Turns out that farming is a pretty compelling addition to the horde survival roguelite formula

The horde survival genre grows weekly and a recent entrant is Pesticide Not Required, which tosses in familiar tropes from the ever-popular farm and life sim genres: Don’t craft or pick up your weapons, grow them instead. Defeat enemies for money, then buy seeds, plant crops, and harvest them for experience—or go mining and fishing, like you do.

Rather than each wave coming continuously in genre-standard Vampire Survivors fashion, Pesticide Not Included has each day and subsequent night spent avoiding and battling the oncoming horde. Survive that and you get a moment where the clock stops and the nearby Merch-ant opens shop for you to buy new weapon and crop seeds, expand your farming area, and even get pets like dogs, cats, elephants, toucans, capybaras, etc. to help you do farm tasks.

Pesticide Not Required has one of those trendy free Prologue versions out on Steam, and it’s pretty fun to tool around with and see where the developers are going with the game. It has extra characters to unlock alongside a bunch of weapons, upgrades, and crops to make—though the developers (and in-game icons) are quite clear it’s not all of them. You can try that free demo on Steam.

It’s pretty genre-standard gameplay with the kind of normal twists you’d expect, having you use a combination of weapon choices and upgrades to craft an invincible build that’ll help you survive the waves. The real twist, and it’s a decently compelling one, is how you’re forced into various kinds of movement while you play. You have to move much more than is normal for the genre so you can water your crops or catch fish, emphasizing the genre staple of learning how and where your weapons attack.

By far the funniest part, however, is that when your frog survives a whole season it goes Wumbo mode, grows to fill the entire screen, and then you trample every remaining bug into goop.

Pesticide Not Included is the first game from Jampacked Games, an indie studio based in Toronto, Canada. They’re also working on Avanzar, a movement-based FPS roguelike looter-shooter.

You can find Pesticide Not Required on Steam, where it’s set to release in the first quarter of 2024. You can also find the free demo version on Steam, and you can check out the Jampacked Games website to boot.

(Image credit: Jampacked Games)

(Image credit: Jampacked Games)

(Image credit: Jampacked Games)

(Image credit: Jampacked Games)

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