Games That Don’t Have a Thread Catch-All


Man, In Other Waters is so damn good.

It's like this perfect collision of Zen, style & mystery.

Game is super relaxing. Everything from the laid-back pace to the ethereal soundtrack. It just nails this mood of tranquility.

And what's funny is that it isn't the kind of relaxing that puts you to sleep. "Cause you're exploring these gorgeous topographic maps, collecting samples of marine life and following after the bread-crumb trail of the person who called you to this alien planet. So there's this sense of purpose guiding you forward. But you get to play it at your own pace.

Putting the puzzle pieces together of mapping out the taxonomy of individual life forms (plant, animal, fungi, etc.) just never gets old 'cause the writing is so good. It's that brand of sci/fi science that's rooted in the real-world but with a creative slant to spark the imagination. And you feel like you're discovering whole new alien eco-systems along with your player character as they comment in wonder over each new find. It just feels smart in presentation and delivery.

And speaking of presentation, this this thing is a shoe-in for Giant Bomb's GOTY Styyyyle category, at least as part of the conversation. It's totally strange but when I think of Waters, I keep coming back to Wipeout HD. That clean, minimalist style. The futurist angle. The bold, stark colors that never feel busy. It's a super-slick, cohesive package.

The game feels smart, aided by writing that feels well-researched & creative on the science end but also personable regarding the characters. The audio-visual suite is dialed in (Soundtrack of the Year candidate easily).

Feels like this one just landed at a really good time. With people's anxiety & BP being higher than normal, In Other Waters offers some respite and calm. It also offers glimpses of hope with the mystery of wonder & discovery that it explores, like all the best sci-fi out there manages to do.

Highly recommended.


Plebby Quest: The Crusades is yet another indie gem that just dropped straight out of nowhere. Part CK2/Total War, part Mario RPG, Plebby deftly straddles the line between depth & accessibility. Contains all the pillars of big-boy strategy titles...diplomacy, trade, research, army composition, etc. Then injects quick & fun mini-games into the mix (tile matching, etc.) that are novel without being overbearing. Battles play out in real time with a side-view push/pull mechanics between opposing sides as you shift your unit types offensively & defensively.

Sports striking art & animation, with satisfying menu navigation that pops with life. The game has a charming look & feel that you just don't see much in a genre that's typically so self-serious. Special shout out to the extended Scenario mode where you play as 3 different rulers in a sort of extended tutorial/story mode. The emotive characters & writing are absolutely hilarious. Feels way more fleshed out than I expected and completely won me over. Great learning curve to boot. The only ding I would mention is that occasionally the translation is spotty (dev team is Korean). Nothing egregious, but you notice it once in a while.

Overall it feels like a lot of thought and TLC went into this production. It's way deeper than it looks on the surface but at the same time is refreshingly approachable. Big thumbs up.

Broken Lines

Broken Lines is basically a zoomed in version of the battles from the old Close Combat series with a little more RPG mixed in. The setting is a World War Weird thing, featuring a bunch of Allied soldiers air-dropped behind Nazi lines and into...something. The voice acting is mediocre, the art is bad, and I'm not sure about the writing, but the premise is compelling, and the combat is actually really engaging. It's on sale right now.It's not a masterpiece, but I think it's worth a look if you enjoy tactics games at all.


Lobotomy Corporation is a tough game to categorize. Definitely Management. Kind of RTS w/pause. You collect bizarre stories like Sunless Sea/Skies. There's base expansion & character upgrades that remind me of XCOM or Fallout Shelter. Gotta have that Rouge where a team wipe sends you back to Day One but you maintain all your creature research and armor/weapon collections. Add a slight brush of anime with a heavy dollop of cosmic horror. There's a lot of moving parts, yet the raw mechanics are relatively simple.

As a new administrator for Lobotomy Corp. you're tasked with overseeing the collection and energy harvesting of odd creatures known as Abnormalities. Inspired by SCP series lore, these Abnormalities can take on any manner of form. From the mundane like an old grandma in a rocking chair with empty-socket, black eyes to a skin tarp stretched across 4 canvases, each with a different mood-face. Each has unique properties, gimmicks for interacting with and extended backstory lore logs that range from the curious to surprisingly dark. I believe there's over 100 of them.

There's a wonderful day to day, push-pull gameplay loop of gathering energy and creature intel under increasingly dangerous conditions vs. simply getting your daily quota of energy units and punching out for the day. But you always want to stay longer to complete an creature profile (revealing weaknesses, backstory, etc.) or farm unique energy that's used to purchase weapons & suits. But doing so puts your employees at risk as there's a "meltdown timer" mechanic where every time you visit a chamber a chunk is added to the MT pool. Setting it off can be managed but it gets worse where creatures start escaping and wreaking havoc or even worse buffed baddies start teleporting in.

Then with each successive day and each new Abnormality added to your facility, the demands to your daily ops become more complex. Remember how I mentioned each creature has unique qualities or personality quirks? Well some are benign, but others are more of a resource drain. Remember sweet old grandma? Yeah well when you finish her intel research you learn that she's so lonely that if you don't visit her 1:1 against other research chamber visits, then she gonna do the Meltdown Shuffle all over your team real quick.

And thus begins the glorious dance of prioritization & employee management. It's almost puzzle-like and super-fun & satisfying. And while there's the RTS element of "go here before this Meltdown timer counts down" or "get downstairs asap and eradicate this menace that terrorizing the halls", all these antics are fully signposted and triggered by the player. So you have time to think between moves as the player (mostly) initiates drama. It makes you feel in control, only begging the question how far you want to push that line. Expect to lose employees. Expect them to go insane...or worse. That's okay, you can always throw more meat at the grinder.

All this with the glorious backdrop the truly bizarre living in plain sight. That's the interesting thing about cosmic horror. People aren't running and screaming over some weird creature. They're just part of the landscape. Yes strange and otherworldly. But the unexpected is expected. Gives the whole setting an attractively sideways vibe. The unique creature art and backstories are a big part of the appeal. Kinda like Sunless Skies where you can't wait to discover the next scrap of story, here each new creature feels like opening a new present.

In the end Lobotomy Corp. feels unique & scrappy. Kinda janky (dodgy Korean to English translation). But with a sense of identity and charm that you just don't see outside of the indie space.

Certified gem.

This is a fun thread. I think I got moonlighter on Epic for free and been meaning to try it. I think Crying Suns is on my wishlist too. Anything that gets FTL comparisons gets a look from me.

Crying Suns is ok, its pretty much FTL with a tactical game instead of a real time combat/ship fixing game. Its very pretty but not amazingly compelling to keep pushing along and see how it goes.

Crying Subs gets real boring real fast. Go play 3030 Deathwar Redux or Starcom Nexus and thank me later.

Second recommend for Lobotomy Corporation. It's so unique that it's worth trying if it looks the slightest bit interesting to you.

Project Hospital has its first paid DLC, Hospital Services. Adds in Pathology Department and Administrative Department, the latter of which has a pharmacy, cafeteria, advanced janitorial controls and training programs and facilities (libraries, presentation rooms, that sort of thing). I think it might finally be time to jump into this. It's very detailed.

Robear wrote:

Project Hospital has its first paid DLC, Hospital Services.

I noticed this is well. Looks like it fleshes out the hospital environment quite nicely.

Things like friends & family visits to patient recovery rooms may sound trivial, but it's a big add to the texture and authenticity of the space overall.

Intergalactic Fishing released a few days ago, I think, and I just ran across it. Teleport around the galaxy trying to catch fish for a research group, to figure out why your home lake is dying, and in the process uncover the truth about the local megacorp.

The fishing game is mechanically simple, but oddly complex. There are all sorts of options - some variety in rods and boats, a bunch of modules you can fit to your boat to do various things like quest actions and stuff I have not uncovered in an hour and a half. You can sell fish, or dissect them to gain information (which can help you catch more if you come back to that lake, say for a tournament), or release them from your livewell (which initially only holds four fish). You can design your own lures, and obviously you'd want to tailor them to the species you are looking for. The design process is just a grid in which you place Tetris-like blocks to get the characteristics you want - color, shine, weight, etc. and the resulting lure can rest at various places in the water column. There are of course a variety of depths in different parts of the lakes. The day/night cycle is also simulated, and fish feed and occupy different locations based on the time of day.

You fish by casting, and the lure will float or sink depending on its composition. A green bar turns partially red depending on the resistance you feel from the lure, so it's a bit red when you drag it in the water, and more when a fish nibbles or bites. This exceedingly simple mechanic is the source of all the tension and relaxation in the game.

Once you are reeling in, at one of five speeds (easily adjusted to allow the lure to move erratically or smoothly), you set the hook if you see bites. Then its the strength and weight of the fish against the rod and line. You will need to watch that the red does not overwhelm the green, or the line will break, so you can't just reel in continuously. You have to let the line out, then take it in, and maybe tire the fish out, before you can finally get it in the boat.

There's a quest, and doing the first five or so missions is necessary to open up the game entirely. Then you are on your own. Each lake is procedurally generated, each fish species too, so the variety is immense. The 65 initial lakes have docks and other fishermen; the mysterious ones that are randomly generated, I'm not sure, and there's a mechanic that ensures that you can only visit one of those at a go. You have to gather information as well as fish, and there are interesting events too. I found a note in a bottle that seems to offer me a shot at drowned treasure. But I'm skeptical.

The graphics are exceedingly simple, but the game makes up for it with imagination and a fishing mechanic that sets off your imagination with every cast. Very relaxing and enjoyable once you get past the simple graphics. It hearkens back to the old school games where you pictured far more in your head than was actually on the screen, and I think that's refreshing.

Robear wrote:

Intergalactic Fishing released a few days ago, I think, and I just ran across it. Teleport around the galaxy trying to catch fish for a research group, to figure out why your home lake is dying, and in the process uncover the truth about the local megacorp. :-)

Thanks for bringing this up.

Watched some gameplay vids and it looks quite unique & relaxing.

I think the retro presentation is charming.


It is strangely addictive. The storyline is stilted, but interesting, and the gameplay cycle means every new lake is it's own hour or two to explore and discover new fish. In the meantime, you have to adjust your technique, and your lures, to try to catch different species. (After five or six dissections, you'll have a species down, and you can rename it, but catching more won't advance your knowledge of the lake further, so you need to change up tactics to catch other fish.)

Definitely relaxing. I will say that in 1440P the fishing bar is kind of small, but not unusable. But you will find yourself focusing on it all the time, so give your eyes a break now and then.

It's amazing how the feedback on the depth and speed of and drag on the lure translates into a mental picture of where the lure is in relation to the bottom and surface, and the little pops and flashes on the surface seem to indicate where fish might be. In that sense, it's just like real fishing, and I think that's where the magic comes from.

Was just coming here to talk up Intergalactic Fishing but I see Robear has beaten me to the punch. Streamed a few hours of it the other day. It's wonderfully zen and addictive. I plan on playing a lot more while listening to podcasts.

The fishing mechanic is surprisingly evocative. Just knowing the type of lure you have - sinker, topwater, whatever - you can picture what's happening under the water as it sinks and rises, and the moment when a fish nibbles at it becomes real excitement. Then you have to set the hook, and fight it in without breaking the line. Great fun.


STATIONflow has completely captured my imagination of late. It's interesting in that I almost passed on it due to its spartan presentation. But happening on a Let's Play sold me pretty quick.

The game is a logistics sim focused on keeping commuters moving through an increasingly complex metrorail system. The game provides the station entrances & train platforms and your job is to connect them all up in a (hopefully) intelligent fashion so commuters can navigate the corridors with as little friction as possible.

You're given all manner of tools, most of which successively unlock after each successful daily operation shift. But beyond the raw basics of corridor/stairs/escalators, your most important tool is the direction sign. This is what your little AI travelers will be counting on to get them from A to B to C. Simple and Streamlined is the rule of the day. You place a sign, chose a direction for the arrow to point, and click on pre-made Point of Interest icons. "Platforms P and Q are THIS WAY"..."You can also access A and B Entrance/Exits in this same direction as well." Easy, right?

Well that becomes increasingly difficult as your operations grow more complex from day to day. New entrance clusters open up on the same map, usually in groups of 5 (A1, A2, A3, etc.). Most of the time on multiple floors. Make it through a few days and an entire new rail line will set up shop in the station. I just unlocked platform #3. Amenities are successively introduced. Bathrooms, coffee stands, food stalls, cafes, info booths. ALL of this needs to be telegraphed to passengers though the all-immortal directional signage. Hopefully placed smartly at all entrances and corridor terminates. It adds up to a LOT of direction mapping. Oh, and when you unlock a new platform, entrance cluster or amenity? Yeah, you need to update all your old signs.

Sounds daunting (it is) but it's also quick & intuitive. And this unearths the strange dichotomy of the game loop. You're spending a lot of time making Big Plans for corridor layouts and connections. Then you're tasked with fine-tuning & adjusting as you're asked to spin more plates. What sounds laborious on the surface also doubles as the Zen experience zone you'll likely slip into as well. Puzzling over guiding commuters through maze-like hallways and levels, keeping them locationally informed at all times. This actually puts you in their shoes navigating the complex station. Urging you to mentally walk the corridors yourself using spacial awareness to discover optimal paths (in both building and directing). It's an incredible feeling when you get that spark of inspiration resolving a route you thought was logistically impossible.

Then a new day brings new challenges by way of the unlocks noted above. It makes you completely reevaluate your station layout. Do you utterly slash & burn a subsection to accommodate new demands, or do you work around it and hope it's not too gangly in the end.

In my last session I just unlocked a new rail platform. Cool. But more interesting, I also go a new passenger type...Disabled. To service these customers I now have to integrate elevators into a sprawling 5-level underground station with 20 entrances spread across all floors and corners of the map.

Legit 1st reaction: Wut.

Legit followup: Okay, let's do this.

And ladies & gentlemen, that is the true magic of this game. The way it so naturally inspires creative thinking and problem solving.

Quick note on passengers and presentation. Like many genre titles, you can click on any random commuter and pull up a profile panel describing their unique archetype (daily commuter, tourist, elderly, student, etc.), their happiness, base stats (walk speed, vision distance, patience level, etc.), their entrance point & desired destination. You'll also see a dotted line on the map representing where they're looking & how far they can see. It's a real-time tool to show gaps in the system that you may not have considered. Upset commuters will rage with icon bubbles over their heads helping you further with layout diagnostics.

What's interesting about the raw nature of these graphics beyond clean readability is when you pull back the camera during am or pm rush hour and see hundreds of these little pegs just flitting & flowing through the map like some crazy-complex ant farm, the feeling of satisfaction of channeling chaos into order is just amazing. My current average is around 700 or so at any one time during rush hour. It's a small marvel to see the streams of people (hopefully) intelligently routing by the hundreds by your hand.



Easy recommendation for logistics, building & puzzle fans. I absolutely love it.

This is the most expensive thread on the GWJ site

StationFlow lives up to the recommendation, Aaron, I appreciate it. I think it's more of a puzzle game; you don't manage staff or run power and water and rail lines. Instead, you have a starting point, and you do what you want to to meet requirements. Once you do well enough in a "day", you advance to the next level of the challenge, with elements added that must be incorporated into your existing design (which you can modify, at least the parts you built).

So it's very relaxing and chill, and yet, at the same time, there's a burst of planning and execution at the start of each new element addition, and then working through any problems. It's a good balance. Not really stressful at all, just interesting.

One Finger Death Punch 2 is polished, silly, and fun. It's not a lot different than the first so its just more, newer, flashier, but worth the $10 if you fancy a lot of HAIYAAA! in a game that can get you into some good flow.

polypusher wrote:

One Finger Death Punch 2 is polished, silly, and fun. It's not a lot different than the first so its just more, newer, flashier, but worth the $10 if you fancy a lot of HAIYAAA! in a game that can get you into some good flow.

Great game that has an insane one more turn pull to it.


Okay, so Intergalactic Fishing.

Yeah. It's good. Actually it's great.

It confidently carries a relaxing, meditative vibe with the mechanical chops to back it up.

Robear covers the details above.

This is hardcore indie at its absolute best.

Armoured Commander II just landed on Steam. One-man studio, roguelike presentation, WW2 tanking done in late 80's 8 bit style. Fantastic grognard-style tactical combat inspired by Patton's Best. See the Wargamer's Corner for more info and a brief account of my first mission.

(I played gen1 of this and it was great. This is an even better followup.)


Troubleshooter. It's anime-XCOM w/ FFT character building & VN storytelling.

And it's legit dreamy.

Another indie out of Korea that just went 1.0 a few weeks back, it's the team's first release. It's drawing influence from a number of places and it's pulled off with an infectious upstart, whipsmart confidence.

Mechanically it's lifted straight out of modern XCOM but with enough new spins & layers of depth that it feels familiar yet fresh. On the map there's overlapping layers of synergy, enough to make the mind reel. Buff & debuff possibilities can seem limitless (seriously, there's over 600 Mastery types that you can equip each character with).

Quick example. Fighting indoors and my partner says, "Hey, there's a fuse box over there. You should flip it since we're outnumbered here." So I do it and the room falls into darkness, giving everyone (including my team) a vision, movement & hit-chance debuff. Then he goes, "You got some flashbangs, right?" Well flashbangs daze everyone in the aoe. BUT...if those poor saps also have the darkness debuff, the combo of darkness & daze makes them start panicking and shooting both enemies & allies randomly. Bonus. BUUUT...only 3 of the 4 baddies proc'd panic debuff because when I triggered the flash...the last one had a Sunglasses modifier (Mastery) equipped. You know, just in case that 1 in a million situation arose. Guess it was his lucky day. (ed. It wasn't.) Bonkers.

And that's not even getting into the environmental synergies much like the Divinity: Original Sin mechanics. Yeah so you see someone standing in a pool of oil. Looks like a fireball should warm them up right nice. But here it's like a dozen layers deeper. What time of day is it outside? Is there a breeze in the air? How hot or cold is it? You can capitalize on all these factors and many more.


Combat in Troubleshooter is super melee-focused. There are guns. And there's magic projectiles. But it's equally balanced with crazy-cool h2h fighting disciplines. From the traditional martial arts style to the more wacky break dancing variety. (Hey, it's anime.) The combo of h2h + magic disciplines take the XCOM blueprint and make it feel incredibly invigorated in practice.

Story is really great so far. You play a newly-graduated Troubleshooter in the near future. You part of a civilian paramilitary group that works adjacent with more traditional police forces in the country. Your team have Judge Dread jury/executioner rights and a baller Persona-like fashion style. As someone else put it, "a civilian militia of superhero punk rock kids called Troubleshooters." I can already see the story tension rising as the Troubleshooters start clashing with the FedPD as the latter are sectioning off neighborhoods and whole cities due to escalating crime. Then there's that whole rising cult thing with these weirdos who worship spoons [sic].

Besides the wealth of writing & character development, out of combat you're also building your character's stat loadouts Final Fantasy Tactics style. Seriously, there's more tables, stats and combo possibilities than I've seen in a long time. They just went all in on the fine customization of character job systems. When you start feeding skills into other skills to make even bigger, better & more badass skills, you start to appreciate the madness that went into these systems.

Presentation is great. AA budget that's well realized. Combat maps have tons of environmental detail. Storytelling is a combo of 3D environmental shots (w/ quite creative cinematography, oddly enough) and VN type stills. Both done really well. Music is baller. Nice mix of big, dumb anime hair-metal and smooth jazz, intersperses with more serious notes. And THANKFULLY (seriously, this would have been a deal-breaker), no gross anime tropes. Everyone is tastefully dressed. Males & females are equally strong in character. Fresh.


When I started to recognize how special this production was the big takeaway for me was how fun it was to be experiencing an XCOM-adjacent gameplay loop that wasn't all grim & serious like the source material. The over-the-top flashy anime, both on and off the field. The interesting characters and heavy focus on story in between combat. The whole production just had so much energy & life behind it.

It's so crazy that we're in a season of riches with the recent launches of XCOM: Chimera Squad and Gears Tactics. Yet here comes this little $25 indie out of S. Korea that completely steals the show. Made by a team of 6 people it's gem that just epitomizes heart and verve. There's a bit of a cult following behind it, it'll probably go largely unnoticed all told. But for me I'm just glad I heard about it. It's most fun XCOM has been in years.

99% to hit success!

I was going to write a review about Troubleshooter, but it got eaten by the forums.

There are two big things about Troubleshooter.

1. It's translated by people who did really well in English class. People who you'd talk to and say, I can't believe how good your English is! You've really only studied it in class?! You never visited an English-speaking country before?! Buuuut, maybe not the person you'd want in charge of translating a story game. The thing is, I think this actually works for it. The dialogue is really basic, and it's stripped of a lot of pretention and nuance, which makes it feel a little bit like a fairy tale. They're reportedly working on setting up a better translation. I'm not sure that it needs it, depending on the quality of that translation.

2. Good god this game is stylish. It's really rivaling Persona in terms of character design. Each character's appearance tells a story. You know who they are, and you still want to know more about them.

My one quibble here is that the combat so far is not very difficult. I'm not sure how deep in I am though.

I've been having a blast with Space Haven. It's like FTL without as much dying. You get to customize your ship and build out your own resource engines.

Nevin73 wrote:

I've been having a blast with Space Haven. It's like FTL without as much dying. You get to customize your ship and build out your own resource engines.

Interesting. I'll keep an eye on it.

Thought Shortest Trip to Earth was going to be my next FTL-like but the ship systems were so cumbersome, I remember basically quitting the tutorial and haven't touched it again.

Galaxy Squad was kind of fun though, maybe I should try it again. It was an FTL-like galaxy map progression. But when you landed on planets there was XCOM style combat.

Maybe I should just play FTL again. It's possible there was a ship or 2 left that I didn't unlock.

Nevin73 wrote:

I've been having a blast with Space Haven. It's like FTL without as much dying. You get to customize your ship and build out your own resource engines.

Added to my wishlist. Will track its progress through early access. Looks really cool.

Aaron D. wrote:


Troubleshooter. It's anime-XCOM w/ FFT character building & VN storytelling.

Wow, this looks awesome. Thanks for the write-up!

Aaron D. wrote:


STATIONflow has completely captured my imagination of late. ...

This does sound interesting, thanks!

Aaron, does the offline mode in Troubleshooters work for you? It's failing for me... Do I need to set up an account to do offline?