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Out Later This Month, Minami Lane is a Super Cosy Building Sim

Minami Lane
Image: Doot/Blibloop

If there’s two things that young people want, it’s ramen and boba. While we have no data to back this, we know it to be indisputably true. Young people like ramen and boba, and old people like the bookstore and the park. Facts. Proving our point is Minami Lane, due to release on February 28th.

We’ve been hands on with Minami Lane thanks to its Steam Next Fest Demo, which you can download for yourself, completely free. In development from Doot and Blibloop, it’s best described as a casual life sim where you must balance the wants and needs of your villagers, young and old, to create a cosy and profitable place to live for everyone. 

Minami Lane is very simplistic, and it’s meant to be. Players are given a list of goals to complete – such as having 70% villager satisfaction or making $300 in one day – and the main task is to complete those goals with no time limit or pressure. That means that players are free to meet those goals in multiple ways. Some paths are more efficient than others of course, but if your personal goal is to have a street of nothing but ramen shops then hey, you’re absolutely free to do so.

Minami Lane
Image: Doot/Blibloop

Building is as easy as the click of a button, provided you’ve got the cash. In Minami Lane’s 40-minute-or-so demo, you’ll start with just one ramen shop. You can pick the ingredients to put in it which will adjust the price that villagers pay and, in turn, how much profit you’ll make. Prices and ingredients can be changed and adjusted at the beginning of each day. 

Throughout the day, you can click on villagers to get their thoughts on what’s being sold in the shops and the general vibe of the entire street. Most of it is useful: you may get some suggestions on how to tweak your recipes, for example, or that a person thinks your streets are a little too crowded. It reminds us a little of Theme Park in that regard – knowing what your villagers think is key to making your town better. That suggestion of your street being too crowded? It’s a good sign to hold off building any new apartments for a while.

Along with the ramen stores, boba vendors and apartment buildings – which are all customisable – you can also build parks, fountains and bookstores. More building types will be available in the full version of the game. Each building provides money, housing or beauty to the street, but the order you build them in is entirely up to you.

Minami Lane isn’t going to be a long game: a full playthrough is estimated to take between two and four hours. But thanks to its lovely little details and adorable art style, we’re confident it’ll be absolute joy to play. We’ve had a blast turning the speed up of the demo, chasing lightning-fast stray cats with our cursor in the pursuit of petting them. If you’re looking for an adorable, one-sitting experience, Minami Lane will be one to keep an eye on when it releases later this month. 

Becca knew that she would be addicted to video games for the rest of her life when she saw the first pixelated zombie shambling across her TV screen while playing Resident Evil 3. She particularly enjoys being scared, laughing until she cries, or just plain crying while experiencing games. When she isn't playing games she loves spoiling her cat Usagi and eating any kind of sushi she can find.