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TFI Friday: three indie games to simulate the end of all things

When you want the world to end but in a chill way, play Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator, Trash Sailors, and WorldBox - God Simulator

MERRY CHRISTMAS YA FILTHY ANIMALS! This time of year can be one that feels particularly apocalyptic, as well as, you know, good will to all I guess. If I have to. The indie games I've been playing recently all have a bit of an end-of-the-world flavour to 'em, whether literal or metaphorical or by your own hand, if you feel like it. I dunno, I actually found them strangely relaxing, as a sort of counterpoint to the chaos of my own life during the holiday season. See what you think.

Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator

Who's it by? Strange Scaffold
Where can I get it? Steam
How much is it? £15/€17/$20

Obligatory disclosure for Xalavier Nelson Jr., whose game this is, having written for RPS quite a bit. This game is a nightmare, but in, like, a good way. You are, as the title suggests, involved in the trading of organs, via space. Although my avatar is a lil dog in a cool hat. You make trades: some organs are more expensive than others. The markets open for a few minutes at a time and it is hectic. You must learn to parse the organs that are for sale, and what they're worth, and whether you should snap that lung up now or hold out for a better one. Sometimes you have to get a heart as a loss leader, to bump up your reputation and get into the upper echelons of trading.

This game simulates organ markets, too. You can look at how certain organs are performing and buy or dump shares. Should you get involved in nerve cluster futures? Idk man, go with your gut. Or buy someone else's gut and flog it on. It's a pretty stressful game, but in a fun way like pretending to be the Wall Street guys all yelling at the end of Trading Places. Oh wait, those dudes have almost destroyed society several times oh nooooooo-

Trash Sailors

Who's it by? fluckymachine, tinyBuild
Where can I get it? Steam, GOG
How much is it? £15/€17/$20

Like most ends of the world, this is best enjoyed with friends, for though it has a singleplayer mode, it's really meant to be multiplayer. Trash Sailors is a hand-drawn survival game where the world has been flooded, so it's a bit like Raft and maybe a little bit like The Flame In The Flood, but it is more whimsical and chaotic than either. You have a little trash compactor that munches up any salvage you fish out of the water, and you can use that to repair your raft from crashing into things. You also have to steer to avoid said crashing, and watch out for all manner of aquatic and semi-aquatic beasties that can float up from the depths.

There's a lot of multitasking, basically, and if you love Don't Starve Together then you won't love not starving together at sea. Sometimes the control prompts aren't quite clear on what you're trying to get at or do, but I'm completely in love with the art style on this. If I was lost at see with only my own pants and a talking bin for company, I'd want it to look like this.

WorldBox - God Simulator

Who's it by? Maxim Karpenko
Where can I get it? Steam
How much is it? £15/€17/$20

I have become quietly and horrifically obsessed with WorldBox over the past few days. It's in early access, but there's already so much you can do, and I have spent hours in this game not fucking doing any of it. It's a very detailed god sim, where you can build a biome any way you want, including swamps, deserts or even magical twinkly fairy ones, and then populate it with life. Animals, bees, plants. You can make it whatever shape. People have already made maps that are copies of e.g. Europe. And then you can put civilisations on them.

In true fantasy god sim mode, this means orcs, elves, dwarfs and humans. Plop a couple down and they'll start building. They make little tents, and then chop down trees to make houses. And you can intervene by putting iron ore on only one bit of an island, so one group gets weapons and armour first. Or you can drop an entire nuke and level everything. I love it. I don't even do much, I just start it running on one screen, throw down some lil dudes, and then see what happens. Usually what happens is war, to be honest, but it's fascinating.

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Trash Sailors

PS4, Xbox 360, PC, Nintendo Switch

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WorldBox - God Simulator

Android, iOS, PC

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Alice Bell avatar

Alice Bell

Deputy Editor

Small person powered by tea and books; RPS's dep ed since 2018. Send her etymological facts and cool horror or puzzle games.