Dinkum Yours New Favorite Game

Unless you’re a card-carrying member of Kotaku Australia, seeing the indie simulation game Dinkum swimming in the chart of new Steam releases might seem weird. But don’t confuse Dinkum, which takes its name from the Australian slang term “fair dinkum”, which means authentic (more or less), with your old dinky Converse or my rinky-dink Macbook Air. Dinkum is a cute and compact redesign of Animal Crossing, which emphasizes the hardcore majesty of the Australian outback if it were composed of 8 megapixels.

The game was released in early access on July 14 and is getting pretty hot on Steam, probably due to its proximity to cozy simulation and sandbox classics like Stardew Valley and The Sims. But if you’re still not sure if this is the sim for you, here’s a quick fact sheet on the preliminary days of Dinkum:

Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley passion, definitely. The story of the game will be familiar to both of these camps—your protagonist moves to a new, mostly empty city and harvests, plants and catches things to sell and help develop the space. As in Animal Crossing, non-playable characters talk to you in ribbons of unintelligible dialogue, and you can catch insects with a net. As in Stardew Valley, you can pretend to be a real farmer. As in Minecraft, the grass is made of a bunch of blocks.

Dinkum is not reinventing the wheel in any way, but if you are a fan of the most popular sims, you will find its gameplay pleasantly repetitive and flexible. You can perform daily and long-term tasks to earn permit points, which allow you to acquire skills like logging and excavation, or to develop the skills you already have and collect items in exchange for money, or “Dinks.”You are gently encouraged to survive in the reddened wilderness—harmful animals and plants can drain your health bar and make you faint—but other than losing a few Dinks, the consequences of making mistakes are few. Dinkum is for fun, experienced zoning in Australia and catching dummy fish.

What does it look like?

Shades of sriracha, adobo and paprika. Lots of sunsets cut with glassy blue water. It looks especially like a smoother Minecraft, made of plasticine, or a less cute but equally bobble Animal Crossing. Like its gameplay, veterans of simulation games will find Dinkum’s visuals peacefully unremarkable.

Can I be eaten by a crocodile?

A crocodile may cling to your head and cause an ominous red mist to appear on your screen to indicate the damage suffered, but the worst that can happen after the experience is that your health will completely run out and you will faint briefly. So, yes. But the most original thing about Dinkum is the pleasure he takes in the wild splendor of his paprika card. You will wonder if you can eat this thing or be eaten by this thing, and the game will not punish you too harshly for your curiosity. In fact, it even rewards fainting and damage taken with permit points. BRB while I was setting my protagonist on fire.

Where can I play it?

The early access game is currently available for PC on Steam and is priced. According to the game’s press release, other compatible platforms will be announced after.

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