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Thursday, December 17, 2020

The catch-up coffee: Thursday, December 17, 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. Today, we're focusing specifically on games featured in yesterday's Nintendo Indie World Showcase. 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)!

When The Past Was Around available on consoles this week


When The Past Was Around launched for PC earlier this year as I stared longingly at the trailer. As a mobile/console-exclusive player, I'm used to having to wait for games I'm interested in to make the leap to console, but this wait has seemed longer than most. We knew last month it was set for a mid-December release, but we heard nothing... until now. As announced yesterday, the title is now available for the Nintendo Switch via the Nintendo eShop. But that's not all: it will launch for PlayStation 4 tomorrow, and Xbox One the following day. All our bases our covered, console players! Here's a trailer:


Developed by Mojiken (specifically, devs are linked to Coffee Talk and She and the Light Bearer), When The Past Was Around is a point-and-click puzzle game about love and loss. Eda is early into adulthood, and feels as though she got lost on her way to her dreams, and on her way to find love. The surreal world is made up of disjointed rooms from memories and time. he meets The Owl, a man that makes her passion ignite and also teaches her about heartbreak.

Players will collect clues, solve puzzles, and uncover secrets, not from others, but from Eda's mind. Mysteries are hidden in everyday objects, so Eda will do things like laundry and drinking tea./>

Oddly adorable Grindstone is out now for Switch


I adore puzzle games, and I adore (most) Canadian developers, so Grindstone is a no-brainer for me. Developed by Toronto-based Capybara games, Grindstone was one of the first titles released for Apple Arcade in September 2019. Of course, bringing it to the Nintendo Switch makes sense; there's a lot of overlap between mobile systems and the Nintendo console. The best part? It got a surprise drop, which are just plain fun. Here's the launch trailer:


The Nintendo Switch version of Grindstone includes all content updates to date and major UI improvements directly related to the console. There are over 250 levels to play through, with two game modes and daily leaderboards. It's described as having sword-slashing battles, which seems to make little sense in a puzzle game until you see it in action. Grindstone Mountain has been overrun by Creeps, and the player's goal is to hack their way to the peak where fame, fortune, and death await. There's even an end-game economy to keep players going, which involves finding blueprints for gold-plated items in hidden caves.

Grindstone is available now for purchase on the Nintendo Switch via the Nintendo eShop. It is also available via Apple Arcade. A physical edition will be available through iam8bit (it is available for pre-order now, here) https://www.iam8bit.com/products/grindstone-nintendo-switch This edition is one of the most unique physical versions of a game I've ever seen, as it includes crayons and a reversible 'colouring' cover to make use of said crayons. Capybara Games studio director Joel Burgess stated in a press release that the team "can’t wait to share even more updates in 2021."

Ever want to run your own café?


If so, and/or if you're a cat lover, this game is for you. Calico, a day-in-the-life sim developed by Peachy Keen Games, is now available for PC, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. A PlayStation 4 version will be coming sometime in the future. Here's the launch trailer:



The town's cat café needs help. Of course, it will first require loads of fuzzy little faces to greet guests. Every animal is interactive, and once befriended there are options to name them, add them to a party, or send them to the café. Party animals will follow the player and listen to commands, while animals at the café will lounge with its guests. Of course, a café needs food, so there's a cooking minigame to make baked goods and delicious drinks to then sell to the townspeople. Villagers have preferences, so remembering their favourite foods may be worthwhile.

As with a lot of sims, you'll find loads of customisation options in Calico. Players can create their own character and choose their clothing, which can be collected over the course of the game. The café can be decorated with different styles of furniture to create the atmosphere the player is after. And potions break the rules of the possible by doing things such as turning a cat giant-sized – it can even be riden!

Alba launches for Switch next year


I've had my eye on Alba: A Wildlife Adventure since it was announced for PC and Apple Arcade; these versions launched last week. The wait for a Nintendo Switch version won't be too long, though, as it is expected to hit the Nintendo eShop in (Northern) spring 2021. 


The game is all about Alba, and follows her adventures while visiting her grandparents on a Mediterranean island. There's a problem, though, as the island isn't exactly thriving. To put it bluntly, it needs Alba's help. She started her time by exploring with a friend (Ines), when she sees a struggling animal. This starts the ball rolling, and Alba and Ines found an organization to save the island. They aren't alone, though, as the townspeople are happy to repay favours with help.

The game is relatively calm, with no time limits. It's all about doing good deeds. Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is developed by ustwo games, the studio behind Monument Valley and Assemble With Care.

- Lindsay M.
News Editor


The catch-up coffee: Thursday, December 17, 2020
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