In the centre of a quiet town, a tower appeared and captured all of the town’s residents within it. In Lonesome Village, you control Wes the Coyote as he works to save the villagers from the tower. Brought to us by Ogre Pixel, Lonesome Village is a mix of puzzle and life-simulator games where you solve puzzles to free villagers and ascend the tower; build friendships, and solve villagers’ needs and issues within the town to help rebuild their homes.
Lonesome Village boasts a cutesy, cartoonish art-style that favours large eyes and no mouths. The characters within the game are unique, the game is colourful and inviting, and all-in-all, it’s a pleasant visual experience. The main character Wes has a great design, and one that I wouldn’t mind owning a plushie of if one were available... Oh wait, there is!
Lonesome Village also boasts a robust suite of challenging puzzles to overcome. Each floor of the tower offers a unique puzzle, which becomes harder as you ascend. I personally did not come across a puzzle that I got stuck on, but neither did I come across a puzzle I felt was easier than the one prior to it. A healthy amount of challenge without reaching the point of frustration is a delicate balance to achieve, and it is one I feel Lonesome Village has found.
- Cutesy art and character designs
- A robust assortment of challenging yet fair puzzles
I feel the biggest issue with Lonesome Village is an overall lack of polish. The game runs well, load times aren’t a problem, and I didn’t encounter any game-breaking bugs, however there were a smattering of small issues that could have been fixed with a few extra days on the Quality Assurance desk. I’ve run into a few typos in the dialogue; when talking to characters, sometimes you can press A to have their message instantly appear, but sometimes it skips the message halfway through; some characters glitched and repeated parts of dialogue in the same conversation; there was a puzzle where I had to push something in place, however it was only in place for half a second but the game registered as solved; there was a puzzle that I was close to solving but straight up did not solve yet, and the game registered as solved; tiny little bugs such as those can be found all over Lonesome Village, and while they can add a “small team charm” to the game (I believe Ogre Pixel is only 10 people), there are games with smaller teams that are more clean than Lonesome Village (Stardew Valley comes to mind, developed by a single person). Thankfully, these are issues that can be fixed with post-release patches, and I sincerely hope they do.
My second issue with Lonesome Village comes in how the game classifies itself. In other life-simulators like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, making friends and solving the needs of the townsfolk are incentivised but not strictly required. In Stardew Valley, I could live as a reclusive farmer that doesn’t talk to a soul in the game, just hopping between growing crops and exploring the mine. In Animal Crossing, after the introduction, I could just completely avoid all the other villagers except the shop, spending my time collecting items and finding fossils. In Lonesome Village however, your progress through the tower is directly tied to how much you grow your relationships through the town. While that in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, I believe it is when the game is billed as a life-simulator. This set-up makes the townspeople feel like quest dispensers, who want nothing more from you than to give you tasks you must do, as opposed to telling you their problems that you want to help with. Unlike in the previously mentioned examples, you cannot just spend all of your time in the tower and ignore the town, you must help the people if you want to play the game.
- Game could use some more polish
- Doesn’t truly feel like the life-simulator it claims to be
Final Score: 7/10
Lonesome Village is an enjoyable game to play, but it is not without flaw. I think the team set out with a goal, and wanted to make sure that anyone who picked up the game would experience all it had to offer. As a result, it lost some of what makes a life-simulator unique in exchange for not allowing players to miss the things they worked hard on. At the end of the day, Lonesome Village is a puzzle game and not entirely much else. If you’re looking for what essentially is a Legend of Zelda game without combat, I recommend you give Lonesome Village a try. However, if you’ve run Stardew Valley dry and you’re looking for something similar, you’re unfortunately out of luck here.
Thank you for checking out our Lonesome Village Switch review, thank you to Ogre Pixel (via Player Two PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: