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    Academia: School Simulator

    Can you make school not suck?
    Art for Academia School Simulator of students in their classroom at their desks, chatting at listening to the lecture.

    Ever wanted to see if you could do a better job running the education system?! Well now you can with Academia: School Simulator! Let’s see if you can make it suck less than your actual high school did. Academia gives you all the tools you’ll need to design, build, and welcome in students, teachers, and staff. You’ll work towards goals to earn grant money and increase the reputation of your school, passing up any rival schools in the rankings (I hope). The game just released on steam so grab it while it’s fresh!

    First Impressions

    If you’ve watched the trailer or seen the game at all you’ll of course get some very familiar vibes from a game called Prison Architect, which is developed by a completely different company but has the same artist Personally, I haven’t played it and have limited experience watching the actual mechanics so I’ll have to leave it at face value. From what I’ve seen, however, I’d say Squeaky Wheel has done a good job of taking the style and making it their own.

    I really like this style of game. I like the art, I like the challenge of it, and overall I had a lot of fun playing it. I’m looking forward to playing a lot more of it and hope they continue adding to it over the months to come.

    Academia School SImulator setup screen

    Gameplay

    At the beginning of the game, you are able to choose all your school’s basic attributes: title, motto, colors, uniforms, principal type, and difficulty level. There is a decent amount of customization to change the gameplay and I started on just normal default to test things out. I didn’t really see a lot of tutorial type pop-ups or guidance but that could have been me not paying close enough attention. As a result, I felt a little thrown into the game ut since it’s not my first time playing a builder game it wasn’t too much of an issue. If you aren’t however it might take you a few minutes to get acquainted with the UI and hotkeys before you feel comfortable.

    Large school map for a build in Academia School Simulator

    In order to make money in the game, you will have to select grants and do the objectives to earn funding. You’ll have more money to start building with if you start on easy mode, which I highly recommend if you’re new to this style of game.

    The first thing you’ll need to do is build an office and hire your principal. There will be 15 students in each class (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior) so you’ll build 1 classroom for each and hire a teacher for each school subject. Be sure to pay attention to the grants in your list so you know what you should be building/aiming for. Be sure you read everything because that’s where to tips are on how to find things in the UI!

    Check! Done! Woo!

    Do you like that dopamine hit of accomplishing goals and checking things off lists? If so you’ll love this game! Seriously, I was plowing my way through objectives for grants for the few hours I played. It felt gooooooood y’all! Very satisfying. I totally built my school in perhaps the most inefficient way possible but hey, it was still a fun time. Lessons were definitely learned for playing through it next time.

    End of year results for Academia School Simulator

    In addition, there are little scenarios and events that pop up throughout the game that give you a little extra to break things up and add something new. You’ll get an end of the year report to give you stats of how you did in several categories and give you a rank. A lot of information can be found out during the year via the different UI and charts.

    Aesthetics

    I really do like the graphics in this game. Everything is simplistic but nice and clean. Text is easy to read and nothing hurts my brain. There’s even a warning at the title screen which is animated to make it static to avoid dizziness/illness – something I greatly appreciate as someone who’s got pretty sensitive sim sickness.

    Grab yourself a copy!

    Grab yourself a copy on Steam or via my Humble Bundle (Disclaimer: I get a kickback, thanks guys)! Academia: School Simulator on sale for 30% off for the next 5 days!

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    Legends of Ethernal Out Now for Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox, and PS4

    Natsume Inc., a worldwide developer and publisher of family-oriented video games, and Lucid Dreams Studio, a French-Canadian indie developer, today announced the launch of Legends of Ethernal on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC/MacOS.

    Legends of Ethernal can be downloaded today for $19.99 on the Nintendo eShopMicrosoft StorePlayStation Store, and Steam. The game is rated E10+ for Everyone 10+ by the ESRB.

    The day we have been working towards for the past three years is here! Lucid Dreams Studio, with the assistance of Natsume through the Natsume Indie Program, has launched our first title, Legends of Ethernal,” said Maxime Gregoire, Founder and CEO of Lucid Dreams Studio.

    “Every member of our team has contributed their expertise and vision to create a special game that embodies our mission: tell fascinating stories, offer gameplay that is accessible to all, and design immersive worlds. We hope that players will enjoy getting to explore Wilfred’s mysterious story as much as we have enjoyed creating it.

    A well, a cat, and a cute little town.

    It was a lazy summer day like any other for Wilfred… However, after returning home, he finds his house ransacked, and his parents gone… Who or what has taken them? And to where? Wilfred puts his fears aside and sets off on an adventure to find them, an adventure that will span the entire world of Arkanys.

    In Legends of Ethernal, it is up to you to uncover the truth about your parents’ disappearance. Explore beautiful hand-crafted environments, solve challenging puzzles, and battle frightening creatures. Using the crafting power of ether, new powers and weapons will be unlocked to you, allowing you to explore more and more of the world of Arkanys! 

    Legends of Ethernal features:        

    • Enjoy mechanics that unlock with weapons and items that you find.
    • Solve puzzles and unleash your fighting tactics against boss battles in multiple dungeons.
    • Gather ethers and use items during the course of your journey to help you progress through the game.
    • Admire beautiful 2D hand-drawn art covering multiple environments, scaling up to a resolution of 4K on supported platforms.
    • Experience a compelling and linear storyline with great characters.
    • Listen to the wonderfully crafted score; produced and recorded by veteran musician William Gough.
    • Try Hardcore Mode for an intense experience, or enable Relaxed Mode to help you or your little one complete the game.

    Legends of Ethernal Launch Trailer:

    Players can follow the latest news for all of the beloved Natsume franchises at www.natsume.com and get a scoop on all of the latest Natsume updates, contests, screen shots and more at:

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    Through the Darkest of Times

    Can you survive and help take down the Nazis?
    through the darkest of times artwork

    Wander into Germany during the rise of the Nazi party in Through the Darkest of Times, brought to us by Paintbucket Games and Handygames. Lead a resistance group in Berlin to gather information, help free the people, and weaken the regime. And do it on any device you like!

    Art, history, & strategy

    The artwork for Through the Darkest of Times is a striking style that instantly captivated me and is the primary reason I sought out a key to review. I’ve been playing it on and off for a while now on my phone, which honestly has been really nice because I can do that anywhere. Every time I get to see a new scene I’m reminded just how gorgeous the game is and really lends itself to telling such a generally bleak story.

    Obviously, the game’s story is rooted in actual events that happened leading up to World War II and you play as the leader of a resistance group. Every day you choose new tasks for your team to do like gather supplies, convert new supporters, spread the truth, or even attack special points of interest to weaken supply lines or gather vital documents to use against the regime.

    Even on mobile, the controls are super easy to use and the game doesn’t take much time to understand how to play. It’s a well-built interface and I haven’t run into a single bug. But the real star of the show is the stories and how your choices affect outcomes.

    Throughout the game, you’ll have choices to make that will direct what happens to your character and how the story progresses. Personally I think I played a very linear character that had set ideals but I’d be curious to go back through the story again and choose other reactions to events and maybe build up a character who takes a more aggressive approach instead of the quieter more passive stealth game I played. It’s definitely worthy of replaying to find out what things change.

    Get your copy today!

    I’m excited to report that this game is now available on mobile, PC, PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. While I enjoyed the freedom of playing it on my phone I think having it on a larger screen would be really nice and I’m looking forward to playing it on stream or YouTube some time in the near future.

    Grab yourself a copy in the Google Play Store, Apple Store, Steam, or included in the August Humble Bundle Choice!

    #Disclaimer: A product key was provided to me for review from Terminals. The review is 100% my unbiased opinion of the game and I played it only on mobile (Android).

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