Game Over – If On A Winter’s Night, Four Travelers (#JustOnePercent 90/100)

Developer: Dead Idle Games
Release Date: September 21, 2021
MSRP: Free with optional supporter pack ($3.99)

Given the size of my gaming library, it probably isn’t very surprising that I don’t often hunt around for free titles to play. I’ve picked out a handful of free titles to play as part of this project, and I’ve been mostly pleased by the quality of these games. In fact, I’ve had more success overall with games that are freely available for download than I have with some of the bargain basement paid titles I’ve picked up over the past several months.

If you enjoy point and click adventure stories, gothic horror, and pixel art, you should go and immediately download If On A Winter’s Night, Four Travelers. The game is fairly short – I finished in under two hours – but it’s very well put together. I played on my Steam Deck, and there were only a couple of parts where it was fiddly with having to manually activate the onscreen keyboard, and two instances where the item I was trying to find was almost too small to see on the reduced screen size.

The game is set on a train where people who don’t seem to know one another at all are exchanging stories of the last things that they remember. Clearly, this is not your average train trip; in fact, it appears to be some sort of masquerade affair, as the characters are all masked. As you play through each character’s flashback, you learn a bit about their backstories.

To say too much more about the story would definitely spoil the game, so I’ll refrain. However, I do want to make clear, this is, in a lot of ways, a horror game. There are a few very shocking scenes, and in a couple of places it’s almost unbelievably gory considering the art style.

The game play is pure classic point and click adventure, full of puzzles and pixel hunting. Unless you have a good memory, there are a handful of places that having a pen and paper (or taking notes in another window) will come in handy. There are no wild adventure-game-logic leaps you’ll need to make, but you most definitely will benefit from touching everything you can and keeping track of the information the game gives you.

If On A Winter’s Night, Four Travelers is the first title from Dead Idle Games available on Steam, but their two prior games can are available on Even with such a compact story to tell, I think the game certainly could justify a small purchase price, and there is an option to purchase a supporter’s pack to give a few dollars to the developers. Overall, this is a pretty solid title for a two-person team, and worth a play through for anyone who enjoys dark adventure games and has a couple of hours to dedicate to it.

SteamDB estimates that If On A Winter’s Night, Four Travelers has been downloaded between 24,800 and 68,300 times on Steam. More impressively, it’s only gotten a small handful of negative reviews. These few folks have pointed to rather trite writing and a recycled plot, as well as pacing issues. It is ranked 138 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Quick Look – Guild of Ascension (#JustOnePercent 89/100)

Developer: WhileOne Productions
Release Date: September 21, 2021
MSRP: $14.99

Guild of Ascension is not a game that was on my radar until it was given away as part of Prime Gaming back in April of this year. Even still, I wasn’t too enthused – “Tactical-Action-RPG with rogue-like elements” feels like someone took a bunch of buzzwords and mashed them together without any thought of how that would actually play. Now, having played it, I feel like it missed on almost every front – it’s barely an RPG, and there isn’t much of anything tactical about it. It’s a grid-based action combat dungeon crawler that would be probably far too easy if it didn’t get in its own way so much.

The game starts you off with two characters, and the only “customization” you get is choosing a starting weapon. I selected a bow, and a sword & board, which meant passing on the hammer. I don’t gravitate towards melee pretty much ever, and I would have liked to see a magic user or a stealthy choice. The tutorial is overly long without actually teaching you much, but I figured it’d start to make sense as I went into the tower and fought actual battles.

Instead of quests, you have “requests”, which you will likely complete without even trying. When you first enter a tower run, you are deposited in a campfire area, which you can return to at any time to use potions, eat food, and consume your experience points in order to level up your character. When you level up, you’re given the choice of improving aggression, defense, or taking a balanced or custom route. I wasn’t invested enough to play around with custom point distribution, because by the time I spent experience for the first time, I’d already figured out that the difference between winning and losing basically was going to come down to correct facing.

There was nothing that I liked about the combat, and since that’s the majority of the game, I wasn’t having a very good time. The game recommends a controller, but I decided to stick with keyboard and mouse. I don’t think I would have found the mechanics any more engaging using the preferred input method. Moving around the board is done with WASD, and basic attack is on left click, with charged attack on right. Once you do enough of these two types of attacks, you can use the Shift key to switch to special attacks, which did considerably more damage, but I kept forgetting existed.

The monkey wrench in the works is that the combat is still turn based, and the turns are a set length of time. Getting into position quickly is key – you can only aim ranged attacks in a straight line, and if you must be facing your target. I lost count of how many times I ran into position, forgot to turn around, and then fired my heavy attack at absolutely nothing.

Although most rooms in the tower are combat encounters, you will occasionally find merchants (who sell you upgrades called Privileges for a currency called Whishes), random events, or “challenge” rooms which aren’t challenging in the least. Wander around enough, and you’ll eventually find a key, which is used to unlock the boss room, allowing you to complete the floor. I stuck it out until I managed to kill the boss for the first time, but I already knew I wasn’t digging the gameplay loop, so I saw no reason to do it all over again, but a little bit harder. I didn’t even make it a full hour, but I’d seen all of this particular title that I wanted to.

For me, Guild of Ascension just didn’t work. I can’t point to a single part of the whole that I found to be above average, and with no story to speak of and weak narrative, there was nothing to compel me to continue on. Even loot didn’t feel rewarding – opening the large chest after an encounter should have been exciting, but I found the Privilege system underwhelming, and that was mostly what was in those boxes. Everything about this one felt like it was trying too hard.

SteamDB estimates that Guild of Ascension has sold between 820 and 2,300 copies on Steam. Those aren’t great sales numbers, but most of the reviewers liked it enough to recommend it, so it’s a genre mashup that works for some gamers. It is ranked 3691 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Quick Look – Gamedec (#JustOnePercent 88/100)

Developer: Anshar Studios
Release Date: September 16, 2021
MSRP: $29.99

I struggled with whether or not to include Gamedec as part of my project games, but not because I didn’t want to play it. Rather, I knew this was a game that I really wanted to be able to focus on – I was jazzed enough about this one that I backed it on Kickstarter in 2020.

I am a big fan of the concept of combat-free RPGs in general, and although I’m often not very good at them, I love the narratives that tend to be built around playing as a detective. Your character in Gamedec make his (or her) living navigating virtual worlds. The introductory mission is a missing persons case, of sorts. A teenager is trapped in a virtual world, and you need to figure out how to get him out.

It took me a little more than an hour to completely screw up my first case. The tutorial is great for the workings of the actual game, but doesn’t give you all that much in the way of hints about the world. You need to learn through trial and error, and I have no doubt I made a lot of errors. Sure, it’s possible that the opening missions could be a “destined for failure” story device, but I really believe I could have made better choices. I plan to go back and start over and make better choices.

Character creation is very basic. Name and pronouns don’t seem to have any effect on gameplay, but origin and values do have an effect. I saw a handful of times where having selected the “Low City” origin gave me specific dialogue options; I have to assume that choosing the opposite “High City” origin would have a similar impact. Your values selection determines your starting value in the game’s four stats, called aspects, which are used to purchase profession perks.

Your profession perks will have a pretty hefty impact on the conversations you’ll have throughout the game, and conversely, the conversational tacks you take will dictate the professions available to you as you play through the game. Aspects tend to build up rather quickly as you interact with people both in the real world and the virtual one. Although it may be tempting to try to save up your aspect points for certain perks, it also feels like having perks is pretty vital to being able to truly dig into the case your working on. It’s an interesting system that I’m looking forward to exploring more deeply as I proceed through the story.

Gamedec gives you a lot of leeway in how you approach your job, and that leeway includes the ability to make incorrect deductions if you don’t (or can’t) get people to tell you the truth about the things you want to know. But while you can be wrong, the game seems to prevent you from being wrong in anything but very specific ways – the things you know unlock certain pre-determined deductions for you to choose from. It’s sort of a simplistic system, but it prevents you from just barreling through the story or just falling into major plot points. Some folks will probably find it annoying, but I appreciate the idea to maintain narrative integrity.

How Long to Beat indicates that playing through Gamedec will take most players less than a dozen hours. While I’m unlikely to play the game in its entirety more than once, I’m already feeling the tug to restart to see if I can do a better job of getting at the truth of what’s going on in my first case, and hopefully have a more successful result. While this text-heavy cyberpunk RPG won’t be for everyone, it’s pretty much exactly what I had been hoping it would be so far.

SteamDB estimates that Gamedec has sold between 19,400 and 53,500 copies on Steam. Overall, reviews are pretty positive, with the majority of negative reviews citing an exposition heavy latter half and a confusing ending. It is ranked 1818 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Quick Look – Gas Station Simulator (#JustOnePercent 87/100)

Developer: DRAGO Entertainment
Release Date: September 15, 2021
MSRP: $19.99

At this point, it seems like you can find a simulator for just about anything you might feel like doing, no matter how mundane it might seem. In truth, Gas Station Simulator wasn’t a game that particularly excited me, and I expected to dutifully put in an hour and then forget I owned it. Although I enjoy simulators, it’s rare for me to find one I can’t seem to put down.

Now, the start of the game isn’t particular compelling, even compared to your average tutorial-style introduction. You’re presented with tasks one at a time to get your new gas station restored and running. You’ll take the boards off the doors and windows, get the power hooked up, and clean up the sand pile blocking your fuel pumps. Some of the early tasks feel pretty tedious, but you see progress pretty quickly.

You get a pretty steady supply of emails, which can be referenced at any time if you forget how to do certain tasks once you’ve completed them the first time, but mostly, the computer is used for scheduling deliveries, ordering supplies, and upgrading your station. As you progress, more mini-game style activities are added to the things you need to do whenever the station is open – so far, I’m pumping gas, ringing up snacks and drinks for customers, and fixing flat tires and broken mirrors for customers, in between accepting deliveries, keeping the place clean, and unlocking new parts of the station.

I was surprised how completely sucked in I was once I had a bunch of stuff to manage. I’ve just upgraded my gas station to level three, and I am desperately hoping that hiring an employee or two is in my near future. You see, there’s a reputation system, and the number of tasks I have to personally manage is teetering on the edge of untenable. For a simulation game, it feels more-than-occasionally frantic, and I am concerned I’m on the cusp of things starting to get frustrating.

Overall, I thought the game made running a gas station out in the middle of the California desert pretty interesting. The mini-games are more satisfying than irritating (although I don’t much love the one for painting over graffiti). If you’re the type that thrives on customization and decoration, there seems to be tons of options, but I’ve been doing the bare minimum and focusing on making money and upgrading my facilities. I can make it pretty later, if I decide to.

For me, Gas Station Simulator was probably one of the more successful of the recent batch of simulation games I’ve been trying out, and I’m likely to return to it when I have a little less on my plate.

While I still think of simulators as a niche genre, SteamDB estimates that Gas Station Simulator has sold between 291,900 and 802,800 copies on Steam. It was also included in the August 2022 Humble Choice bundle, but those still feel like pretty high sales for a simulator. It is ranked 755 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Quick Look – I Am Fish (#JustOnePercent 86/100)

Developer: Bossa Studios
Release Date: September 16, 2021
MSRP: $19.99

I’ve played quite a few project games since the last time I threw the towel in before hitting the end or an hour of play, but I found I Am Fish to be precisely the kind of frustrating which meant that the longer I played, the harder it would be to find anything positive to say. Now, I don’t believe it’s a bad game, but it’s a very very bad fit for me personally.

I’m not a huge fan of platformers to begin with, and the types of levels in 3D platformers I find the most intolerable are the ones where your character is on or in some sort of ball. Other than the initial bit where you’re supposed to learn the controls, I was a fish. In a ball. Throwing my house off of things and dying among shards of broken glass.

I was averaging a death every two minutes, and that’s not taking into account the tutorial section and the intro cutscenes. Or the fact that the game seems to linger eternally on your little fishy soon-to-be-corpse struggling for air after you manage to roll off of something. In fact, I only stuck it out as long as I did because the first mission has you rolling towards the ocean. I thought that maybe I was going to be able to swim if I could just get through that tiny little portion of the game.

Then my fishbowl washed up on shore, and I was fish-napped by two kids. I knew then there was more rolling in my future and I was unwilling to keep on rolling.

On the upsides, checkpoints are fairly frequent – at least in the first level they were. The graphics are bright and colorful, and the controls felt responsive at least to my unpracticed hands. While I’m not sure what possessed someone to make a game focused on some of the most universally disliked 3D platforming mechanics – balls, and I’m guessing eventually, underwater levels – it seemed to me like the game was structurally sound. It just wasn’t the right game for me.

SteamDB estimates that I Am Fish has sold between 23,400 and 63,500 copies on Steam. It was also included in the June 2022 Humble Choice bundle. Reviews are mostly positive, although a few people pointed to repetitive gameplay and frustrating mechanics as reasons against recommending it. It is ranked 384 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Quick Look – Kraken Academy!! (#JustOnePercent 85/100)

Developer: Happy Broccoli Games
Release Date: September 10, 2021
MSRP: $17.99

My experience with time loop mechanics in games continues to be all over the place. Just over the last few months, I’ve had one experience that was fantastic, one that was downright awful, and now, I’ve played a bit of Kraken Academy!!, which has just left me feeling kind of meh.

I did get off on the wrong foot a little with this one, as the contrasting art styles of the actual game space and just about everything else in the game definitely was a turn off for me. I know a lot of people really like low-poly pixel art, but I’m not one of those people. I can overlook it sometimes, when the rest of the game is solid enough, but having to be constantly reminded that this game could have had a far more aesthetically pleasing style just made me resent walking around the game world. And I did a lot of walking around the game world.

The storyline is pretty out there, without actually really reaching the level of being comedic. Your parents have dropped both you and your sister off at Kraken Academy, a run down shell of a “school” divided into four clubs, where it seems the students do just about anything except go to actual classes. The character you play as is part of the music club, and one of your fellow club members invites you to a costume party in a couple days time. Only problem is, you don’t have a costume! So she sends you to the nearby lake, because of course that’s the best place to find a costume, right? Or at least a giant monster that tasks you with saving the school – and the world!

Apparently, there is a traitor somewhere on campus, and they’re planning to destroy the world by Thursday. All you need to do is solve the problems of four students – one per club – to release the spirits of the school to help fight off the coming apocalypse. Maybe also find out the identity of the traitor. But since there’s no way you could possible do all that in just three days, you’re given an amulet that rewinds time.

The accessible parts of campus – at least during your first loop – aren’t overly large. In fact, I think the pacing was probably the biggest issue that I had with the game. I felt like I had too much time for how little I knew, and there were very limited ways to speed things up. There are, however, a lot of side quests, but several of those seem to be blocked off behind time loop progression – I feel like I scoured all the available areas, with no signs of the required items. Sure, I might have missed something, but it seems unlikely that I would miss everything.

The three day cycle culminates in the costume party, which once you enter the area, stops the clock. You can take as long as you need to figure out what you need to do to free a spirit before you rewind time. I had planned to play completely through the first loop of the game, but partway through the mission, I felt stuck. I know there’s an item I need to retrieve, but I’m not quite sure how the game intends for me to do so. Did I miss something I needed to bring into the area with me? Did I miss something already in the area? Do I already have what I need in my inventory but I’m just not clever enough to figure it out? I have no idea.

I considered looking for a walkthrough to just get through it. The idea of having to replay the first three days if I missed something was irritating me even without knowing whether or not that was the case, and it was at that point I realized that this particular game just wasn’t working for me in any way.

There are quick time events throughout the game, but for me, they didn’t add to the experience. I set them to easy, so it’s not that I was struggling. Rather, it felt like the developers thought they needed something to make the game more game-y, but this just takes the game’s glacial pace to somewhere ever so slightly more draggy. I don’t much care for games that feel like the play time has been padded, and you can see the padding sticking out all over the place in Kraken Academy!! – there’s some interesting stuff here, but it takes far too long to get anywhere near it.

SteamDB estimates that Kraken Academy!! has sold between 8,500 and 23,300 copies on Steam. It has gotten only a handful of negative reviews, so my opinions definitely aren’t the popular ones. It is ranked 384 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Quick Look – The Artful Escape (#JustOnePercent 84/100)

Developer: Beethoven and Dinosaur
Release Date: September 9, 2021
MSRP: $19.99

Going into The Artful Escape, I really had pretty much no idea what to expect. If I had a million years to make guesses, however, I don’t think I ever would have come up with anything close to what it is. It’s part coming of age story, part psychedelic platformer, with musical Simon-style mini games. Even after an hour of play, I still have no idea how to feel about it, because for me, none of the elements are strong enough to recommend the game by themselves, but when you put it all together, it’s really something rather strange and lovely.

Since I’m playing this one through XBox Game Pass, I’m playing with keyboard & mouse at my desk. However, it’s a “controller recommended” game, and it’s easy to see why – some of the key press combinations you do pretty frequently are a bit awkward on keyboard. Unfortunately, the game is currently listed as being Unsupported on the Steam Deck (which, I think for me would be the absolutely perfect vehicle for it), although there are reports of it working well on ProtonDB.

While the opening tutorial section of the game is outright dull, it picks up pretty quickly. And by picks up, I mean gets super duper weird but in all of the best ways. Both the writing and the voice acting is very well done, but the art is where The Artful Escape really shines. In fact, I’m grateful that most parts of the game aren’t too challenging, because I’ve lost count at the number of times I’ve stopped to just gawk at the scenery.

I think I’d like to go back and play more of this one – it will likely take less than five hours to finish – but it’s days on Game Pass are limited, as it’s already listed in the Leaving Soon section. At that length, it doesn’t bother me much that it feels very gameplay-light, but if you’re looking for something that has stimulating or challenging game play, you should probably give this one a pass. However, if you’re intrigued by the trippy aesthetic and a bit of an exploration of strange worlds and personal identity, this one might be worth putting on the wish list, or playing through on Game Pass before it’s gone.

SteamDB estimates that The Artful Escape has sold between 19,400 and 53,500 copies on Steam. Reviews are almost all positive, with the few negative reviews primarily focusing on lack of game play elements. It is ranked 341 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Quick Look – Tiny Robots Recharged (#JustOnePercent 83/100)

Developer: Big Loop Studios
Release Date: September 9, 2021
MSRP: $3.99

I probably wouldn’t have bought Tiny Robots Recharged – after all, it’s free-to-play with ads on mobile, and in all honesty, it’s probably far better suited as a mobile game than a PC game. However, it was given away with Prime Gaming in October of 2021, less than a month after its release, and I admit that I don’t look too deeply into Amazon’s freebies past clicking “Claim Game”.

Tiny Robots Recharged is a diorama point & click puzzler. Although there’s no visual indicator for what can and cannot be interacted with, I never found it too difficult to figure out. Each level has three bright blue batteries to collect, as well as one more traditional style puzzle to complete. The levels are timed, and when you finish them, you’re awarded stars on the basis of how fast you completed them.

This isn’t really the kind of game you play for the story – although there is the barest whisper of a plot here. Your friends have been kidnapped, and you’re on a mission to save them. Every so often, a level is marked as a “boss” level, and although the puzzles are slightly more involved, and the visuals look more menacing, you never are in any real danger throughout.

The traditional puzzles are hit and miss. Each level has a screen which you interact with to activate the puzzle. Some are incredibly simple, like the Simon-style memory puzzle, or the one where you move a circle around a grid that only stops at walls. At least one puzzle type, I still have no idea what the game expected me to do – the two times I’ve encountered it, I’ve used the “skip puzzle” button since nothing I do seems to have any effect on the board state. A brief description of the puzzle type would have really come in handy here.

There are forty-nine levels in the story portion of the game, with seven of those being boss levels. Tiny Robots Recharged also has two other modes. The first is the puzzle room, where you can just solve a bunch of the traditional puzzles which increase in difficulty as you go. The other mode is called Outrun, which gamers of a certain age might recognize as a 3D Frogger game.

While I enjoyed the story mode, especially the cutesy 3D art style, I don’t feel pulled to continue playing, and unless you get really into the Outrun mode, I don’t anticipate it being particularly replayable. It’s fine for what it is, but there’s no denying the mobile game feel of it all.

SteamDB estimates that Tiny Robots Recharged has sold between 200 and 700 copies on Steam. The few reviews it has are positive, but it seems likely the the combination of being free-to-play on mobile devices and a large-scale giveaway less than a month after release didn’t do its sales figures any favors. It is ranked 2415 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Game Over – Milo and the Magpies (#JustOnePercent 82/100)

Developer: Johan Scherft
Release Date: September 7, 2021
MSRP: $1.99

Milo and the Magpies is a game that I almost passed over entirely after playing the demo back in 2020. Partially it was because I struggled with figuring out what I was supposed to do, but I admit, part of my hesitancy was that I basically expected the game to be priced far above what I would have been willing to pay for it. However, when I spotted that it was half price during the most recent Steam Summer Sale – and that the full price was only two dollars – I decided to give it another chance. I’m glad I did. It was a short, but very lovely experience.

You play as Milo, a cat on his way home across the rooftops – it’s just a normal day until you get scared by some birds, and have to abandon the roofs and make your way home through the yards of the neighborhood. Each area is it’s own chapter – you need to figure out how to get across the yard safely by manipulating things in the environment, solving some puzzles, and avoiding the magpies which seem to be trying to hinder your progress.

The backgrounds are detailed and beautiful, but they ended up making me switch over to my PC, rather than playing on the small screen of the Steam Deck as I had planned. It was hard to see all the details on the Deck, and the details very much matter. You are only occasionally allowed to zoom in on things, so at least for me, this was a game much better suited to a large monitor than a handheld system.

It’s also not always readily apparent what you can and cannot click on, nor is it obvious what clicking on things will do. For example, instead of moving Milo to a place of your choosing, clicking on your kitty avatar will cause him to move in a scripted pattern, which may have be nowhere near where you wanted him. This wasn’t a problem once I got used to the idea, and took my hints from those movements instead of trying to solve puzzles independently.

There are “secrets” to be found in each chapter, and I managed to get a few, but I’ll admit that I didn’t spend much time hunting for them. I would have liked to see an in-game hint system rather than being directed to a video walkthrough or the game’s Discord, and in the end, I settled for a text guide from the Community Hub on Steam when I found myself stumped, which was less often than I expected to. Overall, there’s only a couple of obtuse puzzles – most of the game makes sense, at least in that “adventure game logic” sort of way.

If you like adventure games, and you’re looking for something charming and (mostly) family friendly, Milo and the Magpies might be right up your alley. There is one scene which small children might be frightened by near the end, and there’s one pretty blatant drug reference in one of the yards you pass through, so bear those things in mind if you plan to play alongside children. The whole game probably won’t take much more than an hour to complete, but it’s really a very lovely hour.

SteamDB estimates that Milo and the Magpies has sold between 34,200 and 94,100 copies on Steam. Reviewers have almost all recommended it, and with the gorgeous art, adorable main character, and low-risk price point, it’s not hard to see why. It is ranked 38 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Quick Look – Kitaria Fables (#JustOnePercent 81/100)

Developer: Twin Hearts
Release Date: September 2, 2021
MSRP: $19.99

Kitaria Fables is actually a game I picked up during the most recent Steam Summer Sale, because it looked adorable and like it’d be a great fit for the Steam Deck. I’m kind of a sucker for a game where you save the world, but also take care of your home & your farm. Make no mistake, it is absolutely adorable, but man, it’s a chore to play.

The story is fairly generic. You are a soldier tasked with protecting the citizenry of Paw Village from the monsters that have started coming back, years after they were believed to have been permanently defeated. You were given this specific assignment because your grandfather once lived in the town, so conveniently, you get to live in his house. Very early on, you’re introduced to a sage who gives you a book to read, and in this way, you discover you come from a line of magic wielders, but since magic has been outlawed, what’s a small kitty soldier to do?

My answer was shooting fireballs at things, while retrieving relics from dungeons and putting down the monster uprising.

This would probably be a pretty great little game, except for one thing. Absolutely everything about it feels like it exists solely to pad play time. You don’t gain experience and level up like in traditional RPGs – instead, you grind like mad for obscene amounts of materials to craft weapons and armor and spells and anything else you could possibly thing of. This is the only way you get stronger, through gathering materials and crafting.

I may have been able to get on board with the grindiness of it all, except for one thing. The walking. Dear god, the walking. There are – very limited – teleportation shrines available, but even the walk from the town shrine to your home to sleep feels like it takes an eternity. Add in the loading screens between each and every small map segment, and it becomes very tedious, very quickly. Most places you go will necessitate walking through several areas, which of course are full of monsters, and it wasn’t long before I was attempting to just stroll right past pretty much everything because it was all taking far too long.

Even the farming elements are nothing to get excited about. It’s just more side content in a game that feels like it’s already got more side content than anything else. Sure, you can grow things to gain the good will of the townsfolk, or to cook things to replenish your health, but it’s not all that interesting, and if you like breaking boxes, you could probably just buy food throughout the entire game and not feel the hit to your wallet.

While the art & music is good, everything else about Kitaria Fables is bland. It’s not a game that will leave a bad taste in your mouth, necessarily, but rather one that feels like you’ve eaten nothing at all.

SteamDB estimates that Kitaria Fables has sold between 18,100 and 49,800 copies on Steam. More players were happy with this title than not, but negative reviews tend to focus on the excessive amount of grinding required as well as a not-very-coherent storyline. It is ranked 3141 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.