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Thursday, November 5, 2020

The catch-up coffee: Thursday, November 5, 2020


News by Lindsay M

Welcome to Digitally Downloaded’s regular catch-up news feature. With each issue we will bring you the best news that you may have missed. Grab the biggest mug you’ve got, fill it with your favourite brew, and catch up with us (and our favourite news anchor, Dee Dee)!

Owell's Animal Farm to share a release date with Cyberpunk 2077


I'm typing up this edition of the catch-up a day or so early, and since I'm in North America that places me right in the middle of the polls closing in the US election. I say this not because I want to talk about the election, but more because this timing is apt. The developers of Orwell's Animal Farm recently announced the game's launch date of December 10; yes, this is the same day as Cyberpunk, but really, which one would you choose? Because I'm absolutely aching for Animal Farm in game form. Take a peek at the latest teaser:


Developed by Nerial (known for the phenomenal Reigns series, which coincidentally has a game releasing on Apple Arcade later this week), Orwell's Animal Farm has been fully endorsed by the Orwell Estate. There's something comforting in that, no? In the novel (and, as a result, the game), Comrade Napoleon believes all animals are equal, and should make decisions for themselves... but sometime they are too stupid to be trusted, so listen to Napoleon instead. Despite being released in 1945 – the 75th anniversary just passed – the lessons to be learned here could change minds. By translating the book to a video game, the story will be given new life and an entirely new audience that isn't just being forced to read it in high school.

Owell's Animal Farm is a narrative choice-based adventure that puts the player at the centre of an allegorical animal revolution. Choosing who to follow, who to ignore, and who to sideline, influence critical events that determine the fate of the farm. It's a balancing act, though, as resources, farm defense, and citizen happiness are also all important factors.

Political title Suzerain set for an early December release


Thought I was done with political games? Nope! Up now is Suzerain, an RPG from Fellow Traveller (yep, it's Aussie!) and Topor Games (its first project). In a fun twist of irony, Fellow Traveller also published an Orwell-inspired game titled Orwell: Keeping An Eye On You for PC and iOS. But back to Suzerain: the previously-announced title is a political drama set in the fictional country of Sordland, where the player becomes the newly elected president. It's as timely as ever, and now we know it will be released for PC/Mac on December 4. This trailer revealed the date:


All choices have consequences. Do I need to say it again to the entire world? All. Choices. Have. Consequences. This goes from little things, like leaving 30 seconds late and missing the crosswalk signal by the same amount of time, to big things such as COVID-19 being completely out of control and killing hundreds of thousands for no reason. In Suzerain, the new president comes in during the 1950s while Sordland is struggling to recover from bloody coups, a civil war, and a decade of tyranny. He (of course it's a he) will have to tackle issues such as immigration, healthcare, and law enforcement. The president will work closely with his Cabinet members, but some may not be trustworthy. There is no chance of pleasing everybody, so how will the player choose to lead? By lining their pockets with their nation's cash? By pursuing constitutional reform? By improving or destroying lives? It sounds like things get heavy pretty quickly.

Suzerain is seriously-text-based, so have your glasses at the ready; the weighty conversations adds up to a whopping 200,000 words with branching paths. Decisions will often result in moral, political, or personal sacrifices. For example, can you be a good president and a good father? If not, which is important enough to pursue? The story is new, but the issues should have an echo (or a scream) of truth to all players. The game ends after four years, and where the country lands is entirely in the president's hands.

This point-and-click title is something to look forward to in 2021


Point-and-click games are my jam. One, there is no button-mashing required. Two, I've played some really excellent ones over my nearly-35 years on this planet. So when the PlayStation Talents initiative announced The Many Piece of Mr. Coo, I was basically instantly sold. The hand-drawn 2D adventure will be released for PlayStation 4 next year as part of the initiative. It's developed by Nacho Rodríguez, a Spanish animator whose goal was to create a video game that embraces classic 2D animation of titles such as Dragon's Lair.


The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo is best described as a surrealist point-and-click adventure. In follows Mr. Coo in a weird, nonsensical world that he cannot escape without your help to make him whole again. Yes, there will be some philosophical issues, but there will also be chaotic monsters, crazy robots, and one-eyes ladies, so the silly should even out with the serious.

Unlike a lot of point-and-click adventures, this one is fully animated. Mr. Coo has also appeared in its creator's hilarious short films and is quite celebrated, so that adds a good layer of trust onto this already-intriguing title. It's filled with wacky characters, absurd humour, and loads of meaning.

Underwater Tamagotchi – enough said


If a developer describes its game as something even vaguely related to Tamagotchis, I will jump in head-first. It's going to get wet this time, as we travel underwater in Fishkeeper, an aquarium sim by Blinkclick Games. And it's basically exactly what the description promises. The release is far away, set for late 2021 on PC and later for consoles, but for now take a look at the latest trailer:


Take on the role of a hobbyist looking after their aquarium. Start at the beginning by buying a tank and equipment, and then waste away the real-time hours taking care of the fish by satisfying their needs (based on species). All fish will have to be fed, safe, healthy, and able to socialise. They're able to breed, too. Then there's the matter of tank care itself, as you'll have to tackle water pH and salinity levels, temperature, and contamination.

The tank can be either freshwater or saltwater, which a large variety of fish and other underwater creatures available for each. You'll basically be building an artificial biosystem for your new fishy friends. Be careful, though, or some of those friends who seem lovely to you may seem more like dinner to something else in the tank. The better the fish are raised, the more they can be sold for in order to continue your rather expensive hobby. Rare specimens can even be auctioned off. 

- Lindsay M.
News Editor


The catch-up coffee: Thursday, November 5, 2020
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