Typically, the summer months constitute a "down" time for games. You may have forgotten this last year since 2017 was a gold mine for amazing titles, but most years slow down in the months between E3 and the holiday rush. However, we here at Coverage Club know that there are always games to play. Just under the big new releases and the indie darlings, there are piles and piles of overlooked indie games just waiting for their day in the spotlight. We went back just a few months and found two interesting releases that you've probably never heard of.
Märchen Forest: Mylne and the Forest Gift
Covered by Robert N. Adams
Märchen Forest: Mylne and the Forest Gift centers on a young girl and her alchemist grandfather. I've always had an interest in the occult, and Fullmetal Alchemist was one of the first anime series I ever saw. Suffice to say, the general theme interests me and I was keen to check it out.
The game splits into two parts, so much so that it almost feels like two completely distinct ideas that were put together as one. The shift in gameplay was a bit jarring, but the developer managed to make it work and connect things well through the narrative.
The first part of the game has players collecting alchemy ingredients in a very simple potion-making system. You need to solve simple puzzles or complete certain tasks to get these ingredients. Once you complete a potion, you start the game all over again with the potion in your inventory in a sort of New Game + system. Some of the ingredients can unlock other areas of the tiny open world map where you're foraging. The potions themselves prove useful for gaining access to more alchemy fixin's for future playthroughs.
It's possible to fail by losing an item or completing a quest in a less-than-ideal way, too. At the minimum, you'll play through the alchemy portion of Märchen Forest: Mylne and the Forest Gift at least three times. After you create the third potion, you gain access to the dungeons and a credits scene.
The second half of the game is a complete departure from the first. The movement controls and the main character are about the only thing that carries over, connected solely by the narrative. The main character Mylne is searching for her real mother by delving into the depths and you'll have to fight enemies that will pop up out of nowhere in the classic RPG style. Players must keep themselves fed in the dungeon and avoid zeroing out their HP while exploring and fighting; winning battles will result in leveling up and an increase in your stats.
Combat is a simple but nonetheless interesting system. You can take an action depending on your agility. Enemy attacks can be blocked (reducing damage), parried if you time a block correctly, or evaded entirely. I handled most combat by evading attacks and then attack the enemy in return. There's a nice variety of enemies in the first few levels of the dungeon that I managed to explore in my time with the game.
I do have some complaints about Märchen Forest: Mylne and the Forest Gift. The game supports keyboard controls or an Xbox controller, but the on-screen menus only show prompts for the Xbox controls. There's no way to rebind the buttons whatsoever and the default controls use a setup I wasn't used to. WASD moves you around, and J, K, and L become context-sensitive actions. O brings up the menu, and P pauses the game. I managed to make it work, but it felt a bit weird having both of my hands over the letter keys while playing something that wasn't Typing of the Dead.
I enjoyed my time with Märchen Forest: Mylne and the Forest Gift. A word of caution: if you're looking for a fun game that's all about gathering alchemy ingredients and exploring a magical forest, you'll get a couple of hours at max with that portion. You'll sink the majority of your time in the latter half exploring dungeons. This half is a pretty alright game in its own right and I thought it made for a fine first entry from an indie developer on Steam.
Märchen Forest: Mylne and the Forest Gift was covered on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the developer.
Covered by Robert Grosso
There really is not much to say about Galactic Delivery, the space-trucking delivery sim by Warp Path and Yak Studios. The developers themselves say all you need to know on their Steam page. This game is designed for players to listen to chill music while delivering packages as an intern.
Galactic Delivery, for lack of a better word, delivers on that promise in what is a very simple game more about ambiance over anything substantial. Players are an intern for a delivery service in a far future, where planets and space stations are commonplace. Your goal every day is to deliver packages to different coordinates on the map before you leave your shift.
The rest, quite honestly, is just window dressing. Like a lot of smaller indie games, Galactic Delivery has pixel-style graphics and a very light gameplay loop. It is also technically beatable in an hour or so. Players need to simply navigate the star map and make good timing by delivering packages for money. The only real challenge is using warp holes and trying to dodge asteroids as you zip through at the speed of light, but otherwise, there is no tension or threat of failure unless you’re a lazy intern.
In a lot of ways, this game is too simple of an experience. Other indie games, such as Spiritlands, had the problem of being overly complex while trying to streamline the process. Galactic Delivery is on the opposite end of that spectrum, it is a game that offers very little other than a way to waste time for a few minutes. There are attempts at gameplay here and there; such as buying trade goods and doing independent delivery jobs for people on different planets, but it is mostly filler that pushes you into the same narrow feedback loop.
Again though, that was the intention of the developers, so it is hard to knock them for making a relaxing game more about its ambiance than gameplay. They also actually deliver on the chill music too. The soundtrack is easily the best part about the game, following a standard synth-new wave sound with tons of electronic instrumentation. It feels other-worldly by surprisingly comfortable, and part of the fun is unlocking the fourteen tracks throughout a playthrough.
The music alone may be the only reason to play Galactic Delivery, but it is not enough in a sea of indie games that effectively do the same thing. Credit to Warp Path and Yak Studios for delivering on their promise here, but Galactic Delivery is not a must-have indie title for anyone’s collection. Instead, it is a tiny conversation piece and a good showcase for their developers for future projects.
Galactic Delivery was covered on PC via Steam with a code provided by the developers.
What do you think of this week’s Coverage Club selections? Do you know of an overlooked game that deserves another chance? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow our Steam Curator to keep up to date with all our reviews.