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!

Twin Stones: The Journey of Bukka – This Student Game Is Beautiful

Twin Stones: The Journey of Bukka is a 3d animated fantasy platformer that was released in early July 2021. As it were, I received the privilege of showcasing my first pre-release game through my community at Indie Game Collective. The game was a very intriguing story involving protagonist Bukka, a runner for lack of a better word, and a, I suppose, serpent companion identified as Shiva, the god of destruction. The obstacles are fluid and bouncy, and the graphics are beautiful. I’ll tell you what you need to know about this game and where you can find it. Twin Stones: The Journey of Bukka is a challenging 3D platformer, with pretty astonishing scenarios. Let’s take a look.

Summary of Features in Twin Stones

โ— The protagonists
Play as Bukka, a young naive, and skilled hunter, and help Shiva, the God of Destruction, to reach his Temple. Both characters keep talking the whole journey, about the story, hints, and funny commentaries.

โ— Scenario
Explore the world of Samshara, a wild place where nature has taken control of everything. 3 different scenarios over the course of 5 levels, starting with a wooded mountain, the mount Kinui, and the ancient city of Darmah, before the godโ€™s Temple. Overcome all the challenges on your path or find all the hidden coins. With a variety of movement mechanics, such as hook, moving platforms, wall jumps, jump-ladybugs, bash jumps, bouncers, ramps, and 2D zones… challenges feel fresh and exciting.

โ— Enemies
Fight against the ferocious enemies that you will encounter through your adventure. Each beast has its own mechanics, movement set, and different difficulty levels.

โ— Art
Enjoy the game with the amazing views that each level offers, but also take care and look carefully around each clear zone to know exactly where you are thanks to the art from the levels, each landmark is useful for identifying and as a reference point. Our art team took care of each detail on the levels, along with the handcrafted characters.

โ— Music
All the music has been exclusively written for the game by 3 artists from Berklee College of Music in Valencia, and recorded by the Budapest Art Orchestra.

Twin Stones Gameplay

You might be aware that I am not a skilled platformer. It seems to be a common skill of my peers, but I take the world a few minutes at a time. Still, I really like the feel of Twin Stones. There’s kind of a Donkey Kong Country with a much more sophisticated graphics engine (Unreal) and a totally different story/theme. Use conventions such as slide, strike, jump, and swing. When you get going on a few specials one after the other, it’s pretty fun. I particularly enjoy the flying rope fish, or whatever they may be called. A golden string lights up above you and pulls you up into the sky. Sometimes they line up a few in a row.

The challenge level is certainly adequate. You’re given three hearts, and your familiar, Shiva, collects stone energy. There are checkpoints fairly frequently through the sections. A pleasing mix of a bell and boulders rings whenever you’ve passed one. If you fall into a ravine or what have you, your hearts will restore at your last checkpoint. There doesn’t seem to be a way to totally game over, which is nice, because each section requires a nominal amount of effort to get through. I have always been a fan of games that give the gamer a break like this too, so it allowed me to progress quite swiftly.

The Story/Theme in Twin Stones

I keep an eye out for narrative-style games. It’s not too uncommon to see them integrated with platformers or even most genres, but when I saw “Shiva” mentioned I was a bit intrigued. Shiva is an Eastern deity who is the god of destruction. In translation, the forces of entropy and change are imbued to his aspect. Too interesting? Nah, that’s what indie games are for, to experiment.

Shiva’s role in the game is the antecedent to his brother, the god of creation. Name dropping, folks, anyway. This additional deity’s corruption has caused creatures in the mystical land of Samsara (also an Eastern religion reference) to become aggressive and combative to Bukka as she navigates the world.

The story isn’t too intensive for its own good or anything, but it’s there. The primary goal of the game does seem to have to do with navigating the world to get to Shiva’s temple. I got a little too caught up in some spike pits on my journey, but I definitely persisted in experiencing the core of the game.

Also, this game is definitely suitable for game agility skills above all else! Casually run through the obstacles in one of the five levels at a time, and with some effort, it will feel like a natural reflex.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned, this game is not released yet as of this review/showcase, but it’s on its way soon. I’ve got the storefront Steam page listed below, and I’ll certainly keep an eye on it.

Hey, this was a double today, I’m back to reviews every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. This showcase was made in collaboration with Indie Game Collective and ESAT Innovation School, who have released some other interesting titles as well. A lot of good stuff out of student game dev programs.

Thank you so much for reading MrDavePizza.com. I’m sure I’ll be back fairly soon, but there’s plenty to explore. Have a look around! Please! ๐Ÿ™‚