Quick Look – To The Rescue! (#JustOnePercent 96/100)

Developer: Little Rock Games
Release Date: November 2, 2021
MSRP: $19.99

In the interest of full disclosure, I backed To The Rescue! on Kickstarter back in the late summer of 2019, and I played quite a bit of a demo build back in August of 2020. Obviously, I knew I was probably going to enjoy it – I tend to enjoy simulation games, especially ones with a story mode (which this game has), and I’m a sucker for a bunch of adorable dogs (which this game also has).

I am, in fact, enjoying it quite a bit so far, despite the fact that it’s a bit rough around the edges. There are a few character presets to choose from, and quite a few puppy presets from which you choose an animal companion. The story modes starts with some tutorials to introduce you to the somewhat unintuitive controls and mechanics. Before you know it, you’re working a day at the animal shelter by yourself. You’ll need to care for the dogs, which includes feeding, watering, bathing, and keeping their enclosures clean. Later in the game, you’ll add enrichment activities & medical care to that list. If that was all you needed to do every day, you’d already be pretty busy, but you’re also responsible for presenting dogs to potential adopters, as well as ordering supplies and managing your social media presence, all while balancing a budget (and trying not to run up too much overtime).

It’s a lot, but it’s also compulsively playable. Visitors will come in looking to adopt, and a lot of the time, they have preferences that they’ll tell you about. Of course, you may or may not have dogs that fit those preferences, but every dog also has an adoptability rating based on their profile. You can show five dogs at a time, and each star of adoptability (plus each star from matching customer preferences) will wear down their resistance meter. Turn that meter green, and you’ll be sending one lucky pup to their new home. Sometimes, visitors will come in looking for their lost dogs, and instead of having to put the proper pooch into the show kennel, you can just bring the correct dog directly to the visitor and send them on their way, usually with a small donation or reward in hand for your trouble.

Although adoptions are key to being able to manage your shelter, and are the most lucrative way to make money, you’ll also receive donations, and you can choose to pursue grants, which are special tasks you’ll have one week to accomplish. However, if you neglect caring for your animals too much in the pursuit of the almighty dollar, you’ll find yourself getting fines and potentially being shut down. It’s a frenetic balancing act with multiple fail states, and a lot of the time, dogs will be coming in faster than you can adopt them out.

Unfortunately, euthanasia is a reality in the animal shelter world, and it is also true here. Some dogs, for one reason or another, are just very likely to not be adopted. However, for folks who want a less realistic but more palatable experience, there is an option to turn of euthanasia in your game, giving instead the option to send a dog away. It doesn’t completely eliminate all references to this sad reality, but it does give you the option to not have to do it yourself.

Save points are only available at the end of each day, and they occur after you clock out. If you have any computer work you still need to do, you can do that off the clock, so it’s better to use the end of your day on care tasks rather than ordering supplies if you want to keep your staff budget down. I’m about two hours in, and not quite all the way through the first week, and new mechanics are still unlocking for me at the end of each day. I’m not sure where I’ll manage to find the time to do everything every day, especially considering that I’m taking in more dogs every day than I’m adopting out, but I’m looking forward to seeing where the game will take me.

SteamDB estimates that Dogs Organized Neatly has sold between 26,300 and 72,300 copies on Steam. Although the sales numbers are respectable for the developer’s first foray into video games, reviews are mixed. Most of the negative reviews focus on bugs, with a few complaints about pacing and an overly long, but not terribly effective, tutorial section. Although I encountered a few minor glitches and some non-intuitive game play elements, I didn’t experience anything game breaking like many players have. It is ranked 5709 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Quick Look – Dogs Organized Neatly (#JustOnePercent 94/100)

Developer: DU&I
Release Date: November 1, 2021
MSRP: $2.99

Pure puzzle games really have to walk a fairly fine line between being challenging and not being frustrating. Without any challenge, there’s nothing to keep you playing, and if it gets too hard, well, there’s not much else to convince you to power through. Dogs Organized Neatly does a fairly good job of walking that tightrope after a few introductory levels, and it’s got adorable pups as a bonus.

Every few levels, you unlock a new canine companion to puzzle with. Each dog gets a small bit of backstory, but mostly they’re going to be new shapes. Pack the dogs into the grid, and you’ve completed the level. It’s not a complicated game, there aren’t a ton of mechanics, but it’s a fun package for people looking for a good coffee-break puzzler. I managed to complete three chapters in approximately an hour of play.

Dogs can be dragged around to fit in the grid, and rotated, but not flipped. The controls are simple and intuitive, and it plays very well on the Steam Deck. The music is pleasant enough, but if you prefer to have a podcast going or listen to your own music, you won’t be missing out on anything relevant to the gameplay. It’s a simple formula done well with a coat of adorable furry paint.

If you prefer cute cats to precious pups, the developers have a similar title in Cats Organized Neatly, or if you love all animals you can buy both in a bundle with a small discount. These games aren’t going to change your life, but with 80 levels each, if you like pets & puzzles, you’ll certainly get three dollars worth out of them.

SteamDB estimates that Dogs Organized Neatly has sold between 12,000 and 33,000 copies on Steam. What you see is what you get, and what you get is well constructed, and the Overwhelmingly Positive reviews reflect this. It is ranked 103 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Game Over – At Eve’s Wake (#JustOnePercent 93/100)

Developer: Sugar Rush Studios
Release Date: October 30, 2021
MSRP: $24.99

Normally, when you start a game, the first question you ask yourself is “How do I win?”. But when playing At Eve’s Wake, it’s likely that before too long, the question you’ll be asking is “Do I want to win?” and you may discover that the answer to that question is no.

Which is not to say that you won’t want to play, but you need to be a fan of visual novels because the gameplay is – in its entirety – making choices. Whether it’s how to respond to dialog prompts, or which storyline threads to follow, there are no shortage of decisions to be made. Thankfully, the story (at least as far as I’ve gotten) is fairly well written and full of compelling characters.

Now, I haven’t played too many visual novels, but what set this one apart for me was that you’re frequently given the option to change your mind. I stubbornly stuck to my gut reactions throughout my first play through, even when things went in unexpected directions, and – in the end – terminated the story prematurely. However, that lead to the discovery of the next really interesting thing about At Eve’s Wake – it’s taken influence from time loop games and your character will remember things that happened in past playthroughs. Which is great, because there are a lot of ways to screw it all up, and lots of interesting things to discover.

It does heavily rely on a common trope – your character is missing big chunks of memories. You’ve also suffered quite a bit of tragedy in your life, you father died in a car accident, and your mother has – at least somewhat recently – died in a household accident. Now you’ve received a letter letting you know that your grandmother – who have no recollection of – has passed away and offering you additional information about the other deaths in your family. The game starts as you approach the castle in which your grandmother’s wake is to be held, as is another event, The Convergence.

You will have to choose which personality trait defines you, and it does have an impact on what you are able to do throughout the remainder of that play through. You can choose from being tough, observant, or charming, and when you inevitably start a second (or third, or fourth) play through, you can choose another personality trait to open up other avenues in the story. Choices that you are able to make due to trait you’ve chosen will show up in the corresponding color throughout the game.

Once the stage is set, on each day, you’ll be able to choose different parts of the estate to explore, allowing you to learn more about the other characters. You may choose to side with one faction or another, or you may keep on trying to go it alone, but it will definitely be difficult to figure out who you can trust and who will stab you in the back as soon as you turn around.

The artwork and music fits the mood of the story quite well, and the first twenty minutes or so are quite a ride. I’ve managed to survive to the end of the story once, although I did not win, I also was not trying to – in a lot of ways, the information gained by losing is perhaps an even better reward. The tone and genre of the story are particularly appealing for me personally, and I can’t wait to dive back in to figure out how all the pieces fit together.

SteamDB estimates that At Eve’s Wake has sold between 400 and 1,100 copies on Steam. It was also part of Fanatical’s Stand with Ukraine charity bundle from March of 2022. Most of the handful of reviews that have been left for this game have been favorable, but it’s likely that the niche genre of visual novel and the relatively high price have stunted its sales. It is ranked 2354 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Quick Look – Subway Midnight (#JustOnePercent 92/100)

Developer: Bubby Darkstar
Release Date: October 28, 2021
MSRP: $9.99

Might as well get right to the point – Subway Midnight barely feels like a game at all. It’s like a haunted house ride at a carnival – all show and no substance. Which is not to say it’s without any merit at all – the show is reasonably good. The art is weirdly cute & creepy, and it sounds like you’re on a subway, but after spending more than 20 minutes doing little more than walking in a straight line and trying to interact with things that cannot be interacted with, I’m not really sure that the show is quite good enough in this case.

Considering that the entire game can be played through in a couple of hours, according to HowLongToBeat, that’s far too long for nothing of significance to happen. Heck, even in a longer game, I don’t want to just be soaking up atmosphere for almost half an hour. I did encounter a couple of “puzzles” (and using the word puzzle here is generous), but there didn’t even seem to be much in the way of environmental storytelling in the portion of the game I played. Sure, you’re seeing missing posters, but you can’t actually read any of them, and picking up items and putting them into electrical sockets does not compelling game play make.

Subway Midnight definitely presses the buttons of being spooky, maybe even nudging into scary territory in some spots, but I’m not sure there’s enough of anything here to make it worth two hours of the player’s time. Maybe I’m impatient and it was just about to get interesting, but my tolerance for walking in a straight line was exhausted.

SteamDB estimates that Subway Midnight has sold between 14,700 and 40,300 copies on Steam. While some reviewers found it as tedious as I did, many more were intrigued enough to play it through to completion and would recommend it for fans of walking simulators. It is ranked 1526 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Quick Look – Midnight Protocol (#JustOnePercent 91/100)

Developer: LuGus Studio
Release Date: October 13, 2021
MSRP: $14.99

I’m honestly not sure if it’s unusual or not, but for someone who’s so very much attached to her computer (and has been for most of her life), I have never really had much interest in programming. Because of this, hacking games have never held much appeal for me – sure, it’s a cool concept in the abstract, but I always figured I’d have to know something about how to talk to computers to have it not just be a big ol’ confusing mess. While I won’t say that Midnight Protocol makes hacking simple, it wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as I had feared.

You play as Data, a pretty serious hacker who has just recently – and just barely – gotten away with it. A friend sets you up on a pretty basic system, and you’re ready to jump back into the game. Since your skills might have atrophied a little while you were locked up, they give you a couple of easy tasks to get you back on your sneaky cyber-feet, as it were.

The tutorial is maybe a little slow paced for people familiar with the basic concepts involved in hacking games, but it was just about perfect for me. By default the game is turn-based (although you have the option to change that to real time once you complete the tutorial for the first time), and on each turn, you get two actions. After each turn, the system makes an effort to trace you, and you are definitely going to want to accomplish your mission and get out before it does.

Each tutorial mission teaches you something else about the game, whether that be additional types of moves you can make, different nodes you might encounter while hacking, or more complex things you may run into which are trying to stop you from doing whatever it is you’re in the system to do. I can only speak for myself, but I made a lot of mistakes, even in the earliest levels, partially because I’m impatient, and also partially because I didn’t find the mechanics to be super-intuitive.

The graphics are super simple, but it really fits the aesthetic. The story is drip-fed to you, and once you complete the tutorial, you’ll find yourself doing missions to kill time between the arrival of emails which push things forward. For me, that’s where I started to lose interest; I just wasn’t invested enough in the game play to want to have to replay side missions over and over until I got them right. The missions are short enough, and it doesn’t take terribly long to reboot a mission gone wrong, but I just wasn’t jazzed enough about what I had seen to want to keep going.

I can’t say that I disliked Midnight Protocol, and it’s a game I might someday wander back to. Unfortunately I don’t have any basis for comparison to tell if it’s a “good” hacking game or not. What I can say is that it felt straightforward enough that if I get a sudden urge to play a hacking-focused game, this is one I would likely return to rather than looking for something else to scratch the itch.

SteamDB estimates that Midnight Protocol has sold between 5,800 and 16,000 copies on Steam. It’s currently got a Very Positive Steam rating, with the players who wouldn’t recommend it mostly referencing the random nature of the probability based gameplay elements and the missions that have hard turn limits as reasons they didn’t care for it. It is ranked 1131 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

Another Roadblock or What Happened to the #JustOnePercent Posts?

As I am sitting down to write this, it’s been over two full weeks since my last post for #JustOnePercent. This is quite a bit more of a significant slump than I was in the first time I talked about hitting a project block back in May. It’s not the first time I’ve dropped games, or rearranged my schedule due to other things getting in the way, but it’s definitely the largest gap I’ve had to date.

At this point, I’ll be coming up short of my monthly 12 post goal again, but even considering the games I dropped off my list last month & this month, I’m not really concerned about not finishing the project overall. I have no intention of throwing in the towel.

Instead, I thought I’d write a little about each of the games I passed over. In truth, the primary reason was that life got in the way, but I did manage to play at least a little of four of the five games I originally had planned to write about. The one I skipped entirely got dropped due to being more than a year from release – I’d misread a date and only noticed it when I went to sit down and start the game.


Developer: Muse Games
Release Date: September 23, 2021
MSRP: $19.99

This was one of the games I selected to play on the Steam Deck, and I put about half an hour in during the beginning of September. I fully expected to go back to it, but I lost track of the days, and actually sat down to play it one day after the game’s first anniversary. Sure, I could have fudged the numbers and went back to it, but I was irritated with myself, and not in the best head space, and just decided to skip this one and get the next two done.

As it turned out, my next scheduled game was Dandy Ace, which was released on Steam in March of 2021, not in September at all. Discovering this when I was already feeling overextended and frustrated pretty much put the nail in the coffin of September posts for me. I decided to take a few days break, to clear my head, and try to get one last post done before the end of the month.


Developer: Sokpop Collective
Release Date: October 12, 2021
MSRP: $4.99

Overall, I’ve really liked all the the games I’ve played from Sokpop Collective. They are usually a simple concept, well-executed, and don’t tend to be obtuse or overstay their welcome. It’s entirely possible this is also true of Heliopedia, but I just couldn’t figure it out. I had no idea what the game wanted me to do, really. But given my condition at the time I attempted to play, I really can’t tell you if this was all me, all the game, or something in between – which seems most likely. Most of the last week of September for me was straight up exhaustion, and I did very little that I didn’t absolutely have to do.

Again, I elected to not push myself, as I knew that I would be doing a disservice both to myself and to the game, and vowed to do better with the new month coming, and most of the things that had been complicating my life and sapping my energy having been resolved.

Raccoon Arrival

Developer: Julian Fokin
Release Date: October 12, 2021
MSRP: $7.99

Well, I did say most of the things. I attempted to play Raccoon Arrival the night before the day I had scheduled to post about it. I knew it was supposed to be a walking sim with light puzzle and collection elements. I knew it was supposed to take about an hour to complete. I was ready to play through to the credits.

Less than 10 minutes in, I was completely stuck. I’m not sure if I screwed something up and soft-locked myself, or if I was missing something super obvious, but I could not progress. It was too soon for me to be really invested, and too close to having struggled with the last couple of games I didn’t get done in time. I put it aside, promised myself I’d start fresh and try again.

I did not start fresh and try again. I sat down, started moving things around to see if I could finagle being behind schedule-wise, and eventually decided to skip this one and move directly onto the next game on the list.


Developer: Et Al Games
Release Date: October 12, 2021
MSRP: $9.99

For what was now the fifth time in a couple of weeks, Changes had me questioning if maybe my brain fog had gotten to the point where not only could I not manage to write about gaming anymore, but perhaps I couldn’t even figure out basic puzzle games anymore. I usually do fairly well with puzzlers that don’t tell you what to do and instead leave you to figure it out. Not so here. Even after reading the rules, I was struggling to navigate the menus, never mind actually complete the puzzles.

I feel like if a game isn’t going to explain things, it has to have crystal clear precision with its user feedback. If I can’t tell if the thing I just did was good or bad, helpful or not, it becomes nearly impossible to figure out what the game is requiring of me. This probably wouldn’t have been a satisfying gaming experience for me on my best day, and it certainly wasn’t my best day when I was playing it.

None of these games got the time it deserved, or a very good version of me as the player. In every one, there was something I liked, and something I wasn’t crazy about, but even not being 100% on task, I could see why people like them. That said, the best thing I could do for myself at the time was to put every single one back into the library, and resume project gaming when I felt like I was ready.

I’m nearly there now – I’ve been getting better rest, and starting to tackle a lot of things that I had to let slide over the past month or so. The rest of this week is heavily scheduled for project posts, as well as two quick looks from the October 2022 Humble Choice. I won’t be keeping to my preferred schedule, but I think I’m climbing up the other side of this particular roadblock, and hopefully, it’ll be a smooth ride from here to the finish line.

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 Itch.io. 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.