March may be nearly over, but its gaming news certainly isn’t! Over the past few weeks we’ve seen several big announcements and releases, and 2019 does indeed appear to be holding strong as a good year for nature games. From dinosaurs to lost civilizations, let’s take a look at what games are in the news for the second half of March!
Just Released: Saurian Patch
Saurian released into early access on Steam in August of 2017, and though it didn’t start off with a lot of content, it’s been steadily adding more over the past year and a half. It’s quickly become possibly the most developed singleplayer dinosaur simulator, even rivaling multiplayer titan The Isle. Each major update introduces significant new elements to the game, and even most of the patches are more than just bugfixes.
Patch 1.9.2843 is no exception. It contains a number of behavioral and AI updates to better balance the inhabitants of the world, including tweaks to prevent carnivores from spam-killing prey, help slow herbivores turn fast enough to defend themselves against faster opponents, and keep the croc-like river dwellers from attacking one another. And speaking of crocs, they’ll now have to share the river with another aquatic species– the Champsosaurus.
Unlike Brachychampsa and Borealosuchus, however, the Champsosaurus seems to be meant to be almost purely aquatic, and likely won’t venture out on land much– if at all. It’s an interesting addition to the current aquatic creatures, and a unique one not quite like anything we’ve seen before.
In addition to the new creature and AI updates, the new patch comes with a number of bugfixes and balance tweaks– including a fix for the nasty hunger bar glitch we spent much of my last playthrough wrestling with. It sounds like the team has hammered out a lot of the issues from the last update, and with that out of the way here’s hoping they’ll be able to keep working on adding new features– like the playable triceratops. In the meantime, you can keep up with their progress by following their dev blog on their website.
Coming Soon: Garden Paws Update
Garden Paws officially left beta on December 18th, 2018, and since then it’s continued to update frequently with new features and holiday-exclusive content. It’s a unique twist on the farming simulator genre, where players can become an adorable anthropomorphic animal and run their own farm in an expansive land full of mystery and adventure. Whether you’re trying to build up your own farm or help out your neighbors, there’s always plenty to do in Garden Paws– and there’s a ton of content still planned to be added to the game.
The March update is no exception. In addition to expanding the storyline and adding a new player avatar, the update also introduces a cooking system and adds a new character to the game– the assistant!
The assistant in particular sounds like a game-changer, as an official tweet confirmed that “You’ll be able to have an assistant run your shop! (For a bit of a cut 😉 )”. Balancing running the shop with other farm duties has always been a bit of a struggle in Garden Paws, so being able to have a hired hand help out while you do the rest of your work is going to make a huge difference.
Another big addition is the cooking system. With over 25 recipes to start off with (and even more planned for future updates), there’s an expansive range of content on the way. It will be interesting to see what role this new ability plays in the game– will it be merely aesthetic/quest-based, or will we be able to eat our own creations for fun, or even for some kind of boost? We should find out soon, since March is drawing to a close.
Garden paws posts frequently on their official Twitter account, often teasing what they’re working on. They also share news about sales, as well as streaming some of their tests for the new content. For more detailed info, you can also sign up for their mailing list on their site.
Coming Soon: Lost Ember
We’ve been hearing about Lost Ember for a few years now, and from the very beginning it’s been a much-anticipated title. The player will take on the role of a wolf (with the ability to transform into other animals) in order to explore a fallen kingdom, alongside a companion who tells the tales of what once was. The game promises a fascinating story as you uncover the secrets of what was, seeing it through the eyes of the animals who now call it home.
Boasting a beautiful aesthetic, the game takes place in what appears to be a sprawling, diverse world with a rich history. It seems exploration-centric, with no combat mechanics seen so far. This story-driven adventure looks like it’s going to be a masterpiece, and I can’t deny I’m excited to finally have the chance to play it for myself.
We know little of the story beyond its setting– a wolf makes her way through the ruins of an ancient kingdom, unlocking its secrets with the help of her guide. This guide seeks the player’s help, revealing his story through memories to tell the tale of the civilization’s fall. It seems to be a fascinating tale of mystery and intrigue, with many secrets to uncover.
In addition to an intriguing story, the game boasts a very unique mechanic– it gives the player the chance to control a variety of creatures in order to move about the game world. Though the player’s main form is the wolf, the player can take control of other animals too– from birds to moles to even fish. This gives the player the opportunity to venture places the wolf could never go, such as into the sky, the water, and even underground. It’s immediately clear that there’s going to be much to explore within the game world, and the current estimates of around 5-6 hours of gameplay support this. Lost Ember seems to be a journey which passes through both past and present, weaving them together into one larger tale.
Lost Ember was revealed in 2016, and after years of waiting we finally have a release date. The game is set for a release on July 19th– a mere four months away. It’s plain to see that the lengthy development period has paid off, as everything we’ve seen of the game thus far has been absolutely stunning. I know I can’t wait to get my hands on it and try it out for myself, but if you’re like me and want to keep up with the latest news, make sure to check out Mooneye’s Twitter account to see their latest updates.
2019 has indeed had a strong start, with many nature games revealing updates and releases even within this first quarter. I’m confident that this is only the beginning, and I look forward to seeing what lies ahead in the months to come.
Game images provided from my own gameplay or official promotional material (i.e. dev logs)