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)!
Witchy puzzle game Harmony’s Odyssey will launch this year
Supernatural games have seemed quite dark lately, but Harmony’s Odyssey is set to change that completely. Developed by MythicOwl (Hexologic), it is a vibrant adventure puzzle game that follows Harmony as she ventures out to find her magic wand, stolen by her envious cat. That one sentence really draws me in – a cat… it stole a wand… hilarious! The game is set to be released for PC and Nintendo Switch sometime later this year. Here’s the announcement trailer:
Harmony’s Odyssey takes place in a world that combines our modern experience with mythology and comedy: Cyclopses are addicted to their smartphones, Minotaurs commute to work, and mermaids can be found chilling in suburban swimming pools. Harmony, a young yet fierce wizard, has lost her wand to her envious cat, and will have to travel from Olympus to and through remote lands (specifically, seven distinct worlds) while trying to solve the tangles puzzles left behind by the cat with the wand.
The gameplay happens on 3D tiles, with interactive puzzles along the way. Sometimes there are even riddles (which really aren’t used enough in puzzle games, now that I think about it). There is also a wide range of mini-games to play. The graphics are vibrant and colourful. The story combines comedy with drama, and the contemporary with the mythological, and I’m fascinated to see how that plays out.
Spiritfarer will get content updates this year
Thunder Lotus, a Montreal game studio founded in 2014 that developed Jotun and Sundered, released its third title last August. Spiritfarer is described as a cozy management sim about dying; the player becomes a ferrymaster to the deceased, also known as a Spiritfarer. Build a boat to explore the world, care for the spirits until they make it to the afterlife, farm, mine, fish, harvest, cook, craft… you get the idea. The game is currently available for PC via Steam/Epic/GOG, PlayStation 4, Stadia, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One, and I can personally highly recommend it. Which is why the news of not one, not two, but three new (and free) updates over the course of 2021 is super exciting! Here’s the roadmap:
Each of the updates includes its own set of new spirits, buildings, resources, and quality of life improvements (such as new UI and coop fishing). The first, Lily, will be released this (Northern) spring. Stella (the Spiritfarer) is recovering some of her memories, which appear as flowers blossoming over her cabin. Butterflies inhabit the new flowers, forming a new spirit: Lily, Stella’s younger sister. She’s the only spirit active at night, illuminating the boat for easy navigation. The second, Beverly, comes to us this summer. Beverly is actually Stella’s old neighbour, happy to finally have someone to reminisce with. Jackie and Daria will be available this fall. Stella will receive directions to a new island with a run-down hospital that homes Jackie, the caretaker, and Daria, his main patient.
Spiritfarer has enjoyed a good amount of success since launch, with both critical acclaim and Overwhelmingly Positive player reviews. Creative Director Nicolas Guérin referenced this success while discussing the upcoming content via a press release, saying, “We’re tremendously happy with the praise Spiritfarer has received since launch. It’s attracted a very passionate group of fans too, which is great because the team is excited to keep supporting the game with new content this year! I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank our fans for their crucial input as we explored various ideas for new Spiritfarer content. Your feedback definitely helped us zero in on the best path forward for the project!”
Did you know that Buildings Have Feelings Too!?
I can’t help but write about this game due entirely to its title. Developed by Blackstaff Games and published by Merge Games, Buildings Have Feelings Too! anthropomorphises buildings, giving each its own hopes, likes, dislikes, and fears. All they want to do is get along and get through the day. It will be released digitally for PC via Steam, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One this March. Here’s the trailer:
The buildings can talk to each other, and even walk. Walk! That’s incredible. The title is a city management game where players have to grow the city while still caring for individual buildings or they will be permanently demolished. There are new industries to research and new architectural marvels to build. Buildings can be arranged into multiple neighbourhoods. As the game progresses, specialist areas such as finance hubs or theatre districts become available. The player will also need to manage electricity supply, noise pollution, and transportation. Unfortunately, that darned thing called life can get in the way, and sometimes world events will impact the buildings.
The digital release of Buildings Have Feelings Too! will be followed by a physical release for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in May (sorry, Xbox and PC players). There will be a standard retail edition for €24.99 (PlayStation 4) or €34.99 (Nintendo Switch) and a Signature Edition from Signature Edition Games for €44.99 (both platforms).
The first gameplay teaser for Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One is now available
I love Frogwares games and have for a very long time; that was unexpected for me considering I picked up my first title from the developer in a bin of discount games at a business supply store over a decade ago – it was Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper, and anyone that knows me knows that using anything true crime will draw me in instantly. Frogwares has moved away from the popular character often enough, including 2019’s The Sinking City (which was good, but unfortunately not Call of Cthulhu good). Anyway, long story made a bit shorter, I love Frogwares’ Sherlock series and am always impatient for the next instalment. Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One was announced quite awhile ago, planned for launch this year on PC via Steam/Epic/GOG, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, and Xbox One. We’ve seen quite a bit about it but never a gameplay trailer. But that time has come, and here is the first gameplay teaser trailer for the upcoming title (a full gameplay trailer should pop up next month):
Sherlock: Chapter One gives us a rare glimpse into what a young Sherlock’s life could have been like. He’s on the verge of adulthood, filled with youthful arrogance and naivete. His companion is Jon, but now John Watson – this is Sherlock’s best (okay, only) friend, who may or may not be the person he seems to be. The game brings us away from a dark and dingy London and to a 19th century vibrant Mediterranean island that isn’t quite paradise, as crime runs rampant and the police are corrupt. Islanders cling to tradition with dear life and despise outsiders, making Sherlock’s job a lot more difficult that it would otherwise be.
The game mostly requires thought, logic, and exploration, although there are always weapons when Sherlock is in dire need of protection. Luckily, he’s able to observe enemies from afar and, if that’s what the player chooses, can take down the target with the environment alone. Brute force may work sometimes, but other situations require a softer touch, with Sherlock using his wits rather than his fists, and it is up to the player to decide which to use. The city is open for the pursuit of truth using clues, rumours, evidence, and (this is the best) disguises. And I’m most excited to say that the mind palace has returned as the place to piece things together! Unfortunately, the truth may do more harm than good…