TGS 2022: Hands-On with Indie Puzzle Game ‘Forest of Shale’

While there weren’t a ton of indie mobile games at this year’s Tokyo Game Show the way we have seen in previous years, there were a few very enjoyable puzzlers on offer. One that I really enjoyed playing was from a developer named PepperBomb. The English title hasn’t been settled on yet, but it roughly translates to Forest of Shale, so let’s go with that. The game is due out on iOS and PC later this year in Japan, but the developer did say it would be coming out globally next year.

Forest of Shale is a stage-based puzzle game where you need to use your monsters to attack other monsters on the board until you reach the clear goal. After a set number of turns, the monsters will attack you. If you can’t clear them in time, they’ll finish you off instead. You can fight back using your own monsters, but initially you need to be careful as you can only take out monsters in packs. As your monsters level up and evolve, you can eventually take out different kinds of groups. You can also recruit enemy monsters if you have the right item. Like all puzzle games, it’s probably easier to see it in action than to hear it explained. Fortunately, we have a video for that.

While I didn’t quite get the hang of all the mechanics, I certainly enjoyed what I played of Forest of Shale. The presentation was quite charming, with cute monsters, nice art, and good audio. The basic gameplay was easy enough to pick up, and as I learned more and more about how the game worked, I ended up being impressed with the potential depth on offer.

As mentioned, Forest of Shale is planned for release in Japan later this year. PepperBomb, the developer, said that a Western release will be coming at a later time. We’ll be watching this one and will let you know as we get more information about it, including whatever its final English name will be.

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