Universe for Sale title image

Universe for Sale Review

Game: Universe for Sale
Genre: Adventure, Casual, Indie
System: Steam (Windows)
Developer | Publisher: Tmesis Studio | Akupara Games
Controller Support: Yes
Price: US $14.28 | UK £11.39 | EU € 12,99
Release Date: November 16th, 2023

Review code used with many thanks to Akupara games.

Universe for Sale is a 2023 point-and-click adventure game developed by Tmesis Studio and released by Akupara Games.

Universe for Sale Jupiter and Europa
Jupiter and Europa

In a Galaxy Far Away

Well, not really; the story in Universe for Sale takes place on a space station in our galaxy in the clouds of Jupiter. The story starts in a child’s bedroom when the mom opens a book to read a bedtime story. In a bizarre bazaar, a young woman, Lila, crafts entire universes in the palm of her hand. But we don’t play just as her, but also as a mysterious cultist, the Master, who’s stripped the flesh from his bones to reach enlightenment. I wish to tell you more about the story, but I don’t want to spoil it. On Jupiter, not all is as it seems; there is a mystery afoot, one worth investigating.

Universe for Sale On a dark stormy night...
On a dark stormy night…


In Universe for Sale, we switch between Lila and the Master. As Lila, we go about our day, crafting universes for sale in a process not unlike brewing tea. We create the universes out of a stall in the bazaar mentioned above. Lila has all her ingredients, cups, and a handy book with hints about creating universes there.

Each universe is composed of two ingredients and consists of several moves. The more moves we use, the more advanced the society in our new universe will be. Sometimes, the state of development also depends on the universe’s shape. Of course, while some customers might request universes with strange animals and abundant alien flora, others’ wishes might be as simple as an orange universe or a universe shaped like a letter B.

If we can’t satisfy our customers’ desires, we can either start over or walk away, in which case the customer also steps away. Then, we get a new customer and a chance to start anew. Sometimes, if we take less time, the customers might give up themselves, saying they are too tired. There are no penalties for lost customers, which makes for a relaxing experience.

Universe for Sale Creating a new universe
Creating a new universe.

You quickly learn some of the combinations between ingredients and shapes. For others, you have to keep guessing. After each creation, Lila and I can look into the new world. I never looked at the universe and thought, oh, that’s dumb. Each of them felt well thought out, creative, and promising. With one, I did have a brief flashback to The Invincible, which I did finish only recently.

The rest of the game, whether we play as Lila or the Master, is a classic point-and-click adventure. That being said, there are only so many puzzles. We don’t have access to an inventory; all the objects we collect appear automatically in the hands of our protagonists when the need arises.

An exciting feature, which only adds to the replay value of the game, is that every playthrough is different – the chronology of the scenes in the game plays out differently every time. And so, the decisions you make may have different outcomes.

Universe for Sale An orange view
An orange view

The World of Universe for Sale

Universe for Sale is easily one of the most gorgeous games I’ve played in recent years. It looks like a 2.5D style, so the world is not linear; it has depth. The bazaar is alive with sounds and variety. The people are all different races, humans, cyber orangutans, robots, and aliens- quite like a proper bazaar on Jupiter.

There is history and lore here; the world is built up from the ground with stories about Old Earth, Mars, the Colonies, different cultures, religions, flora, and fauna. There is a tiny touch of Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror, but it’s handled so dreamily that I couldn’t help but think of Doctor Who and Terry Gillian. The way the Master behaves is quite Who-vian, if I may say so. But, I won’t say more….spoilers.

LadiesGamers A bedtime story.
A bedtime story.

The art looks like a comic book, with certain scenes in panels within the main screen. Most, if not all, of the puzzles are also within such panels. Dialogue is in speech bubbles with a font reminiscent of a comic book. Jupiter is shown off in warm oranges and reds, with enough details of the sci-fi variety to explain how a colony exists on such an acidic planet. The result is beautiful. I don’t think I’ve done so many screenshots of a game this year. Some of them are perfect desktop wallpapers.

It’s an exciting result because while the backgrounds are static, with the animation mostly done on characters with the evident influence of comic books, the game is almost cinematic. I couldn’t help but think of many Doctor Who episodes, Planet of Lana, Time Bandits, Firefly, Studio Ghibli, etc. We have scenes of vast spaces where our characters are but a dot on the screen, yet the dialogue is intimate and human.

Universe for Sale A Rainy day at the market.
A rainy day at the market.

The Soundtrack

If you’ve read some of my reviews, you’ve probably noticed that for me, the soundtrack in a game is essential to the world-building. Universe for Sale does precisely that, and it’s by a Spanish composer, Guglielmo Diana. It has that electronic vibe most of us associate with sci-fi, but it’s symphonic, which adds to the cinematic value of the game. It adds a hint of whimsy and wonder. Some scenes have Eastern notes, which works well within the world. Thankfully, it’s also on Spotify to enjoy.

The characters are not voiced, and I might be in the minority here, but I prefer it this way. The soundtrack and immersion here were so good that I couldn’t remember whether or not there was voice acting. I had to check just that.

Universe for Sale Lila, alone.
Lila, alone.

Some Side Notes

Universe of Sale has basic audio and video options. It has Steam achievements but no trading cards as of yet. It’s not Steamdeck- verified yet. For some reason, and for me, some of the screenshots I took were mirrored, but it is a known issue that the developers are working on, and it doesn’t affect the gameplay.


When I saw the trailer for Universe of Sale, I was intrigued by the art style and the story, but I didn’t expect it to quickly become one of my favorite games of the year. It is a well-crafted game worth experiencing, and I’ll keep thinking of it for a while.

Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up: Two thumbs up

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