Upcoming indie simulation game Yokai Inn recently revealed its graphic overhaul in a new trailer. Officially announced at the E3 Expo in June 2021 and described as a Ghibli-style Stardew Valley, Yokai Inn is a simulation game in which players take refuge in an abandoned and ruined inn that comes to life with spirits and monsters a time the sun goes down, just like the Studio Ghibli movie Spirited Away. The player is then offered the opportunity to repair and manage the inn by performing activities such as maintaining the oven, sweeping floors, farming, cooking, fishing, mining, and crafting. Throughout the journey to grow and expand their inn, players will be able to interact with yokai patrons and other NPCs.
Although the game experienced an official reveal, its development has experienced some issues since then. After fan confusion between Yokai Inn and another indie game project called Frontier Story, Yokai Inn developer ShibaPixels promised to change the art style of their game. Both games have a detailed pixel art style and comparisons have been made between the two graphics. ShibaPixels admitted that Yokai Inn's art style was influenced by the Frontier Project and issued an apology for the nearly identical graphics. A video posted on the Wholesome Games Youtube account now reveals the graphics update for Yokai Inn. The new trailer for the game showcases its new art style along with new gameplay. In the trailer, a fox spirit named Kazuya tells the main character to bring him a delicious dish to the city's summer festival. The rest of the trailer shows how the character grows ingredients for the dish, moves around town by train and riding a deer, and conversations with new characters, including a yokai named Mai who wants to go to the festival. At the end of the trailer, the main character is seen with Mai at the summer festival and offers Kazuya her buri daikon plate.
Based on the graphics shown in the Yokai Inn trailer, the new art style appears almost indistinguishable from its original art style. The changes are subtle, with the most obvious ones involving the main character. His eyes, clothes, and hairstyle have been altered to look less like the main character from Frontier Story. Other differences include minor tweaks to the NPC layouts and the games color palette, which appears to have changed slightly. Perhaps more changes will be made as Yokai Inn still lacks a release date.
Regardless of the art style mod, the highlighted advancements in the game look fun and charming. Dialogue with various NPC games looks especially promising. Hopefully, Yokai Inn will be able to appease the frustration many players have regarding the often boring dialogue with NPCs in games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Regardless, fans of Japanese folklore and pixelated indie games should stay informed about the development of Yokai Inns.