The catch-up coffee: Monday, March 20, 2023

From Pixel Pulp to classic arcade.

6 mins read
Dee Dee the mascot of DDNet

Welcome to Digitally Downloaded’s weekly catch-up news feature, the catch-up coffee. With each issue I 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)!

Varney Lake launches next month

I’ve rambled before about my love of all things Mothman, which led me to playing Mothmen 1966. It was a solid game that was a new take on what the Mothman could have been. It was also the first in a series of “Pixel Pulp” games from the developer. The second game in that series, Varney Lake, is another supernatural mystery. This time, the setting is a 1950s summer camp and the 1980s when a paranormal investigator is trying to get the now-adults to open up about what happened at that camp that summer. And the best part? Varney Lake is launching in April!

1954’s summer was long and hot. Jimmy, Doug, and Christine are spending their fourth vacation together at Varney Lake. They’re still kids, but blossoming into adults: teenage crushes, pranks, adventures, and pipe dreams run rampant. It’s all very normal… until the find the Vampire. In 1981, Lou Hill (the person who ties the series together) is trying to get Christine and Jimmy to open up about that summer and what really happened to Doug. The game features a branching narrative, some really cool pixel art, and accessible puzzles.

Developed by LCB Game Studio and published by Chorus Worldwide Games, Varney Lake will be released for PC via Steam on April 28.

Mail Time: another game launching in April!

Mail Time is just plain adorable. The relaxing cottagecore adventure is set in a peaceful forest. The player is on the first day of their new job as a Mail Scout. Wearing a mushroom hat and carrying a pack of letters, it’s time to deliver items to the fine folks of Grumblewood Grove. Run, jump, and glide to deliver joys to many cute creatures.

Players can customize their Scout with over 46,000 variations across six categories. Earn Mail Scout badges to upgrade the Mail Scout’s gliding ability. The woods include eight distinct areas, with hidden trinkets scattered about. And my favourite part of the game? There’s no time limits. No pressure. No risk of harm (if you fall, simply get back up). Play at your own pace. There are various accessibility options to help out.

Developed by Kela Van Der Deijl and published by Freedom Games, Mail Time will be released for PC via Steam/Epic/GOG on April 27. Versions for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch are expected later this year.

Surf Club is a short coming-of-age adventure coming to PC, consoles

You never quite realize how difficult life will be as an adult when you’re a child. Coming-of-age stories blur the lines between the two stages of life. Surf Club does just that, with player reliving the past and discovering the present. Six years after Holly moved away from Olive Bay, she is contacted by her former romantic partner Bede. They want to reconnect. Despite once planning a life together, they ended quite painfully.

Holly is apprehensive, but the allure of her past and love for Bede brings her back to her hometown, where she hopes to live their dreams together. Surf club is a relatively short game (about three hours) inspired by real life experienced and locations. Explore Olive Bay in the past and in the present, as the timelines blur together. There are loads of characters to meet, locations to visit, and collectibles to discover.

Developed by Olivia Haines (and self-published), Surf Club is confirmed for release on PC via Steam, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4. The hope is that there will also be a Nintendo Switch version.

Nintendo Switch Online adds new Game Boy, NES, and SNES titles

In its March 2023 update, Nintendo Switch Online has added four new games: two are from the Game Boy Era, one is NES, and one is SNES. The Game Boy Games are BurgerTime Deluxe and Kirby’s Dream Land 2. The NES game is Xevious. The SNES game is Side Pocket. Read on for descriptions!

Let’s start with Game Boy, since that’s especially trendy right now. BurgerTime Deluxe is a classic arcade game, with Chef Peter Pepper creating the ultimate curler by traversing an action-packed kitchen. Kirby’s Dream Land 2 is a classic. The bridges connecting the Rainbow Islands have disappeared. Kirby will have to solve the mystery while battling King Dedede and his minions. Along the way, Kirby will mean Rick, Kine, and Coco – each with important abilities.

Xevious has players become humanity’s last hope as the Solvavou Fighter’s pilot, with the goal being to destroy Xevious aircraft and bases. Side Pocket is a pool game (balls not swimming), with Nine Ball Game, Pocket Game, and Trick Game modes. It offers solo and multiplayer modes, too.


Lindsay picked up an NES controller for the first time at the age of 6 and instantly fell in love. She began reviewing GBA games 20 years ago and quickly branched out from her Nintendo comfort zone. She has has developed a great love of life sims and FMV titles. For her, accessibility is one of the most important parts of any game (but she also really appreciates good UI).

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