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Reconnect the community in management sim Onsen Master this autumn

After postponing their planned indie showcase this weekend, Guerilla Collective dedicated Sunday to showing off indie games by Black game developers. As usual, you’ll find me digging past the stack of action platformers to find—ah yes, a management game. Onsen Master is a management ’em up all about revitalising a fantasy island with the power of a very nice bath.

“Create ingredients to match the various customer ailments, reconnect the communities that surround each onsen, and discover the supernatural world that they’ve long since been disconnected from,” says Onsen Master’s Steam page. You can play through the six story missions of Onsen Master or just jump right into the fray of arcade mode alone or against a friend.

Onsen Master appears to have all them managerial tasks that I know and love: an unending line of customers, progress bars for all my many tasks, and tons of messes to clean up. Oh and it looks like your character is just unabashedly lifting customers over their head to chuck the grimy goobers into baths which, yeah, I can totally get behind.

Waking Oni’s lead designer Derrick Fields says that Onsen Master is partly inspired by the fantastical qualities of Spirited Away and other Studio Ghibli films. He wanted to create a game that is “family friendly but makes representation normal…featuring Black and brown individuals as the standard characters that are in the story.”

Lots of other neat projects were shown off on Sunday including co-op underwater shoot ’em up Swimsanity, roguelike platformer Catacomb Kids, and survival RPG Aground. Also among them was the surreal RPG She Dreams Elsewhere whose developer I’ve previously gotten to talk with about how they decided to immortalise pet dogs as save points in the game.

You can catch the rest of the Black Voices in Gaming showcase to hear about all the other projects.

Onsen Master is due out sometime in the autumn of 2020. You can wishlist it on Steam until then.

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Lauren Morton

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