As I might have mentioned once or twice, one of my joys in life is dipping and drifting around rivers and ponds, lochs and seas. I am delighted to see some of the gentle pleasure and wonder of that captured in Naiad, an upcoming game about a water spirit adventuring downstream. It has a free demo in the Steam Next Fest, and it is quite lovely. I believe it to be what the youth call 'wholesome'.
It's a game to play with and explore at your own pace. You can go fast, if you want. You can swim at full speed through the whole thing, gun it to the waterfall connecting you to the next level. I don't know why you would, but you can. I'm here to take it slow, drift around, swim circles and watch my gathered shoal of fish follow me, take in the scenery, find secret spots, and maybe complete a few tasks.
Each level in demo has optional objectives. You can leading lost ducklings to their dad, sing to help plants grow, bring butterflies to flowers, and help or antagonise a few humans. Completing these tasks rewards you with a stanza of a poem, the full poem being revealed across each chapter. It's nice to have these here if I want to do them, or not if I don't. I am, admittedly, 90% here for swimming about with colourful fish following me—especially with the comforting knowledge that there isn't a dead sheep upstream.
Download the Naiad demo from Steam. The solo developer, HiWarp plans to release the full game by the end of September.