What has eight eyes, a tail, and stabs people in the dark so it can steal their stuff? You, probably, once you download the demo for Brush Burial, a retro-inspired Thief-ish immersive sim about being a horrible little swamp devil named Fennel with eight eyes and a tail that stabs people in the dark so it can steal their stuff.
The developer describes it as a "First Person Snatcher" where "You play as Fennel, a knife-wielding swamp devil with an eye for gold and a penchant for violence. Use your tail to toy with your prey: grab and fling objects, climb impossible heights, and knock your enemies off balance." Fennel gets up to stuff like stealing trinkets, befriending "thieves, brigands, and other charming troublemakers" and under your control navigating "hand-crafted environments blending the boundaries between the digital, the industrial, the natural, and the spiritual."
It certainly earns its retro-inspired credentials, full of hand-drawn then crunched up textures mashed onto chunky, pixelated models composed of jaggedy lines. Look at those ropes in the trailer! They're basically as thick and rigid as a pencil on my 1440p display. Glorious. And that description is sublime, isn't it? I'll quote it again: "hand-crafted environments blending the boundaries between the digital, the industrial, the natural, and the spiritual."
You can actually play a demo version of Brush Burial right now, as developer Tris aka Knife Demon Software is currently shaking it together for donations. I can't imagine Fennel approves, though. I imagine Fennel would rather Tris break into our homes and stab us all and take our stuff. I guess I'm glad Fennel isn't in charge.
As it is, Brush Burial has the things I want from an immersive sim. It has the freedom to explore as you please, and find out how to get the objective on your own. It combines that with nice movement that let Fennel jump, grab, bounce off walls, and smoothly swing about like a little mischievous imp.
At the same time the combat has a simple-yet-varied mixture going. You can grab and throw things at enemies to stun them, or toss oil lamps at them to cause fires, or just sneak up and stab them. The developer calls it "raw but complex melee combat" and I agree with a developer's self-assessment of what their combat is, for once.
You can try the demo of Brush Burial on itch.io.