Recently played: Moonglow Bay

I’ll just begin by dropping the trailer here. If this looks at all like your jam, why are you still here? Go play this.

The launch trailer.

For anyone who might like a bit more detail before jumping in, here’s the elevator pitch:

Somewhere in the Maritime provinces of Canada, a couple is preparing to embark on the launch of a new business: the kitting-out of a small fishing boat that will bring in the essentials for a tasty array of street foods. Unfortunately…something goes wrong.

Cut to three years later. One half of the couple has been missing since then, and the worst is assumed by all, attributed to some superstitious minds as being part of a curse upon any who dare to fish these waters. The remaining partner is shaken out of a depressive funk by the sudden arrival of her daughter from Quebec, and the two of them decide to at least give the business a try.

What follows is a surprisingly cozy little adventure with RPGish undertones in which the hero/ine (depending on which character model you choose to play) sets about exploring the seas near the town of Moonglow Bay, fishing up all manner of curious creatures, cooking piles of cute little voxel seafood, and gradually rehabilitating the initially faded and run-down little town.

The voxel art style may take some getting used to for some audiences, but I find it rather charming in its simplicity, and it lends a rather charming toy-like quality to the environments; everything is lovingly rendered from the models of new fish to the flag of Nova Scotia flapping at the stern of your little trawler to the cute little beds of vegetables in the community garden you (eventually) help to install.

Maybe this toylike quality lends to the relaxing vibes of the game, or perhaps there’s just something inherently soothing about the loop of going out onto the seas, fishing things up, then bringing them home to perfect another recipe in a series of little minigames reflecting your various cooking techniques. The core mechanics are generally pleasing and low-stress, making this a good choice for unwinding on a lazy weekend afternoon.

Or maybe there’s just something fun about doing it all with a friend or partner – there’s two-player couch co-op in this one, with player 1 taking on the role of the main character and player 2 their daughter River. While only player 1 can progress quests, both characters can team up in both fishing and cooking (in more complex recipes), making the process of stocking the aquarium with all of those rare and curious fish that much quicker.

Fair warning for those who prefer their experiences be highly grounded in reality: There are definitely some fantasical elements present in this little story – mainly regarding some of the more improbable sea creatures you meet. (Unless there is something going on in the Maritimes that they’re not telling us further west, I am fairly confident we’ve got some imaginary fish happening.) There’s also a little janky-ness, but nothing too out of the norm for an indie title; we haven’t experienced any showstopping bugs to speak of.

Also, you have a dog named Waffles, who has an annoying habit of parking himself in the middle of the deck when you’re fishing – but he is still a very good boy, and you can pet him, which sort of balances out in my opinion. 😉

Anyway. Overall, this is a charming little chill-out game with easy drop in/drop out co-op – great for those lazy Sundays when someone just needs to take a minute to flip a load of laundry or stir the soup or whatever. Easy recommendation for anyone who enjoyed Stardew Valley, especially if they enjoy the fishing angles of such games!

Maybe make that soup a chowder or something, though, because you WILL crave seafood something fierce.

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