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

Inked – A Tale of Love: With Touchscreen!

Well, here I am, back to keep things fresh here with a showcase for Inked: A Tale of Love I have the privilege of receiving a review copy for what was originally a PC game, now out on Switch, Xbox, and Playstation. Today I tested out the Switch version on the handheld mode and made my way through the first couple of chapters to see how well the transition has been (plus promote it to new players!)

I’ve seen sketch-style game graphics before, but I was curious to see what this was all about. The developer reached out to my friends at Indie Game Collective, and many of us got to try this ourselves to our utmost delight. So, in the honor of storytelling, as is this beautiful mind-sharpening narrative, I’ll be taking a look at the new puzzle game Inked: A Tale of Love.

Platforms: Steam, Switch, Xbox, Playstation 4, Google Play, App Store

For the record, this game is pretty darn close to being in the classic/retro genre, but due to the Switch release, and the review copy I received, these are the first impressions to pass through the hands of Mr. Dave Pizza, ever before. Let’s begin.

First Impressions of Inked: A Tale of Love

The presentation of Inked: A Tale of Love is enchanting and traditional. While puzzle-solving is the main purpose, the plot which runs through the hands of an omnipotent artist sends you into a world of aesthetic charm. It’s perhaps best imagined on my own part as some sort of traditional Japanese woodblock story. To describe it more accurately, however, consider it as wind chimes unfolding on a paper fan.

Everything runs just fine as a dual-color platform with 3D obstacles and character control. The environment and two main characters are contrasted in blue (variably) pen ink to a white parchment below.

The puzzles themselves are straightforward and involve a fairly powerful ability to move around elements of the terrain to unlock correct sequences and open the path for the story to continue.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed solving puzzles in Inked. The ballpoint art style, which truly is the main draw of the game in my opinion, added value.

Landscapes are not overly cluttered, and the pleasant waters that flow through each area tie the environment with the obstacles together, something which drew my eyes to the various clues for each puzzle.

Features of Inked: A Tale of Love

  • A vast world filled with unique landscapes and beautiful style
  • Challenging and unique puzzles
  • Blocks, boulders, ramps, and rivers to be utilized by you
  • Unique and stunning art style
  • Pleasant soundtrack to accompany you along the way
  • Controller support and incredible cross-platform functionality
  • Solutions that will guide and entertain you upon discovery
  • Supports Touchscreen (Even on Switch!)

Other Thoughts Aside From Straightforward Showcasing

I’m giving this one 100% for Twitch stream gaming. I have enjoyed Japanese-style folktales for quite a while, although the origin of this game is actually Croatia, which was a surprise. In all fairness, this is really more about art than origin though.

I enjoyed my time learning how the game works and moving my way through various areas. I only tested out the Switch touchscreen capacity after I had played it with the thumbstick. I’m going on the record that the touchscreen is a super good bonus to the playability of Inked: A Tale of Love. Descriptions floating around describe it as having “draw your own solutions” type of features. And, after testing that on the Switch (which I just conveniently happened to be playing) a whole new aspect of the gameplay was revealed.

It’s a pleasant little game. It’s a very casual play, and it’s a game that challenges and rewards. Don’t think too hard about it. Be like water. Be like ink.

Take care!

That’s it for Inked: A Tale of Love. We’ve done good work here today Pizzonians. If you’d like to get a little more information, click the Steam link below. It’s also on eShop naturally. I hope you enjoyed this showcase, thanks once again to Indie Game Collective for acquiring the copy from the devs.

Thanks so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. Check out some articles around the site, look at pictures, watch videos, whatever you like. You are always welcome, so read as much as you like, and please come back!

Steam link:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/690120/Inked_A_Tale_of_Love?curator_clanid=40853436&utm_source=IndieGameCollective

Moonlighter – Do a Run for Treasure and Then Sell It

The game Moonlighter is a combination rogue-lite dungeon-crawler mixed with trade simulation and story-rich RPG elements. This timeless, beautifully rendered pixel top-down was released by Digital Sun in 2018, and is available on most platforms such as PC, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch and even mobile.

Moonlighter is a story about hopeful adventurer Will, a shopkeeper in the small commercial town of Rynoka. Although his family’s shop offers stability and prosperity, it is sustained by the materials found deep in dungeons accessed through gates outside the village. Every night after the shop closes, Will skulks into the darkness to descend into the dungeons before teleporting back with a satchel of goods and the magical necklace that allows him to do so. The more he adventures though, the more he wants to pursue the question of what the dungeons and gates are exactly. When he uncovers a map of the interconnecting nature of the five gates, an adventure begins.

Getting Started in Moonlighter

There are a few things surely endearing to Moonlighter. The top-down pixel graphics are highly detailed and stylized, leading to an atmospheric experience. The game is cozy and interactive. Aside from dungeons, and your shop, there is a whole town that can be explored, and characters with meaningful interaction scattered night and day through the streets. The characters are natural and expressive, although the main character does not speak much. And though the dungeons offer re-generating challenges, they are fluid and add choices that matter to the other elements in the game. Such your experience might be, say discovering a book about Golems hidden in a pit just happened to fall into.
you

Traditionally, rogue-lites or re-generating RPGs have a hook of sorts. The hook in Moonlighter is the combination of a dungeon crawler with a shopkeeping sim. Yet, neither are depreciative of the other element, leading to some pretty fulfilling holistic in-game commerce motivation. The complexity of the game’s shopkeeping interface allows you to gather and merchandise according to information provided by experimentation and exploration. Customers are real customers, and they even offer expression-filled thought bubbles as they react to your pricing–either a smile or a frown, which lets you know to change the price accordingly or leave it how it is. Record-keeping allows automatic storage of past pricing from materials gathered while moonlighting in the dungeons.

Comparative Games

You may remember a Nintendo game from the 90’s called Earthbound, also known as Mother. Earthbound has similarities to Moonlighter, for one stylistically, though some have compared Moonlighter more to the game Stardew Valley, which I agree with–when not slaying golems that is. Moonlighter is neatly packaged and presented, but it is by no means simple. With the incentive to do so, time can be continuously deluged into shopkeeping, crafting, gaining companions, collecting epic loot, or even getting to know neighbors. It’s sort of like a single-player, indie, MMO in that way–also a great source of replayability and nuanced gameplay.

Features of Moonlighter

Here are some top features of the world of Moonlighter

  • Dungeon-crawling
  • Combat and Swordplay
  • Shopkeeping Trade-Sim
  • Character Interaction
  • Crafting Armor and Enchantments
  • Collecting Loot and Selling it
  • Gaining Companions
  • Achievements
  • Story-Progression

My Take

This game is from 2018. Quality doesn’t seem to have diminished in Moonlighter. The detailed pixel art graphics are phenomenal in Moonlighter. It’s always encouraging in games to have a way to either start over and or just go back somewhere safe. Some call it lazy, I call it cozy.

The trade simulation element sof this game are amazing. How do they make customers gauge the value of a random mob junk in my shop. How? Coding I guess, but it is super immersive. Trade-sims are the best way to experiment with an economy, without actually using money.

It’s sort of stunning to me that Digital Sun has not released or projected any new games since the release of Moonlighter. There is certainly no absence of talent or innovation. Hard to say though. Either way, I applaud them for creating this really neat game with the bold notion of seeing the connection between a cozy trade-sim idea and a fun pixel art dungeon-crawler. It has endless replay value, although a DLC whenever or new release could be alot of fun too. Great to see such a humble production leave a bright legacy amongst indie fans, and a great example for devs to come.

Hold Down A to Close the Review

That’s what I have for you on Moonlighter. Just kinda plucked this one out of a stack, knowing that it was well praised, but in need of some research. If you would like to purchase this game, I have provided a link below that will supports new content.

Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. We have lots to come, and lots to share already, so have a look around, and please come back!

Fall Guys (Now Free on Nintendo Switch!)

(Now free on Nintendo Switch!) When Fall Guys came in March of 2022, it was seriously like mana from the heavens. Things were a bit worrisome and unknowable at that time. Many of us have learned how to be patient and cope, while some are still coping, but one thing that really helped me cope was Fall Guys! Let me introduce you to this wonderful game.

Fall Guys is A Squiggly Silly Delightful Game

I was so pumped when the Medieval Pack came out with this Wizard costume, it is so perfect you have no idea

So, the idea behind Fall Guys is this: you create a jelly bean-like thing character and design them, then you push play and skydive (on a load screen) into a pink, purple, and cotton candy blue obstacle course of hilarious wonder with 60 other jelly beans. If you make it to the finish line in time before at least 40 players you qualify for the next round. If not you have to start over.

Don’t worry too much about not advancing in the beginning. The courses are difficult but they are not impossible It really all has to do with watching what everybody else is doing and improvising. I have not played this game with a mouse, but it handles quite well on a controller.

When Push Comes to Shove Play Fall Guys

If you have ever watched the epic, famous Japanese gameshow Wipeout, you’re one step ahead of the game. You could throw in American Ninja Warrior or American Gladiator in there if you want, but Wipeout is more the vibe of this game. They even call a round a show. It is very silly, but you can take it seriously. If you want to see what its creators are all about I highly recommend their Twitter at @FallGuysGame It is usually hilarious.

If you complete a course, you and your fellow winners make it through the next course, then you will move on again with the majority but not the disqualified players. The course usually consists of moving platforms, spinning wheels, and swinging strikers which you avoid and jump around.

Fall Guys Shop
The Fall Guys Shop

A Game Of Opportunity

If you win all courses, there’s usually around 4 or 5 I think, you can win a crown. The crown is an in-game currency used to shop in the Fall Guys store. As far as I can tell it’s mostly for their exclusive and collectible costumes. They are very generous, however. The game issues their in-game currency called “Kudos,” purple coins which can also be used in the shop. The costumes and patterns are actually pretty cool and worth the effort if you like the game. They had an Aperture Science, of Portal fame, costume last month that was so rad and there are usually pretty amusing new costumes each week. As you’ll notice I went all-in on the wizard costume. I think I actually bought it in a pack on Steam, but it was worth it.

Fall Guys Qualified
The contenders

The game has been tremendously successful you’ll learn if you read about its player base. The developers are all about stunts, which tend to be pretty entertaining and will probably pique your curiosity. I’m guessing this game will be around for some time with its easily accessible gameplay and bright vivid colorful courses. I have noticed that the wait time to jump into a course is slightly slower, but not too much. I don’t really know how high priority games are on people’s minds these days, although I certainly know they are lifesavers for some of us.

We All Fall Down

Fall Guys Wizard
Yer A Wizard Beany

If you are interested in being a part of something in the game community, this is a game I suggest you experience. It is wonderful from a game development perspective as well, because it uses some simple ideas with a wonderful result. Actually, I think this was the game I tried that made me realize there is hope for people who want to play games that aren’t all about boom headshots and lewd humor. A bit cynical there I know, but we deserve more games like Fall Guys.

The game is on Windows and PS4 (AND NOW On Nintendo Switch FREE!) If you like feeling happy. Play this wonderful, WONDERFUL game. Thank you for reading MrDavePizza.com. Be sure to look around!

Star Wars Episode I: Racer (A Re-released N64 Classic!)

Look no further, ’tis I Jedi Master Mr. Dave Pizza with an encoded message from the Tatooine system where there is sand everywhere. I’ve been wanting to do a piece on Star Wars for ages now. When the Skywalker Saga concluded last year, I felt like a muted voice in an ocean of opinions. This blog didn’t even exist then, but everybody was all “”MEH” STARMWARMS, WAT!” The tide is falling back though, and I want to take a moment to talk to you about Star Wars Episode I: Pod Racer and how Star Wars has affected me over the years. Sometimes a really simple game is a really simple solution for something we can’t quite put our finger on.

Okay, 1st This Game

I’ve been doing all this waffling around with what my first Star Wars review would be like. I was bedazzled when I saw some of the gameplay for Star Wars Rogue: Squadrons. So… I downloaded it? My Gaming Machine is starting to deprecate with outdated equipment I am afraid. It still is a beast, but I never got the game to run so I returned it to Steam. It does look fun though and it is compatible with most VR Sets, a light on the horizon sort of equipment luxury for me. I wasn’t too discouraged though.

Okay, here’s the main juice. I had eyed this Star Wars pod racer game I’m reviewing on the Nintendo eShop a while ago. It came out in June of 2020, and I just thought it to be a moneygrab port. I need to start realizing that not every game is a moneygrab, but sorry, I’ve been burned.

Anyway, I just decided to look it up, and wow, people LOVE this, somewhat chintzy, sort of obscure, low res texture, port from Nintendo 64. And then I started to realize I had played when I was a kid when it was originally on N64. A download and a trial run later, I realized not only did I play this game but I LOVED it. What the heck happened to those memories, and why are they back? I don’t know. Even more, I think Phantom Menace was my very first Star Wars experience before it became Mr. Dave Pizza lore. I had a best friend from school who had some pretty sweet toys and stuff from his parents as we were kids. He knew everything about Star Wars and had many toys confirming this. Further were his books and a graphic encyclopedia of Star Wars that exposed me to the sheer macrocosmic universe these stories belonged in. I still don’t really understand who writes down and illustrates every detail in the quantum universe about BB-8 (I love BB-8) or some obscure space junk barge in Star Wars, but you can get really really deep.

Gameplay

I was thinking for a second of explaining the plot of Star Wars for anybody who didn’t know it. And then I thought about that again, and again, and here we are. Okay, so there’s this one movie that everybody on the planet has seen… I kid. But if you want an insta-spoiler which will pretty much never matter: Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader. That basically sums it up. Now lets race some pods.

The best way to approach this game is the same way you would approach any racer game. You’ve got a button that accelerates, one that brakes, maybe a drifter, and some thumb-sticks. If you’ve ever played Mario Kart, you’re prepared. It’s not psycho high graphics like CyberDunk 2050 is but it’s not downright ugly either. Its design has more to do with the technology around during its release in 1999. Besides, if you really want to see some eyepopping graphics just watch the movie! You are usually racing so fast that the textures just look like they’re blurring with speed. It doesn’t need to look like the best graphics ever to speed 1,000 miles per hour through it.

Some of it is quite good though too as you see above, however, these are higher quality cutscenes in the game.

For Sake of Comparison: Pod Racing VS Mario Kart

I’ve tried so many racing games out there and they are often so difficult to steer into their operation that they’re practically unplayable. I really don’t appreciate starting a game where I have to drive or fly and immediately crashing and burning in the first obstacle in the game. That’s so stupid, why not just stop trying to impose realism on the game and make it actually playable. I keep saying this but it’s true, players like fun games but they also like EASY games. A little challenge is good, but you’re not training a race of cyborgs, just make left go left and right go right. I don’t have to wonder if I’m living up to the games expectations of me, I just played it. Oh, did I mention? This game is pretty much totally non-violent, so I wouldn’t feel hesitant about anybody trying it out.

If that rant was a bit too much, I only said it so that I could come to say that racing in this game is actually a delight. You can crash, but it’s no big deal. Actually there’s no pressure to do anything you don’t want to in this game. You can run the tournaments on different planets and upgrade your vehicle, or you can just race any of your unlocked maps and blast through a mountainous canyon in a relaxing yet efficient way. It’s also got multiplayer. Maybe even immerse yourself for some Phantom Menace nostalgia.

Final Thoughts

Well, I don’t want this to be my last Star Wars review I realized. Daniel Radcliffe recently made a comment about how being obsessed with a group of books or movies is actually a pretty good thing obsessed about. There is SO much Star Wars stuff. I could spend some times on Knights of the Old Republic or The Old Republic or The Force Awakened, these games might not fit in here, but they are quite good. The one I really am looking forward to is the LEGO Skywalker Saga. That may possibly be one of the best LEGO games out there, and I trust those games to uphold a family friendly vibe.

A group of people in recent times have identified themselves as Jedi’s. It’s silly, but I kind of like this. There is rich culture and mentality in Star Wars. There are books, movies, tv shows, games, art, clothes, toys, a thriving collectors scene, blue milk. Ew, blue milk? A rich culture though really. I have often observed that the description of “the force” is a metaphor for something deep too. I also want a lightsaber. So who knows. There is no shame in being nostalgic about Star Wars. It’s got a little something for everybody.

Thanks for reading Mr. Dave Pizza, please have a look around!