Steam Game Festival: Simulation Games

As I mentioned in my previous post, some of the demos I tried there were already simulation games, but they were also listed as strategy games. There is sometimes a lot of overlap between these two genres. Here is the rest of the games that I found interesting when looking at the simulation games genre of the Steam Games Festival.

Going Medieval has been on bookahnerk’s wishlist before the festival already and he was really excited when I told him that there’s a demo available during the game festival. Bookahnerk is a big fan of RimWorld. This game seems to be very similar, but in a medieval setting. The game starts in the year 1352, after a plague killed about 95 % of the inhabitants. Bookahnerk could tell me a few things here and there because it is similar to RimWorld. What I don’t like about RimWorld is removing and harvesting organs. It seems so… macabre and gruesome for something to play as entertainment. Other than that, it is the kind of game I love playing. So maybe, being in the middle ages, there won’t be anything like that in Going Medieval as it would then be the perfect game for me: My villagers are either alive or dead. Not much in between.

I chose the builder game mode, which means that attacks are happening less frequently and attackers aren’t as strong. Bookahnerk chose the regular mode. We both welcomed a refugee at some point who had escaped from prison. In my case, when I read the character’s history and description, he sounded like the most regular human being, especially compared to my two women in the settlement. After a while, bookahnerk had to fight off two people who had followed his refugee to bring him back. In my case, I had only one attacker. He took his sweet time walking through the map, casually picking up a few flowers here and there, admiring the landscape (not really, of course, but he did walk slowly). In the meantime, I had figured out how it worked to draft villagers and place them, ready to defend their settlement. It was… fast. So, I only had one attacker and he didn’t seem to do much. Probably because I had him face four villagers.

What I can say about the game is that the moment I started building my first hall, I didn’t want to leave the game anymore. It is so much fun, it looks good enough for me and I want to see what else the game is giving me! The downside here is that I haven’t been able to find a date or even an approximation when the game will hit Early Access. All I know is that I want it!

Dungeon Consultant is one of those games where you are defending a dungeon against heroes that want to steal your gold and loot. The description says that you will be asked to make under-performing dungeons profitable again. The tutorial and level 1 that were available in the demo had you build everything up from scratch, though. Only the basic layout of the dungeon was present already. But in general, I really liked the game. It was fast-paced and the music was fitting (I couldn’t turn it off). If I’m in the mood for a new tower defense game, I would certainly look at this again when it’s released. At the same time, I also hope that there will be missions that have you improve an already existing dungeon. I sometimes like changing things more than building everything up from scratch.

Speaking of that: What I loved most in The Sims wasn’t the actual simulation part of the game, but building and decorating houses (rosebud was my best friend!). The Tenants seems to scratch exactly that itch. I found myself going “one more room renovation”. You can take on jobs that will give you money, but I also had my own property that I could renovate as I wanted and then hope for a good tenant to show interest. The jobs give you the money necessary to renovate your own place. The more experience you get, the more items you unlock to use during renovations. I don’t know how exactly the review setting works, though. The people hiring you give you vague ideas of what they want. For example: beige floors, red walls, and a list of items plus some bonus items. You are on a budget and need to stay below that. Two times, I got 5 out of 5 stars. One time, I got 3 stars. I don’t know if they had wanted a darker beige maybe or what goes into the rating. Maybe the colours I chose clashed. Either way, it is fun to play!

I do not need the most modern or elaborated graphics, but I also do not usually like too “cute” graphics that much. Lemon Cake has them, but I think it fits perfectly to the game’s theme. Oddly enough, it was also exactly that which made me notice the game in the first place. You start working in your bakery and have a ghost that guides you. She used to own that bakery and talks about her famous lemon cake that you won’t be able to master for quite a while. I found the game a bit too hectic for my liking. Customers come in, order, and then you head to the kitchen to bake. For a French baguette, you need to pick up flour, then kneed it, then head to the oven, add firewood, bake the baguette. Then you serve it to your customer who apparently eats it right out of the oven with nothing else on it. Happy to burn your tongue there…? Anyway, I find it a bit odd that you bake “on demand” instead of preparing what you want to sell in the latter half of the night. The game runs very smoothly and the tutorial explains everything very well. You can also upgrade your shop as well with window diplays and I assume more tables to serve more customers. These will automatically be placed, so you can’t decorate it as you like. You will also be able to get an assistant at some point. I would have liked a clock in the game to see how much longer the day lasts until I can close and hopefully buy something else for my shop. Other than the lack of realism (which I shouldn’t expect, given that my mentor is a ghost…), the game seems to be a good one! It’s just too fast for me with too much clicking which my hands unfortunately can’t do.

Rogue State Revolution was a surprise for me. I have definitely never heard of it before and actually almost didn’t click on the game when I saw it. It’s a political simulator and you are the ruler of the republic of Basenji which has just come out of a civil war. It is a turn-based game and you’ve got a certain amount of action points each turn. As one of the first things, I had to decide whether to build another agricultural field, so my citizens can have more food or if I wanted to build a hospital, so I actually had people left that needed food. You also need to pay attention what the citizens (and here, also the several subgroups) want and need. You need their approval in order to stay president. I also had some ministers which I could put into different positions. The game told me that according to the ministers’ own characteristics, they would sometimes follow their own goals instead of following your orders. For example, if you don’t tell them what to research or focus on next, they will choose something on their own. I did not take a closer look at the game, because I didn’t want to put in the effort just to forget everything again until the game launches. But I left with a very good impression and put the game on my wishlist!

Solar ones… I was confused why my villagers in Becastled had a light on their face – but it apparently is their face. Of course, they have to defend against lunar ones. Every few minutes, it becomes dark and that’s when the attacks happen. I think the graphics are cute and fitting to the game. Simple, but they do their job. And you can easily see what each building does. I accidentally placed a flag on the ground which is the meeting point for new military recruits. That was certainly helpful as I could place it where the next attack wave would come from (marked with blue torches on the border of your village). I had trouble finding lost soldiers, though. They are hard to spot between buildings and trees and I once had a lonely soldier stand around doing nothing because I hadn’t seen him. But it’s just a demo. I would hope that there will be a feature to easily find and guide your soldiers around on the map. What I liked was that I could individually place the archers on the walls or on the tower. It definitely looks like a promising game that already works pretty well.

Per Aspera informs you right at the beginning of the demo that it only shows you the simulation part, but not the narrative events. What is it with all the mars-population games? My mind immediately went: Do we really need another one where we settle on mars? Too much red, if you ask me! It does make the screenshots showing the game a bit boring. Other than that, it was very easy to get started in the game. I hit a short barrier when it asked me to build a solar panel and construction didn’t finish. There was no glass, but I had just built a glass kiln? The landing site produces some energy, but it wasn’t enough for all the buildings I had to place. So, I deactivated a mine I didn’t need at the moment and the glass kiln had the energy it needed to produce glass. Once it did, the solar panel could be finished. With that, I had enough energy to reactivate the mine. The game looks quite sleek, but there is still too much of one colour. Yes, that’s a very petty complaint here. The graphics are fine otherwise and the interface is minimalistic but gives you a lot of information. I am wondering what this game brings to the table that others haven’t – I guess with narrative events, the game would be even better and could stand apart from other games.

“Experience the actual conditions and challenges that a terraforming process involves as you implement studies and scientific theories proposed by real space agencies and engineers.”

The above quote is from the game’s description and this will definitely make it stand apart from other games. Intriguing! But as you can see, I downloaded the demos and started playing without reading much about the games first. It’s nicer to see what is there already and then dive into what will be there in the end. So far, the game runs smoothly and, as I said, it is very easy to get started and the user interface is informative and not cluttered. Another one for my wishlist.

Syntherapy is a visual novel and I was surprised to find that dialogues are voiced. The plot idea is that AI could be sentient and you’re dealing with one that is malfunctioning. As they are suffering from emotional distress and self-injury, you are there to help them by holding therapy sessions. Apart from the usual in visual novels, lots of text and a few choices in between, there was also a feature about manipulating brain waves. I only looked at it briefly and figured I would get to it later and would probably be shown how it works and when I should use it. The demo was over really fast, though. In the end, I cannot say if I’m interested in this visual novel or not. The general plot is clear, but I would have liked to know more about the game and to get a better feeling for the story.

So let’s see: Going Medieval, The Tenants, Rogue State Revolution and Per Aspera are on my wishlist now. Dungeon Consultant and Becastled both seem like they will be good games, but I am currently not looking for games like these. Syntherapy could also be a good game, but I would have liked to see more of the story because at the moment, I do not feel the urge to continue playing. Altogether, however, I think this is a really good list with very solid games.

The Game Festival is still running until tomorrow, October 13. If you saw anything you’re interested now, head over to Steam and try the game out as long as the demos are still available!


  1. Downloaded the Going Medieval demo right after reading this! Been back into Rimworld a little lately, but it’s a genre I can never get enough of. Most options in the genre ultimately end up being somewhat disappointing, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t keep me from looking for new ones, hah.

    Now just to hope I get to try it before the event ends, few things going on with the family at the moment which are taking some time and attention.


    1. We’re both really excited about the game now! But if you’re not able to test it, I’m pretty sure there will be YouTube or Twitch videos to look at, at least. :)

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