The catch-up coffee: December 18, 2023

Cozy games and a studio closure.

9 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)!

Developer Fntastic shuts down, and its a wild story

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed on December 11, and saw a tweet feed from a developer (that I follow yet am somehow also not familiar with) called Fntastic. It was announcing its closure and said it was due to the fact its latest game “failed financially.” It is when you dig further into this game that things get interesting. The Day Before was announced in 2021 as a survival-horror MMO. It launched for PC on December 7, selling about about 200,000 copies over the first couple of days. Players were so disappointed in the game that nearly 50% of purchases (over 90,000) have been refunded. Basically, the game is so bad that it put the developer out of business completely. Here is The Day Before’s announcement trailer courtesy of IGN (Fntasic has deleted everything from YouTube):

Basically, the game wasn’t what it was hyped to be. Before it even launched, there were rumours that it was vapourware thanks in part to constant delays. First it was supposed to be released on June 21, 2022. That was pushed to March 2023. Then the date because November 10. It actually launched on December 7, featuring endless bugs and no sign of being an actual MMO. Rather, it was a shooter where players couldn’t communicate with each other or even choose their teams. And it was buggy AF. Two hotfixes in two days didn’t fix the problem.

In Fntastic’s tweet announcing its closure, it notes that it didn’t take any money from the public during the development of The Day Before and that it poured everything it had into the game. And look, I’m never going to celebrate a developer failing. It really sucks. But then people who worked on the game started speaking up; one anonymous staffer told DualShockers: “No one from our team knows why they called it an MMO. It was always a third-person shooter with some co-op mechanics. Not one RPG mechanic was implemented — skills were an idea, and they were in the prototype stage, but nothing more.” The studio’s CEOs/founders made every single decision about gameplay and design, disregarding any feedback. Disagree and risk being fired. It sounds like the entire company basically imploded thanks to only two people. So the entire story, from the beginning of development the studio’s closure, is basically one giant mess.

Tamagotchi Adventure Kingdom announced – but only for Apple Arcade

Every now and then, a title gets announced for Apple Arcade that makes me pray to some sort of unnamed higher power that the game comes to consoles as well. Wylde Flowers was the first (I was at least subscribed to AA at the time), and it did later come to PC and consoles (my review here). My fingers are still crossed that Hello Kitty Island Adventure comes to Nintendo Switch. But now that a Tamagotchi game has been announced, I don’t know if I have the patience to wait for something that might not happen. I might have to resub. I cannot miss out on Tamagotchi Adventure Kingdom, a game that involved building your own wilderness camp, inviting Tamagotchi companions, and use the power of happiness to restore the kingdom.

A mysterious meteor has fallen over the land, and it’s up to Mametchi (and you) to fix the damage. The game promises to be filled with things to find and mysteries to unravel. Your camp is your home, and you can decorate it as you wish. Make friends with almost 300 Tamagotchis (each with its own personality), explore their world, and customise your Tamagotchi heroes with outfits.

Developed by Bandai Namco, Tamagotchi Adventure Kingdom will be released for Apple Arcade (Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, Mac) on January 4, 2024.

Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons coming to PC, Nintendo Switch

It’s nonogram time, Story of Seasons style! Enjoy the series’ charm while chilling out and exercising your brain with a classic style of logic puzzles. Villagers and bachelors, tools, crops, animals, and upgrades all appear in nonogram form. But there’s a Story of Seasons twist to this: as you clear puzzles the seasons will progress, your farm will expand, livestock will appear, and crops will grow. The game is filled with options so you can play how you like. Want to hide the timer? Go ahead! Want your mistakes to be corrected? Sure! Want to choose the puzzles’ themes? Absolutely. Want to manage how completed clues are marked off? You can do that too.

Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons features 350 puzzles and five unlockable collage puzzles that combine dozens of pictures into a single image. Specific puzzles will unlock entries in the almanac, where you can learn all about your favourite characters and critters. There are detailed statistics and achievements, so there is a replayability aspect here: replay puzzles to get a better time, or hone your skills by toggling off specific gameplay options.

Developed by Score Studios and published by Rainy Frog, Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons will be released for PC via Steam and Nintendo Switch on February 27, 2024.

Check out a new “System” trailer for Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island

The sixth numbered entry into the Shiren series, Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island is set to be released in Japan during January and in the West during February. Last week, Spike Chunsoft dropped a new trailer about the roguelike dungeon crawling adventure’s gameplay systems, including the Monster Dojo and Parallel Play.

When the game begins, Shiren has a vision of a mysterious girl. He sets out for Serpentcoil Island with Koppa at his side. The island is said to be the lost stronghold of treasure-hoarding pirates. They will try to rescue the girl and uncover the mystery of Serpentcoil Island. Shiren and Koppa will have to brave many dangers: hostile monsters and hidden traps await. There are useful items to be found in dungeons too, though. There’s one catch: if Shiren collapses while exploring a dungeon, anything he found in there will be lost.

Developed and published by Spike Chunsoft, Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island will be released for Nintendo Switch worldwide on February 27, 2024. The Japanese version, Shiren the Wanderer 6: Toguro Island Expedition Record, will be released on January 25, 2024.

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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