Humble Games’ latest release Mineko’s Night Market is set to put budding Canadian game developer Brent ‘Meowza’ Kobayashi on the map. The game joined Xbox’s Game Pass at the end of October, moving the developer into the indie spotlight, and for a one-person project, the honour is well deserved.
A cosy, crafting sim, the game follows Mineko, a young girl who has just moved to a remote island village with her father. Upon her arrival, she discovers something is amiss on the island, as a team of agents seek to cover up a mysterious event taking place in the area. Alongside uncovering the mystery, you are tasked with raising money by crafting items to sell at the Saturday Night Market – a local event which has seen better days. As you move through the narrative, and your stall becomes more successful, you help to return the village to the glory days: reopening museums, helping to renovate locals’ homes, and reopening disused or broken-down areas.
It’s clear to see the parallels between famous favourites like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, but Mineko’s Night Market’s mystery-solving narrative, as well as its nods to Japanese culture and folklore, offer a fresh and enjoyable addition to the cosy sim genre. Some tasks become slightly arduous, particularly later on, when resources at the night market aren’t in-season, so you have to wait to buy them. My advice to avoid this is to stock up heavily on flowers and dyes in the Saturday market – money is easier to come by later in the game, and you can recuperate funds by catching and selling fish if need be.
A sweet, enjoyable game from a developer with a huge amount of potential, Meowza Games are one to watch, and Mineko’s Night Market is a wonderful option to cwtch up with this Autumn.
Mineko’s Night Market is available now for Switch, Steam, Xbox One and PS5/PS4.
words HARI BERROW