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LF: An escape portal? These new simulation games are on our radar


It’s Friday and I’m seeing a unifying thread among my moots’ sentiments: they haven’t been doing their assignment well on Being Human. While always relying on an escape route isn’t exactly the best solution, it can trump some stressors for a while. Well, especially if that escape is a fun and enchanting game.

Simulation games, in specific, hand us the key to starting an entirely different life and living vicariously through what feels like a much more interesting, energetic, and capable persona. For one, it’s no wonder Stardew Valley has built quite a fanbase. Three years ago, we even raved about how it made us feel in control of our day and tweaked our perspective on productivity, which can be difficult to pull off IRL.

Speaking of that, gaming websites have been mentioning a new quest that “Stardew Valley” stans might want to warp themselves into. Enter “Grave Seasons,” an upcoming farming sim game. 

Game Rant describes it similar to “Stardew Valley” in a way that it lets players “grow crops, fish, and interact” with the townspeople in the realm—which includes romancing them. But in “Grave Seasons,” one of the NPCs turn out to be a serial killer. “Figuring out who it is will be important, especially since players can actually find themselves romancing the killer if they’re not careful,” the article reports.

In the screenshots shared by developer Perfect Garbage Studios on X, we see characters in what appears like a romancing record book: a store manager, priest, farm aid, doctor, bar singer, and a crossed-out mayor (were they killed by the serial killer, and the death is just being painted as an “accident?”). 

Unfortunately, there’s no release date yet for this as it’s currently in development. But Steam group Rock, Paper, Shotgun got word from Perfect Garbage that it’s “fun, campy, and spooky,” so take what you will from that.

Meanwhile, if you’ve spent recent years fixated on quarantine go-to Animal Crossing, there’s also a new game that players claim is in the same vein. Developed by Gentleman Rat, Critter Cove lets players rebuild an island and create connections in a “post-post apocalypse” setting, as written on Steam

The official trailer introduces us to Arlo’s paradise quest featuring a makeshift boat (made out of a bathtub) and of course, the Critters themselves, who are sporting cool ’fits. Currently at its beta stage, the game has been sharing tips to interested players about how to communicate with Critters for a stellar gameplay. Exhibit A: “If the Critter hates their job, they will probably be really bad at it.”

According to Game Rant, “Gentleman Rat also promised ‘a lot of town management,’ stating that building one’s own house in Critter Cove will be just the beginning.”

While a specific release date is yet to be unveiled, what we know so far is its PC version (early access) is coming in the first quarter of 2024. Other consoles include the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

Read more:

This free-to-play mobile game will take you on a cultural trip using a jeepney fueled by… milk tea

7 chill games to play when anxiety’s got you down 

5 online games from your childhood you didn’t know you could still play

Art by Anna Flores

Photos from Perfect Garbage and Steam 



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