worry if you don’t know what I’m even talking about, because it will make sense very quickly. Basically collect stuff and sell it for gold. A timeless economic system since the invention of currency.

I don’t really know how far you can go with this game, but I have seen pictures and videos from other players of insanely complex areas to explore the more you progress in the game. There are I guess some ancient secrets hidden as well as portals to another dimension. I don’t know, but you could really get into the lore of Slime Rancher should you so choose it seems.

This game is NOT violent. There’s some challenge to the slimes that defend themselves but I would not call that violence. Just kind of annoying, and
actually avoidable. I had some tabby cat slimes penned up for a while and they were fine tenants, but they live on chickens, and I’m sorry I just can’t live that way. Your slimelage may vary.

Let’s Wrap This Up?

Like I was saying, I don’t know how intense this game gets. But it is so cute that it is a very low-stress title. I never feel like I’m being rushed or endangered within the storyline. As you’ll see in the video above, I fell in some water but automatically respawned in the safety of my ranch not too far away.

I play a new game a day on average, so I don’t know when I’ll get back here, but it would be pretty funny to watch somebody playing. From what I can gather, when using the mail mechanic inside the ranch home, there is some sort of storyline involving off-world friends which you can really expand while you’re playing the game. Everything takes time, but nothing is frustrating.

If you’re able to figure out how this game works, it might be for you. There are no tears here. It’s sliming. It’s good.