Mice, Reality TV, and Saving the Ocean

More games to deal with mice than I was expecting in this week's new indie releases

Mice, Reality TV, and Saving the Ocean

Here's your Indie Release Dispatch for November 19, 2023.

Written and hosted by Steve Heller

Hello everyone!

Apologies for the late dispatch this week. Work continues to be a never-ending grind (I know, it typically is for all), and I just did not have time to throw this together on the usual Friday. Next week I am actually going on a proper holiday, so I wanted to get something out now, seeing that there will be no dispatch going out next week.

I did manage to get some gaming done. My beautiful doggo Ani was getting a luxurious bubble bath at the groomers, so I sat in a 7Eleven carpark on the outskirts of Yokohama playing World of Horror on the Steam Deck. First of all, what a great Steam Deck game! It's 2bit color scheme and limited animation means that it hardly drains the battery. Secondly, GO PLAY WORLD OF HORROR! If you like classic adventure games, turn-based combat, and roguelikes, it is a wonderfully unique take on all three genres.

But enough about that, let's take a look at the new releases

What came out this week?

The Last Faith

Developer: Kumi Souls Games ​
Steam rating: Mostly Positive
Store page

The animation of The Last Faith is what made it stand out to me immediately. The way that the character's hair flows in the wind as they slice and slam their foes with all manner of glorious weaponry is pretty mesmerising. The Last Faith is taking big Castlevania vibes and mixing them with Soulslike elements to deliver their modern take on a gothic adventure, and according to the reviews on Steam, it seems a lot of people are really digging that. The story casts you in the role of Eryk who is in a race against time as his mind and conscience begins to deteriorate. Chasing salvation, you will face off against ancient religions and divinities to save your sould. This one looks pretty neat, and while I don't particularly gel with the genre, it even has me curious to check it out.

Backpack Hero

Developer: Jaspel ​
Steam rating: Very Positive ​
Store page

If you spend hours managing the perfect inventory layout in Resident Evil, then Backpack Hero will most certainly be your jam. This inventory management roguelike has your adorable mouse collecting items as they move throughout the world. It is your job to arrange and pack the backpack optimally, getting bonus power when certain items are places in specific configurations. There is a full story-mode or a run-based Roguelike mode, with full meta-progression and a village to rebuild based on your successes. This one has been in Early Access for a while, but it has hit 1.0 this week and is ready for a new influx of tiny adventurers.

Small Saga

Developer: Darya Noghani ​
Steam rating: Very positive
Steam page

Keeping with the mouse theme, turn-based medieval rpg Small Saga finally hits 1.0 this week. This project was launched on Kickstarter 4 years ago, and has hit Steam this week with a great response. Taking place under the streets of London, a kingdom of rate, mice, moles, squirrels and other beasties live amongst each other. They have one cardinal law: never attack a god. But when Verm has his tail stolen by the Yellow God of Death, they set forth on a quest to attack all manner of beasts and titans to get his tail back. It looks like this project was made by just one person, and it definitely has a striking visual style. As a big fan of Fievel goes West growing up, my inner child is reaching out for this game.


Developer: Moon Lagoon ​
Steam rating: Very Positive ​
Store page

"Loddlenaut". Say it with me. "Loddlenaut". Doesn't it just have good mouth feel? This chirpy eco-friendly adventure takes place on an alien planet called GUP-14. It is your job as a Loddlenaut to explore, clean up the goop under the sea, recycle trash to craft new items and upgrades, and to befriend the friendly Loddles that inhabit the ocean. I am really getting into this PlayStation 1 filter art style that we are seeing in a lot of games now, and I think that Loddlenaut is sharing a really good environementally-focused gameplay message here, which makes it easy to recommend. If you enjoy games like Slime Rancher or Astroneer, this one would be worth considering.

American Arcadia

Developer: Out of the Blue Games ​
Steam rating: Very Positive ​
Steam page

The folks at Out of the Blue Games make good stuff. Their first release Call of the Sea (my thoughts can be found here) was filled with memorable characters and great lore, so when I found out that they were working on American Arcadia, it immediately shot up on my watch list. After a lengthy silence, the game has hit Steam this week, and tells its tale of Orwell's 1984 meets The Truman Show. You play as every man Trevor Hills, who is simply enjoying his life as a mundane office clerk. However, if you are part of the reality TV show American Arcadia, mundane doesn't make you popular. And there is a penalty for being unpopular in this world- execution. So with the help of Angela Solano, a rogue stage technician, you must get Trevor out of the Arcadia alive, and if possible, bring down the network with it. This one looks super up my alley, and I think for those who enjoy these dystopian stories, it could be your pick of the week.

This week we reviewed The Invincible

The Invincible is a passable walking sim that has some heady themes that it never really lets you examine too closely. I really wanted to like The Invincible more than I did, and some aspects of it really did strike a chord with me personally, but as a game I find it a little hard to recommend to everyone. If you are curious about this one, please click on through to read the review.

There will be no dispatch next week

I am going to be holiday in Shikoku with friends, and I am going to try and make it a rule to stay off my computer for most of the trip. I'm only packing my Playdate, so I won't be getting much gaming done either. But I really need the break, so please stay tuned for the following week when the dispatch will be returning.

Thanks for reading or listening as always. If you find the newsletter useful, please share it with a friend, it's the only way we can keep on growing. Jump in the comments and let me know what indie games you will be playing this week!