Steam demo available here.
If you’re looking for a cozy modern slice-of-life, this one looks promising: A Weekend in Puzzleburg by solo developer Sunny Demeanor Games.
This short RPG takes place over a single weekend in Puzzleburg, a little resort island.
It’s About The People
Though described as an RPG, the 30-minute demo feels more like a mix of visual novel and point-and-click adventure. We’ll have to wait for the full game to see how far the RPG elements go.
There’s a strong focus on dialogue choices and solving side-quests for people around Puzzleburg. Time only passes when you progress in main quests, so you play at a leisurely pace.
On the surface, this isn’t a game about killing dragons or saving the world but simply having a vacation. I haven’t encountered anything like a typical main-plot conflict, but hey, this is slice-of-life. It’s about getting to know the people in Puzzleburg, both residents and tourists.
I came away from the demo feeling I might enjoy the full game. I’d like to see how things turn out for the characters. Like the pair of twin sisters who cherish each other but have a little problem. Or the three buddies who came to enjoy themselves in Puzzleburg but end up bickering at the hotel bar. I hope to hear the mayor and his sister annoy or amuse each other more. I also want to help an aspiring singer conquer her fear of heights.
Puzzleburg seems pretty wholesome, humorous, and lighthearted. It’s got fun puns and occasionally cheesy jokes. This is a game to relax with, for sure.
A Vacation of Choice
Puzzleburg is story-driven and offers many dialogue decisions. The developer’s aim was to create an RPG with meaningful dialogue choices but without the violence of titles like Fallout: New Vegas or The Witcher 3.
It’s not clear how this will play out in the full game, for instance, will there be different story endings? But I did enjoy a little surprise when my “character class” changed after the demo’s final conversation. That was really cool (especially since I didn’t know my character even had a class). I loved how the developer put a modern spin on classes. There are 3 classes mentioned in the demo but several in the full game.
The game lets you “define your character’s backstory,” which in turn provides unique dialogue options. This is a neat feature (though I don’t know yet if there’s more to this backstory than choice of class), and might make Puzzleburg worth replaying.
Speaking of replayability, here’s another neat little feature. You can choose one of three books to read. Each time you sit for a meal, you’ll continue reading that book. Since you can only choose one book per playthrough, this adds some replay value.
Smooth Sailing So Far
The demo gives a good idea of what quests look like. You can start several quests, but only a few can be resolved within the demo.
Like in an adventure game, I helped people by looking for the right items in different locations. These don’t feel like simple, mindless fetch quests so far. Neither is the game difficult or complex. But if you get stuck, talk to Dante the hotel concierge. He’s the game’s hint system.
There were a few other things I was pleasantly surprised to see. The demo already features a varied soundtrack, a manual save system, and an autosave. You have various control options, and the developer is testing for Steam Deck compatibility. I was comfortable using mouse-only, and the controls worked very well.
Book A Weekend
It’ll be interesting to see how A Weekend in Puzzleburg unfolds. I’m always intrigued by stories that aim to be complete and meaningful within a short time frame, as this game aims to do within one weekend.
The full game is about 4 hours long and is planned for launch on February 17, 2023, in conjunction with National Random Acts of Kindness Day.