Fishy pals, Sand boats, and ex-boyfriend trouble

This week we recommend turn-based cultural exploration game Thirsty Suitors, a calming Fish Game, and some other great indies.

Fishy pals, Sand boats, and ex-boyfriend trouble

Here's your Indie Release Dispatch for November 3, 2023.

Written and hosted by Steve Heller

Hello everyone! I hope your week has treated you well. At my day job right now I am currently doing a migration of our project management software, which has meant a lot of overtime and not much time for gaming. I did managed to get a few more levels of Super Mario Bros. Wonder done which was pretty great, and I have been falling into a bit of a VR rabbit hole as I finally charged up my Quest 2 and decided to give it a real good workout. I have always been a fan of VR, but Half-Life: Alyx was my first major game (outside of the two I worked on with my previous employer) and that was kind of a mistake, because nothing else has come close. But that effect has worn off on me a little bit, so I am excited to go back in, with my expectations severely reset.

But enough about that, let's dive into the dispatch!

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What came out this week?

Alien Hominid HD

Developer: The Behemoth
Steam rating: Very Positive
Store page

When talking about the classic era of the indie gaming renaissance, you don't get much more successful that The Behemoth. While Castle Crashers may have been their first mainstream hit via Xbox Live Arcade, Alien Hominid was the first release from this small team back in 2004 for the PS2. Now it is here again on Steam, bringing the award-winning 2D side-scroller back some 16 years later with improved visuals, online monthly leaderboards, and Steam achievements. I suspect if you remember this game from your youth, you probably will be excited by this, but if like me you missed this somehow back in the day, it could be a good opportunity to go back and see the beginnings of a foundational studio for the wave of indies that brought unique ideas to console gamers.

This Bed We Made

Developer: Lowbirth Games
Steam rating: Very Positive
Store page

I love a good mystery, and that is why This Bed We Made by Lowbirth Games immediately jumped out at me when I spotted it on Steam. Set in the late 50's you play as Sophie - a chambermaid in the Clarington Hotel who stumbles upon a story of glamour and murder as you go about your daily routine. You will be exploring the private lives of the hotel guests, and each action you make will have an impact on how the story unfolds. It is a short game, running at 4-6 hours for a typical playthrough, but it just has this air of intrigue that has me interested.

Thirsty Suitors

Developer: Outerloop Games
Steam rating:
Store page

Tony Hawk, Persona, and Venba get thrown into a blender, and out comes the long-awaited Thirsty Suitors from Outerloop Games. This deliciously colorful adventure explores culture, relationships, family pressures, and how express yourself when facing all of those factors. You play as Jala who needs to sort things out with their exes, and repair broken relationships in time for her sister's wedding. All of this takes place via over-the-top turn-based battles that unfold as you traverse the world of Bearfoot Park via some sick skateboarding sections. And to top it all off you get to repair your relationships with action-packed cooking segments while exploring South Asian inspired dishes. There seems to be a lot going on here, but everything I have seen from Thirsty Suitors seems wonderful, and I am very excited to check it out today.

Sands of Aura

Developer: Chashu Entertainment
Steam rating: Mostly Positive
Store page

This one came on my radar thanks to Rock, Paper, Shotgun's headline "Sands of Aura, out today, is a Soulslike RPG with Wind Waker-style open world sailing". I like Soulslikes. I like Wind Waker. Now after checking out the Steam page for Sands of Aura, I think I might like this too! A pesky cataclysm has unleashed permanent night time on the land of Talamhel, and as a brand new Remnant Knight, you are sailing across the seas of sand in a Grainwake - a fancy sand boat! An open world awaits filled with combat and lore, and an art style that honestly seems pretty fantastic. I have never heard of this game, but it was in Early Access for some time, and it seems that this version 1.0 release is creating some buzz.


Developer: KIRA LLC
Steam rating: Very Positive
Store page

Before Dark Souls, FROM Software was known for their gritty dungeon crawlers like Shadow Tower and King's Field. That is what Lunacid is cribbing from, releasing a retro first-person dungeon crawler that sees you thrown into a great well for crimes unknown. Your only way out is to go deeper into the abyss, and confront the sleeping old one at the bottom. Filled with vicious enemies and many secrets, Lunacid actually looks like a great game that got a strong following in Early Access, and now sees a v1.0 release.

Fish Game

Developer: A Shell In the Pit Games / Creative Ink Games
Steam rating: Very Positive
Store page

Do you like Fish? Do you sit at home late at night, just wishing that you had a temperature controlled tank filled with the most colorful tropical swimmy pals to keep you company? Well I present to you Fish Game, a highly "soFISHticated" aquarium simulator that will have you crafting tanks, caring for your fish, and dealing with their various needs and personalities. Fishing in games has become such a huge feature, but Fish Game looks to explore the nature of why we like fish in general. Good vibes from this one.

Here's a thing I did this week

I released a Tabletop Simulator mod

I had a mission - to take the fancy new board game Pagan: Fate of Roanoke that I got from a Kickstarter pledge, and play it with my cohort Blue. Problem is that I live in Japan, and Blue does not live in Japan. What a conundrum.

After over 100 hours playing Tabletop Simulator with friends, I took my first step towards making something for it. While my mod has 0 scripting (the game honestly doesn't require it at all), learning how to scan and import cards and tokens was a super interesting process. I read so many different ways of doing it across the internet, but my trusty Pixel 7, some good lighting, and an overhead phone mount did the trick to scan all the assets. I laughed in glee as I imported a .PNG file and Tabletop Simulator did the hard work of creating a mesh that expertly resembled the limited-edition wooden player tokens I received from the deluxe edition. I felt like some kind of genius, and I didn't even attempt to write any sort of code to make this all just... work.

The interesting thing to me however is just how quickly things on the Steam Workshop gain traction. As it stands in the first two days of the mod existing, there is a 72% adoption rate of people who have seen the mod, and those who subscribe and add it to their collection of games they will probably never play, but they'd like to have.

I made this simply so Blue and I could play the game, but now I already have some updates planned, and eventually some scripting that will need to be done as I add in the expansion content to facilitate deckbuilding. I have never done any scripting before, so this is an exciting little project. I am probably going to write something for the DLC segment of the website, so if this kind of stuff interests you, make sure that you hit the Subscribe button.

And that's a wrap for this week. Let me know what games have been grabbing your attention this week. What indie gems have we missed that you would like to let the world know about?